Chimney Care – Masonry Smoke Chambers

March 25, 2019 | Technically Speaking

Just above the visible area of your fireplace is a smoke chamber that aids in efficiently removing smoke from your home. While newer homes typically have smooth (parged) smoke chambers which are much more efficient, older fireplaces have a stair step pattern and are more likely to build up creosote. This informational video from HeatShield explains the differences and how they impact the performance of your fireplace and chimney system: If you need to have your smoke chamber parged, be sure to contact a CSIA Certified Chimney Professional to ensure proper repairs. Parging your smoke chamber is a simple fix and will not only produce a more efficient system, but will also bring your fireplace up to current IRC and NFPA211 standards.

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The Disappearing Chimney Sweep

March 17, 2019 | A Day in the Life

Here is an interesting read from the New York Times about the lack of chimney sweeps in Paris. This is a common concern not only in the US, but throughout the world. If you are interested in becoming a chimney sweep, feel free to reach out and I can help steer you in the right direction. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/18/lens/the-disappearing-chimney-sweeps-of-paris.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share

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Brr! It’s cold outside, but these savings will warm your blood!

March 5, 2019 | Promotions

Brr! Feel that cold chill in the air! It seems Florida missed the memo that Spring is around the corner. But not to worry – Chimney Champions® has got you covered!We’re giving you *$30 off your next scheduled service to get you feeling all warm and cozy again!Contact us at 904-268-7200 today, and mention “WARMER” for your savings!*Limit one per household; may not be used on previous orders.Offer valid on new sweep/inspection orders scheduled by 3/31/2019.

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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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Sneak Peek at a Level II Chimney Inspection

February 25, 2019 | Information

People contact Chimney Champions® every day looking for a service to their fireplace/chimney.  But not everybody realizes that there are different levels of service that we offer!  To help provide a better understanding of what takes place during some of our services, we’re going to provide you with an inside look at a Level II Inspection and Sweep.During our inspections, our CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweeps® perform a visual assessment of every safely accessible area of your chimney system (in your attic, crawlspace, roof, etc).  In the first picture (below), you can see lead technician Michael Wood assessing the chimney flue for ‘clearance to combustibles’ – very important for fire-prevention!  When accessible, we also look for proper installation and clearances around the firestop in the attic – an area that is often overlooked, but can be a serious hazard.  The flue liner often comes with a label that can be found on the outer flue … 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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Stages of Wood Combustion

February 19, 2019 | Technically Speaking

Stage 1: The Evaporation of Moisture Anyone who has ever tried to burn wet or unseasoned wood will find this stage very frustrating. During the moisture evaporation stage, instead of producing heat, heat is absorbed. Water trapped inside of the wood is turned into steam and removed from the wood. Once this process is complete, it leads to Stage 2. Stage 2: The Vaporization of Hydrocarbon Compounds Stage 2 we still are not into the heat producing phase (maybe a tiny bit) but we are close! At this point, we are over five hundred degrees and temperatures are on the rise. The chemical structure of the wood starts to break down and the process of pyrolysis begins. Pyrolysis “liberates organic gases and leaves carbon rich charcoal”. This process also creates a mixture of hydrocarbons in the form of liquid tar droplets and combustibles gases, and digging in is very complex. … Continued

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End-of-Season Special!

February 1, 2019 | Promotions

Ahh, February.The major holidays have passed. The rush of New Year’s resolutions has begun to simmer down. And the winter chill will soon be gone.And what better way to say ‘Sayonara’ to cold season than to cozy on up to your fireplace while you still have the chance? Now through the end of February, Chimney Champions® is offering *$25 off of any Sweep, Level 1, or Level 2 inspection. Don’t miss out on your chance to enjoy using a clean and safe fireplace.  Contact Chimney Champions® at 904-268-7200 today, and mention “Winter Exit” for your savings! *Limit one per household; may not be used on previous orders.Offer valid on new sweep/inspection orders scheduled by 2/28/2019.

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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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