Chimney News & Information


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Stop Treating Your Fireplace Like an Incinerator

Posted On: May 23, 2016

Every year you read or hear stories about yet another fire that started in a fireplace. Sometimes the fire was in the living room, while others started on the roof.

While the winter season has passed us, many chimney owners will occasionally light a summer fire, especially on a cold rainy July night. No matter the season, your fireplace should be treated properly and not forgotten about. Fireplaces are a great addition to a home, but only if you use them safely.

Using Dry Wood

Fireplace owners know that the wood used should be on the dry side, but keep in mind that wood with some moisture in it is beneficial as well. About 20% of dry wood still holds moisture and that moisture helps to slow down the time it takes for the wood to burn. This reduces the embers that can fly either out of your fireplace (if you don’t use the screen) or up your chimney where they belong.

Don't Burn Your Beautiful Wrapping Paper

Whether you are opening presents during the holidays or a birthday, you may be tempted to burn that pesky wrapping paper in your fireplace. We warn you to avoid doing this. Sure, it burns, but it burns quickly, is quite light and the embers really fly. Some fly right up the chimney and onto your roof or your landscaping! This is dangerous and can cause serious damage to your home and your neighbors home as the embers spread. Flourescent and bright wrapping paper has finishes and ink that could very well be toxic at high temperatures. Don’t burn rolled newspapers, charcoal, garbage or plastic in your fireplace and never use an accelerant. If you have trouble starting the fire, you can use crumpled newspaper on the grate and then put the logs on top of it.


Protecting Your Home From Carbon Monoxide

Posted On: May 19, 2016

Heating systems in the process of producing heat also create carbon monoxide, a dangerous and odorless gas that is expelled from your home via your chimney flue. In most homes, especially in the Boston and larger New England area, there is a chimney that is functioning properly and this carbon monoxide is removed safely and efficiently.

However, there are situations that arise over time that can lead to some level of carbon monoxide escaping the flue and entering your home. This is obviously a major problem and can lead to health issues and possibly even death. Most homes should have carbon monoxide detectors installed, but this invisible gas is so dangerous that even a detector may not help.

As a chimney inspection and repair company we know that a yearly inspection is the best way to avoid this problem. We also understand that many homeowners will go years or even decades without having their chimney inspected. It is not uncommon for a chimney lining to deteriorate over time. We also see situations where a new boiler is installed but the retrofit to the existing chimney liner is not proper.

We highly recommend that all of our customers, friends and neighbors have a carbon monoxide detector installed in their home. This inexpensive device could be the difference in preventing carbon monoxide poisening to you and your loved ones.

Make sure you have your detector installed and working and remember to have your chimney inspected annually by Guaranteed Chimney of New England.


How Often Should Chimney Vents Be Cleaned and Inspected?

Posted On: May 16, 2016

Most homeowners ignore chimney inspections because they don’t think they use their fireplace enough to warrant it or because they have a gas fireplace and don’t think it’s necessary, but if you are using your chimney to heat parts of your home, it must be inspected and cleaned. The smallest thing could go wrong and cause serious harm to yourself and your home. Until you have a problem that is a result of a deteriorating chimney, you won’t realize that the cost of inspecting your chimney is far smaller than the expense that results from ignoring your chimney.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America has a standard recommendation for not only the frequency of chimney inspections, but also for the depth of the inspection that should be performed. Here is what is recommended and should be required of all chimney owners and users.

A level 1 inspection should be performed annually. This is the minimum requirement for a homeowner. This inspection will examine the readily accessible areas of your chimney such as the flue, the vents, the soundness of your chimney’s structure, the basic appliance connectors (in the case of gas fireplaces), and your damper. He will also check to see that your chimney is free of obstructions and creosote deposits which are combustible. This applies to wood-burning fireplaces and yellow and blue flame gas fireplaces.

A level 2 inspection is performed when you change anything within your system; fuel type, relining, addition of an appliance of a different rating efficiency. This inspection will also be required if a level 1 inspection suggests there may be a hazard that is hidden and requires special tools to provide access. Seismic events warrant this inspection, which addresses accessible areas of the chimney as well as attics, crawl spaces and basements. It also looks at the clearance of combustible materials.

A level 3 inspection is warranted by a level 2 inspection finding or a chimney fire. Don’t wait until you need one of these.


Post-winter Chimney Maintenance

Posted On: May 16, 2016

Post-winter Chimney Maintenance

Inspection and maintenance of your chimney prior to winter is critical to the upkeep of your chimney as well as the safety over your home throughout the winter and before the snow arrives. With the fireplace in use over the cold months, the interior of your chimney may have build-up of toxic creosote-a result of improper cleaning or negligence. As we head into the Spring and Summer months, we implore you to once again examine the key areas of the chimney. While we recommend the professionals to complete the inspection, an experienced homeowner may be able to handle the following tasks.


The chimney's exterior mainly consists of bricks and mortar. Make sure to adequately look for cracks or any spots where the masonry is missing. If not properly sealed, water could leak into the interior and lead to serious damage. The same goes for the flashing, a sealing component where the roof meets the top of the chimney.


The cap is designed to allow smoke to leave and keep animals out. If there is an opening certain creatures such as raccoons, squirrels and birds will enter and possibly nest. They just know that this is a warm spot to reside. If this is the case, you may need more than a chimney expert. You will require animal control experts.


Since the fireplace has likely been used throughout the winter, perhaps even five times a week, the Spring is really the ideal time to conduct a full sweep and cleaning. As mentioned elsewhere on our site, creosote will build and become toxic. If you don’t want to stick an object in the flue to measures the thickness of creosote, an easier way to judge is by smell. When it gets warmer, a musty, smoky odor will especially be noticeable.

Taking care of all this may seem like a lot of extra work, but it’s worth it for sound piece of mind. Plus your fireplace will be clean and ready for the following winter.