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National Fire Safety Week – October 8-14

There are so many events, people, and occasions that deserve special consideration. September is National Baby Safety Month. This brings attention to the the important issue of educating parents and caregivers about keeping their babies safe through the early years of life. National Earth Day emphasizes the importance of environmental protection. National Teacher Appreciation week gives credit to the hard work that teachers put in during the year. There’s another important week coming up in October – National Fire Safety Week, from October 8-14!

National Fire Safety Week - Conifer CO - Chimney Doctors of ColoradoPreventing Fires

When you use your fireplace, the last thing you want to think about is a chimney fire. But statistics show that this is something that every homeowner should be thinking about. Over the course of a year, over three thousand people die each year in a house fire. Although not all house fires are started by a dirty fireplace, this is responsible for some. Add to that full dryer vents, electrical fires, cooking fires, and other types of heating appliance fires. You can see that this is not a subject to make light of!

Although this is a serious topic, it’s a good one to think about. There are ways to prevent house fires. It’s important that you are aware of precautions you can take to make sure you aren’t caught unaware.

First, it’s extremely important to know what to do in case there is a fire in your home. Figure out the best exit paths, and then make sure that every person in the house knows how to get out – no matter what room they may be in. Practice this route periodically, and make sure you set a meeting place so you are sure everyone is safe!

Another thing you can do is to make sure that you have working fire and smoke detectors in place, and that the batteries are working. You should check the batteries once a month and change them at least once a year.

Keep Your Fireplace Clean

If you’re a fireplace owner, one thing you can do is make sure that your fireplace and chimney are kept clean. Do you use your fireplace a lot? If so, you can be sure that you have a certain amount of that highly flammable substance, creosote, lining the interior of your chimney. If you don’t call in a CSIA certified chimney inspector to take a look, you’re just asking for trouble! A certified professional like those at Chimney Doctors of Colorado will know exactly what to look for by way of repair or cleaning. By doing so, they will be able to clean and repair exactly what needs. This way, you can enjoy your fireplace knowing that you are keeping your family safe.

In the meantime, spread the word that National Fire Safety Week is October 8-14, and encourage everyone you know to take the proper fire safety precautions!

Does Your Chimney Need A Facelift?

When you think of doing a remodeling job, you probably think big. An updated kitchen, complete with new appliances. A beautiful new bedroom set, bedding, and curtains in the bedroom. Bright, soft carpet and new furniture in the living room. It is just such a good feeling to walk into a room that you have completely remodeled. It fits the exact picture that you had in your mind. However, when you’ve thought of remodeling, have you considered redoing your fireplace? There’s nothing that can change the look and feel of a room quite like a fireplace remodel can!

Chimney Need A Facelift - Conifer CO - Chimney Doctors of Colorado Getting Started

There are basically two reasons that a fireplace needs to be redone: because it needs repairs, or because it needs updating. Either way, it’s important to figure out exactly how much money you may need to spend before you start to look at ideas. This task can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want it to be.

After you’ve determined your price range, begin to look at the different materials you might use to complete the work. The materials you choose will have a big impact on how much you end up spending.

Is money is no object? You might want to consider using a slab of some solid surface – such as granite or marble. This creates a unique effect that will make your fireplace the centerpiece of the room. Be aware, it will end up costing more, so be sure to pick the perfect piece for your room!

Another good option is steel. Building codes will probably require that you have a certain width of noncombustible material for the surround and the hearth. Therefore, steel can be an excellent option! Or, if you like the look of a metal but want a truly unique look, try copper. This will give a beautiful, glowing finish with the added bonus of changing looks as time passes.

Tile is another great choice when considering a front for your fireplace. Tile has the advantage of coming in many colors and styles. In addition, these tiles can be arranged in innumerable patterns! This ensures that you will have a completely unique fireplace that matches whatever style you’re trying to achieve. Not only this, but you can determine how much you spend by picking a less or more expensive tile.

