Month: January 2023

Winter humidity Causes Smelly Chimneys

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Smelly chimneys can occur year round, even in winter. Lately, Illinois has been experiencing some high humidity levels. The quantity of water in the air determines the humidity. The air expands up to four or five times its normal size, which is why it’s sometimes hard to breathe in high humidity. Humid air traps in most particles from the outside. That’s why it’s more likely to smell something unusual coming from your chimney this winter. This smell can be damp, musty or asphalt-like. Be aware of smelly chimneys, the odors can be unhealthy to breathe in for long periods of time. At Superior Chimney, we’re here to help identify, clean up and help to deter smelly chimneys.

What Causes a Smelly Chimney?

Despite any reasons listed below, negative air pressure in your home is the most common reason that these smells even reach your nose. Modern homes are usually sealed up pretty tight, which causes reverse drafts. The air pressure inside the home is lower than outside, causing the air in the chimney to move downward and into the home, bringing the inner chimney smell along with it.

1. Humidity from rain or snow is a common factor that helps to cause a smelly chimney. Be aware that chimneys store/absorb water and very quickly become saturated. Cracks in masonry lead to water leaks and quickly deteriorate the chimney. Deterioration leads to rust, rot and decay. This rot causes your chimney to give off a musty, damp smell.

2. If you notice an asphalt-like smell coming from your chimney, this may be a sign of a chimney leak and/or creosote buildup. Creosote is a natural product of combustion. It mostly occurs in wood burning chimneys, but can also occur in gas chimneys. Continuously breathing in the fumes from creosote while also using the fireplace is toxic and unhealthy.

3. Natural debris, such as leaves or nest remnants cause a damp, rotting smell. It’s also very possible for an animal to be living (or dead), or was once living in the chimney.

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Fixing a Smelly Chimney

Fixing a smelly chimney requires more than a chimney sweep. A chimney sweep will only remove surface level creosote buildup for inspection purposes. As negative air pressure is the reason the smells reach your nose, you may need to install a top-sealing damper. A complete chimney inspection from Superior Chimney can identify any issues with your chimney, and check off one of the reasons listed above. The chimney may need a replacement of its damper closure or chimney cap. It may also need to be repaired to stop water leaks, or to be waterproofed. There are a variety of causes, deterrence efforts and solutions to a smelly chimney. Many of them are listed here, in this previous blog post. Living in a varying humid climate like Chicago does not help to prevent a smelly chimney. If you’re experiencing any musty, damp or smelly odors, or just want to protect your chimney from becoming smelly, schedule an inspection with us today. Remember that musty odors can happen even in winter.

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Why Hire Certified Chimney Professionals

Hiring certified chimney professionals for your annual chimney sweep guarantees the safety and cleanliness of your chimney. But, what if you were to do it yourself? According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), a popular question-answer website named Angie’s List published an article instructing how to clean and inspect your chimney yourself. CSIA instructed Angie’s List to remove this article, as it was found to be potentially dangerous. To Certified Chimney Professionals, a ‘do it yourself’ chimney sweep sounds like trouble. Remember, the configuration of a chimney is complex, Certified Chimney Professionals have knowledge of clearances and air flow with respect to chimneys in the home. There are specialized tools that are needed to properly sweep a chimney as well. Completely cleaning a chimney once a year is important to prevent buildups, blockages, interior/exterior damage, and chimney fires. A few good ‘do it yourself’ articles may not be enough to sweep a chimney.

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What does a Proper Chimney Sweep Require?

Doing a chimney sweep requires the proper experience and tools that Certified Chimney Professionals are extensively trained in. A chimney sweep requires specific brushes that need to fit the chimney flue. There are separate brushes for cleaning the firebox and another for the throat/smoke-chamber components. Next, a sufficient vacuum is required that will be able to compensate for a possible downdraft and contain any air bourn soot. Most store bought vacuums cannot trap all the soot. This ‘do it yourself’ project can track the dust in all parts of your home.

Improper Cleaning Leads to Chimney Fires

There are over 21,000 chimney fires in the US annually, many are caused by an uninspected dirty chimney. The buildup of creosote, a hardened layer of chemical buildup caused naturally by the process of combustion, is a leading cause of chimney fires. Chimney technicians are able to identify and properly clear out this creosote as well as many other common causes of potential issues.

