Navigating the Nightmare of Multiple Chimney Repair Estimates — Like a PRO.

In the link below, the Chimney Safety Institute of America provides some useful advice on how to choose the right company for important chimney repairs.

 

Navigating the Nightmare of Multiple Chimney Repair Estimates — Like a PRO.

Annual Chimney Inspections

Storks nesting in chimneys were once believed to bring good luck, according to European folklore. But, in fact, nests in chimneys – or blockages of any kind – are nothing short of bad news. They can cause smoking problems, chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

In 2005, there were 24,500 residential fires in the United States originating in chimneys, fireplaces and solid fuel appliances, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. These fires resulted in 20 deaths and $126.1 million in property damage. (Click here for more stats.)

Virtually all of these fires were preventable according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), a non-profit institution dedicated to public and chimney professional education. Both CSIA and the National Fire Protection Association recommend yearly chimney inspections to help prevent these hazards.

Many American homeowners think their chimneys only need to be cleaned and inspected if they burn wood in their fireplaces or wood stoves. But almost all heating appliances, whether they burn gas, oil, wood or coal, rely on the chimney to safely carry toxic gases produced by the heating system of the house.

A carbon monoxide detector can warn homeowners of potential poisoning after the deadly gas has already entered the living area, but an annual chimney check can help prevent carbon monoxide from entering the home in the first place.

Each fall, homeowners shift into home-improvement mode. They clean gutters, garages and basements — preparing homes for winter. But they usually don’t inspect, repair or clean their chimneys, despite the potential for damage to their property or even to their lives.

An annual chimney inspection by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® is a modest investment that can reduce the danger of chimney fires or carbon monoxide poisoning. CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps have earned the industry’s most respected credential by passing an intensive examination based on fire codes, clearances and standards for the construction and maintenance of chimneys and venting systems.

In fact, when chimney fires occur, many insurance investigators rely on CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps to determine whether a fire originated in – or damaged – the chimney system. The CSIA, established in 1983, is a non-profit, educational institution, dedicated to educating the public about the prevention of chimney safety hazards.

For more information about chimney safety, or for a list of CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps, please visit the CSIA web site at www.csia.org. The CSIA is located at 2155 Commercial Drive, Plainfield, IN 46168.

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Want to avoid a chimney scam? Attorney General says to try a nationally recognized group such as CSIA

Thanks to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General for the great consumer tips on avoiding all aspects of winter scams.

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane’s tips are actually applicable to all homeowners in the U.S., so we’ll repeat them here: Beware of free or low-cost chimney cleaning services; beware of high-pressure claims for making immediate repairs; and the office recommends to “check and see if your contractor is affiliated with any nationally recognized groups, such as the Chimney Safety Institute of America.”

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane.
Furthermore, the AG says:

  • Get a second opinion and several bids.
  • Check the contractor’s references. Reviews and other information are available from the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org.
  • Avoid agreeing to same-day installation. Request a photo or video as proof of the recommended repairs.
  • Don’t accept broken debris as evidence that chimney repairs are needed. Ask to see what is broken or collapsed.
  • Learn about products and repairs that are specific to furnaces, fireplaces and chimneys before the repair person arrives.

At the Chimney Safety Institute of America, one aspect of being safe is knowing that the job has been done right.

That’s why CSIA encourages that consumers be diligent about finding a reputable contractor. We state, rather emphatically, “It is of utmost importance to choose a contractor that you feel comfortable hiring to provide the work. Likely price will not be the most important factor in the decision-making process.”

Most homeowners do not understand the details of fireplace construction and the clearance requirements. That is why there is a need for CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps to perform those inspections. The inspection process requires much more skill than simply sweeping the chimney.

Frances L. Kelly, executive director of the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
“You are building a fire in the middle of your home, so you want to make sure you hire the best of the best to come in and service your fireplace and chimney,” said Frances L. Kelly, executive director of the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

How Chimney Dampers Keep Your Home Warm

A chimney damper is a simple, inexpensive way to keep the warmth in your home while reducing energy costs. This damper allows the chimney to be closed when not in use preventing heated or cooled air from exiting out the chimney flue. It also serves the important function of capping the chimney stopping animals, birds, and insects from creating nests within the chimney.Energy-Top-DG-Open-B-Blog

When choosing a damper, select one that will provide a tight seal at the top of the chimney fitting properly into the space. You will also want one that has easy access to the chain for efficiency in opening and closing the unit. For a damper that will stand the test of time, choose one constructed of aluminum or stainless steel. Both will help prevent rusting and corrosion of the damper’s components.

Whether you are using wood logs or a gas burning system, it is important to keep the damper fully opened when utilizing the fireplace to avoid pushing gases, fumes, and debris into the home. The damper should only be closed when all embers have been extinguished.

Kingsborough Chimney Sweeps is proud to offer ENERGY TOP and Seal Tight Dampers – the best in the industry. Both models feature year-around protection while also being easy to use and maintain. Our team can help replace your existing leaky throat damper or add a damper to your current chimney system.

Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment