Santa's Friend Chimney Service

Santa's Friend Chimney Service Blog

Keep it Safe, Keep it Warm

Helpful Tips in Maintaining a Safe and Efficient Fireplace and Chimney

Experts in chimney maintenance always say that prevention is better than cure. This is very true. You can’t just wait for the actual accident to happen before you start ‘preventing’ it in the first place. As the homeowner, you need to do your part to keep your fireplace and chimney intact, safe and useful all year round and especially during the winter season. There are many aspects to consider. That’s why professionals are still needed in its overall maintenance. If chimneys are taken for granted, they will crash and burn and cause bigger problems that even experts can no longer repair.

At least once a year you need a certified sweep to come and clean your chimney. You will also need an annual inspection.

At least once a year you need a certified sweep to come and clean your chimney. You will also need an annual inspection.

Chimney damage may threaten your property, health and lifestyle. These are five simple tips in using your fireplace and chimney that can be done to avert any future problems.

  1. Make sure that your chimney is checked and inspected on an annual basis by professionals that are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. There is a rich database in the Internet to look for top of the game companies in this field.
  2. Before even thinking of starting a fire, check and double check that the flue in your chimney is open. Also check if there is enough flow of air up in your chimney.
  3. When starting the fire, manufactured fire logs are the better choice instead of plain wood. They burn up to 80% cleaner than typical wood fire. Garbage and plastics are prohibited.
  4. If there are no fire logs around, wood can be used provided that they are dry and seasoned to up to six months to leave only 20% moisture or less.
  5. When the fire dies down after burning, let it cool and remove the ashes to maintain proper airflow for future use. The ashes should be sealed in a metal container and put outside the house. Some tiny pieces of coal may still be able to cause fire if allowed to be in contact with flammable materials.

These are all easy steps you can take in doing your part as a homeowner. However at one point or another in your chimney’s life, there comes a time when you need to call for professional help so you can enjoy your chimney for many more holidays to come.  This is where an outstanding company like Santa’s Friend Chimney Service comes into the picture because they live by the highest standards of Ethics and Business Practices.  For 24 years now at the heart of Mississippi, they have provided the best service for cleaning chimneys. No wonder they are certified by numerous organizations. Yes, they are the ones to call for guaranteed high quality services at low prices.


By Jim Robinson on October 28th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , | Leave a Comment

What Is Wrong With My Fire?

Draft Problems

It can be frustrating when you build a fire and the smoke pours out into your living room instead of up the chimney. The heart of chimney design is to keep the smoke from entering your home and leaving in a safe manner to the outside. Smoke inside the house can set off smoke detectors and breathing in smoke is detrimental to your health. If you can smell wood burning inside your home, it is an indication that you have a draft problem. It important to remedy drafts in the chimney, but what causes these drafts is not always an easy answer.

If your fire is hard to start or produces a lot of smoke, it may be time to have a certified sweep take a look.

If your fire is hard to start or produces a lot of smoke, it may be time to have a certified sweep take a look.

If you have encountered draft problems in your chimney where smoke is entering your home, due to the variable nature of home and chimney design, an inspection will likely have to be done by a certified chimney professional to properly address any draft or down draft issues.

Chimney Design

Before understanding why down or back drafts occur, we must look at how chimneys work. The main principle behind the smoke going up the chimney is based upon hot air rising. As the hot air rises from the fire, it is gently pushed into the narrow opening into the flue. These angles and placements of design are critical for proper function. There is a delicate balance between heat and air pressures inside the home and the outside air pressure. Negative air pressure in the room (when air pressure in a room is lower than outside air pressure) prevents the smoke from leaving and causes the back draft and smoke enters the room instead of the chimney flue. Why this occurs can be a variety of factors including blockage, improper firebox design, improper flue design, structural damage, blockage, or other external factors.


Blockage of the chimney can be anything from an improper functioning damper to animals that are stuck. The damper might also be too small for the opening needed. Animals can also leave nests behind inside or on top of your chimney that is creating a serious air obstruction. Creosote build-up is dangerous due to fire hazards, but there can be enough in the flue to cause this air pressure balance to sway the other direction. A proper and non-evasive inspection can reveal most of these blockage issues.