Did you know that breathing in creosote for long periods of time is unhealthy. This is why Certified Chimney Professionals take into account reverse air drafts inside and outside the home, sending the remnants of the cleaning away from your living space. Even if you have a gas fireplace and do not experience extensive layers of creosote buildup, there may be other age and usage relavent wear and tear/damage to your chimney. For example, the chimney may have cracks and gaps in mortar, which require repair services. In a gas fireplace, a clear exhaust path is very important for your chimney, as any blockages, big or small, can cause a very concerning reversal of exhaust such as carbon monoxide backing up into your home. The untrained eye is unable to identify most indicators that a problem with using the fireplace is on the horizon.

Our Notes Be very cautious of ‘do it yourself’ chimney sweep articles (Don’t fall for them). You can ensure safety and security if the job is done by the Certified Chimney Professionals of Superior Chimney. Our professionals are trained and certified by the CSIA. We can identify damage and protect your chimney by starting with a chimney sweep. Waiting years to sweep your chimney is costly and counterproductive to it. It is necessary to invest in a Certified Chimney Professionals at least once a year. Someone has to be fully responsible for putting a fire in the middle of your living room… and that is you! Book your chimney inspection today – Know what the current condition and state of fireworthiness your chimney system is in before you burn again.

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Why Chimney Flu Cracks are Dangerous

Regardless if your chimney is venting a fireplace, furnace, or wood stove, it most likely contains sections of clay flue tiles together in order to form a chimney lining.

The flue liner has to be well-sealed to protect the soundness and efficiency of the chimney. But over time and usage, defects and problems will develop and it threatens your chimney safety. Cracked flue tiles are among the most common issues that homeowners have to deal with.

Sometimes, you would have to contact chimney inspection if you want to look for the exact reason why the chimney has cracks. If you are not knowledgeable about this, you can always check out reasons why it is dangerous. Read on to learn more.

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Can Cause House Fires

Research that was conducted by the National Bureau of Standards has discovered that using a fireplace with no liner put homeowners at a greater risk for this. If you compare it with those that have properly linked chimneys, they do not have the same level of heat protection. This comes from the home’s combustible materials such as wood. Cracks in the liner expose the woodwork and other materials to great temperatures, which puts you at a higher risk of catching fire.

Toxic Gases

A chimney liner will prevent dangerous gases from going into your house. Even a small crack can become a passageway for harmful gases to go into your living space. Carbon monoxide is specifically tasteless, odorless, and colorless, which is why it is very hard to detect it using a CO detector. It can reach fatal levels, especially when everyone else is asleep. That is why carbon monoxide poisoning is also called a silent killer, and it can lead to tissue damage and death that has prolonged exposure.

Damages the Chimney

It has already been discussed that the high temperatures that your chimney is exposed to each time you use the fireplace. Aside from high heat, your chimney gets exposed to the combustion of byproducts produced by gas or wood. The byproducts are able to wear down the chimney’s masonry materials in case the flue liner is missing or cracked. If the wear and tear are unchecked, it will lead to structural damage, causing the chimney to fall apart or lean.

It Will Operate Inefficiently

A flue liner with cracks can impede wood, gas fireplace, or stove efficiency. The chimney requires an efficient draft to draw oxygen in and expel toxic the combustion process of byproducts up the chimney flue where it exits your home. However, flue cracks can cause drafting problems and there is the unequal air pressure in the chimney that can make the fireplace perform inefficiently.

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Why Does it Happen?

Most of the time, cracked tiles happen when heat is not evenly distributed all throughout the chimney. This can lead to unequal expansion of tiles that causes them to split, crack, or buckle. Clay tiles are a lot more prone to this issue because the material is unable to absorb heat quickly.

What is the Remedy?

When you find cracked tiles, the best way to fix this is by lining or relining your chimney. A stainless steel chimney liner is the chosen option among homeowners because it normally has a lifetime warranty and it normally never needs to be replaced. Single clay flue tiles can be installed to replace broken ones but will usually crack again to create another safety hazard in the flue. If there is minimal damage, a product can be bought to fill those cracks.

