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National Chimney Safety Week 2019

We just got done celebrating National Chimney Safety Week! As a company that prides itself on staying certified, educated, and up-to-date on it all, you can bet that this is a week we love to talk about, as it spreads the importance of annual inspections, regular repairs, and frequent sweepings.

Now, just because National Chimney Safety Week ended on October 5th, it doesn’t mean you still can’t keep learning about ways to keep your structure safer for use and out of harm’s way. The A-1 Chimney team would be happy to provide you with some great resources to reference, and we can set you up right with the care and preventative maintenance you need to get the most from your system all season long.

Ready to learn more? Great! Read below, then reach out to our experts today. We look forward to serving you soon!

Importance Of Hiring A CSIA Certified Sweepfire in the hallway

One of the best ways to ensure your fireplace and chimney stay in tip-top shape is to hire a CSIA certified sweep to handle all of your maintenance and repairs. A sweep that is associated with the CSIA will have the training and expert knowledge necessary to spot any excess creosote or hidden damages, and they’ll know how to do the job as thoroughly as possible, so that nothing gets missed.

Scheduling Annual Inspections

Another important step in keeping your system functioning safely and efficiently is to schedule an inspection once every year. Some like to get this out of the way in the spring and summer months, while others wait until right before the start of their burning season. Either way, getting it done is important, and it will give your techs the opportunity to spot anything that could threaten the safety of your home and family.

Burn Smarter

How can you keep your chimney working well throughout the holiday season? Burn only seasoned wood. We know it’s tempting to throw trash into the fire, especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas when you have an abundance of paper plates, old wrapping paper, and more, but this can contribute to excess smoke and creosote accumulation.

Along with this, burning unseasoned wood (or wood that has too much moisture still inside of it) can contribute to extra creosote deposits and increase your chances of experiencing a chimney fire. Don’t risk it! Only burn logs that are lightweight, darker in color, cut short, split at the end, and that make a hollow-sounding noise when smacked together – all of these signs indicate it’s well-seasoned and ready to burn!

Invest In Preventative Maintenance

Taking preventative measures ahead of time can save you time, money, and lots of stress down the line. This means investing in things like chimney caps, waterproofing, flashing, and more! Our team can help you out. Let our experienced, certified, and dedicated experts check things over and ensure you are set up right today!

National Fire Prevention Week: Oct. 8-14

Are you looking for a good way to learn about fireplace maintenance and spread the word about fire safety? Well, we have great news for you! National Fire Prevention Week is coming up! That’s right – from Oct. 8th to Oct. 14 you can take advantage of countless opportunities to educate yourself, your family, and your friends all about how to prevent fires and stay protected should one occur within your household.National Fire Prevention Week - Tullahoma TN - A1 Chimney Specialist

At A-1 Chimney Specialist, we always look forward to weeks like this one. After all, fireplaces are our passion, and we want to ensure our customers stay as safe as possible all year long. Learn more about this event below, and be sure to spread the word to co-workers, friends on social media, neighbors, and more!

What’s This Year’s Theme?

If you’ve participated in NPW in the past, then you know there’s always a theme. This year is all about getting out of your home safely – Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out! The National Fire Prevention Association is offering some great tips for keeping your home and family safer in the event of fire. Since there’s not a lot of time to think in this dangerous situation, planning ahead is key! Learn more below.

First off, it’s important to create potential escape routes and make sure everyone in the home is aware of them. If one is blocked, there should be a backup route in place. This way, family members won’t have to stop and think of where to go (wasting valuable seconds necessary for safely getting out). It’s also a great idea to run practice drills to ensure your children are as prepared as possible and can easily escape if they don’t have an adult nearby to help them.

Another tip is to close doors as you exit rooms. This helps to keep the fire contained, allowing more time for people to get out of the establishment. It also keeps smoke from spreading around the area and slowing loved ones down.

Help firefighters out by making sure your house number is clearly visible. The sooner they get there and address the flames, the better. Also, in the event of fire, once you’re out of the home, stay put and stay safe! Never re-enter a burning building.

Are Products Available For FPW?

Yes! By visiting the NFPA’s website, you can see tons of great products that help raise awareness and spread the word about this event. Hats, pencils, stickers, magnets… The list of supplies goes on and on! Whatever your interests are, there is something for you, and you can even buy in bulk to get a better rate. But order fast because October 8 is coming up quick!

Need An Inspection?

If you’re ready to keep your home and family safer, count on us to inspect, sweep, and maintain your chimney. We are eager to continue serving the area, and our CSIA certified staff is the team to trust! Call A1 Chimney Specialist today!

Importance Of Dryer Vent Cleaning

If you have a chimney, then you have likely heard of the CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America). This amazing non-profit institution prides itself on its ethical standards and passion for keeping homeowners all across the country informed on safe fireplace practices. And if you’re hiring a sweep, you better make sure they hold a CSIA certification!Importance Of Dryer Vent Cleaning - Tullahoma TN - A1 Chimney

But the CSIA isn’t just about chimneys. They also specialize in dryer vent cleaning and can certify sweeps to clean and maintain them. We are proud to tell our customers about our Certified Dryer Exhaust Technicians on staff, and we strongly encourage everyone to schedule a dryer vent cleaning today – learn more below!

Dangers Of A Dirty Dryer Vent

There are many reasons why a clogged or dirty dryer vent can put your home at risk. The biggest reason is how susceptible they are to fires. Dryer fires are known for causing over 15,000 fires per year throughout the United States and this is primarily due to clogs in the dryer vent. There’s no reason not to schedule a cleaning today!

