Chimney Doctors of Colorado

Serving Bailey, Conifer, Morrison, Evergreen, Golden, Pine, Fairplay Areas

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Tips for Building a Safe Fire

Winter in Colorado is right around the corner, and that means it’s soon going to be cold and snowy! Colorado is so beautiful, whether you live in the mountains or not. As the winter weather gets closer and the days get shorter and cooler, you know you’re going to be using your fireplace more and more often. There’s nothing quite as relaxing and comforting as cozying up in front of a crackling, snapping fire, so if you haven’t had your chimney cleaned and inspected yet, it’s time to get to it! Chimney Doctors of Colorado is ready to get you scheduled, give us a call at 303-838-3009. We’ll be there to do a complete inspection and cleaning as soon as we can get you on our calendar. But that’s not the only thing you can do to keep your family safe all winter long. It’s also important to know how to build a proper, safe fire!

Tips for Building a Safe Firefire built in firebox

Safety comes first when it comes it comes to building a fire in your fireplace. After you’ve had your chimney cleaned, make sure that the damper is open. The purpose of the damper is twofold first, to keep the warm air in your house when you’re not burning a fire, and second, to let the smoke out when you are burning a fire. So make sure that the damper is open all the way when you start your fire to make sure that there’s adequate airflow to get the fire going well and to get the smoke directed out of the house.

Although it’s a good idea to keep your hearth clean, you do want to keep an ash bed of around 1 or 2 inches in the box in order to insulate the fire. This will make your fire burn hotter. If it’s the first burn of the season, you might want to use ashes from the outdoor grill. You don’t have too many ashes, however, so it is a good idea to make sure to clean your fireplace from time to time. One or two inches is ideal.

There are several different methods of building a fire. One way is to use the log cabin method. Take two thin, barkless logs and place them parallel to the back of the fireplace around six inches apart. Using newspaper or small twigs as kindling, place a pile between the logs. Place two more logs perpendicular to the first two, making a log-cabin looking structure. You can add another layer if you’d like to, and then light the kindling.

Call Chimney Doctors of Colorado

Knowing how to lay a safe fire is very important, and it’s also important to make sure that your chimney is clean and clear of obstructions. That’s why it’s so important to call Chimney Doctors of Colorado and set up an appointment to have your chimney inspected and cleaned soon.

How Lint Builds Up and Gets Trapped in your Dryer Vent

Knowing how your appliances work, can benefit you in the long run. Strange sounds, smells, and longer cycles are all hints that something may be amiss in your appliance.  This is especailly true when it comes to your clothes dryer! Don’t just assume everything is working properly, learn more about it yourself so you can decide if there is a problem. When you put your clothes in the dryer and turn it on, the drum of the dryer turns. The arms on the drum carry the clothes to the top, and then they drop to the bottom. The process is repeated again and again. As they fall, the warm air that is circulating through the dryer blows through the clothes, and this is how they become soft and dry.

The Danger of Linthand holding lint

As your clothes get washed, tiny particles of cloth get agitated off of the clothing. While the drying process is taking place, those particles get blown off the clothes and have to go somewhere. The air blows them through the vent, and they get caught in the lint screen. This forms that blanket of lint in your lint screen that needs to be cleaned out after every load or two. Unfortunately, not all is caught, and some of that lint goes through to the vent. From there it floats through the vent on the way to the great outdoors. But this lint is damp, and that makes it stick more easily to the sides of the vent tubing.

Flammable and Blocking

As more and more lint goes down your vent, the layer that gets stuck gets thicker and thicker, and this is negative for a couple of reasons. First, it is highly flammable. If the electrical equipment strikes a spark or if your clothes have too much static, it can cause this lint to break into flames, causing a dangerous house fire. Another less serious problem is that, as the layer thickens, the space for air to blow through gets smaller. This means that it takes more work for the motor to push that air through, and your energy bills will be higher as a result.

If you notice that it’s taking longer and longer for your clothes to dry, and you’re running clothes through the dry cycle two or three times to make sure that they’re really dry, chances are that your dryer vent is becoming clogged with lint. In order to protect your pocketbook and your home, it’s time to call in the professionals at Chimney Doctors of Colorado. Although many people don’t realize it, having your dryer vents cleaned is a job that should be done at least once a year. At Chimney Doctors of Colorado, we have the tools and the experience to make sure that the job is done properly. Give us a call today, before the weather gets too much colder, and you’ll be sure that your family is kept safe from a dryer fire all winter long.