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What is Chimney Flashing and Why Is It Important?

Flashing is an important component of any chimney, but what exactly does it do? Flashing is one of many pieces that protects your chimney from excess moisture and leaks. It’s important to keep your chimney flashing in good condition to avoid long-term water damage. Let’s take a look at what chimney flashing is, why it’s important, and the different types of flashing available.

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Chimney Flashing Installation in Rocky Hill CTWhat is chimney flashing?

Chimney flashing is a layer of material that sits at the point where your chimney meets your roof. It acts as a seal, allowing water to flow down and off the roof rather than seeping into the chimney.

Why is chimney flashing important?

Flashing serves as an important protective layer for both your roof and your chimney as a whole. Without chimney flashing, moisture can seep into the joint between the roof and the chimney as well as directly into brick and mortar. While this may not seem like a problem initially, over time this will lead to structural issues.

Once the moisture is inside the chimney, it will expand and contract with the freeze/thaw cycle. This slowly displaces the brick and mortar, leading to structural consistencies. Durable flashing paired with a chimney cap goes a long way towards keeping moisture out of your chimney.

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What types of chimney flashing are available?

There are four main types of chimney flashing available. Each of these options has its own pros and cons.

Aluminum: This has been the flashing material of choice for many builders in recent years due to its affordability. Although it is inexpensive, it’s still highly resistant to rust. It also works well on many different types of roofs.

Vinyl/PVC: This is another inexpensive form of flashing that is only a viable option in places with consistently warm weather. This is because it is prone to cracking in very cold temperatures.

Copper: Copper is a much more expensive flashing option, but it comes with a variety of benefits. Copper flashing won’t rust at all and is very durable, so it’s a great choice in areas with high levels of precipitation.

Steel: Steel is a flashing material that you’ll often find on older chimneys. It’s extremely durable and takes a long time to rust, although it can still happen over time.

How do I maintain my chimney flashing?

You should always work with a professional to maintain and repair your chimney flashing. Trying to maintain your chimney flashing on your own can be dangerous as it does require you to climb onto your roof.

Professional Chimney Flashing Repair Technician in South Windsor CT

Your chimney sweep will inspect your flashing as part of your yearly chimney maintenance appointment. If your flashing is starting to see wear and tear, they will recommend the appropriate repairs to keep your chimney flashing in good condition.

It’s also important to have your chimney inspected when you move into a new home. If you’re moving into an older property and the flashing has seen a lot of wear and tear, you may need to replace it.

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How to Vent a Gas Fireplace Without a Chimney

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A fireplace is a must-have for homeowners and especially during winters, the demand for wood-burning and gas fireplaces increases dramatically! 

Getting a fireplace is considered the most significant thing you can do to add value, aesthetics, and warmth to your home. But what if you don’t have a chimney to vent out the toxic gasses and smoke? 

No worries, there are certain types of chimneys, such as electric or vent-free gas fireplaces, that do not require any outdoor venting.

But all other fireplaces, stoves, and inserts, whether their fuel source is gas, wood, or pellets, rely on some form of ventilation to keep fresh air circulating inside the home and prevent harmful smoke from residing in the rooms.. For this purpose, you must ensure that combustion by-products are removed from the indoor air in your home. 

Gas fireplaces provide ambience and warmth to your house. This heating device comes in with installation flexibility and is extremely heat efficient. It also provides space for Christmas decorations. Also, the cherry on top, these new fireplace models offer natural ventilation.

This blog will help you understand the major types of vents with the help of which you could buy a gas fireplace for your chimney-free home. 

Certified fireplace repairman can help you with chimney/ fireplace cleaning, sweeping, maintenance, and installation.

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3 Types of Vents

To understand how a ventless gas fireplace works, you need to know how it operates. Ventless gas fireplace logs are much easier and more attractive for your home. However, different types of vents have different features and benefits.  

The most common types of vents include 

  1. Direct-Vent Gas Fireplace
  2. B-Vent or Natural Vent Gas Fireplace
  3. Vent-Free Gas Fireplace

Let’s check out the details of each vent type so you can decide the best one for your home.

