Tips for Preventing Chimney Fires

Tips for Preventing Chimney Fires

Do you want to know how to maintain your chimney? Chimney fires are very scary and dangerous. There are more than 25,000 chimney fires every year in the United States. The damages are great to the home sometimes destroying a home and also putting lives at risk. These fires are preventable. It is extremely important to clean, inspect and fix a chimney yearly to prevent these fires from happening and keep your families safe. Here are some ideas to prevent chimney fires from happening in your home:

Prevent Chimney Fires By Cleaning up the Build-Up:

The key cause of chimney fires is something called creosote. Creosote is a dark brown or black flammable tar put on the walls of a chimney especially from wood smoke. If the temperature of the space inside the chimney gets very high and the creosote build-up is thick, it catches on fire and can spread and move up the flue of the chimney. To reduce the build-up, only use seasoned wood that is dry and always keep the damper open so that there is enough airflow. An insulated flue liner will avoid temperatures from getting too cool and therefore forming creosote to thicken.

Prevent Chimney Fires By Schedule a Chimney Inspection:

A yearly inspection of the chimney on the inside and outside is important. Many flaws lead to chimney fires for example; a damaged flue liner and creosote build-up. A professional chimney sweeper will let you know of any damage that is found and any needs of repair. Check with your chimney sweep company about what kind of inspection is recommended for your chimney, to prevent build-up and possible fire.

Chimney Sweeps in NJPrevent a Chimney Fire by Installing a Chimney Cap:

Small animals can leave nests inside a flue and also there could be dry leaves inside which can quickly ignite a chimney fire when they come across loose ashes. A chimney cap around the outside opening of the flue will keep all these things out. Keeping the flue clear and proper airflow happening. This cap also prevents smoke from a fire re-entering the chimney and then coming into your home, filling your home with smoke.

Prevent Chimney Fires by Using Safe Fire Starters:

Always use the well seasoned wood logs, which are CSIA-approved logs. Never under any circumstance use gasoline to start at fire, since it is highly flammable and can quickly create an uncontrolled blaze. Using old newspapers or even pine cones or twigs for kindling a fire is acceptable. Do not use cardboard or glossy fancy paper as it may contain chemicals that will release fumes all around your home making the air toxic.

Prevent Chimney Fires By Using Clean Burning Methods:

The best way to produce a clean fire is to place large logs vertically at the bottom of the fireplace then add three or four horizontal logs on top, also placing some old newspaper or twigs and then lighting for a fire. Remember always before going to bed, put out the fire. You can spread out the wood so it starts cooling off, and once the wood is cooled you can wet the wood to put out any remaining sparks. Once the firebox has cooled, preferably at least eight hours, you can then shovel the ashes into a metal container. You can fill the metal container with water and store it outside of your home also away from any flammable objects.

So how to prevent chimney fires will keep your home safe. A clean chimney will not produce a fire therefore proper care and regular cleanings are extremely necessary to guarantee the safety of your family and home. Keep a clean chimney and you will have a safer home. Chimney fires are a dangerous problem but they can definitely be prevented. It is important to only use in your fireplace resources that are safe to burn and will not harm your chimney. This is critical in keeping your chimney in a safe and working order. An annual chimney inspection and cleaning are a crucial part of your home maintenance.

looking for a highly Experienced Chimney Sweep for a Chimney Inspection in the Central New Jersey Area?

Are you looking for the best chimney services in the Central NJ area?  Contact St. John Chimney Sweeps today to inspect your chimney and have it cleaned. St. John Chimney Sweeps has been in business for over 15 years. We are a full service chimney and fireplace sweeping and installation company in Princeton, New Jersey. We offer 100% customer satisfaction and a no mess guarantee. Our products also come with a lifetime warranty. The employees at St. John Chimney Sweeps go through an extensive training and have earned certificates, which permit them to do the job right. We are honest and efficient in all our jobs. We are also a licensed and insured company. St John Chimney Sweeps is the most trusted New Jersey chimney sweep company. We have the experience and the skills to far exceed your expectations. Give us a call today. We encourage you to look through our website and see all we have to offer. Our blog can guide you in the right direction with helpful tips and advice on chimney related services.

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Chimney Sweep Mercer County

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Chimney sweeping is needed for furnaces

Chimney sweeping is needed for furnaces

The National Fire Prevention Association 211 codes state the “Chimneys must be inspected and cleaned annually as necessary by a certified chimney sweep”.  Most homeowners assume that their furnace company includes chimney cleaning as part of their maintenance process, but that is not true.


Chimney neglect will cause significant damage and endangers your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Oil and gas furnaces and hot water heaters rely on the chimney for proper venting of exhaust.  Although gas and oil appliances do not create creosote that wood-burning appliances do, they still produce soot.  Soot is a highly corrosive substance that can damage chimneys and increase carbon monoxide levels in your home.

Furnace Flues can become blocked which allows a blowback of soot into your home and poisonous carbon monoxide to seep into your living space.  If the furnace is in the basement, the levels can build up to dangerous high levels undetected.  Scheduling an annual chimney sweep inspection and placing a carbon monoxide detector in the basement will save lives.


During the winter months, the furnace can not be cleaned without turning off the heat.  During the winter, long running cycles produce soot and harmful substances that cling to the inside of the chimney.  The accumulation of these substances restricts the escape of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and water vapor.

The furnace produces acidic condensate that will literally eat away at the flue lining in the chimney.  If a clay liner begins to deteriorate, the broken bits can fall into the furnace damaging the operating mechanism.  Chimney blockages will send the carbon monoxide straight into the basement, then the home living area.

The fumes are invisible, odorless, and tasteless.  Carbon Monoxide can only be monitored by a detector designed for that purpose.  A carbon monoxide detector is built into some brands of smoke detectors, and the battery should be changed twice a year when the clocks fall back and spring forward.


Fireplace flue cleaning and chimney sweeping refer to the same process. During the service, the technician generally uses a stiff-bristled brush or other chimney cleaning system to brush the inside of the flue to remove buildup from its walls.

Chimneys are havens for creatures and cause dangerous obstructions.  Even if your chimney has a hood, creatures can access the funnel and flue. Smoky brown cockroaches are good flyers and can work their way down into the home where they like to live. They like flat roof areas and chimneys – this is how they enter structures. A chimney screen’s holes allow safe smoke ventilation, but nothing else can squeeze through it like fleas or cockroaches.  One problem with screens is that pests can bite through them over time. To account for this issue, you could install both a chimney cap and a chimney screen with an annual chimney sweep inspection to ensure both layers of protection are intact.

If you have a chimney in New Jersey, chances are you’ll have Stink Bugs. The heat from buildings will escape from chimneys and vents and they will find their way in as they are attracted to warm areas in cold nights. Beetles and ants can crawl through the cracks of older fireplaces, especially if they’re built with brick. Wasps will nest in your chimney.  Exterminating insects in the chimney by spraying will deter infestation.  A more permanent solution is installing fine mesh screens, top sealing dampers, and by sealing cracks in your chimney’s exterior with mortar.

Raccoons, squirrels, birds, bats, and other larger pests can use the chimney itself as nesting spots. The chimney cap needs to be steel or copper lid with a mesh wire opening on its underside and installed at the mouth of your chimney.  A professional Chimney sweep will remove the hood, replace it with a mesh wire cap, and remove the obstructions from the funnel and the flue.

Bees should not be exterminated; they should be preserved.  Unlike wasps, bees are purely vegetarian in both the adult and larval stages. Bees gather nectar from flowers as a source of carbohydrates, as do many wasps. They fulfill their protein needs by collecting pollen. Most species of bees are valuable pollinators, and honeybees are an essential partner in the production of food crops for people.

More than 80% of U.S. food crops are pollinated by honeybees. In New Jersey, blueberries, cranberries, pumpkins, squash, strawberries, soybeans, cucumbers, peaches, and apples are among the many crops that benefit from honeybee pollination. Although wild insect pollinators such as wasps and other bee species help in native plant reproduction, only honeybees live in managed colonies of sufficient numbers for effective pollination of commercial crops.  Only honeybees can be transported to large areas of blooming crops for pollination services. The past two decades have seen dramatic declines in the number of honeybees, due to the introduction of parasitic mites, diseases, and habitat loss. Visit to find out about bee-friendly plants you can cultivate. If a beehive sets up home in the top of your chimney you need a professional chimney sweep and a bee wrangler to remove the entire hive.  The New Jersey Bee Association lists bee wranglers who can help.


A crucial component to the safe operation of your furnace is the proper configurations and size of the entire venting system.  Homeowners often forget that when they purchase a new HVAC or furnace system, they need chimney sweep professionals to assess their new system.  Manufacturers requirements specifically indicate the proper flue size for the safe operation of their system.  If the flue size is incorrect excessive moisture and combustion gases will build up.   Moisture is a huge enemy to your ventilation system.

If the system is being converted from oil to gas, building codes require a chimney sweep assessment, cleaning, and inspection prior to installing and operating the new system.