Another reason these cleanings are so important is due to the chance of poisonous toxins entering the home. When vents clog up, fumes can’t escape, and your family becomes exposed to many harmful gases. Thousands of people are sent to the doctor every year due to illness caused by fume inhalation. Keep your family out of harm’s way by investing in us.

Signs You Need A Cleaning

If you are wondering what shape your dryer vents are in, there a few signs you can look for that will let you know if things have gotten bad:

  • Clothes are not drying. When you have to run multiple cycles just to get a regular load of laundry dry, then something is definitely not running right. This is inconvenient, dangerous, and it’s costing you money in utility bills. Get your dryer running efficiently again by getting those vents cleaned out stat.
  • Dryer is very hot. If you notice heat coming from your laundry room or from the dryer itself, then your appliance is overheating. This goes for your clothes, too! If your dry clothes are unusually hot after the cycle ends, something is wrong. Trust your instinct and have things checked out, so you can rest easy knowing your home is as safe as possible.
  • Lint is accumulating around the machine. When lint and other debris is visible in and around your dryer, you may be at risk. This is not normal and indicates that your appliance isn’t able to properly vent out these materials.
  • You notice strange odors. If anything smells different than normal – hot, musty, etc. – then schedule a cleaning right away. These odors are a sign that things aren’t able to run appropriately.

We Want To Help You Out

At A-1 Chimney Specialist we want all of our customers to feel safer and more secure in their own homes. Please contact us today to learn more about our dryer vent cleaning services, then schedule your appointment today – we know you won’t regret it!

Birds Don’t Belong in Chimneys

Birds Love Chimneys

A common problem homeowners have to face is different types of wildlife coming into their home and causing chaos, and animals in the chimney are no different.  We often worry about burning habits that we forget to check for other things that could go wrong inside of the structure.  However, having a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified company send in a technician to do a chimney sweep will give you an idea of what is in or has been in your chimney.  The people at A-1 Chimney Specialist are ready to save the day when you give the call.

There is one bird in particular that is known for getting into chimneys referred to as a chimney swift.  They are very small birds with slender bodies and long, narrow, curved wings.  They have short tapered tails, a round head, and a wide but nearly invisible bill.  They appear black at a distance but are actually dark gray-brown.

These birds are protected by Federal law, so don't  try and remove them. Let us handle it.

These birds are protected by Federal law, so don’t try and remove them. Let us handle it.

Don’t Smoke Them Out

These birds like to make homes in chimneys and other vertical surfaces that are dim, such as air vents, trees, and wells.  Even though they do have a specific spot for nesting, they are usually very short with time out of air as they are always flying. With their long claws, they are not able to perch like other birds, but can cling to walls.  Chimney Swifts are also able to bathe while they are flying because they just grace the top of the water and rise up as they shake it off.  They also eat airborne insects while flying, such as flies and bees.  The birds have special sticky saliva to secure their nests to the walls of chimneys.

The oldest chimney swift on record was released in Ohio in 1970, but today they are near threatened.  They have been declining over 2 percent per year for many decades.  Part of the problem is that traditional brick chimneys are deteriorating and the modern style is not fit for nesting.  Also, people are putting caps on their unused chimneys where the bird cannot get in.  Depending on when a chimney sweep is administered, it can tear down an existing nest if the birds are in their nesting season.  If you have a chimney swift nest in your chimney, you cannot get rid of it until after the young have left the nest.  Chimney sweeps know not to do a sweep if they know that there are young in the structure as part of the Migratory Bird Act, as they can be fined or penalized.



Cleaning Out Creosote

Fireplaces are designed to safely contain a wood-fueled fire, while, at the same time, heating your home.  Chimneys are designed to expel the substances—smoke, water vapor, gases, etc.—produced from your wood fire.  As these substances are ushered up and out of your house, another substance is formed in the process; that substance is known as creosote.

You’re probably asking yourself, “what exactly is creosote, and why is it dangerous to allow it to accumulate inside your chimney?”  It’s fairly easy to explain.  Creosote is a sticky chemical residue—somewhat similar to watery tar—that is formed when wood is burned at lower-than-optimal temperatures and is capable of building up within your chimney, thereby decreasing the amount of open space through which exhaust gases and smoke can pass.  Increased amounts of creosote are formed from burning unseasoned softwoods in your fireplace than properly seasoned hardwoods as well.  The residue begins as unburned oil in the form of gas.  As the gas moves up the chimney, the oils begin to form a coating inside the chimney as they cool.  This buildup is a definite fire hazard.

Creosote must be cleaned out regularly and even more often if you aren't using the right kind of wood.

Creosote must be cleaned out regularly and even more often if you aren’t using the right kind of wood.

The residue continues to build up over the course of the heating season.  Depending on the internal dimensions of your chimney, this buildup can restrict the flow of air tremendously, which can lead to smoke buildup in the fireplace as well as in your house.  This reduced airflow can also cause your fires to burn cooler, as they’re not able to get the necessary amount of oxygen for increased combustion; all of this results in additional creosote buildup inside your chimney.  Creosote becomes dangerous when it is allowed to accumulate in your chimney because it turns into a fuel source for a possible deadly chimney fire.  The build up of creosote can never be avoided completely; however, burning small, hot fires and using dry, seasoned wood can minimize the buildup.

Sooner or later, every chimney needs to be cleaned, as this is the only way to truly remove dangerous creosote buildup.  It is highly recommended that you leave this task to a CSIA Certified chimney sweep to ensure that the job is done properly.  The frequency for your cleanings will depend on the amount of use your fireplace receives, but it should never be any longer than a year between cleanings.  Remember: a clean chimney is far less likely to catch fire than a dirty one.  So what are you waiting for?  Call to schedule an appointment to have your chimney cleaned so you can enjoy the rapidly approaching cold-weather months with the rest of the fireplace folks.

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