Improper Firebox and Chimney Design

In building a house, sometimes the look and design comes before function. An improper size firebox can easily throw off the ratio needed to pull smoke through the flue. The firebox must be in proper ratio of size to the chimney; a bigger firebox needs a taller chimney flue. Sometimes the chimney can be raised, or the firebox can be altered. Fire should also be at the very back of the firebox, and a firebox may be too shallow to function properly.

External Factors

Fire needs oxygen, pure and simple. A fire will pull the oxygen from a room quickly, and many modern day houses are tightly sealed and air pressure inside drops. It can drop so much so quickly, that the pressure inside is now lower than outside and a back draft is created. One remedy is opening a window in the house to equalize the pressure outside, but that defeats the purpose if you are trying to heat your home. An exhaust fan might be needed to properly vent the smoke out of your house and pull enough oxygen into the fire for the fire and chimney to work properly.


Here are some helpful tips to use in trying to prevent draft problems in your chimney

  • Have your chimney inspected by professional on a regular basis to ensure proper function and address any key issues.
  • Always burn properly dry seasoned firewood. Freshly cut wood is too moist and creates more smoke than fire.
  • Avoid using other air vents in the same room while the fireplace is in operation.
  • Always build the fire in the very back of the firebox to ensure proper smoke flow.
  • Never use a fireplace that has continual draft problems. Wood smoke is dangerous to your health and toxic.

If still unable to remedy the draft problem yourself, consult a chimney professional.

Common Repairs to Chimney Liners

Common Chimney Flue Liner Repairs

 Although many people have chimneys in their homes, most do not know much about the parts that comprise them. One of the most important parts of a functioning chimney is the flue liner. This is a layer, usually made of clay, metal, or ceramic tile that covers the inside of the chimney. Its function is to protect the inner wall of the chimney as well as to contain combustible materials while sending them out of the home. Keeping the chimney flue liner in good working condition is essential to having a safe chimney.

Prior to the 1940’s, it was not mandatory for homes to have liners in their chimneys. This is why tragic house fires were so common in the middle part of the Twentieth Century. Someone who is living in a home that was built before the 1940’s should have their chimney inspected and make sure that it has a liner to begin with. If it does not, one must be installed before the fireplace can be safely used.

Chimney Liners Prevent Fires - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney Service

Chimney Liners Prevent Fires – Jackson MS – Santa’s Friend Chimney Service

In most cases, the flue liner needs to be replaced or repaired because of normal wear and tear from years of use. In this case, the liner will simply start to wear away or, in the case of an older tile liner, it will begin to crack. This is dangerous because the liner will not be able to contain hazardous gasses the way that it is supposed to. These materials may be allowed to ignite, causing a devastating chimney fire.

Combustible gasses themselves will eventually take their toll on the liner, which is another thing a professional inspection should catch. When this happens, the connection between the liner and the wall of the chimney weakens, causing it to become loose. Although the cause is different, this creates more or less the same effect as an eroding liner. It can be extremely unsafe and a chimney in this condition should not be used under any circumstances.

When the time comes to repair or replace the chimney liner, people with metal or tile liners in their homes find that it is best to make a complete change. Today, it is often recommended that these liners be replaced with ones that are made of clay. The reason is that clay is extremely durable and can withstand not only exposure to combustible materials but also to extremely high temperatures. If someone installs a new clay liner in their chimney, they can expect that it will remain in good working condition for about fifty years.

While making the switch, it is important to avoid fire hazards by completely removing all pieces of the old liner. It is also necessary to measure the chimney precisely and account for any irregularities, such as a crooked chimney. In order to function safely, the liner must fit the chimney exactly. These repairs are extremely complicated and it is not recommended that they are done as a do it yourself project. A profession should always be employed to do this precise work and make sure that it is safe before use.

Although many people are not aware of the condition of their chimney liner, it is a very important safety issue. An annual chimney inspection will give insight into whether or not any repairs or a complete replacement is necessary. These days, many homeowners opt for a clay liner because it is durable and will most likely last for the duration of their time in the home.

By Jim Robinson on July 12th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment