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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!

Health Hazards To Be Aware Of

A fireplace can be many things. Of course, people use it to heat their homes. Plus, everyone loves to roast hot dogs or marshmallows over a fireplace flame, right? It can also be a centerpiece of beauty and comfort on a cold winter night. People are drawn by the cheery warmth of a crackling fire. However, hidden within this cozy scene are some health hazards that we don’t often consider.

Health Hazards To Be Aware Of Image - Conifer CO - Chimney Doctors of ColoradoCarbon Monoxide

When we think of things that can go wrong with our fireplace and chimney system, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the danger of a chimney fire. But what we don’t think about as often is the silent danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, this is not a danger that should be ignored. “Over 200 people across the nation are known to die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by problems in the venting – out of their homes – of toxic gases produced by their heating systems.” Other agencies put that number even higher. Even into the thousands! Infants and the elderly are at a higher risk of death from carbon monoxide poisoning, as are those who have heart disease or anemia.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause other serious symptoms to occur as well. Headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea; often these symptoms are ignored because they resemble having the flu. Ignoring these signs of carbon monoxide poisoning can cause permanent damage to the brain, heart, and other organs before the real culprit is diagnosed.

Health Effects of Smoke Inhalation

Sometimes a fire can be smokier than other times. One reason for this is the quality of wood that you burn. Wetter wood burns smokier than dryer wood; this is why it is so important for the wood you burn to be cured for the proper length of time. This is at least 6 months, but a year is even better. When a fire burns smoky, some of the side effects are obvious: burning eyes, runny nose, coughing.

What causes these reactions are the small particles that are carried in the smoke. Although these effects are annoying, more serious illnesses can develop if this happens more often. According to the Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials website, numerous scientific studies show that when very fine particles are released. They can get into your lungs or even into your bloodstream, and can cause asthma attacks, bronchitis, and aggravate some pre-existing heart and lung conditions. Wood smoke can also contain several toxic substances, such as methane, formaldehyde, and benzene.

Prevention

Burning the proper wood is one easy step to preventing these health conditions. Even more important in prevention of these health concerns is this one simple step: make sure that you keep your chimney in top running condition by hiring the professionals at the Chimney Doctors of Colorado! They will come in and do a thorough inspection and cleaning of your fireplace and chimney on an annual basis, or more often if you use your fireplace very frequently. They will offer top-notch advice and cleaning services. Your health and your families’ health is too important to trust to anyone less than the best – the Chimney Doctors of Colorado.

Why Are Professional Certifications So Important?

When you want something done right, it’s important to call the most qualified people for the job. This goes for finding someone to paint your house, to bake your wedding cake, or to diagnose your health problems. You want someone who is willing to continue to seek educational opportunities in the trade, and who is willing to stay up on industry standards. This also holds true when you’re dealing with chimney cleaning and repair. There are many things that could go wrong when it comes to your fireplace and chimney, but the best way to keep them in good repair and tip-top running condition is to have it inspected and cleaned on a regular basis by Chimney Safety Institute of America certified professionals like those at Chimney Doctors of Colorado.

Chimney Safety Institute of AmericaProfessional Certifications - Conifer CO - Chimney Doctors of Colorado

The highest certification in the country for chimney inspection and sweeping is CSIA certification. The CSIA certification is recognized as the highest standard in the industry. To earn this certification, sweeps go through an intensive training schedule, including a six-day training school. After the training, they take a one hour, 100 question examination and a 90 minute open book examination. Not only is it recognized across the industry, it is also recognized by insurance underwriters, and also by state, federal, and local agencies. The certification is “the measure of a chimney sweep’s knowledge about the evaluation and maintenance of chimney and venting systems.”

National Fireplace Institute

The National Fireplace Institute is another certification that is held in high esteem across the industry. Its objective is “to increase public safety by establishing meaningful credentials for professionals involved in planning and installing residential hearth appliances and venting system.” NFI grants certification as gas specialists, woodburning specialists, and pellet specialists. If someone earns all three of these certifications, they are granted Master Hearth Professional status. The Chimney Doctors of Colorado is also NFI certified.