Bring in the Experts

It may seem like an easy job to make over your fireplace, but don’t be fooled: your fireplace is too important of a focal point in your room to leave to anyone but experts like the technicians at Chimney Doctors of Colorado. They have had years of experience and know just what to do to get the results you’re looking for. Trust your fireplace facelift to the National Fireplace Institute certified and Chimney Safety Institute of America certified experts and you’ll soon have the fireplace of your dreams!

The Importance Of Burning Seasoned Firewood

Have you ever sat in front of a fire that just isn’t burning right? Is it hard to keep burning, isn’t producing a lot of heat, and/or is super smoky? If so, chances are the wood you’re trying to burn is too green! That doesn’t mean the wood is actually green colored; it means that it’s too fresh and hasn’t been allowed to dry for as long as it needs to.

The Importance Of Burning Seasoned Firewood Image - Conifer CO - Chimney Doctors Of ColoradoWhy Not Use Green Wood?

When you first cut your firewood, it contains about 50% water content. It’s pretty much common sense why that won’t work; water doesn’t burn, right? Until you let the firewood sit and dry out to about a 20% water content, it won’t burn properly. That’s not to say it won’t burn, but you will have a lot of smoke! Needless to say, this isn’t a pleasant atmosphere to relax in.

An even more important problem with burning unseasoned wood? It causes creosote to form more quickly than dry wood does. Due to the water content in the wood, more steam is released. This makes a secondary burn null and void. Unfortunately, this means that your heat output is cut, so the smoke that is released is more water saturated and heavy. As it gets farther up the chimney, it cools quickly. The cooling results in a higher level of creosote which condenses onto the inside of the chimney. This is a highly flammable material and can cause a dangerous chimney fire!

How Can You Tell if Your Firewood is Green?

There are several ways to tell if the wood you’ve purchased or cut is dry enough to burn properly. Use your senses! One way is by looking at it. Properly seasoned firewood will be darker in color, even gray, and will have cracks in it. It will have a hollow sound if you hit two pieces of wood together, and dry wood will be lighter in weight than green wood. Green wood also has a sweet, sappy smell.

How To Dry the Firewood

There are ways to season your firewood if you buy it – and it’s green. One thing to do is to cut it into smaller chunks and split it instead of leaving it in round log form. This gives it more surface area to dry. After it’s been cut, stack it on pallets so that it isn’t touching the ground. Don’t stack it too tightly; it needs to have air circulating around it to allow it to dry. Also, it’s a good idea to let it set for at least six months. Some hardwoods take longer than this; you are better to err on the side of letting it season too long instead of not long enough!

Have Your Chimney Cleaned Annually

Whether you use dry wood or green wood, creosote buildup is inevitable over time. Make sure that you have your chimney inspected and cleaned on an annual basis by CSIA professionals – like the professionals at Chimney Doctors of Colorado!

Preparation For Having Your Chimney Swept

One part of your house that you never have to worry about cleaning yourself is your chimney. Thank goodness, right? Of all the messy jobs, chimney sweeping has got to top the list. To really do the job right, it’s best to hire a professional. Why? They have the right training and the right equipment to make sure the job is done correctly! You should have your chimney swept on an annual basis to keep it safe, and to reduce the risk of chimney fires.

Preparation For Having Your Chimney Swept Image - Conifer CO - Chimney Doctors of ColoradoHave you have neglected this advice? If so, it’s probably time to get a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweep company. Just like the CSIA certified pros at Chimney Doctors of Colorado! If this is your first experience with having your chimney swept, you probably have some questions about what to expect.

Pick The Right Sweep

If you’re looking to pick a chimney sweep, there are some things you’ll want to check out about the company first. One of the first things you’ll want to look at is if the company is certified by CSIA. CSIA is an organization that has worked for decades to educate chimney and venting professionals. Knowing how to best keep homes safe from chimney and vent fires, you can be sure that professionals that are CSIA certified. They have been trained in all the latest techniques to get your chimney cleaned and make sure it is safe for use.

