The Scoop On Gas Heat

 

I have gas heat; do I need my chimney cleaned?

Many people don’t realize that they even have a chimney for their gas boiler. However gas is generally a clean burning fuel, but the chimney can become non-functional from bird nests or other debris blocking the flue vent.

Furnaces newer than the 1990’s can also cause many problems with the terra-cotta flues because this is intended to vent the older less efficient furnaces. These flues breakdowns may block your chimney or may allow harmful fumes into the home.

The problem here is carbon monoxide which is an odorless deadly gas. Yes, you need your gas or oil furnace chimney cleaned or at the very least inspected to make sure it’s venting properly.

Mike Kozlansky

“The Chimney Pro”

Do I Need To Clean My Chimney?

Do I really need my chimney cleaned? I barely use it!

So, how does a chimney sweep answer this one? The correct answer is simply put: The National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.”

This is the national safety standard and is the right way to approach the problem. That takes into account the fact that even if you barely use your chimney or not all problems will still arise. Animals may build nests (and many times do) and there are other types of deterioration that may make the chimney unsafe to use.

So how do we know?

The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that open masonry fireplaces should be cleaned or swept at 1/8 inch of sooty buildup. Why? This is considered to be enough creosote or unburned smoke buildup to cause a chimney fire. The chimney fire is hot enough to damage the chimney or spread to the home. 0-clearance or factory-built fireplaces should be cleaned when any amount of buildup occurs. The reason being is that the deposit is very acidic and can shorten the life of the fireplace.

Does this make sense to you? Call us to hear directly from the professionals.

Mike Kozlansky

“The Chimney Pro”

Dryer Safety

Let me get this straight. Dry clothes are dangerous!

A very common thing that we use every day is our clothes dryer.

Because of that many times we feel that it’s just a dryer, everybody has one, it’s fine, and we will get it taken care of when we get a chance.

But these are the facts:

According to the US Fire Administration, “Between 2002 and 2004 clothes dryers counted for about 15,600 reported structure fires, 15 deaths and 400 injuries annually.”

So first of all it could be dangerous to not have your dryer vents clean. A dirty dryer vent can use two times the amount of energy (electric, gas, etc.) to dry the same amount of clothes. It also takes a lot more time to dry clothes.

Did You Know? Facts On Clothes Dryer Exhaust Safety:

* According to manufacturer’s specifications and local codes, dryer ducts must be a minimum 4” in diameter and at least as large as the dryer outlet.

* Unless otherwise specified by your dryer’s manufacturer or local code, the developed length of your dryer’s exhaust duct should not exceed 25 feet. (When determining developed length, each 90º turn adds 5 feet to the actual length.)

* Dryer vents shall be independent of all other systems and terminate outdoors, not into a chimney, crawl space or attic.

* Your outside dryer exhaust vent’s termination hood should be equipped with a back draft damper to ensure that the exhaust doesn’t come back in your home.

* Metal transition ducts should be used between the dryer and the exhaust duct.

* Flexible transition ducts should never be used in an attic, a crawl space, or inside a wall.

Michael Kozlansky

“The Chimney Pro”

Fire boxes and Smoke Chambers

Recently we came across an issue with a Level II inspection that our company did on 4 fireplaces.

“Upon arrival our chimney professional Michael Kozlansky provided a Level II inspection.” (A Level II chimney inspection is performed with a camera at the time of any cleaning, for real estate or insurance- or as an annual check provided by homeowner) The chimney professional found that the brick inside the smoke chamber were “corbeled”. (The smoke chamber is the transition area in a masonry chimney that starts just above the damper and continues to where the first flue tile is installed. It serves as the support for a clay tile flue liner. Chambers are usually corbeled brick or block work, starting wide at the base and narrowing down to accommodate the flue liner. Most chambers are 3 ft – 4 ft in height, but can be shorter or taller and out of proportion.) (Testing shows that chimney fires can reach well over 2100° F. After the fire is out, the chimney continues to heat up. Expansion due to excessive heat causes cracks and mortar bond breaks, surface spalling of the brick, and sometimes in severe fires, cracks occur through the brick or block. Most of this type of cracking in the chase occurs in the smoke chamber area and at the top of the chimney)

Our report indicated to the customer that the corbeled brick should be covered with a smooth surface, to protect the smoke chamber should be free of any gaps, cracks, or jagged edges. According to the National Fireplace Protection Association Code 211. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 211Standard For Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances 2010 Edition 11.2.1.13 The inner surfaces of the smoke chamber shall be parge coated smooth, with an insulating refractory mortar, Corbelling of masonry units shall not leave unit cores exposed to the inside of the smoke chamber.. Firebrick shall be laid with medium duty refractory mortar confirming to ASTMC199.. When the inside of the surface of the smoke chamber is formed by corbelled masonry, the inside surface shall be parged smooth to protect the integrity and efficiency of your fireplace.

After giving the potential home buyer the report, the current homeowner hired his current chimney person who has been maintaining his chimney regularly.

This is his company’s report:

Smoke chambers do not show signs of damage and do not need to be parged. This is not required for the sale of home, nor when the home was built.

Back to our inspection: If a potential customer calls our company, they are calling because they are putting their family’s safety first. When we inspect any fireplace we will go with all the newest codes according to the National Fireplace Protection Association. There is a reason that codes change, and according to records 60% of all chimney fires occur in the smoke chamber. Knowing this we give recommendations and an estimate based on the camera inspection done. With these statistics and the new codes we must comply and give the recommendations of the professionals at (NFPA) to ensure the complete safety of our customers and keep our reputation as a family run and oriented business. “We care about you!”