National Chimney Sweep Guild

Another certification that Chimney Doctors of Colorado holds is from the National Chimney Sweep Guild. What this certification gives is access to special educational opportunities and to the NCSG’s technical advisory council, among other benefits.

Rocky Mountain Hearth, Patio, & Barbecue Association

This certification gives educational benefits to its members, as well as valuable networking opportunities with other qualified, knowledgeable communities. They also offer members a voice: a voice in legislative and governmental regulations that will affect the members directly. It allows them to stay on top of the industry standards and regulations.

Professional Certification

So why should all of these professional certifications matter to you? Because it means that the Chimney Doctors of Colorado is dedicated to staying on top of all of the latest innovations in technology. Staying up to date helps us to keep your home and your family safe. Chimney Doctors of Colorado will continue to strive to meet the highest standards of service and customer satisfaction.

Closing Out Your Fireplace and Chimney for the Season

The end of February already. Soon the cold, snowy days of a Colorado winter will be turning into balmy, warm spring weather. Now it’s time to start to think about getting your chimney and fireplace closed down for the season. Below are several steps to ensure that your chimney is in tip-top shape for the next winter season.

Clean It Up

Closing Out Your Fireplace and Chimney for the Season - Conifer CO - Chimney Doctors LLCA deep down clean is best left to the professionals but you can do a bit of spot cleaning on your own. This gets things tidied up before you get your annual inspection and cleaning done. Use a fireplace broom and dustpan, or a handheld vacuum, to brush off loose ashes from the floor and base of your fireplace. To make sure you don’t have fly away ashes, one recommendation is to sprinkle used coffee grounds on the ashes before sweeping. You can also clean the exterior bricks of your fireplace by spraying them with water followed by a hearth cleaner if you have a newer fireplace. Just water is fine if you have an older fireplace – 50 years or older. Finish up by cleaning the glass doors of your fireplace by spraying these with hearth cleaner and wiping them down.

Annual Inspection and Sweeping

As soon as you know that spring is solidly here, it’s a great idea to make an appointment to get your chimney cleaned and swept by a professional, CSIA certified chimney sweep. This credential is recognized across the industry as the measure of excellence in chimney sweep knowledge and excellence in service. During the damp spring season, the creosote build-up in your chimney may start to smell, allowing odors into your home. The best way to eliminate these odors is to have your chimney cleaned early on in the spring. And as long as you’re getting your chimney swept, you should schedule your inspection at the same time. If you live in the Park, Jefferson, or Clear Creek Colorado areas, the best in the business is the Chimney Doctors of Colorado.

Gas Fireplaces

If you have a gas fireplace, your fire burns using a pilot light. Make sure that you have turned that pilot light off, as that small flame does use energy.

Dampers

The dampers in your chimney work to close off your home from the air that comes in down your chimney and also to make sure that the cold air from your air conditioning doesn’t leave through the chimney. This can also keep odors from your chimney from getting into your home. For these reasons when you’re done using the chimney for your log-burning fire for the season, make sure you close the dampers all the way.

Chimney Doctors of Colorado

Chimney Doctors of Colorado hires CSIA certified technicians to inspect and clean your chimney. They are experienced in repairing any of your chimney needs. Also, they are certified to clean your dryer vents as well. Beat the rush and call to set up your annual spring chimney inspection and cleaning. Call today!

How to Start a Fire in a Cold Fireplace

When it’s cold out, it’s really hard to get warm. Sometimes it takes a hot shower followed by a cup of hot chocolate in front of a crackling fire to get really warmed up. Unfortunately, sometimes when it’s really cold outside, your chimney has trouble getting warmed up enough to start a fire. There are, however, some things you can do to warm up your chimney so that you can get a good fire going.

How to Start a Fire in a Cold Fireplace Image - Conifer CO - Chimney DoctorsWhy So Cold?

Years ago, most homes had their chimneys on interior walls, and cold chimneys weren’t a problem. Over the past 50 years or so, homeowners started to put their fireplaces on exterior walls. This has led to cold chimneys. Consequently, a cold chimneys make it difficult to start an efficient, hot fire. To warm up your flue, you need to prime it. This is an easy thing to do.