Another certification that is desirable is from the National Fireplace Institute (NFI). This organization also works to make sure that all educational materials are up-to-date with the latest in industry standards and procedures. Make sure that any company you pick to work on your chimney has professionals who are CSIA and NFI certified.

Another thing which you should ask? If the company you are considering will give references from other customers. They should be happy and excited about showing you how other customers feel about the service they will be providing. Check to make sure that there aren’t complaints against the company that haven’t been satisfactorily resolved. In addition, also ask if the company carries valid business liability insurance!

Get Your House Ready

Once you’ve got an appointment scheduled, you might be wondering if you need to take special precautions, as far as furniture and flooring are concerned. If you hire quality professionals, you shouldn’t have to worry about protecting your carpets, furniture, or draperies! Your chimney care professionals should take care of covering what needs to be covered. They will also make sure that your fireplace room is just as clean as when they started. If you feel more comfortable covering furniture, by all means do, but it isn’t necessary. You might want to remove anything that’s sitting on the hearth or mantelpiece, just to avoid any accidents.

Call Chimney Doctors of Colorado to have your chimney sweeping needs covered. They’ll make sure your chimney is clean and safe and will leave your house just as clean as before they started!

Upgrade Your Backyard With An Outdoor Fireplace

Summertime is so much fun! There are so many great activities that you can participate in when you’re living in Colorado. You can hike in the mountains or wander around the Garden of the Gods. Needless to say, it’s easy to find something to do. At the end of the day, all you want to do is come home and relax. What better way to relax than to light a fire in a beautiful backyard fireplace? Just sitting in a lawn chair watching the flames crackle and pop are the perfect way to wind down after a busy day. Wouldn’t it be great to upgrade the value of your backyard by adding an outdoor fireplace?

Backyard With An Outdoor Fireplace Image - Conifer CO - Chimney Doctors of ColoradoBuilding a Fireplace

There are many do-it-yourself websites out there that will show you step by step how to go about putting in an outdoor fireplace. There are many steps to follow. Finding the right spot to choosing the right materials to choosing the manner of fuel you’re going to use. However, when it comes right down to it, who really has the time for all that? Beyond the time and labor involved is the responsibility of knowing that you have created something. Not only that, but something that is safe and efficient for the family to use. Sounds like a lot of work and worry! There are some things that are just better left to a professional. Building your outdoor fireplace definitely seems like one of those things.

When you think about having an outdoor fireplace, you probably instantly think of a wood fire. Having said that, there are other ways to go about getting the pleasure of sitting around a fire. For ease and convenience, you may want to consider using propane or natural gas as an option for your outdoor fireplace. There are pros and cons to each. Propane will come in a tank, which means your fireplace can more easily be moved. On the other hand, natural gas will be directly hooked up to your gas line. This means, although more convenient, you won’t be moving your fireplace anytime soon! Also, propane is more efficient, but natural gas is less expensive.

What Happens Next?

After considering fuel source, you may want to start thinking about location and size of the area where you are considering building. Both of these factors will directly affect how big of a fireplace you decide to build. If you have a large backyard, you may want to consider building a bigger fireplace. Even if it’s just for aesthetic purposes. You’ll also want to find an area where your yard is relatively flat. This is not just for the placement of the fireplace, but also for placement of seating for your guests.

Get Professional Help

When you want the job done right, you’ll want to call in people with experience and technical knowledge. Just like the professionals at Chimney Doctors of Colorado! They are NFI and CSIA certified and can not only expertly install your backyard fireplace, but can give great advice on which fireplace best suits your needs.