  1. Direct-Vent Gas Fireplace

A direct-Vent gas fireplace is the most popular type of venting. This type of model is designed to transfer the combustion of by-products, hazardous fumes, and pollutants outside the home through a chimney or an opening on the house’s exterior.

However, if you are looking for a chimney, you can consult a chimney and ventilation expert at High’s Chimney.   

Direct-Vent fireplaces are the most popular choice for homeowners because of their increased safety, efficiency, and versatility. These vented fireplace models are an ideal option for newer, more air-tight homes. Also, with a sealed glass panel in front of the fireplace, these models keep odors and pollutants out of your home and the toxic fumes will not reside within the rooms..

2. B-Vent or Natural Vent Gas Fireplace

A Natural Vent, also known as a B-Vent, draws harmful fumes from your fireplace out through the chimney. Such venting systems operate similarly to Direct-Vent.

However, the only difference between B-Vent and Direct vent is that a natural vent gas fireplace has an opening in the roof of your house, directly above the fireplace. For example, if there is a gas leak, the gasses will escape through the roof and not enter your home. 

A Natural Vent or B-Vent system eliminates the need for a chimney by routing combustion gasses directly into the atmosphere. 

At High’s Chimney, our B-Vent models are factory-built double-wall vent pipes exclusively used for venting gas. They are typically constructed with galvanized exteriors and aluminium interiors. Spaces between the partitions tend to be constricted; however, they can still accommodate moderate air circulation. The natural vent can be utilized efficiently to ventilate or connect your system while staying cost-effective.

3. Vent-Free Gas Fireplaces

Vent-Free gas fireplaces are also known as “un-vented” or “ventless”. These units are designed to introduce natural gas or propane into an existing gas-burning unit. Vent-free units offer a seamless heating solution to your home!

The flame of a gas fireplace should always come through the cracks of the artificial ceramic fiber logs, to provide safe and efficient heating operation.

If you don’t properly vent your gas fireplace, it will not allow the unit to work properly , creating a potential fire hazard. To ensure proper ventilation, it is important to consult a fireplace expert to assess the ventilation needs of your gas fireplace. 

We firmly recommend our customers to install vent-free gas fireplaces as they are more efficient and provide safer ways of heating homes.

Looking for a Gas Fireplace Cleaning and Repair Service?

Are you living in Maryland and looking for gas fireplace cleaning and repair service? If yes, then you can book an appointment with our certified fireplace repairman. They will inspect and guide you through the maintenance process for the fireplace, insert, log, stove or chimney.

How to Install a Vented Gas Fireplace?

Installing a vented gas fireplace is a great way to bring comfort and style to any home. Gas fireplaces can be installed in new and existing structures as they offer the convenience of remote controls —an efficient heating system, and flame height adjustments.

However, it is important to ensure that the fireplace is properly connected to a venting system that meets local codes. Moreover, it’s important to undertake all necessary precautions and vigilantly observe the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure a well-maintained gas fireplace operation.

When it comes to venting or selecting the right connectors or chimneys, it is essential to get help from an experienced chimney and ventilation expert. He can guide you with the installation process and a premium quality gas fireplace with lasting heating efficiency.

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How to Add a Fireplace to Your House – Planning Guide

Fireplaces not only add exceptional ambience to your home but are also a valuable source of heat in cold areas, helping you save money on your heating bills. However, if you do not have a fireplace in your home, you can certainly get one installed, but for this, you first need to know the types of fireplaces.

Fireplaces are simply aesthetic, providing a decorative charm, adding warmth, and value to your living space.

We encourage our customers to take advantage of the decorative and warming qualities that fireplaces provide; since we offer an opportunity for homeowners to enhance their homes with efficient fireplaces.

In this article, we will share some suggestions on how to add a fireplace to your house, though installing a fireplace on your own is difficult. That’s why it’s highly recommended to contact chimney and fireplace specialists for gas fireplace servicing; they will walk you through these three steps; inspection, consultation, and installation. 

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Choose the Right Fireplace For Your House

When choosing the right fireplace for your home, you must know what kind of fireplace you want. There are different types of fireplaces, and each one is different in terms of features and cost. 

