Why You Should Have Your Chimney Cleaned Regularly

February 10, 2020 | Chimney Basics

Your fireplace provided you with numerous cozy fires during the chilly winter nights. Now, the the weather is getting nicer and it’s time to clear out all the ash and soot in your chimney. Many homeowners think they can just burn a self-cleaning log and move on, but that’s just not the case. The best way to clean your chimney is to call in the professionals. Luckily, Chimney Champions makes chimney cleaning easy and hassle-free, clearing your stack of all the fire hazards that you could face the next time you light a log.

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Ethanol Fireplaces

February 28, 2019 | Chimney Basics

What are Ethanol Fireplaces? Ethanol fireplaces are a ventless decorative fireplace that use bioethanol as the fuel source. Bioethanol is made from fermenting the sugar and starch components of organic matter so it is a eco-friendly. When using this style decorative fireplace, the UL listing of the product indicates that they are safe for use without a flue or chimney. Ethanol Pros and Cons Pros – When using most ethanol fireplaces, they do not produce soot or smoke so the system and your home remain clean after use. Ethanol fireplaces can be used in homes that were not originally designed with a fireplace. With the addition of an ethanol fireplace, you can have the ambiance but will not have to design a flue system. Also, the lack of venting system allows for unique designs such as the system below. Cons – While ethanol is considered a cleaner burn than typical … Continued

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Remodeling Dangers – Potential Issues With Factory Built Fireplaces

February 23, 2019 | Chimney Basics

Avoiding Issues with Combustibles When remodeling a home with a fireplace, certain safety issues arise if proper care is not taken during the process. Factory built (prefabricated) fireplaces all come with very specific instructions as to where combustibles can and can’t be placed. This is where having or obtaining the manufacturers installation instructions is key. Fireplace Remodeling Step one Step one should always be finding the installation manual specific to your fireplace. The easiest way to find your installation guide is looking inside of the fireplace firebox for the data plate. Your data plate will provide you with the manufacturer and model of the fireplace and then you can typically find the manual online. If the data plate is no longer visible, painted over, or not found, contact your local chimney professional and they may be able to help. Fireplace Remodeling Step Two Now that you have your manual, make … Continued

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The Return of the Chimney Swift

February 23, 2019 | Chimney Basics

Did you have a problem with birds in your chimney last year? Make sure to have a proper chimney cap installed before the Spring this year to avoid that problem again. You may have read in one of my previous blogs about the chimney swift, a migratory bird that is very prevalent in our area. As much as we would like to protect our Chimney Swifts, it is not healthy to have them in your chimney. Dangers of Birds in Your Chimney The number one danger that comes to mind is Histoplasmosis. Histoplasmosis is a type of lung infection. It is caused by inhaling Histoplasma capsulatum fungal spores. These spores are found in soil and in the droppings of bats and birds. This fungus mainly grows in the central, southeastern, and mid-Atlantic states. Bird Mites – A tiny mite that is only half-millimeter long in size is often carried by Chimney Swifts. Once … Continued

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The Rumford Fireplace

January 23, 2019 | Chimney Basics

The Rumford Fireplace – An Early Modern Fireplace Design   The Rumford Fireplace, invented in the late 18th century, was one of the most important innovations in fireplace technology at the time. Learn more about its history and how it works now!   The History Of The Rumford Fireplace   The Rumford Fireplace was first prototyped by Sir Benjamin Thompson, also known as the Count of Rumford. He was an American-born British physicist, who was very interested in studying heat and convection.   He created this fireplace in the 1790s, by creating a shallow, small fireplace with widely-angled sides to reflect heat into the room more efficiently. The fireplace quickly became a sensation in London and spread throughout the world.   How It Works   Beyond its angled sides, the principal innovation of the Rumford Fireplace was the idea of restricting the chimney opening using bricks. This, in turn, resulted … Continued

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A brief history of the fireplace!

January 23, 2019 | Chimney Basics

Have you ever wondered how the modern fireplace came to be? In this article, we’ll take a brief look at the history and development of the fireplace. Prehistoric Times – Ancient Cave Fires And In-Dwelling Fires The first “fireplaces” weren’t fireplaces at all! Early humans first started making fires in holes in the ground, and in caves, where they could enjoy the warmth and shelter from the elements. As we began to build more permanent dwellings, humans started building fire pits inside their huts, and in tents and other movable homes. Most huts had holes for ventilation, but there was still a high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke building up inside. Still, fires built in huts in this way were very popular, and we continued to build indoor fire pits like this until the Middle Ages. The Middle Ages – The Hearth And The Hall The hearth was … Continued

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All About Firewood!

January 23, 2019 | Chimney Basics

Ahh, nothing quite like the crackle of a fireplace, or the warm and welcoming heat of a wood-burning stove or furnace. And, just like any other appliance, the type of fuel you choose for your wood-burning appliances matters. In this article, we’ll discuss the basics about choosing the proper type of firewood, storing it, burning it effectively, and more. Let’s get started. Choose Seasoned, Dry Firewood For Maximum Heat And Efficiency  First things first, you’ll want to make sure that you burn seasoned, dry firewood in your furnace, stove, or fireplace. Seasoned wood will create heat more efficiently, and create less creosote, which helps keep your flue safe and clear. All firewood contains water, but fresh wood contains up to 45% water. While it may burn, a lot of energy will be used to vaporize that water and dry the wood before it burns, which means less heat in your … Continued

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The history of the chimney sweep

January 22, 2019 | Chimney Basics

The History Of The Chimney Sweep: An Overview  Have you ever wondered how chimney sweeping began? Let us discuss the history of the chimney sweep in both the UK and the US, and how the modern profession of chimney sweep came into existence. Let’s get started! 1700s – Industrialization And The Creation Of The Chimney Sweep In the 1600s, chimneys were typically wide, and buildings were not very high, or grouped together very closely. Because of this, they were easy to clean, even by non-professionals. However, after the Great London Fire and industrialization, chimneys became much narrower and more difficult to clean.14 inches by 9 inches became one of the most common standards. This had the unfortunate side effect of making it difficult – if not impossible – for an adult man to clean the chimney. So, boys as young as the age of four years apprenticed with adult chimney … Continued

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A roofing disaster

January 10, 2019 | A Day in the Life

On one of my inspections yesterday, I encountered an absolute mess of a job performed by a roofer I will not mention. A new roof was installed a few months ago without replacing the chimney step and counter flashing and now the deteriorated flashing has started to allow water intrusion into the home. The roofer was called out again and this was the initial fix: 🤦‍♂️ Not only did they not replace the flashing (again), they covered the cracks on the crown with sealant that I now have to remove before correctly repairing the crown. All of this could have been prevented if the job was done correctly in the first place and it would have also prevented the water damage that is now inside of the home.

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Why are chimney sweeps considered lucky?

January 6, 2019 | A Day in the Life

Several theories exist but certainly no one knows for sure. One of the most popular theories is that King William of Great Britain was saved by a chimney sweep after almost being killed by a runaway horse carriage. Another theory is that a chimney sweep was working one day (timeframe unknown) and almost fell from a roof. While hanging from a gutter, about to fall to his doom, a woman inside of the house saw him and pulled him inside saving his life. After the near death experience, the two fell instantly in love and were married. It is still a popular tradition in Great Brittian for a chimney sweep to attend a couples wedding as a sign of good luck!

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