Santa's Friend Chimney Service

Santa's Friend Chimney Service Blog

Importance of Annual Chimney Inspections

It’s so easy to see the importance of some of the things we do. Do you have your car serviced every three to five thousand miles? Of course, because you don’t want to be caught standing on the side of the road with your hood up, waiting for someone to help you. Do you have an annual physical? Yes, because you want to continue to be healthy and know what to do to prevent or cure illnesses. Do you check the batteries on your smoke detector once a month? Yes, because you want to make sure you’re protected in case a fire breaks out. And how often do you check your credit score? It’s important to stay on top of these things so your physical, material, and financial status stay positive and healthy. So, why do people think it’s okay to skip a yearly chimney inspection and cleaning?

Why Have An Annual Inspection?

The first thing your chimney sweep is going to look for is creosote build up. Over the course of the winter months, your chimney undergoes a lot of wear and tear. When you burn that wood fire, water vapor, unburned wood particles, minerals, and even tar fog are released, and these organisms escape up your chimney in the form of smoke. Unfortunately, not all of these elements make it out into the open air.

When the smoke hits the cooler chimney surface near the top of your chimney, it condenses and forms creosote, a highly flammable, black or brown, hard or tarry substance that can cause a lot of problems. And the more often you use your fireplace, the more this creosote will build up. As with any other highly flammable material, all it takes is a spark to start a roaring fire – just what you DON’T want inside your chimney! Your chimney sweep will be able to determine how deep the creosote layer is and then will use the proper tools to break this free and eliminate it from your chimney, all the while keeping the residue out of your home.

Structural Damage

Another thing your chimney sweep will be looking for is structural damage. Your sturdy chimney is just that: sturdy. But sturdy does not mean impenetrable, and even the strongest chimneys are susceptible to the wear and tear of time. One of the most damaging elements your chimney faces is precipitation. Rain can beat on the mortar of your chimney and, over time, cause it to wear and weaken. And when that rain gets in the pores of your mortar and then freezes, the expansion that occurs will cause those cracks to get deeper, which leads to instability.

Chimney Fire

Your chimney sweep will also be looking for signs that you have had a chimney fire. You think that you would know if you’ve had a chimney fire, right? Well, that’s not always the case. Sometimes a chimney fire can take place without the homeowner knowing, and that’s dangerous because structural damage can occur. A well trained, CSIA certified technician from Santa’s Friend Chimney Service will be able to spot that damage and any other problems, recommend solutions, then follow through with the necessary repair work.

Chimney Cap Replacement

Probably the biggest fear of homeowners is a chimney fire. There really is no good way to stop sparks from heading up your chimney. Plus, if they fly out of your chimney you might have a roof fire on your hands. Another big threat when it comes to damage to your chimney is water. There is just no way to protect the exterior of your chimney from the damage that can come from rain, sleet, or snow. The inside of your chimney, however, is a different matter. When it comes to protecting your roof from sparks and the interior of your chimney from water damage, the best protection you can buy is a solid chimney cap.

What Can A Chimney Cap Do?

First, let’s consider the danger of fire. One problem with your chimney is that it’s a natural place for birds and other animals to want to build their nests. It’s protected from the elements and from other natural predators that threaten their young. When the young leave the nest and the critters leave for good, the nest stays behind and dries out. This is perfect kindling for those sparks that shoot up your chimney. Not only can nests cause a problem, but paper, dried leaves, and twigs can also blow down your chimney; these can also provide a great spark catcher for a chimney fire. According to Angie’s List “(A) professionally installed chimney cap, sized properly, will prevent animals from entering the chimney.”

Another area that is susceptible to fire is your roof. When sparks fly up your chimney, they can fall on the roof. If it’s been a particularly dry year, all it could take is one good spark. All of the sudden, you’ll find yourself with a very big problem: a roof fire. If not caught quickly enough, this could end disastrously with the loss of your home. A chimney cap can also stop those sparks from escaping from your chimney, thus preventing that disaster from occurring.

Interior Damage

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, water penetration can cause a lot of damage to the interior of your chimney. Some problems that can be caused include rusted damper assemblies, collapsed hearth support, water stained walls and ceiling, rotting wood and ruined wall coverings that surround your fireplace. Not only that, but it can also cause mold and mildew to grow inside your chimney. This mold and mildew can eat away at the mortar of your chimney, and it can also produce a very unpleasant odor. A chimney cap can help stop rain water from getting down into your home’s chimney.

Finding the Right Company

When it comes to chimney caps, it’s important to make sure that you find the right size and shape to fit your chimney. That means it’s especially important to find the right company to help you obtain the perfect chimney cap. That company is Santa’s Friend Chimney Service. They are experts when it comes to making sure that your chimney is up to regulation and running efficiently. Call them early to make an appointment – whether you’re looking at chimney cap repair or replacement, you’ll be glad you did!

By Jim Robinson on April 4th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Make Sure Your Clothes Get As Dry As They Should!