Fall Fireplace and Chimney Decor Ideas

Now that autumn is here, it’s nice to start thinking about all those lovely things that fall brings, like falling leaves and autumn colors of orange and gold and red. It also brings thoughts of pumpkins and gourds, of raking leaves and burning those piles and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the flames.

Fall decor can be beautiful and easy with fall colors and pumpkins. You can add some of the beautiful colors to your home by adding pumpkins and leaves to your decor, or putting a pretty fall tablecloth or table runner on your dining room table and topping it with a centerpiece of fall flowers, such as mums or sunflowers. Plug in a scent warmer and add some pumpkin or apple spiced wax scents to really add to the fall feel. How good will it feel to walk into your home and enjoy the outdoor fall beauty indoors! If you’re really looking to decorate for the fall, you don’t want to neglect your fireplace!

Ideas for Decorating Your Fireplacefall decorated mantel

One of the easiest ways to change up the look of your fireplace is to start with the mantel. Adding fall flowers or leaves is an easy way to decorate. If you head to your local craft store, you can get some lovely silk flowers that look like the real thing. Sunflowers add a bright, sunny touch, and mums bring those lovely fall colors into the room in a natural way. Deep purples look so pretty, and go great with the deep golds and oranges. Candles always add a sense of warmth, so add some tall wide-based candle holders in varying heights and top them with neutral colored candles, then sprinkle some silk leaves to bring that color scheme together. You can even add a string of little white lights to add a soft glimmer above the glow of a crackling fire.

After you get your mantel looking just right, think about the hearth. If you haven’t started using your fireplace yet, there are some lovely candle holders that fit right inside your fireplace. These fill an empty space so well and adds a warm glow to the room on a cool fall day.

Another way to bring fall indoors is to add some tall vases or baskets to the sides of the fireplace, right on the hearth. Fill those vases with tall filmy ferns in a neutral color, then add some pumpkins to fill in and add a spark of color to the room. To finish the look, bring in an eye catching wall hanging above the mantel to tie your look together..

Come On In!

Whether you add vases or baskets, flower or candles, or a mix of different things, the place to turn for all your fireplace needs is Chimney Doctors of Colorado. If you’re looking for fireplace accessories or even just ideas, our helpful staff is there to help you. We love all things fireplace, and nothing makes us happier than making your home look good. Stop in anytime and let us help you with all your fireplace needs!

Four Signs Your Chimney Needs to be Cleaned

Some things are easy to detect. If your car is knocking or jerking, those are signs that you need to find a mechanic. When your clothes aren’t drying, there’s a problem with your dryer. If the food in your freezer isn’t frozen, it needs to be fixed ASAP. But how about if your chimney needs a good cleaning? There are ways to tell if your chimney needs a cleaning if you’re aware of what to look for.

Four Reasons that Your Chimney Needs to be Cleanedchimney sweep carrying a ladder

Creosote Buildup

Have you noticed that your home doesn’t smell as fresh and clean as you think it should, even after you’ve cleaned? It could be that your chimney is the problem area. Creosote is a natural by-product of burning a fire in your fireplace, one that you can’t stop from happening. Even cured wood has moisture that lingers, and as the wood burns, that moisture is released, along with many chemicals that are in the wood. This mixture rises up your chimney in the form of smoke, and when it hits the cooler interior surface of the chimney, it condenses and forms a layer of creosote. This is a highly flammable material, and it is also very smelly. If you smell something rank, it probably means that your chimney needs a good cleaning.

Bird or Animal Entry

Another reason that you may be smelling something in your chimney is that a bird or animal may have gotten in. If your chimney cap is in a state of disrepair, or if you don’t have a chimney cap, it’s easy for critters to get in but not always so easy for them to get back out. Your chimney is a perfect spot for animals and birds to raise a family, warm, dark, and free from the elements and predators. This means there will be droppings, feathers, or, unfortunately, sometimes even a dead animal inside your chimney. These are bound to smell, and need to be removed from your chimney as soon as possible.

Soot Forming

Another sign that you need a chimney cleaning is the look of the chimney and fireplace. Have you noticed black material in the firebox or on the hearth? This could be soot, which is a precursor to creosote. Generally soot is easier to clean out, but it does still need to be cleared out before a more serious creosote layer is formed.

Excess Smoke

A more serious sign that your chimney needs to be cleaned is an excess of smoke when you burn a fire. This probably means that there is a blockage somewhere, or that the chimney opening is being clogged by an excess of soot, grime, and creosote. If this is happening, your chimney isn’t as efficient or effective as it should be, and your family’s health and safety is in danger.