Decrease Your Energy Bills – Have Your Dryer Vents Cleaned

People are always looking for ways to save money. We all love finding clothes on the half price rack at the end of a season! It’s a good idea to make sure you have your car serviced on time to make sure that everything keeps running smoothly. Getting an extra night at a motel after staying there five nights is awesome. Plus. who can resist getting two cheeseburgers for the price of one? There are also some great ways to save money on your energy bill. Keep the furnace set at 66 degrees during the winter and 72 in the summer. Don’t stand in front of the refrigerator with the door open. Yet, there’s one way to save on energy costs that many people don’t take advantage of. What is this, you may ask? Getting your dryer vent cleaned!Full Lint Screen

Have Your Dryer Vents Cleaned Image - Conifer CO - Chimney Doctors of ColoradoFull Lint Screen

When you wash your clothes, little bits of fiber break off from the fabric. However, they are basically stuck on the fabric because it’s wet. When it gets in the dryer, the water is removed from the fabric. This releases the bits of fiber as well. The air in the dryer then blows those lint fibers off and as the air goes through the lint screen, the lint fibers are left behind on the lint screen. This is great – if that lint was allowed to go through, it would get stuck in the dryer vent. Considering the large amount of lint that is loosed, you’d be facing a dryer vent fire in no time! That’s one reason it’s so important to clean your lint screen every load or two of clothes.

Keeping your lint screen empty is very important. Fortunately, there’s another thing you can do that will help prevent possible dryer vent fires and also decrease your energy bills. Have your dryer vent cleaned professionally!

Higher Energy Bills

There are several things that happen as your dryer vent fills with lint. Even if you clean your lint screen frequently, some particles still get through and make their way into your dryer vent. These particles stick to the sides of the dryer vent, which makes it easier for more particles to stick. As the vent fills, it gets harder and harder for the air to move through because air circulation is blocked. This causes the motor to work harder. In turn, it takes longer for your clothes to dry, which uses more energy. This, in turn, equals is a higher electric or gas bill!

Get Your Dryer Vents Cleaned

When it comes to cleaning out your dryer vent, you will definitely want to trust the job to the professionals. It’s recommended that you have your dryer vent cleaned at least yearly. The technicians at Chimney Doctors of Colorado have the proper equipment and training to make sure that your dryer vent is completely clean. It’s important to do whatever you can to keep your home safe. Cleaning your dryer vent is a great step to take. The lower energy bills are frosting on the cake!

Keeping Animals From Entering Your Chimney

Keeping Animals From Entering Your Chimney Image - Conifer CO - Chimney Doctors LLCIf you are out in the great outdoors and you want to find a place to hunker down and settle in, what is it you’re going to look for? Probably a place that’s warm, out of the strong breeze, and you’ll want a place that’ll keep you safe from predators. If you’re a bird or a small animal, the perfect place to hunker down and settle in just happens to be your chimney. Although you may not think that this is a big deal, there are reasons that you don’t want these uninvited guests to set up residence in your chimney.

Keeping Animals Out

There are a couple of good options when it comes to keeping critters out of your chimney. One of these is a chase cover. If your chimney is enclosed by another piece of construction, you have a chase – a structure that is used to enclose another piece of equipment. A chase cover is a cover that fits over the chase and works to keep water, animals, leaves, twigs, or other debris out of your chimney. If you have a chase cover, make sure it is properly fitted so that animals don’t get into your chimney. Another thing to keep in mind is that what your chase cover is made out of will have a direct effect on how effective it is at keeping things out. Look for a chase cover that is made out of stainless steel so that you won’t have to worry about rust eating a hole in your chase cover, rendering it useless.

Chimney caps are another effective method of keeping animals out. A chimney cap is also a covering for your chimney, and it also serves the purpose, like a chase cover, of keeping precipitation out of your chimney. It can also prevent animals from getting into your chimney, whether by accident or because they are searching for a safe place to raise a family. When looking to buy a chimney cap, Best Pick Reports.com suggests that you buy one with protective screening that will keep animals as well as moisture out of your chimney. Also, there are many different types of chimney caps available, and you will certainly be able to find one that fits your chimney.

Importance of Keeping Animals Out

It may not seem like it is so important to keep animals out of your chimney. The most they can do is to make some noise, which isn’t really reason enough to go to the expense of trying to keep them out, right? According to the Animal Control Specialist website, there are other problems that can be caused by animals in your chimney. They can carry fleas and flies, and the urine and droppings they leave behind can cause offensive odors in your chimney. Worse yet, animals can get stuck and die in your chimney, which means immediate removal is necessary.

Call the Experts

When you need advice on how to keep animals out of your chimney, give the experts at Chimney Doctors of Colorado a call. They’ll be able to set you up with what you need to keep your chimney animal free!

Identifying Common Mortar Chimney Problems

So, you’re driving through the countryside or taking a stroll through a neighborhood of beautiful houses. While doing so, you see a strong, picturesque chimney on the outside of a stately, old home. The structure seems like it would last for generations! However, it’s important to realize that all things take a beating from the effects of weathering, including your masonry chimney. Keep an eye out for some of the tell-tale signs of wear and tear so that you can stop it before you need a costly chimney rebuild.

Identifying Common Mortar Chimney Problems Image - Conifer CO - Chimney Doctors of ColoradoBurning a Fire

The very act of burning a fire in your fireplace can cause your mortar to break down. Woodheat.org explains that creosote is formed when you burn wood in your fireplace. The particles in the smoke rise up your chimney and cause this sticky, black or brown substance that is highly flammable. When sparks come up your chimney, it can ignite that creosote and cause a chimney fire. Plus, if you have a gas-heating appliance, you are still at risk! This is because your appliance is vented through the chimney. The acids can cause a break-down in the mortar of your chimney, and that can cause your chimney to sustain structural damage. The best way to notice signs of this? Have your chimney inspected and cleaned on an annual basis by a CSIA certified professional.

Mortar Joints

You probably don’t think of the terminology much, but you also have mortar joints on your chimney. There are spaces between the bricks of your chimney, and these spaces are filled with mortar. Ideally, there shouldn’t be any gaps or missing mortar in these spaces. When the mortar in the mortar joints starts to deteriorate, it becomes more absorbent and weaker. This can cause structural damage to your chimney. Your CSIA certified chimney specialist can take care of this with a process called tuckpointing, or ‘tucking’ mortar back in between the bricks. Even though you can look up ways to do this job yourself, it does require special tools in order to get the job done right. Again, trust your chimney inspector to examine the condition of your mortar and recommend repairs if necessary.

Precipitation

Believe it or not, one of the most damaging influences on your brick and mortar chimney (or stone and mortar or block and mortar chimney) is precipitation. Precipitation can cause the mortar of your chimney to break down and crack. When this happens, it can cause leaks to occur in your chimney, along your roof, and into your home. You should be on the lookout for common signs of mortar damage. These include spalling (cracking, flaking, or peeling mortar or bricks), peeling and rotting wallpaper on the walls by your fireplace. If you see these signs, you should be sure to call the CSIA certified technicians at Chimney Doctors of Colorado!

Inspection

Your best defense against damaged mortar is your annual chimney inspection and cleaning. Be sure to give Chimney Doctors of Colorado a call and set up an appointment today!

Water Damage and Your Chimney

With springtime just around the corner, it’s time to look forward to everything greening up! After being holed up during a cold winter, seeing the pale green buds on trees and smelling that fresh spring breeze is welcoming. The gentle spring showers wash away the mud left behind after the winter snows, as well. However, even though the rain is a welcome relief after the cold winter precipitation, it can have a damaging effect on your masonry chimney!

Water Damage and Your Chimney Image - Conifer CO - Chimney Doctors of ColoradoSigns of Damage

It’s really important that you know what signs to look for to see if your chimney has sustained water damage. One thing to look for is spalling. Look on the exterior of your chimney. If you see peeling, cracking, or flaking on or around your bricks and mortar, this is called spalling. This is also a good indication that your chimney has water damage. Examine the mortar for signs of crumbling, as this is another sign that precipitation has entered and caused damage.

Sometimes you can even notice signs of water damage inside your home. Is the wallpaper or paint on the walls by your fireplace are water-streaked or damaged? Does your ceiling next to the chimney look soft or saggy? If so, it may be caused by a leaky chimney. If these signs are present, it’s likely that repairs are going to be needed!

Why Damage Occurs

Even though your chimney seems pretty indestructible, it isn’t. The truth is that the blocks, bricks, and especially the mortar are susceptible to damage from precipitation. When precipitation, whether in the form of rain, sleet, or snow, gets into the cracks and pores of the bricks, blocks, or mortar, it settles there. When the temperature drops below freezing, that liquid freezes and expands, causing those cracks to get bigger. This is an ongoing process, and eventually you will begin to see signs of structural damage.

Chimney Protection

There are ways to protect your chimney. First of all, annual inspection and cleaning by a CSIA certified professional like those at Chimney Doctors of Colorado is extremely important. Besides doing a thorough exterior examination, Chimney Doctors of Colorado uses video equipment to examine the interior of your chimney. This helps look for any signs of water damage. They will be able to determine what needs to be done. In addition, know how to make any repairs necessary to bring your chimney back into tip-top shape.

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, waterproofing can protect your chimney from the damaging effects of the outdoor elements. It is, however, important that a waterproofing agent is used that will keep precipitation out while allowing water that is in your chimney to escape. Chimney Doctors of Colorado uses the best chimney waterproofing products available: ChimneySaver.

The experts at Chimney Doctors of Colorado are committed to giving you the best products, the best service, and the best chimney repairs you can find. Give them a call today for all your chimney care needs!

Does Your Wood Stove Need Repair?

Some people are fortunate enough to own a home with a fireplace already installed. It’s awesome to be able to relax in front of a crackling fire. However, if you aren’t that fortunate, there are other options available to you. Options that can have you relaxing in front of a cozy fire and other options that are easier to install than trying to add a fireplace to your home. One of these options is to add a wood, gas, or pellet stove. A great thing about these types of stoves? You can find a type to fit in any sized room. In addition, with three types to choose from, you can also find one to fit your heating needs. Do you already have one of these stoves and it doesn’t seem to be working quite right? If so, there are some things you can look at to troubleshoot.

Does Your Wood Stove Need Repair Image (1) - Conifer CO - Chimney Doctors of ColoradoSmoke and Odor

Sometimes your stove will have a bad odor attached, and sometimes your stove can be really smoky. Both of these things might make you worry that your stove isn’t working right, but they aren’t necessarily a sign of trouble.

If your new stove is emitting an unpleasant odor, it probably is because of just that. You have a new stove. Until the stove cures, you may smell a new paint type of smell, and that can last up to a week. If it doesn’t clear up after a week? It’s time to call in the professionals!

If your wood burning stove is smoking, it could be a variety of problems. The most common of those problems is as simple as the wood you’re burning. Also, if you’re a burning wood that is too wet, it will create a smoky fire. Another problem, however, is that wet wood causes creosote to build up at a faster than average rate. This is a dangerous situation because it can cause a chimney fire.

Heating Gaskets

Your stove has a gasket that insures that your stove stays air tight. This, in turn, gives you maximum burn time and makes sure that your stove won’t overheat. Do you use your stove a lot? If so, you’ll probably want to replace your gasket on a more frequent basis, even as often as yearly. Many stoves have a handle that lets you tighten the door if it’s loose. Consequently, if it gets to a point where you can’t adjust the door anymore, you probably want to replace the gasket.

Firebricks

Your firebricks are there to protect the steel from excessive heat, so this is something that you need to make sure stays in excellent condition. If you notice that your firebricks are starting to get worn or if the steel is in direct contact with your fire, you’ll want to replace them.

Call the Experts

If you have questions about your stove or whether some of the problems that you are seeing are more than just simple repairs, you’ll want to call in professionals who know what they’re talking about – the experts at Chimney Doctors of Colorado. They’ll know when to clean, when to repair, or when to replace. And they also know how to properly install any type of new stove that meets your desires!