Way back when, living was a lot tougher than it is now. If you needed to wash clothes, you hauled water and heated it. If you wanted a good meal, you went out to the garden to pick the produce. Afterwards, you cooked it over a fire on a cook stove. Also, you hung your clothes out to dry, whether it was summer and sunny or winter and cold. Now things are easy. We have microwaves and electric ranges, refrigerators and grocery stores.

To get your clothes clean, there are machines to do the work for you.  You simply throw those wet clothes into the dryer for a quick cycle. In not time, you’re pulling those warm, fluffy clothes out, ready to be folded. However, have you noticed that your clothes need to run through two or three cycles before they’re dry? If so, then there might be something wrong with your dryer. Chances are, it probably isn’t something major that’s wrong; chances are, your dryer vents are full of lint. This isn’t only a nuisance, it could be a hazardous situation waiting to explode!

Dangers of Lint Build-up

When you dry your clothes in the dryer, tiny particles from your clothes shake off and collect in different parts of your dryer. Even if you clean your lint screen on a regular basis, some of those particles still escape into the dryer vent. Over time, those particles build up and can cause an obstruction. If the air is really dry, static could cause a spark. If that spark catches in the lint build-up, it could be an instantaneous fire.

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, “(I)n 2010, an estimated 16,800 reported U.S. non-confined or confined home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines (including combination washer/dryers) resulted in 51 civilian deaths, 380 civilian injuries, and $236 million in direct property damage.” This is a hazard that is too often overlooked, and yet easily remedied.

Professional Help

Although cleaning your dryer vents may seem like an easy task, you need to ask yourself: is it worth the risk of losing your home and endangering your family to save a few dollars? According to Angie’s List, it is wise to hire a professional to clean your dryer vents at least once a year. If you use your washer and dryer often, then you may want to have it done two or three times a year. Homeowners that use do-it-yourself kits to clean their own vents can be lulled into a sense that their vents are safely clean. Consequently, not realizing that it’s a bigger job than what it seems. That’s why it’s important to call on professionals who know exactly what it takes to get the job done right. And those professionals work for Santa’s Friend Chimney Service!

Get the Job Done Right

The employees at Santa’s Friend Chimney Service know all the places to look where lint likes to build up. They are educated in the proper cleaning techniques, and they have the tools to ensure that your dryer’s venting system is clean and safe. Give them a call today and get your dryer on an annual cleaning schedule!

By Jim Robinson on March 7th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Reducing Fire Hazards This Winter

It’s time to think about safety! Fire safety, that is. During the winter months, one of the nicest things to do is to snuggle down in front of a cozy fire. Unfortunately, too often a cozy night can turn into a nightmare. Consequently, because of unsafe fire practices, a chimney fire can destroy much more than just your fireplace. So this winter, make sure that you are taking safety precautions. This ensures many safe, happy nights in your warm home.

Fire Hazards

The big fear that many fireplace owners have is the fear of chimney fire. Roaring flames, smoke billowing out of the chimney, and loss of property. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to happen. How can you greatly reduce the possibility of this situation? Simply follow a few preventative measures.

First, inspect the room around the fireplace. Make sure that there is nothing flammable stored too close to the fireplace. This includes pillows, blankets, books, toys, or even furniture. If placed too close to the fire, these things could easily catch a spark that could ignite into a bigger fire. Make sure matches and lighters are kept out of the reach of children. In addition, educate your children on how to use fire extinguishers.

Fire Extinguishers and Smoke Detectors

This little tool can be vital for saving your home. If you’re wondering how many fire extinguishers you should have, the National Fire Protection Association recommends you have one on every floor. Even if you can’t completely extinguish the fire, it may help you contain the fire until the fire department arrives. Be sure that you take no risks, however. Being safe yourself is more important than material goods. So, if you feel like the fire is getting out of control, get yourself and your loved ones out of your home immediately! In fact, a fire plan is absolutely the most important thing you can do to protect your family in case of a fire. Make sure that everyone knows how to get out of the house and where to meet in case of a fire, and practice this plan often.

Another important protective device is a smoke detector. According to the U.S. Fire Administration website, you should have a smoke detector installed on each floor of the house (including the basement), in each bedroom, and outside of every sleeping area. Your smoke detector is only as good as its batteries, however. So always make sure that you check your smoke detector batteries once a month and replace the batteries every six months.

Who To Call

Most chimney fires aren’t as dramatic as you might think. In fact, in many cases the homeowner might not even be aware that a chimney fire has taken place. Unfortunately, even a small chimney fire can cause damage to the structure of your chimney. This internal damage can only be detected by a knowledgeable professional like the inspectors and sweeps at Santa’s Friend Chimney Sweep. This is why it’s so important to have your chimney inspected and cleaned on a yearly basis. These inspectors can detect structural damage and creosote build-up and can recommend whatever repairs or cleaning may be necessary to keep your fireplace running safely and efficiently!