However, to help you decide on the best fireplace for your home, we have summed up the types of fireplaces. But nowadays, gas fireplaces are the most popular ones.  

Three Types of Fireplaces 

Before adding the fireplace for comfort and coziness that everyone loves to have inside their home – you need to know these three types of fireplaces.

Here are the three types of fireplaces: 

  1. Masonry wood-burning fireplaces
  2. Gas fireplaces 
  3. Zero-clearance fireplaces

Masonry Wood-Burning Fireplaces 

Masonry wood-burning fireplaces look simple, antique, and are quite expensive.

A real masonry fireplace consists of a framework of cement blocks that include the firebox, flue, and chimney. In two-story houses, the choices for placing a fireplace might be limited. But still you can find the 12- to 14-inch space that is required for the masonry wood-burning fireplace.

Masonry wood-burning fireplaces are made of a brick/stone firebox or chimney, and a mantel, usually made of wood. Before buying a masonry wood-burning fireplace, some things to consider are; the size of your fireplace, the type of fuel you will use, and the installation.

However, these fireplaces are very common and look quite beautiful.

Gas Fireplaces 

Gas fireplaces are one of the most popular types of home furnaces because they are easy to use and install. These appliances use natural gas or propane gas to create heat and flame, making them EPA-certified for indoor air quality.

You can simplify your life with the ease and beauty of an indoor gas fireplace. You can add this type of fireplace for decoration purposes in your home and to give it a warm and welcoming feel. 

Installation of a gas fireplace usually takes around a day or a day and a half, because the process of installation is quite long. The installed fireplace further needs to be connected with the supplied gas line, where it uses the fraction of the fuel. These fireplaces also tend to be very reliable, with a longer lifespan as compared to other types.

There are three main types of gas fires: open hearth, closed hearth, and direct venting. You can choose any of them as per your needs and requirements. 

In addition, gas fireplaces start with the flip of a switch and are easy to clean and maintain. If you have been looking for gas fireplace cleaning and repair, then call the fireplace repairman.

3. Zero-Clearance Fireplaces 

If you’re looking for a low-cost fireplace option, consider a fireplace with no clearance or a built-in fireplace. These are lightweight fireplaces with a linear design to keep up with more modern tastes.

However, if you compare zero-clearance fireplaces with masonry fireplaces, they are easier to install and require much less construction work. It can be installed in any room, even over hardwood floors and inches away from existing walls.

Most zero-clearance fireplaces use electric or gas logs that you can buy, store, and replace like a regular appliance.

If you’re still looking for a traditional fireplace that will add character and elegance to your home, Masonry wood-burning fireplaces are the best option. However, consider a gas fireplace if you need more space and value for money. They’re easy to install and maintain and have efficient heating quality.

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How to Add a Fireplace to Your House?  

Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of fireplaces and their features, it’s time to learn how to add a fireplace to your house.

The three steps you should follow to add a fireplace in your home:

  1. Inspection
  2. Consultation
  3. Installation


Before starting any project, it is important to have an inspection done inside the house. It will help you determine the size and type of fireplace that will best fit your home.


Once you have decided on the type of fireplace and its features, you must consult a professional fireplace repairman. He will be able to walk you through all of the installation steps and make sure everything goes smoothly.


Finally, after all the preparations are made, the installation will take place in the selected space in your home. A professional fireplace repairman from High’s Chimney will arrive at your home and install the fireplace according to your specifications.

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How Often to Clean Dryer Vent? – A Brief Guide

Regular dryer vent cleaning is essential to maintain optimal dryer performance and efficiency. Removing lint and debris allows dryers to operate at peak levels and avoid potential issues obstructing performance.

In addition, proper dryer vent maintenance is essential in preventing duct blockages from developing. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends cleaning the dryer vent at least once a year or more frequently if you notice that your clothes take longer to dry.

This blog will cover a brief guide on dryer vent cleaning and maintenance.

Now let’s dig into why you need to clean the dryer vents and the particular signs of when you need to clean them.

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Why Should You Clean Your Dryer Vent? 

Regularly cleaning your dryer vent is essential to ensure safe and efficient operation. Not only can a clogged dryer vent increase the risk of a fire, but it can also cause your dryer to use more energy, causing an increase in energy costs.