First, grab some newspaper and roll it up into a tube. Light one end and hold it up as high as you can into the damper opening. After a short time, cold air should start to warm up as it moves back up the chimney and the draft is reversed. If your chimney is too cold, this might not do the trick. If this happens, try to open the damper for a half an hour. Even though this isn’t very efficient, eventually the warm air from your home will work its way up your chimney.

Getting a Good Fire Started

Now it’s time to build a fire, and there are several ways to do this. First, though, according to the Bob Vila website, there are a couple of things you should do.

  1. The most important thing you can do is to make sure that your fireplace and chimney are professionally cleaned. It is recommended that you use a CSIA certified chimney inspector like those at the Chimney Doctors of Colorado. This is especially important because, over time and use, your chimney may develop a build-up of creosote, which is highly flammable. Your chimney sweep will be able to clean your chimney so that you can be sure that you are burning fires safely.
  2. Make sure that your damper is fully open so that you don’t end up with a smoke-filled room.
  3. Add a grate for safety if your fireplace doesn’t already have one.

Now it’s time to start your fire. There are several ways to start a fire. However, one tried and true way is to first make sure your damper is open all the way. Afterwards, start with some crumpled newspaper balls laid under the grate. Put some strips of newspaper on top of that. Add eight or ten pieces of kindling on top of the grate in a criss-cross pattern, then loosely arrange six or eight small, split logs on top of this. Light the tinder. When the split logs are burning steadily, add a couple of small logs and one bigger log. Don’t overfeed the fire or you could either smother the fire or make it burn out of control.

Chimney Doctors

Give Chimney Doctors of Colorado a call! They can handle all your chimney care needs.

Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Build-Up

So you’re sitting in front of your fireplace enjoying the warmth and comfort of a crackling fire. At this moment, it’s hard to believe that this same fireplace and chimney system can contribute to a great safety hazard: carbon monoxide poisoning. This thought alone is scary to everyone. However, it’s important to understand what this is. What can cause carbon monoxide build-up? Also, what you can do to prevent it?

Avoiding Carbon Monoxide Build-up Image - Conifer CO - Chimney DoctorsWhat is Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is released when combustion takes place. According to HomeAdvisor.com, the less complete the burn, the more carbon monoxide is released into the air. Low levels of carbon monoxide can cause flu-like symptoms such as tiredness, headaches, and even vomiting. Prolonged exposure can lead to death.

What Causes Carbon Monoxide Build-up

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America website, two of the major factors that cause an increased amount of carbon monoxide related illnesses and deaths are related to increased technology. First off, new homes are being built to be more energy efficient and air-tight. This is great when it comes to saving money on costly heating bills. Unfortunately, this means there is less fresh air coming into the home and less ways for polluted air to leave. When furnaces and boiler systems don’t have the oxygen they need to burn fuel completely, carbon monoxide is produced.

In addition, the high-tech heating appliances that are being produced today don’t always perform at an optimum level. So, what’s the difference in performance between your new, efficient appliance and older chimney system? it can cause toxic gases to enter your home more easily.

Other conditions can also cause an increase of carbon monoxide in your home:

  • Your flue liner is damaged or deteriorating
  • Obstructions in your chimney
  • If there is an increase in soot build-up

What To Do

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Streetwise.com has several ideas to ensure safety from carbon monoxide. Everyone has heard of the importance of fire/smoke detectors. Additionally, it is equally important to have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home. Make sure that the damper is open before lighting a fire in your fireplace. If you own a new home, it may be wise to leave a window cracked open when using your fireplace.

Yearly Inspection

These are all good ways to reduce the chances of carbon monoxide building up in your home. The best way is to have your chimney inspected and cleaned on a yearly basis. However, it should only be done by CSIA certified professionals like those at the Chimney Doctors of Colorado. They use the latest technology and tools. This ensures that your chimney has low levels of creosote build-up and will remove any obstructions, such as dead leaves or animal nests. They can also recommend any repair work that needs to be completed. These measures will greatly reduce your chances of carbon monoxide build-up.