Give Chimney Doctors of Colorado A Call

If you are noticing signs that your chimney or fireplace need a good cleaning, it’s time to give Chimney Doctors of Colorado a call. We’ll have all your chimney needs taken care of before the snow falls!

Leaks and Water Damage

Some things you just expect to start leaking, like a bike tire, for example. It doesn’t take long for an air mattress to spring a leak, either. But there are some things that just seem too durable to ever have a leaking problem, like your chimney. Such a sturdy structure seems made to last forever. Unfortunately, it can develop leaking problems over time, and if it does, it can cause serious damage to your living area and to some key components of the chimney and fireplace system. That’s why it’s so important to have your chimney inspected on a regular basis, or at least annually as recommended by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

How Do You Know Your Chimney Is Leaking?old brick chimney against rainy sky

If you’ve been noticing that your wallboard or trim around the fireplace is soft, stained, or peeling, there’s a good chance that your chimney is leaking. The same is true of the ceiling. Brown water spots indicate that there is a leak somewhere, and it’s highly likely that the leak is coming from your chimney or from a component of your chimney, like the chimney cap or the flashing. Another reason for concern is rusty chimney parts, such as the dampers or even your chimney accessories or fireplace door. You may even notice that the metal firebox is rusting or deteriorating, which indicates that the leak has been there for awhile.

If you take a look at the exterior of your chimney, there are signs of leaking there that can also be observed. You may notice that there is a grainy, sparkling layer on the bricks and mortar. This is efflorescence, which means that water that is coming through the pores of the brick and mortar is carrying salt through, which is then forming a layer on the exterior of your chimney. Efflorescence is a good indication that there is water present, and this can cause damage to your chimney system. Another indication that there is a problem is spalling. If there are white specks or flakes on the ground by the chimney, spalling is occurring. Water in the bricks and mortar is causing the surface to flake off, which can cause structural damage if left untreated.

What Damage Can Leaks Cause?

If you’re noticing brown, weak spots on your walls or ceilings, you’ll have some interior damage to correct before this weakening spreads. Leaks can cause other problems, such as cracks in the flue lining. If this occurs, dangerous chemicals from smoke might be finding their way back into your home. When leaks mix with creosote that is in your chimney, you may be getting a nasty odor that permeates your home. More seriously, however, you may notice that the structure of your chimney is being compromised, and your chimney may even begin to tilt.

Who To Call?

If you notice any of these things, it’s time to give Chimney Doctors of Colorado a call to inspect your chimney and determine the source of the leak. It’s best to catch and repair these leaks before they cause bigger problems with a more expensive price tag, and more importantly, affect your family’s health and safety!

Certifications

Choosing a profession requires a lot of thought and energy. You should consider your likes and dislikes, the working conditions of the different professions, and your talents. For example, if you love the great outdoors you probably shouldn’t look for a desk job where you have to stay indoors all the time. Once you’ve found the job you want to pursue, it’s time to train. In order to be trusted, you need to get the training or the certifications necessary to be confident in your skills.

At Chimney Doctors of Colorado, we believe in offering the best service and products on the market, and that’s why we take the time to take advantage of the educational opportunities that are out there. As a consumer, picking a company to work on your home can be quite the project. We want to give you the information you need to hire a professional chimney sweep.

Different Certifications:

CSIA

There are lots of different certifications out there, and it’s important to know what those certifications mean. For example, the top name in the chimney sweep industry is the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). This certification requires our professionals to go through a rigorous training and testing schedule. It includes a six day training session, with sessions on such topics as operating the equipment used in inspections and cleanings, as well as new techniques and technologies. It also teaches us how to:

  • safely use equipment and complete inspections
  •  keep the chimney in a good state of repair
  •  get rid of creosote or anything else that causes a buildup in your chimney.

To receive the certification, we have to go through a testing process to ensure that we have been thoroughly trained. And after we’ve earned certification, we go through a continuing education process to make sure that we stay on top of all the latest in new technologies in the industry.

NFI

Another valuable certification we have is from the National Fireplace Institute (NFI).Because installing and maintaining fireplaces and chimneys is so important and because making an error during the installation process can cause dangerous situations, the NFI offers training and a rigorous testing process which involves thorough coverage of the fundamentals of the installation process.

NCSG and More

These are two of the major certifications our company holds, but that isn’t enough for our employees. We’re also members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild and the Rocky Mountain Hearth, Patio, & Barbeque Association. Nothing is more important to us than our customers’ safety and satisfaction, and that’s the reason that it is important to us to stay educated on all of the top practices in the industry. Check out our certifications at the Chimney Doctors of Colorado website, then give us a call and let us take care of your chimney care needs.

Undetected Leaks and the Damage They Could Cause

It’s never good news to hear you have a leak, whether it’s in your car’s radiator hose or your kitchen sink. If your chimney is leaking, the same is true. Chimney leaks can be messy and odor-causing, but they can also cause deeper damage to your fireplace and chimney system. If you suspect you have a leak, it’s important to call Chimney Doctors of Colorado right away. We will find the source of that leak before the damage gets so deep that major repair work is necessary.

Signs You Have A Leakthree chimneys deteriorating

Some of the earliest signs that your chimney is leaking may be cosmetic. Take a look at the ceiling near your fireplace. If the ceiling has brown spots on it, or if it is spongy or soft, it’s a very good possibility that there is a leak in your chimney. The same is true for your walls. Stained, mildewed or peeling wallcoverings or softened areas indicate water damage. Rust is another sure sign that there’s a leak somewhere. Take a look at any metal parts of your chimney, such as the damper system or fireplace accessories for signs of rust or warping.

Take a walk outside your home and pay close attention to the condition of the brick and mortar. If you see flakes and flecks of white on the ground around the chimney, you have a condition called spalling. This is when water gets into the pores of the bricks and causes the top surface to flake away. Another problem to look for is efflorescence. Take a look for sparkling brick, or a layer of crystal-like material forming on the surface. This is another sign of cracks in your bricks because that sparkle and crystal are salt deposits blooming out of your brick and mortar.

Cause for Concern

Any of these signs of water leakage should be a cause for concern. If there are cracks or fissures in your brickwork, the structural integrity of your chimney is at stake. When these cracks exist, the purpose of your chimney, which is to expel the byproducts of combustion out of your home, is not being fulfilled. This means that dangerous chemicals, such as carbon monoxide, may be lingering in your home, harming the health of your family. Your fireplace will also not be performing at its maximum level of efficiency, and that means more money spent on heating bills.

Now is a great time to give Chimney Doctors of Colorado a call and have us in to check out the condition of your chimney. We’ll look for the source of any leakage and get those leaks fixed before they cause any long-lasting damage that will end up in costly repair bills.

House Fire Prevention

Now that summer is finally here, building a fire in your fireplace is probably the last thing you think about. This also means that you aren’t giving much thought to the possibility of a house fire, either. However, summer is the time to think about house fires and things you can do to prevent them. At Chimney Doctors of Colorado, we have some tips to help you stay far away from ever having a house fire, learn more below.

Causes of House Fires

a lovely home at sunsetAlthough we often think of chimneys and fireplaces being causes of house fires, there are other causes too. One example of how a house fire can start can be from electrical appliances around the house. These include a space heater, a slow cooker, or even a toaster with a frayed cord, and if the wires are uncovered, they could easily spark to cause a fire. Even outlets with too many things plugged into it is a huge fire hazard.

There are countless fire hazards around the house, especially if you are not careful. Candles that are left burning or are placed too close to flammable materials. Leaving a gas stove burner on unattended. If this happens and the flame blows out, gas could leak; all it takes is a spark to cause a major house fire. In all of these circumstances, a little prevention is all it takes. Be aware of the condition of the items you plug in and be careful when using anything that includes a flame. The most important thing, however, is to make sure that your smoke detectors are working, and you have working fire extinguishers that are easily accessible on every floor of your home.

Vents and Chimneys

Two major causes of house fires are your chimney and clothes dryer. One of the natural byproducts of the combustion process for your chimney is creosote. This condensed form of smoke can adhere to the interior of your chimney. Creosote is extremely flammable. If you have even as little as an eighth of an inch of buildup, and a spark or ember floats up to your chimney, it could easily ignite into a chimney fire. Sometimes, this results in a catastrophic home fire, but most often a chimney fire goes undetected, causing damage to the chimney that the homeowner is unaware of.

Your clothes dryer is also a danger zone when it comes to house fires. Most people are aware of the importance of cleaning the lint tray after every load or two of clothes. Unfortunately, some lint still does get through that screen, where it floats through the dryer vents to the great outdoors. Because it is moist from the drying process, it can easily adhere to the interior of the dryer vent on the way out, and a buildup of lint. Lint is highly flammable, and all it takes is a spark, and you have a full-fledged house fire.

