Environmental Chimney Sweep Inc.

Basic Chimney Sweep & Repair Blog

Chimney Mold: An Explainer

What You Need to Know About Mold

Taking care of your chimney isn’t easy. It requires a lot of time, materials, skill and constant attention. We need to constantly monitor and maintain our chimneys in order to ensure our home and our family’s safety.

Every year, there are a number of homeowners from all over, emailing and calling our friendly team at Basic Chimney Sweep & Repair to inquire about each of their chimney concerns. From tips on prevention up to simple how-to’s, we’ve made sure to respond to as many of your questions as we possibly can.

You have questions about the growth of mold in your chimney? We have answers.

You have questions about the growth of mold in your chimney? We have answers.

We are frequently asked about one concern – it’s about chimney mold and its impact on our safety.

So, we’ve decided to come up with a compilation of a few important facts and helpful information that you might want to know regarding chimney molds.

Water is the Enemy

Aside from water being known to cause damage in your chimney’s mortar and brick, and not to mention the risk it has on potentially damaging your chimney’s structural integrity, water is our number one enemy because it is the key ingredient in mold proliferation.

Signs and Indications

What are the early signs to look out for that are indicative of mold growth? To be able to detect mold growth without actually going up your chimney to take a peak would require you to be very observant. First, you need to take note of the season and the weather. Since the potential for mold growth greatly increases with the presence of water, you need to be more alert whenever it’s warm, rainy or humid. Second, you need to take note of the smell. If you notice a musky odor circulating, then that is definitely a tell-tale sign of mold growth.

Potential Risks

Every person has a different reaction to certain substances. The same is true with a person’s reaction to molds. Here are a few of the common physical reactions attributed to mold growth:

  • Dizziness
  • Breathing problems
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Memory loss
  • Weakened immune system

Of course, these reactions vary depending on the severity of the mold growth and exposure and the person’s physical state upon contact.

Preventive Measures

In order to prevent the possibility of mold growth, the best thing for you to do is to waterproof your chimneys. A waterproofing sealant can be applied on the walls of your chimney. Another preventive measure is to install a chimney cap. Chimney caps cover the opening so that little or no water at all can enter. Eliminating the possibility of water also eliminates the possibility of mild growth in your chimney.

 

Choose CSIA Certified Sweeps

In an always on-the-go type of world people often overload their list and overlook some of the most important tasks. It’s even more important that you don’t let your fireplace and chimney be two places in your home that you do not neglect. Even though they are only used a portion of the year, they must have a annual inspection and chimney sweep to make sure that they are in safe and working order to make sure you and your family have a warm winter all year long. If you need to schedule your chimney sweep and inspection, call Basic Chimney Sweep and Repair.

Get a CSIA certified chimney sweep to ensure the best service and care for your chimney..

Get a CSIA certified chimney sweep to ensure the best service and care for your chimney..

Where to find CSIA Certified Sweeps?

When looking to hire chimney technicians, you need someone that is not only professional but CSIA certified. This means that they meet the standards set by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. These businesses can be found through a variety of ways, such as asking community members or online. For the safety of your home, you always want your chimney care to be the best.

Why Get a CSIA Certified Sweep?

There’s a lot of importance in having a chimney sweep. To start, they remove the built up creosotes that could potentially start a chimney fire. Creosotes can also cause a blockage where smoke will remain inside of your home. If you continue to breathe enough of this smoke in, you could develop Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Animals also cause blockages in your chimney, and a sweep will remove those as well. When doing the sweep a technician will be able to see if there are any parts the may not be in working order. What may seem as a small issue to you could potentially put you and your home in danger, even if it only a broken brick or tile. If there is a crack it will continue to grow until it is fixed. Water can then get in and form mold, and spread to the rest of your home when not taken care of. If the unit is broken it could not be only unsafe, but cost more to operate. These sweeps should be done annually at the beginning of the season by a CSIA professional.

 

By Ronald Caillais on December 11th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment

How Do I Find a Chimney Sweep?

How to Choose a Chimney Sweep

A responsible homeowner knows that they should have their chimney inspected and cleaned by a chimney sweep at least once a year. However, the problem often comes when they need to choose a chimney sweep to get the job done. How do you know who to trust to ensure the safety and efficiency of your heating system? There are a few guidelines that anyone can follow to make sure the job is done right.

Chimney Sweep - Baton Rouge LA - Basic Chimney

Chimney Sweep – Baton Rouge LA – Basic Chimney

The best place to start when looking for a chimney sweep is with friends and family members who also have chimneys in their homes. Ask them which company they use to maintain their chimney and how they felt about the experience. These people will not be invested in the company and will therefore have no problem giving their unbiased opinion. They will be able to speak to the chimney sweep’s ability but also to their professionalism and customer service.  If no one has a good recommendation, consider contacting the Better Business Bureau for a recommendation of a reputable company.

Even after speaking with someone who can make an informed recommendation, it is important to do some independent research before making a decision. When speaking with the company for the first time, be sure to ask if they have contact information for recent customer references. It is important to make sure that references are current in order to get the most accurate information. A less recent client may have dealt with someone who is no longer with the company and is not indicative of the service they provide now.

Another thing to consider is that many chimney sweep companies get a great deal of their business through word of mouth. For this reason, it is important to ask for how long the company has been in business. If a company has been providing consistent, sub par service in a community, it is unlikely that they will stay in business for very long. This will also give an indication of how experienced the individual chimney sweeps are likely to be.

Many people do not realize that it takes a special certification to become a chimney sweep. All reputable chimney sweeps are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. However, this does not mean that every technician working for a given company is certified. Before making an appointment, make sure the company can ensure a certified technician will actually be the one to do the job.

After doing all of this legwork, it is reasonable to expect that the chimney cleaning will go off without a hitch. However, even the most experienced and reliable chimney sweeps have been known to have accidents from time to time. It is necessary to choose a company that can provide proof of insurance for all workers. This will ensure that everyone is protected in the event of an injury or if there is any damage to the chimney and fireplace.

Finding a reliable chimney sweep is an important task because the chimney and fireplace are such vital parts of the home. After asking friends and relatives for recommendations, do not forget to ask the company themselves for recent references. Make sure that the chosen company is insured and can guarantee a chimney sweep that is certified by the CSIA. Taking all of these steps will ensure that the home has a clean and safe chimney.

Keeping Your Chimney Operating Year Round

Whether or not the fireplace is in use, the chimney needs to be maintained in good working order year round. There are a number of reasons for this, but they all come down to safety in good air quality. The chimney can provide a continuous air-replacement system or a trap for air that is downright dangerous.

Chimney Maintenance - Baton Rouge LA - Basic Chimney Sweep

Clear the Air

If all is well with a chimney, it draws air from the fireplace up and out, continually pulling ‘new’ air through the system. That helps to remove toxic gases from the home even when generated elsewhere, emitted by a leaky furnace perhaps. It also helps to clear the air of dust particles that otherwise settle back down and aggravate allergies.

In addition, the sooner problems with a chimney are caught, the less expensive they are to correct. Some do not even need to be problems, such as creosote accumulation, which can be completely avoided with regular professional inspections and cleanings. Other relatively inexpensive improvements, like caps and waterproofing for chimneys in good condition, may eliminate costly damage to the flue by rain or birds.

Protect Family and Investment

Neither inadequate drafting nor creosote buildup stops when the last fire is out beneath the chimney. If either exists, it persists, and it either presents the same stale air or it actually gets worse, true for both creosote- and water-caused damage. The importance of well-maintained fireplace systems cannot be stressed enough, since they are essential to home safety whether used or not.

Just as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should not be taken down because the fireplace is not in use, the home’s chimney should not be neglected either. Organizations, like the CSIA, are responsible for the certification of professional sweeps make sure they are qualified to keep every chimney operating safely. All homeowners really need to do is remember to call them and schedule twice-yearly inspections.

By Ronald Caillais on April 4th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment

Tips for Hiring a Chimney Sweep

Lovable Bert, who forever left us with an impression of chimney sweeps as soot faced rooftop dancers, was in some ways a fitting caricature. He was, after all, a jack of all trades, selling kites one minute, cleaning chimneys the next. That can be what you get these days if you do not ask the right question when you choose a chimney sweep.

Professional Fitness for a Changing Job

It is important to remember that this profession began with less than scrupulous simple vent cleaners who were no longer a good fit for modernized chimneys. That pretty well describes some of the “chimney sweeps” who completed a quick training in the use of specialized brushes and got a business license. They may be equipped to clean a modern chimney, but they are a bad fit for modern fireplace systems and they are not really into them.

CSIA Certification - Baton Rouge LA - Basic Chimney Sweep

Bert was not the guy to handle an inspection of the chimney to assess its condition, safety, and performance. He was the type to tap dance around clearances without ever knowing they were there. You may love him, but Bert is far from a CSIA certified chimney sweep, and not the guy you want to entrust with your home safety.

One Tip Is All You Need

The ability to professionally inspect your chimney is the primary thing for which you should be looking. That is what takes years of training and ongoing education, and that is what results in chimney sweep certification. Young boys living in orphanages were quickly taught to clean chimneys, but nobody relied on them to do more than that.

The most important tip we have for you is really the only one you need…to make a good choice. Ask the sweep you called if they have proof of industry certification in addition to a license and insurance. If he is not a certified sweep, simply look elsewhere to find someone that is truly qualified to clean your chimney.

By Ronald Caillais on March 12th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment
Please call us at 828-243-0098 to schedule an appointment today. All Major Credit Cards Accepted.
National Chimney Sweeps Guild Chimney Safety Institute of America