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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Advantages of Zinc coating

January 22, 2019 | Technically Speaking

Advantages of Zinc Coating For Chimneys   If you are replacing exterior components of your chimney system (especially in close proximity to the ocean) one of the best materials to use is zinc-coated steel. Using a zinc coated product for chimneys has several great advantages: Protection from rust and corrosion – Unprotected steel can corrode easily, particularly when exposed to temperature fluctuations and moisture. Untreated steel may become damaged and unserviceable within just 2 years. With a zinc coating, however, a protective barrier is made between the atmosphere and the steel material. This layer helps protect the structural properties of the steel base material, and ensure that it remains protected from corrosion and rust. Longer lifespan – Zinc-plated steel can easily last 30 years or longer without any major deterioration or significant corrosion, and remain functional for many more years. This longer lifespan makes zinc coatings a great investment, which … Continued

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Lower Temps, Higher Risk!

January 22, 2019 | Information

When it’s chilly outside, it’s nice to make your home warm inside.  This is the time of year when everyone looks to use their fireplaces for quick warmth and relaxing ambience.  Unfortunately, however, this is also the most common time of year for house fires caused by dirty fireplaces. Just this past weekend, Savannah Fire Rescue had to cut holes in a Tatem Street home to put out a chimney fire. The fireplace was dirty, and long overdue for a professional cleaning and inspection; however, it was used anyway.Firefighters everywhere see this sort of problem more than you may realize – even in Florida!This is a common danger that can be easily prevented by having your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected by a CSIA-Certified Chimney Sweep, and making sure it is safe BEFORE using it. Call Chimney Champions® at 904-268-7200, or book online to schedule your service today!

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Chimney Swifts

January 21, 2019 | Training and tips

Chimney Swifts – Understanding The Basics If you are looking for a chimney sweep in Jacksonville to help you with chimney swifts or you would just like more information about these curious little birds, you are in the right place. Let us start with the basics.  What Are Chimney Swifts?  Chimney swifts (Chaetura pelagica) are a medium-sized type of swift, which feed primarily on flying insects, and on spiders. Uniquely, they build their nests almost exclusively on human-built structures – particularly chimneys – hence the name. They are found throughout the entire Eastern United States and are rarely seen west of the Rocky Mountains. Why Do Chimney Swifts Nest In Chimneys?  Before European colonists arrived in North America, chimney swifts rarely nested in human-built structures. The birds preferred to nest in hollowed-out trees. When possible, chimney swifts will still build their nests in trees but land development has limited the … Continued

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Inspection of the day – Stay away from the skylight!

January 21, 2019 | A Day in the Life

Sometimes having a chimney with deferred maintenance can cause some unexpected safety hazards. Realistically, the typical homeowner does not spend very much time, if any, on their roof looking for potential problems. Let take a look at the chimney below: Initial look.. The chimney is missing a flame arrestor, has some staining, and is in close proximity to a very large set of skylights. Now let’s take a closer look: This is not good! Large sections of stone are coming off of the chimney and falling onto the roof! The chimney is so close to the skylights that a stone could potentially fall through and cause severe harm to anyone inside. Another thing to factor in, the stones are damaging the roof below and could potentially cause water leaks. A combination of water intrusion and deferred maintenance caused this nightmare but it is something that could have easily been taken … Continued

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How often should I remove ash from my fireplace?

January 21, 2019 | Training and tips

This is a question that comes up a lot when talking to homeowners about fireplace maintenance. The first assumption would be to remove the ash between each fire, but the this is actually not the optimum timeframe. A one inch layer of ash on the floor during heating season is actually what is recommended by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. The layer of ash works with the hot coals and creates more heat to fuel the fire, helping in a cleaner burn. While around one inch is a good number to stick with, if the ash starts building up too much, it can trap hot coals between the fireplace grate and the ash, causing premature deterioration of the grate. It is also the important that if you have a ash dump that it has been inspected and is free of combustibles. Also, do not dump your ash until it … Continued

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Dampers for masonry fireplaces

January 21, 2019 | Training and tips

Older masonry fireplaces may or may not have been installed with a damper to prevent conditioned air from leaving the home. If your fireplace is one that does not have a damper, several options exist. Below are a few of the options starting with the least expensive. Flue balloon Flue balloons are sold online and come in a variety of sizes to fit the opening (smoke chamber) just above your fireplace. They are a simple design, you inflate them in place inside of the fireplace and deflate and remove the flue balloon when you would like to use the system. This is the least expensive option and it works rather well considering the cost. Be sure to remove the flue balloon before use, it will make a horrible smelly mess if caught on fire. Top mounted damper I will be the first to admit that this is not my favorite … Continued

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The top-down burn

January 21, 2019 | Training and tips

My favorite way to start a fire indoors and out is a method called the top-down burn. The interesting thing about this method of starting a fire is that it is the exact opposite of what most people do! To start, put the very largest pieces of wood front to back on the very bottom. The next layer up, use slightly smaller pieces of wood but stack them side to side on top of the largest bottom wood. Continue this process until the firewood has reached fifty percent of the height of the fireplace, and make sure each layer is progressively smaller and switching one layer front to back, one layer side to side. Once you are at the top, this is where you will only have very small wood pieces (as small as shavings) that can be very easily started with little or no effort. The fire will start … Continued

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When is the best time to have your chimney swept?

January 21, 2019 | Common Questions

The Traditional Season The most popular time of the year in Florida to have a chimney sweep is in the Fall and before the holidays. As the holidays get closer, the demand increases even more to the point where it is tough to find any sweep available before January. This can be an issue because the best sweeps typically book up early in the Fall and by the time you go down the line you might end up with someone who is less than qualified to perform the service and does not have the proper tools, insurance, or certifications. The Best Time to Sweep – Spring Spring is actually the best time to have your chimney swept for a number of reasons. One reason is you can save money not having the sweep performed during the peak season. Take the HVAC industry in the Summer for example. If you are … Continued

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The daily battle for a chimney sweep, staying clean

January 20, 2019 | A Day in the Life

Daily and Long-Term Hazards Staying safe is a constant concern for a chimney sweep. Not only are we on roofs, in attics, and crawl spaces, we also have to worry about the hazardous long-term effects of creosote to our bodies and prevent inhalation and interaction as much as possible. Creosote is a natural byproduct of combustion but it comes with a nasty side effect for humans with long-term exposure to it, cancer. Skin cancer, lung cancer, and testicular cancer are the most common for a chimney Sweep to content with. Skin cancer from constant cleaning and repairing systems covered in creosote and let’s not forget clothing. Lung cancer from inhaling creosote while sweeping a system or even after the service with soot floating around in the work vehicle. Testicular cancer you would think would be the strange one but take into consideration the amount of creosote that can get trapped … Continued

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