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Fire Prevention Week 2018

Back in October of 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed thousands of homes, left a huge portion of the city homeless, and took the lives of hundreds. This devastating damage serves as afire reminder of how important fire safety and education truly is, which is why in 1925, Fire Prevention Week became a national observance that we acknowledge with every passing October.

What This Year’s Theme?

If you’ve participated in Fire Prevention Week in the past, then you are likely aware that each year comes with its own theme. This year’s theme? “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.” This encourages homeowners to look for potential fire hazards everywhere they go, listen for alarms that could indicate a fire has occurred, and to learn of at least two exits from every room they’re in. All of these small steps can make a big difference when it comes to staying safer!

This theme also encourages general awareness of how dangerous fires are and serves as a reminder that the possibility of one occurring is always there. It may seem like it couldn’t happen to you, but thousands are affected every single year, and there’s no denying the risk of injury or extensive home damage should one fall victim.

Join the NFPA this year by spreading the word. Post online, organize community events, and share the fact sheets that the NFPA has provided on their website. They offer some great sources for information and ideas, so check them out today, then get to work! With all of us pitching in together, we can make a big difference in our neighborhoods.

The Facts About House Fires

In just four short years between 2011 and 2015, fire departments across the United States responded to well over 350,000 home structure fires. That averages out to nearly 88,000 per year! It’s time we work together to encourage a drop in these numbers, which is why staying up-to-date and educated on fire safety is so essential.

As you can imagine, these fires resulted in countless injuries and thousands of deaths. Fires are preventable, so let’s review some facts to ensure your household stays as safe as possible, especially with the holidays and cooler weather coming up so quickly.

First of all, investing in smoke detectors is a must, as these are often the fire indicators that trouble is amiss. We also encourage everyone to plan and practice escape routes from the various rooms of their home. Always remember – once you are safely out of your home, never re-enter a burning building for any reason.

Then, work with us to ensure your fireplace and dryer vents are thoroughly inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. The CSIA advises that homeowners invest in at least one inspection per year for both of these appliances, which will minimize the risk of house fires significantly. Anything from a damaged interior to creosote build-up to clogs in the system and more can trigger a fire, so schedule your maintenance now before your burning season kicks off.

Trust in the best by working with us. We’re ready for your call.

Santa Won’t Appreciate A Dirty Chimney

Dirty or Clean Santa Chimney Image - Tullahoma TN - A-1 Chimney Specialist…and neither should you!

A dirty chimney isn’t just bad for Santa – it causes issues for your fireplace, home, and family, too! With the holidays coming up quick, ensuring that your chimney and fireplace are in the best condition possible should definitely be on your to-do list. Schedule a chimney sweeping and inspection with us today, so everything will be ready to go when the big day arrives.

Check out just some of the many issues you may face if you put off this annual maintenance.

Chimney Fires

One of the bigger issues that could occur is a chimney fire. While chimney fires are often dramatic and obvious, that is not always the case. Sometimes, a fire may occur without you even realizing it! This puts a large amount of wear and tear on your chimney and is why regular sweepings are so important.

The biggest reason a chimney fire will occur is due to creosote build-up. Creosote forms as you use your fireplace, and it accumulates quicker when you don’t burn smart. Using seasoned wood, maintaining proper air flow, and not overloading your fuel pile are just a few ways you can slow down the rate at which it accumulates.

Although minimizing build-up will help a lot, the only way to know your chimney is ready for use is to get that annual appointment scheduled. A professional will be able to inspect every nook and cranny, and they can ensure that all parts are good to go.

Blocked Ventilation

Another important piece of fireplace safety is ensuring all ventilation units are free from debris. What good is having a fire if the smoke backs up into your home? All that leads to is nasty odors, potential health risks, and a spoiled evening. Don’t take the chance and have your entire fireplace checked out before the holidays really kick off.

Also, be sure that you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors set up throughout your home. While smoke back-up can be fairly obvious, carbon monoxide is highly undetectable and could result in some major illness for those living in the home. Ensure your family stays safe this winter and set some smoke detectors up today.

Addressing Other Issues

Along with smoking problems, chimney fires, and toxins entering the home, a dirty chimney could trigger countless other issues, as well. Deterioration, cracks, rust, and leaks are just some of these. Also, if birds, squirrels, or other critters have worked their way into your chimney and fireplace, getting them out is a must before lighting any fires.

At A-1 Chimney Specialist , we have the tools and expertise to set you up right. We have been serving this area for over a decade, so you can rest easy knowing your chimney and fireplace are in the best hands possible. Check out our website to learn more about our extensive list of services, then call to schedule your appointment.

Don’t disappoint Santa – turn to us today!

The Dangers Of Creosote

Creosote Danger Image - Tullahoma TN - A-1 ChimneyAny homeowner with a fireplace should be aware of the importance of regular chimney maintenance. Annual inspections are vital in ensuring the safety of one’s home and family members. Between blockages, cracks or holes, and the various types of build-up that can accumulate over time, using it before getting the okay from an expert could cause countless negative consequences.

What Is Creosote?

Creosote is a dangerous substance that accumulates in a fireplace as fires are lit throughout the year. It comes in different colors and forms, and it is a major cause for chimney fires. To avoid issues with creosote, the most important step you can take is to call in a certified professional who can remove it properly.

Many feel that chimney sweeping and cleaning is a job that can be done themselves, but this is not the safest option. Often times, certain chemicals need to be used to remove excess debris and, without the proper use of tools and appropriate products, a homeowner could easily cause damage to their chimney, their home, or themselves.

To ensure that everything will run smoothly throughout your next burning season, hire a pro to check things out. They know exactly what to look for and which steps to take to get your chimney in the best condition possible before putting it to more frequent use.

Avoiding Build-Up

While creosote is not completely unavoidable, there are ways to slow down the rate at which it accumulates. The main things you can do are burn wood that is properly seasoned, regulate air flow, and control the temperatures of the fires you burn.

  • Seasoned Wood: Once you figure out what to look for when it comes to picking your firewood, finding the best fuel for your home will be no problem. Seasoned wood is lighter weight, has more cracks and splits at the ends, and will make a distinct high-pitched sound when hit together (unseasoned wood will sound duller).
  • Air Flow: One of the best ways to ensure air is moving properly through your chimney is to have an expert check for blockages and build-up. If the flow is restricted at all, then you will likely start facing issues. Creosote will show up a lot quicker and smoke and other toxins will back up into your home. This affects the health of loved ones and causes damage to furniture and other belongings.
  • Fire Temperatures: The temperature of your fire is affected by the fuel you burn and how much of it you are using. To keep a healthy, hot fire going, use smaller amounts of well-seasoned fuel. This will cause a quicker burn, but you can easily keep the fire going by re-fueling it more often. A little extra work will be well worth avoiding large amounts of creosote throughout the chimney.

At A-1 Chimney Specialist, we know how to get your chimney in the best shape possible before you start lighting up those Fall fires. Call us in today!

Help! My Chimney Stinks

A stinky chimney and fireplace can make your home a very unpleasant place to be in. See to it that you get rid of what's causing the stench.

A stinky chimney and fireplace can make your home a very unpleasant place to be in. See to it that you get rid of what’s causing the stench.

You have noticed a strange and smelly odor in your home, and you have tracked down the source to your fireplace. Several things could be causing this smell, and when your chimney stinks so badly you can smell it in your home, it is time to call the professionals such as A-1 Chimney Specialist. We have CSIA-certified chimney sweeps who will find what is causing the odor and get rid of the problem, no matter what it may be. We provide the chimney services to take care of a stinky fireplace and chimney, and we would like to tell you more about the different reasons why you have a chimney that stinks.


If you have a wood-burning fireplace, chances are you have creosote deposits building up on your chimney walls. If the odor coming from your hearth smells like burned wood, you will know that creosote is the culprit. A naturally occurring substance, creosote is the residue left behind when smoke, vapors, gases, tar fog, and other by-products of combustion exit the cooler, upper chimney walls, as a result of condensation. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), a buildup of creosote deposits in your chimney is a dangerous fire hazard as creosote is highly combustible. All it takes is your chimney flue to reach a certain internal temperature to start a chimney fire. The expert chimney sweeps at A-1 Chimney Specialist are trained extensively to remove all creosote deposits when they perform a professional chimney cleaning. Not only will we remove the source of the stinky odor in your fireplace, but we will also protect you from a hazardous chimney fire when we clean the creosote deposits from your


If you notice that distinctive, musty smell of mold coming from your fireplace and if your family members start developing asthma symptoms, mold is the source of that stinky odor and needs immediate attention for the health of you and your family. Mold can develop and grow on your chimney walls if you have a leaky chimney. According to the CSIA, water is the number one enemy of your masonry chimney. Chimney leaks can cause all sorts of problems, from mold growth to structural damage. At A-1 Chimney Specialist, our certified technicians can clean your chimney to get rid of the mold and then determine the leak source and repair it. We provide customized chimney flashing installation to keep the water out of your chimney as well as waterproofing, a treatment that seals your chimney walls with a 100% vapor-permeable solution that prevents water penetration while still allowing your chimney to “breathe” and vapors and gases to exit. This way you will not have to worry about mold returning.


Sometimes animals like birds, squirrels, and even raccoons will choose your chimney as a nesting spot during the winter, and if an animal should become trapped in your chimney and die, you will most definitely have a stinky chimney. Also, animals can leave behind debris, including fecal matter, which will also cause a bad odor in your fireplace. The CSIA-certified chimney sweeps at A-1 Chimney Specialist can help you with your animal problem, and we carry chimney bird screens we can install to prevent birds and other animals from making your chimney their home.

If you have a stinky chimney, contact A-1 Chimney Specialist today to arrange for one of our experienced chimney sweeps to diagnose and solve your odor problem.

Getting Rid of Creosote

Have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean your chimney to avoid the dangers of creosote build-up.

Have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean your chimney to avoid the dangers of creosote build-up.

It’s dirty. It’s sticky. It is extremely flammable. Creosote is something that is almost impossible to avoid, and is extremely harmful to your chimney. However, if you catch it in time, creosote can be removed before it sinks into the structure of your chimney. To get more information on a chimney sweep or any other chimney related questions, contact the professionals at A-1 Chimney Specialists.

What is creosote?

Creosote is the byproduct that is released when untreated wood burns. This will then clump together and cause blockages inside of your chimney. When these clumps grow large enough, they can begin to slow the draft through your chimney. This makes the smoke and harmful gases unable to exit the home. This can put you and your family in danger of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. The symptoms for CO poisoning include anything from headaches and nausea to severe cases of difficulty breathing and even fatality. Creosote can also lead to chimney fires. When the heat from the fire comes into contact with the clumps, it can begin to spark. Since chimney fires spread so easily, it can overtake your home in minutes.

How do you get rid of creosote?

The best way to get rid of creosote is to have a chimney sweep. You should have at least one a year, but it is recommended that you have two. One should be after burning season to remove any build up, and the second should be before to remove anything that they may have missed or that has built up over the summer. The person doing your chimney sweep should always be Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified. To prepare the chimney, make sure that you do not burn any fires for at least 24 hours so that the unit has enough time to cool down. Next, move all of the furniture away from the fireplace so that it does not become dirty or damaged. Lastly, for their safety and the safety of the technicians lock your pets away in a spare room. You can find a reliable chimney sweep by asking friends and family, or by looking at various online websites.