Spring, summer, autumn are great times to have your chimney sweep service.  An annual inspection and cleaning by a CSIA- certified company will ensure the ventilation system is adequate and chimney is safe.  Their assessment will also check gaskets and joints are intact.

In winter, the heat will have to be stopped for the chimney sweep to complete his inspection and service.  Snow does not stop chimney sweeps.  Before any sweeping is done, a visual inspection is performed to determine if the flue needs to be swept. Roof access is not needed to make this determination. Additionally, sweepings are generally performed from the base, making outside weather conditions irrelevant when it comes to running our brushes.


All About Cleaning Your Chimney

All About Cleaning Your Chimney

A considerable amount of house fires in Mercer County are caused when creosote cakes up up on the interior of a chimney. Despite that fact, many homeowners continue to disregard this significant risk, and don’t take preventative measures when it comes to Mercer County chimney cleaning. When houses were heated by fireplaces only, prior to the Industrial Revolution, chimney sweeps were in demand as 19th century homeowners realized how important a clean chimney was for avoiding house fires.

Mercer County Chimney Cleaning

Chimney Cleaning in Mercer CountyIn the 21st century, avoiding a house fire is just as important. Even though most contemporary homeowners use their fireplaces for coziness or have remote controlled natural gas flames to fuel their fires, the majority still use wood to burn and are susceptible to creosote buildup in their dampers and flues. Homeowners are urged to have their chimneys inspected for creosote buildup and a chimney cleaning if necessary in the spring of each year.

Chimney fires are characterized by loud cracking or popping noises and a lot of dense smoke from the flue, but often times go undetected by the homeowner. Chimney fires are often explosive, and it is common for neighbors to hear the explosions and alert the homeowner. Chimney fires can burn at extremely high temperatures (up to 2,000 degrees F).

These super-hot fires will weaken masonry chimney structure after creosote residue builds up in sufficient quantities. The conditions that tend to attract creosote buildup include the natural lack of air supply in chimneys, burning wood that lacks enough seasoning, and cool chimney temperatures that occur in four-season environments. Overloading your firebox to get longer fires can also contribute to creosote residue buildup in your chimney.

So, how often do chimney fires happen? Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) statistics indicate there are more than 25,000 chimney fires annually in the US. These cause over $125 million in property damage, but, if they spread to occupied homes the measurement of human deaths and injuries is impossible to compute.

How Often Should You Get Mercer County Chimney Cleaning Service?

You should have an annual chimney inspection by a reputable Mercer County chimney sweep organization. Depending on how often you use your fireplace to burn wood, creosote residue will build up in your chimney. There are many factors that influence the amount of creosote stuck to the walls of your chimney, such as the volume of airflow into your chimney and burning improperly seasoned wood, which encourage such a buildup. Creosote will also buildup in the flue if you have unburned wood in the firebox.

There is not a “hard and firm” rule of thumb on how often to clean your chimney. An examination by an experienced chimney sweep is the only way to learn if your chimney, whether masonry or metal, needs a cleaning.

Modern prefabricated metal chimneys are specially treated to withstand the high temperatures of a chimney fire without suffering severe damage. Should they suffer damage from a chimney fire, the professional recommendation is to no longer use the chimney until you replace the unit.

Forms of Preventative Maintenance:

A common homeowner question: “How can I maintain the safety of my chimney between professional cleanings to avoid chimney fires?” There are things homeowners can do to better avoid often dangerous chimney fires. Here are a few steps Mercer County homeowners can take:

  • Do not let ashes gather in the firebox. Clean them out if they are accumulating.
  • Be sure to only use seasoned firewood in your fireplace. If you gather it yourself, season it for a year or more before you burn it. If you buy it from a vendor, ensure that the firewood company only offers seasoned wood.
  • Ensure the damper is entirely open BEFORE lighting a fire in the firebox.
  • Do not burn pressure-treated or painted wood in the fireplace. This will hasten creosote buildup (pressure-treated wood) or potentially create toxic fumes (painted wood) that are dangerous to your family members.
  • Put the largest logs on the bottom of the firebox, followed by smaller logs on top. Why? The fire will burn hotter and produce less smoke. Top that pile with kindling (around one inch) and crushed newspaper to get the fire started properly. This method will retard residue buildup in your chimney.
  • Have an annual inspection of your chimney by a professional. Hire an experienced, reliable chimney sweep to mechanically clean your chimney, removing tar and creosote.

Can Just Use “Chimney Sweeping Logs?”

Mercer County Chimney CleaningIt is not really the logs that do much, but the chemicals within them. Some “chimney sweeping log” products claim to assist retarding creosote buildup, and some of them do so. Those that are somewhat effective in maintaining your chimney between cleanings contain chemicals similar to the chemicals used by chimney sweeps for professional cleanings.

The chemicals are carried up the flue by the rising exhaust from the safe fire in your fireplace. These logs break down the residue coating the inside of your chimney, but many experts have a problem with the marketing strategy for these products.

If you read the “fine print” disclosures for these logs, you will see that the chemicals imbedded in them are labelled “might reduce creosote by as much as 60 percent.” However, experts refute this by saying, “The use of chimney sweeping logs alone is not an adequate substitute for mechanical chimney cleaning and inspection because it does not provide for the same level of protection to the chimney system. Every time you burn wood in your fireplace or wood stove, tar and creosote are formed and over time build up on the inside of your chimney.”

The bottom line is to not rely solely on chimney sweeping logs rather than hiring a professional Mercer County chimney sweep to clean your chimney. While they can help you maintain your chimney between professional chimney sweep cleanings, they do not replace the need for regular chimney inspections and cleanings.

Looking for the Best Mercer County Chimney Sweep?

If you’re looking for the best Mercer County chimney sweep, contact St John Chimney Sweeps right away. At St John Chimney Sweeps we offer 100% customer satisfaction. We have been in business for over 15 years, and St John Chimney Sweeps is the only name you need to know for a full-service chimney sweeping and installation in the New Jersey area. Our employees have had extensive training and have earned many certificates that help them do their job with full expertise. We are efficient and provide a full explanation of the work we need to complete. Our licensed and insured company is also a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild. We have been supplying expert sweeps, repairs and installation services to homeowners all across the state of New Jersey. Call us at (609)737-0133 to find out more about our free estimates. Let us take care of all your chimney needs!

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Local Trenton Chimney Inspection

Local Trenton Chimney Inspection

Do you have a fireplace on your home and need to get a local Trenton chimney inspection? Your fireplace is just a location that hosts a contained fire in your home. There is a lot of potential for harm because of this. Getting your chimney inspected is a good way to make sure that your chimney is in good condition to work properly. Here are some of the main benefits to getting a chimney inspection.

Professional Local Trenton Chimney Inspection

Reasons for Local Trenton Chimney Inspection

1. Any cracks create a huge threat. The flue of your chimney is an extremely important part and needs to be in good condition. It is what brings the heat and gases out of your home so that it doesn’t build up inside. As it is used more and more, it will deteriorate and start to wear down. If your flue isn’t working properly, you put your whole home at risk for fire damage. Cracks in the masonry itself can also make your chimney less effective and minimize the experience of having a chimney in the first place.

2. You allow for repairs before it gets too bad. By getting a local Trenton chimney inspection you can uncover minor problems. The longer you hold off on getting smaller problems fixed, the less expensive it will be in the long run to fix. Detecting minor problems early also means they can be fixed before any extreme damage is caused.

3. Clear out any animals that may have taken up residence. It’s not uncommon for animals such as squirrels or birds to have created a nest in your chimney. This is extremely dangerous not only for you, but also puts them at risk. An unexpected nest in the top of your chimney can cause a fire that may lead to your whole house being at risk. Getting any nests cleaned out before using the chimney is vital.

Do You Need a Professional Local Trenton Chimney Inspection?

Getting your chimney inspected regularly is important. When you have your chimney swept, you should also get a local Trenton chimney inspection at the same time. For the best local Trenton chimney inspection services, contact St John Chimney Sweeps today. They’ve been in the business for over 15 years and offer 100% satisfaction and no-mess guarantee with every job. For more information on their services, contact them today by calling (609)737-0133 or visit the website!

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Do You Know How to Maintain Your Chimney?

When is the last time you took a close look at your chimney? West Windsor chimney inspections are always a good idea. Some of the issues related to damage are obvious to see. Do you know how to maintain your chimney? If not there are several important points to consider. Of course you should always expect the professionals to accomplish these tasks and more. The biggest issue with chimneys is getting all the way to the top. Most of us aren’t comfortable working high up in the air so while we share these thoughts with you, keep in mind no one expects the average homeowner to tackle these jobs on their own. Trust the professionals, but educate yourself.

How to Maintain your chimney

How to Maintain Your Chimney | Caps

Starting from the very top, which might be hard to see without a close look, caps can be in need of careful cleaning or replacing. Depending upon how old they are it might be easier to go with a newer cap. These serve several important purposes. The first is that they allow the exhaust to escape unhindered by back draft and the elements. Secondly they keep flying critters from venturing down the chimney for whatever reason flying critters chose to do such a thing. One last aspect is how they protect the flu from soot and rain.

There are options when it comes to chimney caps and in some areas the zoning laws affect those choices. Professionals know what the codes allow in your area but it helps to be informed of a couple of popular types of caps. Galvanized might be ok for some climates and provide long life but purchasing a stainless steel cap will give you the longest possible life. Protecting the flu is one of the most important goals in maintaining your chimney because replacing the flu is an expensive operation.

Cracks and Where to Find Them

Ideally you don’t find any cracks but unless your house is very new it is worth looking the entire chimney over. Cracks can lead to moisture penetration which can lead to unseen damage. They also pose a risk of weakening the structure significantly. Above the roof line we expect to see cracks, especially in areas where snow collects and sits for extended periods of time. Just below the cap and where the roof is sealed to the chimney, look for cracks and missing chunks of concrete.

Sealing these seams and replacing mortar is the first step. It is also a good idea to weather seal the entire area to protect it from the inevitable. Wind, rain, snow and changing temperatures are going to provide constant stress that needs attention periodically. It is far better to have a good maintenance program and never have the need for major repairs. Depending upon the position of your chimney, the professionals might make other suggestions to protect the structure periodically.

How to Maintain Your Chimney | Regular Cleaning

It can’t be stressed enough how important regular cleaning is for a chimney. One of the typical service requirements for furnace maintenance is to check the draw and flow of exhaust. The gasses released from wood, coal, oil and even natural gas are dangerous.

Even if you don’t know how to maintain your chimney, the professionals you contact to give it a good cleaning should know. They can offer support with a detailed analysis of its current condition. In fact you can call St. John Chimney Sweeps at (609) 737-0133 today and schedule an appointment. Our professional team will take care of all your chimney maintenance needs. We treat our customers like family and love to keep them safe.

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Why Hire a New Hope Chimney Inspections Company

Hiring a New Hope Chimney Inspections Company is once of the most important things you can do to keep up with the maintenance of your home. Unfortunately, many homeowners forget to get it done. Not only can this lead to structural damage to your home, but it can also lead to dangerous chimney fires. If more than a year has passed since your last inspection, then you should hire a New Hope chimney inspections company right away! Unless you are a professional, a chimney inspection is not a DIY project. This is because performing a proper inspection and sweep is unlike most home improvement jobs. Today we will be looking at some reasons to hire a New Hope Chimney Inspections company.

Reasons to Get a Professional New Hope Chimney Inspection

A New Hope Chimney Inspections Company will have the right tools for the job

Inspecting and cleaning a chimney can be a very dirty job. Most of us would rather stay far away from the soot, ash and creosote that tends to build up inside a chimney, and we’d like even more for that stuff to stay off of our living room furniture, carpeting or clothes. Dealing with chimney “gunk” is business as usual for a chimney service, though, so they typically have the proper equipment to keep the mess to a bare minimum.

A New Hope Chimney Inspections Company can discover issues that amateurs tend to miss

Are you 100% confident in your ability to perform your own thorough New Hope chimney inspection? Unless you’re a contractor or chimney sweep yourself, then the answer to that question is probably a no. Tools and equipment are one thing, but technical know-how is another matter entirely. And when you pay a professional to inspect or clean your chimney, part of what you’re paying for is the their knowledge.

A true New Hope Chimney Inspections Company will have insurance

A New Hope chimney inspection or chimney sweeping service is usually more dangerous than cleaning a kitchen or a bathroom. Not only does a thorough cleaning usually require that the sweep climb up onto the roof of a house, but it requires handling substances that are flammable and potentially carcinogenic. Whenever you have work done on your home, there’s always some element of risk involved, and sweeping the chimney is no different. Although the job will very likely go off without a hitch, it’s also entirely possible for damage to be done to your property or even a person. The good news is that a reputable New Hope chimney inspection company will have liability insurance to cover any cleaning-related mishaps.

Looking for a New Hope Chimney Inspections Company?

If you are looking for the best Chimney Inspection Services, you’ve come to the right place! For well over 20 years, St John has been providing hundreds of satisfied homeowners with safe chimneys and cozy winters. Our licensed and insured company is also a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) and most of our quality products come with a lifetime warranty. St John is an honest family owned company that takes pride in our positive reputation in the community. For a free Hopewell Chimney Inspection estimate, contact now at (609) 737-0133 or visit the website.

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