Here are a few main reasons showing why you should clean your dryer vent regularly; have a look at them. 

Reduced Clothes Drying Times 

Clothes take longer to dry when the airflow is obstructed. Cleaning your dryer ducts on a regular basis can help speed up the drying process.

Dryer Vent Cleaning Can Prevent Duct Blockages

Dryer vents play a vital role in directing airflow into and out of your machine. If the airflow is blocked, it can cause serious problems with your machine’s operation.

Signs That Your Dryer Vent Needs Cleaning 

If your clothes take longer than usual to dry or you notice excessive heat in the laundry room, it may indicate that your dryer vent needs cleaning.

1. Drying Time 

When lint slows down the airflow in the dryer duct, it can negatively impact the efficiency of your dryer.

It may lead to longer drying times or even failure to dry clothes.

If you notice that your clothes take a long time to dry or do not dry at all, it could be a sign that your dryer vent needs to be cleaned.

2. Slow Air Flow

Homeowners should inspect dryer vents for weak airflow and may need to have the ducts cleaned if necessary. Further, homeowners can gauge the necessary level of airflow by comparing it with a clean vent.

Those with roof vents may require professional assistance; you need air and dryer vent service.

Our experts can inspect in-depth and clear out the dryer vent for proper airflow. If, after cleaning, minimal or no airflow continues to be detected, the duct may obstruct by a difficult blockage, a nest belonging to a bird, or the duct may have been disconnected from within the wall.

3. Dryer Gets Very Hot 

When a dryer’s vent is clogged with lint build-up, the appliance and its drum may become uncomfortably hot to the touch. It is caused by reduced airflow, preventing heat from escaping outside.

Cleaning a dryer vent can reduce fire hazards and energy costs and extend the appliance’s lifespan; that’s why you need to hire a professional maintenance specialist to get proper maintenance for your dryer vent.

4. Burning Smell 

Suppose you detect an unusual burning odor coming from your dryer. In that case, it is recommended that you turn off the appliance and get professional help to clean your dryer vent at High’s Chimney.

A lint clog within the ductwork may cause a smoldering fire. Lint is highly flammable; when it clogs a dryer vent, excess heat may ignite it.

It has been reported that dryer duct fires are common in homes, and thousands of such fires occur across the United States annually.

Regular cleaning of the dryer vent can reduce the above-shared problems and increase the efficiency of your dryer. Dryer Vent cleaning depends on various factors, including the type of dryer, the size of the vent, and your specific cleaning schedule.

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Steps For Cleaning Your Dryer Vent

High’s Chimney experts advise regular inspection and cleaning of dryer vents because it’s essential for dryer maintenance.

Lint build-up and other blockages should be checked, as they indicate that the vent requires cleaning. That’s why you must follow these simple steps for cleaning your dryer vent:

  1. For safety reasons, it’s essential to turn off the power of your dryers before performing any maintenance or repairs.
  2. To access the internal components of the dryer, begin by carefully removing the cover on the front of the dryer.
  3. Locate the exhaust hose near the top of the machine and remove it by pulling it straight up.
  4. Disconnect the duct from the dryer and remove it from the machine.
  5. Remove any debris from the area around the duct by sweeping or vacuuming in a circular motion. Ensure that any debris that falls into the dryer drum is replaced.
  6. For optimal efficiency, clean the areas where lint or other debris has accumulated on the metal duct with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar or lemon juice.
  7. Once the cleaning process is complete, it is important to thoroughly rinse the area and consider replacing the duct if necessary.

Hire a Professional today! 

When cleaning dryer vents, the best option is to hire a professional. Professional dryer vent cleaning specialists can expertly remove all lint and dirt from all vent parts, ensuring complete cleanliness.

With their advanced knowledge and expertise, they can guarantee that the dryer vent is ready to operate. They clean the following components:

  • Dryer
  • Filters
  • Ducts

Regular air and dryer vent cleaning services can help ensure that your dryer vents remain in optimal working condition. 

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How to Keep Birds Out of Your Chimney

The simplest way to keep birds away is to put a chimney cap. It is basically covering the top of your chimney.

It is going to prevent animals from going inside your home, but it will keep water from entering. Needless to say, there is no need to worry about rain damaging the walls and ceilings of the interiors.

The chimney repair will advise you not to install it yourself, especially if you are a beginner. It is always advisable to hire a professional. You might have to pay a bit more, but it will save you a lot of headaches. You can read on to know more about how to keep birds out of your chimney.

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Install a Top Cover or Chimney Cap

The thing is – birds inside chimneys are something you should not be dealing with. The good news is you can prevent the issue by installing a chimney cap.

When there are no birds in your chimney, you will have better ventilation, which reduces fire hazards and creates a safer environment for any home. A chimney is going to block birds, as well as other animals from building their nests and blocking your chimney.

Chimney caps will:

  1. Stop the rain from going inside your flue
  2. Hot ember protection
  3. Prevents other animals, aside from birds, like raccoons and squirrels
  4. Reduces the possibility of a chimney fire
  5. Aesthetically pleasing to any chimney top

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You Should Also Determine if the Bird is Only Visiting

There are times when birds become a bit curious and they decide to explore chimneys. The unfortunate thing is that they panic when they realize that they have a hard time getting out.

In case the bird is in your chimney and not the fireplace, you should open the chimney damper. Then, place a large box with the side up open facing the fireplace and then prop it up. This way, the bird has no room to escape into your room. Dim the lights and quietly wait until the bird goes into the box. In case it does, slide the cardboard sheet gently on the box opening, then take it outside, and release it.

How to Stop the Birds from Coming Down Your Chimney

The simplest way to keep birds from falling down your chimney is to use a cowl. There are different versions of chimney cowls.

If the chimney has an unusual construction, you will be offered a bespoke solution to birdproof the chimney. All the solutions will keep birds from being able to enter your chimney.

Regular Chimney Sweep

Regular chimney sweeps and inspections are important when it comes to protecting the home from fire hazards and health issues. Cleaning up all the bird droppings from growing and accumulating fungus takes out the possibility of an airborne disease that enters your home. As well as removing debris brought by birds, to eliminate blockages that can cause a fire or CO poisoning.

Bird Spikes

Another way to keep birds from building nests in the chimney is to keep bird spikes around the chimney to bird-proof the chimney. This will keep them from finding their way inside the chimney flue and starting nesting.

You can Relocate the Animal or Bird

Your chimney might look like the best place to raise your family. If you hear chirps from your chimney, you might have to just wait. Many birds leave the nest about two weeks after hatching, so you need to monitor the sound levels. You can take action after at least a week of hearing the chirp.

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Is Your Chimney Causing Your Energy Bills to Rise?

Many people use their fireplaces to reduce their reliance on gas and electricity and cut down on energy expenses. But what if using your fireplace does the opposite? This post looks at ways your chimney and fireplace can increase your energy bills and how to make them more efficient.

Wood Burning Fireplace for Heating in Kansas City MOHow Fireplaces & Chimneys Cause Energy Bills to Rise

Before delving into ways to make your fireplace and chimney more energy efficient, let’s look at problems that could lead to energy loss. Despite what many people think, fireplaces aren’t the most efficient heating sources because they draw air from inside the house and vent it up the chimney. In other words, the fireplace and chimney system remove the heat they produce. Moreover, a fireplace needs constant airflow to keep the fire going. This air comes from vents, drafty windows, and doors.

So, when it’s cold, your fireplace pulls a lot of air out of the house, which could make your furnace work harder to make up the difference in heat.

According to the EPA, Generally, a wood-burning fireplace is an inefficient way to heat your home. Fireplace drafts can pull the warm air up the chimney, causing other rooms to be cooler. Another cause of energy inefficiency lies with the chimney. If your chimney is dirty or blocked, it reduces airflow, affecting the log’s combustion. Poor combustion produces less heat, causing your furnace or heater to work harder to maintain the desired temperature.

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How to Increase Fireplace & Chimney Efficiency

This might seem like bad news for fireplace owners, but you don’t have to give up enjoying a beautiful fire because there are easy ways to make it more energy efficient and reduce your utility bills.

Install a Fireback

A fireback is a metal piece (typically stainless steel or cast iron) attached to the back of your fireplace to protect the wall from the extreme temperatures and reflect your fireplace’s heat back into the house.

Install Glass Doors

Another easy and inexpensive way to improve your fireplace’s efficiency is to install glass doors. Glass doors help your fire to burn more efficiently, and they make your fireplace safer too, which is beneficial if you have small children or pets in the house.

Use Your Damper to Control Heat

The fireplace damper is a device above the firebox you open and close to control airflow. Open the damper all the way to get your fire going, then draw it back a little to keep more heat in the home. You can experiment with opening and closing the damper to get the desired temperature, but you should never close it completely when burning a fire because it will expose your family to toxic carbon monoxide. When the fire goes out, close the damper to keep the heat and reduce the need to use your heater or furnace.

Keep Your Chimney Clean

As mentioned, a dirty or blocked chimney makes your fireplace less efficient because it reduces the airflow it needs to burn hot. Moreover, creosote buildup and other blockages put you at risk of a chimney fire. Hiring a certified chimney sweep for annual cleaning and maintenance ensures your chimney is safe and functions as intended.

Crack Open a Window

Because your fireplace relies on air to burn efficiently and draws so much from your house, it’s helpful to crack open a window near the fireplace, so it can draw in the air it needs from the outside instead of the rooms you’re trying to heat.

Use Your Ceiling Fan

If you have a ceiling fan, turn it on to circulate the heat throughout the house. If you don’t have a ceiling fan, set your HVAC fan on manual to help spread the warm air.

Call Us at 877-959-3534 for Chimney Service

Level Two Chimney Inspection in Liberty MO

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Chimney Freeze Thaw Cycle in a Mild Chicago Winter

Chimney freeze thaw cycle is a regular occurrence, even with the mild winter we’ve been experiencing. Now with the week ahead, temperatures hovering around the 30 degree mark during the day, chance of snow multiple times and in the 20’s at night, is a perfect recipe for the chimney to have to endure repeated freeze thaw cycles. What does this mean and how can your home be affected?

What is a Chimney Freeze Thaw Cycle?

As we all know, living in Chicago, the temperatures are cold even in a mild winter. However, even in these conditions, a chimney freeze thaw cycle occurs. When it rains or snows, the chimney bricks soak up a lot of moisture. When night time hits and the temperature drops, everything begins to freeze. Yes, the moisture in the bricks freeze. Those ice crystals nestled in the bricks expand causing the bricks and mortar to crack. Not necessarily big ones, a hairline crack is all it takes for water leaks and compromise to begin.

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I Don’t Use the Fireplace

Whether you never use the fireplace, have a gas fireplace or a woodburning fireplace, what happens outside during the chimney freeze thaw cycle is all the same. Many homeowners choose not to use the fireplace thinking, ‘if I don’t use it, I don’t have any expenses.’ Sorry to disappoint, but weather treats all homes equally regardless of how often or not you use your fireplace.

What Can Be Done About Potential Water leaks?

To begin, reaching the chimney this time of year takes a bit more caution/consideration. Superior Chimney uses the right safety gear to ensure safe access at your home. Once we come to your home, here’s some of what we may inspect:

1. Inspect the chimney cap. Is it properly installed? Are there gaps for critters or debris to make its way in? What about rain and snow? Is the chimney cap tilted where weather elements can make their way in? These are just a few general questions we will be exploring.

2. Inspect the chimney crown or chase cover. This is the concrete slab or metal top. Our certified chimney technicians will take a close look to understand its wear in order to determine if it needs maintenance/repair or does it need to be replaced.

3. Check the brick-and-mortar joints on the chimney itself. Are there any loose bricks, or pieces of the brick falling off? Even if your chimney is made of stone, we’ll be checking for wear. Next, we’ll inspect the mortar. Is it worn down, are there missing pieces, are there cracks, small or large ones in the mortar.

By having these three items carefully inspected and fixed, you’ll ensure a dry winter and an event free Spring. So yes, it is January, and yes, you are still recovering from the holiday expenses of December, however, getting the chimney inspected and the fireplace cleaned and inspected will save you additional repair costs tomorrow.

Call Us at 877-959-3534 for Chimney Service

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