For both of these potential fire hazards, a call to Chimney Doctors of Colorado is the best prevention. Our chimney inspection and cleaning process ensure that your family is safe from the dangers of creosote buildup, and we do dryer vent cleanings as well! Give us a call today!

Summer Activities Around the Outdoor Fireplace

Summertime is a particularly beautiful time when you live in Colorado. It’s time to get out and enjoy some summertime activities that Colorado has to offer! Whether you enjoy water sports, hiking, picnics, or mountain climbing, summer in Colorado is a wonderful time to enjoy these activities. After a long day, there’s no better way to end the day than a cozy evening outdoors around a fire with your family and friends in your backyard. Or why wait until evening? There are plenty of good things you can make using your outdoor fireplace, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even dessert!

Hanging Out With Family and Friends

roaring fireThe best thing about summertime is hanging out with the people you love. Why not use your outdoor fireplace? Don’t limit yourself to just evenings, either. Host a family breakfast and cook over your outdoor fireplace, just like when you go camping! Let the fireplace take the chill out of the morning air, and gather the kids around to play games outdoors. Everything is more fun when you’re outdoors, and a crackling fire offers a great opportunity to sit and relax.

Did you know you can cook in many different ways using your outdoor fireplace? For some food, you may need to purchase some accessories. However, for simple foil packet meals, all you need is heavy duty aluminum foil. Throw in some meat, whether it’s hamburger, steak, chicken, or seafood, add some cut up veggies like potatoes, carrots, onions, asparagus, or whatever your favorite is, add some butter or oil and seasonings, and seal up the packet. Place this in the hot coals at the bottom of your fireplace and let it cook and you’ve got a tasty meal with no mess. You can also make things really simple and grab the roasting forks and roast some hot dogs, polish sausages, or brats over the fire. When you’re done with the main meal, get out the marshmallows, graham crackers or cookies, and candy bars and let your guests come up with their own version of a s’more for dessert.

Fun Around the Fireplace

No matter how you decide to feed your guests, a great way to end the evening is gathering around your outdoor fireplace with the people you love. It can be chilly in the evenings, so slip on a sweatshirt, pull the lawn chairs up close to the fireplace, and enjoy the night. If you’re looking for ways to enjoy or update your outdoor fireplace, give Chimney Doctors of Colorado a call today!

Chimney Odors

One of the great things about spring is that it smells so good! It feels wonderful to open the windows and let the sweet springtime breezes blow through the house, getting rid of the stale odors of winter. If you are still noticing a bad smell near your chimney, its time to have it swept. When you call the Chimney Doctors of Colorado, we’ll find the source of the odor and make sure to get rid of it!

Culprit #1: Creosote Buildupchimney with smoke coming out

As you use your fireplace every winter, the byproduct is smoke. But what’s in that smoke? Mainly it’s moisture which is being burned out of the wood you’re burning, with lots of chemicals that are released through combustion mixed in. Most of the smoke is directed out of the chimney, but some of ends up condensing onto the cooler part of the interior of your chimney, especially closer to the top. As it condenses, it forms a layer of gunk called creosote. This builds on top of itself the more you use your fireplace, and that’s dangerous because it’s highly flammable. If it doesn’t get cleaned out, you could be facing a dramatic chimney fire, or even a not-so-dramatic fire that will cause damage to your chimney. Although this is the worst problem associated with creosote buildup, there are others, and one of those is odor.

Creosote smells, there’s no doubt about it. But when you mix creosote buildup with the warm spring air, then you really have a smell. Creosote has a strong smoky smell at best, and at worst, it smells like fresh tar. That smell flows down the chimney and actually permeates your furniture, your carpet or rugs, and even your curtains. To get rid of that smell, give us a call and we’ll get all the creosote out, and along with the creosote, the odor.

Culprit #2: Animals

Another thing that can cause odors in your home is animals. Your chimney is a critter magnet because it’s warm, dark, and out of the way of wind, bad weather, and predators. It’s a perfect place to have babies and raise them until they’re ready to be out on their own. The problem is, those animals leave droppings and fur or feathers, or in the worst case scenario, they can die and rot in your chimney. All of that leaves a bad odor, and that means you need us to come in and get rid of that odor. While we’re at it, we’ll check your chimney cap and make sure it’s in good shape to keep those animals out of your chimney.

To get rid of all those chimney odors, and to take care of all your other chimney needs, give Chimney Doctors of Colorado a call today!