By Jim Robinson on January 26th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

The Dangers of a Clogged Dryer Vent

Unfortunately, many homeowners do not realize the dangers of dirty dryer vents until it is too late. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), clothes dryers were involved with an estimated 16,800 residential fires that caused 51 deaths, 380 injuries, and $236 million in property damages in 2010. The leading cause of these fires was failure to clean clogged dryer vents. Santa’s Friend Chimney Service can help prevent your clothes dryer from being a fire hazard with our professional dryer vent cleaning services. Recommended by the NFPA, the Chimney Safety Institute of America, and other national fire safety organizations, an annual professional dryer vent cleaning also has other advantages. We would like to tell you more about the benefits of having your dryer vent professionally cleaned.

The Dangers of a Clogged Dryer Vent Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend

Reduce the risk of a residential fire

The statistics from the NFPA speak for themselves. Clogged dryer vents are dangerous fire hazards, and a professional dryer vent cleaning from Santa’s Friend Chimney Service can keep your home from becoming part of these statistics. The reason why clogged and dirty dryer vents are such fire hazards has to do with lint. Although your lint screen does trap a great deal of the lint produced from drying a load of clothes, lint still gets into the vent where it can accumulate to the point of blocking the vent. Lint is so flammable that it is recommended to start campfires by the Boy Scouts of America, so when the clogged vent causes the dryer to overheat, lint can easily and quickly ignite into a fire that can spread throughout your home. Our experienced technicians will be sure to remove every bit of lint to reduce this fire hazard.

Improve the efficiency of your dryer

When the dryer vent is dirty and clogged, your dryer has to work harder to operate, and this causes the appliance to overheat. If you continue to use your dryer as it overheats, it will cause important components like the heating element to wear out prematurely. Repairing the heating element can be very expensive, and it could even be more economical to replace your dryer. A professional dryer vent cleaning will actually prolong the life of your dryer. After Santa’s Friend Chimney Service has cleaned your dryer vent, you will notice a big improvement in the efficiency of your clothes dryer.

Save money and energy

If your dryer vent is clogged, the dryer will have a hard time drying a load of clothes in one cycle. If you have ever noticed damp clothes at the end of a complete drying cycle, your dryer vent is most likely clogged. Having to run your dryer twice the time to dry a load of clothes not only wastes energy, but it is also very costly. You will see a reduction in your utility bills after a professional dryer vent cleaning from Santa’s Friend Chimney Service.
You should never ignore the dangers of a clogged dryer vent. Contact us at Santa’s Friend Chimney Service to schedule an appointment for our dryer vent cleaning services.

By Jim Robinson on July 28th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Have You Had Your Dryer Vents Cleaned?

Preventing fire hazards is a top priority at Santa’s Friend Chimney Service, which is why we are proud to offer professional dryer vent services along with our chimney maintenance and repair services. Many people are surprised to learn that their dryer vents should be inspected and cleaned once a year, so if you have never had your dryer vents professionally cleaned before, you are not alone. However, neglecting to have your dryer vents cleaned puts you at a much higher risk of experiencing a residential fire. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission show that 5,100 reported house fires were caused by clothes dryers in 2012, and the majority of these fires were from dirty and clogged dryer vents. We would like to tell you more about the importance of this maintenance service.

Why do I need my dryer vents professionally cleaned?

clean dryer vent - Jackson MS - santa's friend chimney service

This service greatly reduces the risk of your clothes dryer catching on fire. Your dryer produces lint, which is so flammable that it is recommended by the Boy Scouts of America as a way to start campfires. Lint can accumulate in your dryer vents, and these accumulations clog up the vents and trap hot, moist air in your dryer. Since this causes your dryer to overheat, it is only a matter of time before that lint could ignite a dangerous fire. Santa’s Friend Chimney Service will remove all of the lint from your dryer vents to prevent this hazardous situation. You will see other benefits from this service as well. It will prolong the life of your dryer. When your dryer gets overheated, it can cause the heating element to wear out more quickly than it should. You will also save energy and money because you will not have to run your dryer as long when the dryer vents have been professionally cleaned.

When should I have my dryer vents cleaned?

The CSIA and other national fire safety groups recommend having this service done once a year, but there are some signs that signal that the dryer vents are clogged. If you notice that your clothes are not completely dried after a drying cycle, you should contact Santa’s Friend Chimney Service to schedule an appointment for our dryer vent cleaning services. Other signs include your dryer shutting off mid-cycle and your dryer becoming hot to the touch when it is in use.

What should I expect from your dryer vent cleaning services?

We begin this process by moving your dryer to remove the vent so that we can attach a blower to the vent. We will find the end of your vent so that we can use the correctly sized rods to loosen the accumulations of lint and other debris. As the rods are spinning to break apart the debris, we run the blower to get all of that lint out of the vent. After we have cleaned the entire length of your vent, we will clean up before reattaching the vent to your dryer. We then move your dryer back exactly where it was before we started.

If you have never had your dryer vents cleaned, contact us at Santa’s Friend Chimney Service to schedule an appointment for our services and reduce your risk of a devastating house fire.

By Jim Robinson on January 22nd, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment