Santa's Friend Chimney Service

Santa's Friend Chimney Service Blog

The Quiet Threat

When people have a chimney they think of the nice warm nights during the winter and the idea of Santa entering their homes.  It never crosses our mind that a fireplace can affect the air quality throughout the house, causing health problems for the whole family.  Often times this occurs when people fail to get their chimney swept on schedule and creosotes begin to build up in the unit.  Luckily Santa’s Friend Chimney Service has a group of experienced professionals that can inspect and sweep your chimney!

What is Carbon Monoxide and how can it be harmful to me?

If there is anything blocking proper draft in your chimney, you are at risk for harmful gases coming back into your home.

If there is anything blocking proper draft in your chimney, you are at risk for harmful gases coming back into your home.

Carbon Monoxide is a clear gas that cannot be smelled.  Because of this, it can be toxic since large quantities are able to enter the blood stream and compete with the body’s oxygen levels.  CO levels can fill up an area so quickly that they can become fatal before you are aware that they exist.  Small levels are a little less harmful and have mild side effects similar to the flu such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, and fatigue.  Depending on your age and how long you are exposed to the gas, your symptoms may worsen.  If you have any heart problems, you will begin to experience chest pains.

How is Carbon Monoxide poisoning diagnosed?

If you or someone near you begins to feel these symptoms, you should have the area checked immediately.  If you feel like you may have CO poisoning, make your way to a doctor immediately.  If you are experiencing minimal symptoms you may be able to be treated in office, but worse symptoms may require hospitalization and an addition of clean oxygen to your system. If you are unsure, go see your doctor.

How Can Carbon Monoxide poisoning be prevented?

 Since CO can build up during the use of everyday appliances such as generators, vehicles, and chimneys, you should evacuate a room if you begin to feel symptoms of poisoning.  Even if you turn off the unit causing to problem, the room will still need to air out.  Having a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweep conduct an annual sweep can help reduce the build-up of creosote.  You can also buy alarms to put throughout your home to let you know that levels are rising.  The alarms can also be connected so that when one sounds, the rest of the house is alerted. It is important to remember that these should not replace smoke detectors.



Log vs. Sweep

In our lives, we applaud each other for working late, laugh at those who don’t, and measure our self-worth in time stamps.  Meanwhile, those who take the proverbial “easy way out” are ridiculed, criticized and/or passed over for promotions.  An online search returns pages of blogs explaining how to kick the habit of taking it easy.  By all accounts, taking the easy way out seems harmful and counterproductive.  Why, then, do so many of us seem so drawn to the path of least resistance?  If the hard route leads to more profitable outcomes, why aren’t more people willing to go that route?  Why do we tend to look for the easy way out of a situation?

Chimney Sweeping Logs: The Easy Way Out   It’s easier that way, for one.  Physics says that the path of least resistance is generally the one taken.  The decision on the best method for cleaning your chimney should not be one in which you opt for the easy way.  There are all sorts of advertisements for chimney sweeping logs (CSLs) flooding the marketplace today.  These products claim to do the work of a chimney sweep, all for a price of around $15 per log.  Sounds too good to be true, huh?  If you answered yes, you are correct.

Using a log that claims to rid your chimney of creosote may cause more problems than it promises to solve.

Using a log that claims to rid your chimney of creosote may cause more problems than it promises to solve.

What the CSLs Actually Do   It really isn’t the logs that are supposed to do anything; it is the chemicals and minerals they’re impregnated with that do all of the work.  When a CSL is burned, the chemicals and minerals are carried up the flue by the rising exhaust gases.  After entering the flue, they attach themselves to the creosote in your chimney and, over the course of several subsequent fires, break it down, causing it to crumble away from the chimney walls.

What’s in a Name   The name, CSL, is a bit misleading.  One would expect a product called a chimney sweeping log to actually sweep the chimney, or at least perform an equivalent function.  According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the use of CSLs alone is not an adequate substitute for mechanical chimney cleaning and inspection because they do not provide for the same level of protection to your chimney system.  The CSIA mandates that all CSL manufacturers include a CSIA Accepted Product logo, including the following message: “When used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, this product is accepted by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.  For improved safety and home heating efficiency, CSIA recommends that all chimney and vented appliances be inspected every year by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep.”

This CSIA recommendation of regular chimney inspection and cleaning should be proof enough that CSLs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.  If you want to spend your hard earned money on CSLs, please feel free to do so.  However, keep in mind that nothing can ever replace the services provided by a qualified chimney sweeping professional, including annual inspections and cleaning.