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Chimney Health Hazards You Should Know About

You may not realize the dangers that could be lurking within your chimney. Flue blockages, creosote, and cracks in the chimney liner are difficult to see, and they can all lead to hazardous situations, including chimney fires and carbon monoxide leaks.Chimney Health Hazards Image - Shenandoah Valley, VA - Blue Ridge Chimney Services

This is why it is so essential to have your chimney professionally swept and inspected at least once a year. At Blue Ridge Chimney Services, safety is our top priority, which is why we would like to tell you more about chimney health hazards.

CARBON MONOXIDE LEAKS

Known as the “invisible killer,” carbon monoxide can invade your indoor air without you realizing it. Carbon Monoxide is not only odorless but tasteless. This poisonous gas is produced every time you light a fire in your fireplace, and several chimney issues can be responsible for causing it to leak into your home.

A professional chimney inspection can spot these issues, which include cracks in the chimney liner and debris blocking the flue. Blue Ridge Chimney Services also highly recommends that you install carbon monoxide detector alarms throughout your home to alert you if a high concentration of this toxic gas is present in the air you are breathing. Carbon monoxide poisoning has symptoms that are similar to those of the flu, so it can be hard to diagnose. If you continue to breathe in more carbon monoxide, it can be deadly, so be sure to install the detector alarms.

CHIMNEY FIRES

Creosote forms naturally during the combustion process of burning wood. This residue sticks to the inner chimney walls and can accumulate into large deposits. This is dangerous because creosote is so flammable that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has named it as a leading cause of chimney fires. All it takes for creosote to ignite into flames is the internal temperature of the chimney getting hot enough. Large amounts of creosote can fuel a large chimney fire that could spread throughout your home and endanger your life. When Blue Ridge Chimney Services sweeps your chimney, we will make sure to remove every bit of creosote. We want to keep your chimney from being a dangerous fire hazard.

Chimney damage can also cause soot to be forced into your home and cause respiratory problems. Keep your family safe by contacting us at Blue Ridge Chimney Services to schedule an appointment for your annual professional chimney maintenance services today.

By Elizabeth Guy on May 26th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Firebrick Patterns for Interior Fireplaces

If you are thinking about building a new home or adding a traditional masonry fireplace to your current home, Blue Ridge Chimney Services can help. They have years of experience with designing and constructing new fireplaces in the Shenandoah Valley. We not only have a master mason on our staff, but our team includes trained and skilled masonry chimney technicians. If you already have a traditional masonry fireplace and have noticed cracked bricks and crumbling mortar joints in the firebox, we also provide masonry firebox repair services. We would like to tell you more about our professional fireplace repair, rebuilding, renovation, and new construction services.

Durable MaterialsFirebrick Patterns for Interior Fireplaces Image - Shenandoah Valley, VA - Blue Ridge Chimney Services

Blue Ridge Chimney Services uses durable firebricks to ensure your safety.

A damaged firebox can be a very dangerous fire hazard. You can trust us to restore the safety and soundness of your masonry firebox. We only use masonry materials, such as firebricks and refractory mortar, that have been proven to withstand the extremely high temperatures produced inside the firebox because we understand the importance of building with the best materials. We know that our customers appreciate knowing how durable their new or repaired firebox is. Firebricks are also very economical energy-savers, according to Foundry Mag, because of the insulation this type of masonry provides.

Personal Design

Blue Ridge Chimney Services will work with you to design your fireplace exactly how you would like it to look.

You may think that the only design option you have with a masonry fireplace is the traditional running bond pattern, but we have several design options from which you can choose. The stacked bond pattern, a variation of the standard running bond, features continuous horizontal and vertical lines. If you prefer a herringbone pattern, we can do that as well as a variation of that pattern. The split herringbone looks more artisanally crafted because it uses a shorter width of bricks on the sides and back walls. While the floor of the firebox uses bricks with the required width of two and a half inches, the bricks for the walls are only one and a fourth inch wide. We also can do a basket weave pattern if your decor is country rustic.

Start Today

Considering a new fireplace? Contact us at Blue Ridge Chimney Services to schedule a consultation with our masonry staff. We are happy to show you examples of all of our firebrick pattern options to help you make the design decisions.

By Elizabeth Guy on May 8th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Why Professional Certifications Matter

Before hiring a chimney sweep to complete your annual chimney maintenance, you should do a bit of research to find the best sweep. While recommendations from your friends and neighbors are helpful, there is one important qualification you  should be looking for. You need to know if your sweep has been certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). This certification guarantees that this chimney sweep has the knowledge and training necessary to properly sweep and inspect your chimney. You can also trust a CSIA-certified chimney sweep to treat you fairly and honestly. Blue Ridge Chimney Services is proud to have CSIA-certified chimney sweeps on our staff, and want to explain why it’s important to us.

What is the CSIA?Why Professional Certifications Matter Image - Shenandoah Valley, VA - Blue Ridge Chimney Services

Founded in 1983, the CSIA leads the chimney and venting industry when it comes to educating service professionals on the techniques, skills, and safety practices. That includes education for the public on the dangers of chimney fires and other hazards related to the operation and maintenance of chimney and venting systems. This non-profit organization developed nationally recognized certification programs for chimney sweeps as well as dryer vent technicians.

What is involved with receiving CSIA certification?

To prepare for the certification exams, chimney sweeps study three publications: Successful Chimney Sweeping, the 2016 edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 211 Code, and the 2015 edition of the International Residential Code (IRC). Sweeps can participate in the CSIA’s National Chimney Sweep Training School, an in-person review session, or an online review session. After completing the review session, chimney sweeps have up to one year to take two exams to receive certification. At the time of these exams, chimney sweeps must also pay fees and sign the CSIA Code of Ethics. The code of ethics includes keeping up with changes in chimney technology and building codes, and conducting themselves in a fair and honest manner. Certified chimney sweeps sign this and uphold this pledge. A CSIA-certified chimney sweep must renew his or her certification every three years.

You can trust a CSIA-certified chimney sweep to properly take care of any chimney needs you may have. If you live in the Shenandoah Valley, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps.

By Elizabeth Guy on April 6th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

The Importance of Reviewing Your Chimney Sweep Online

Whenever you hire someone to provide a professional service in your home, it is important to know how reputable and trustworthy that person is. This helps you from possibly getting scammed by a dishonest business. In addition, it can ensure your safety when it comes to professional services. It can be easy to find out the reputation of businesses when you have lived in the same area for years. This is because you can ask your friends, neighbors, and family for their recommendations. However, when you have just moved to a new town, the best way to get the scoop on different businesses is by reading online customer reviews.

The Importance of Reviewing Your Chimney Sweep Online Image - Shenandoah Valley VA - Blue Ridge Chimney ServicesThese reviews can provide valuable information that you need in order to hire the best chimney sweep or other professional. Blue Ridge Chimney Services greatly appreciates it when our customers take the time to go to our page on Angie’s List. Also, any other website that specializes in these reviews, such as Yelp. Whether the review is positive or negative, it gives us the chance to learn more about the quality of the services we provide. We would like to tell you a bit more about the importance of reviewing your chimney sweep online.

HELP OTHER MEMBERS OF YOUR COMMUNITY

As mentioned previously, people who have just moved to a community can find hiring a chimney sweep to perform their annual chimney maintenance services to be a challenge. Having your chimney swept and inspected every year is important. This ensures your system is working safely and efficiently. Unfortunately, there are many scam artists who claim to be chimney experts. Consequently, they fail to provide the thorough service necessary to ensure safety standards. In order to protect your family and home, reading online customer reviews is essential. It helps in finding a reputable and certified chimney sweep.

HELP LOCAL BUSINESSES

Customer reviews help consumers be able to hire the best chimney sweeps in their area. Plus, reviews also give businesses the opportunity to find out what they are doing right, as well as what they need to work on to improve. Of course, businesses would love to have every customer review be positive. However, the negative reviews provide the chance to learn from mistakes. At Blue Ridge Chimney Services, we strive to always give excellent customer service. So, when we do have an unsatisfied customer, their review lets us know what we did wrong. Therefore allowing us to correct our mistakes! Also, to be sure that customer ends up with a satisfactory experience.

Reviewing your chimney sweep online is important. It benefits your community as well as the local chimney company. Contact us at Blue Ridge Chimney Services to schedule your annual chimney sweeping. Don’t forget to let us know how we did by writing an online review of our services!

By Elizabeth Guy on March 24th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Carbon Monoxide FAQ

Every time you light a fire in your fireplace, carbon monoxide is produced as one of the byproducts of combustion. This toxic gas is also present any time you burn fuel in stoves, furnaces, gas ranges, grills, automobiles, and other appliances. What makes carbon monoxide so dangerous? You cannot smell, taste, or see this gas. If your fireplace, stove, furnace, or other heating appliance has a problem that causes it to overproduce carbon monoxide, it can build up inside your home without you realizing it. This can lead to a serious health issue – carbon monoxide poisoning! At Blue Ridge Chimney Services, our top priority is customer safety. So, we would like to answer a couple of frequently asked questions about this toxic gas. By doing this, it will help you avoid suffering from this syndrome.

Carbon Monoxide FAQ Image - Shenandoah Valley VA - Blue Ridge Chimney ServicesWhat are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

If you have low levels of carbon monoxide in your blood, you may have a headache, chest pain, and an upset stomach. This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You may also feel dizzy, weak, tired, and/or confused. Since these symptoms are very similar to those of the flu, carbon monoxide poisoning is often misdiagnosed. If you are suffering from these symptoms for longer than a week or two without any improvement, you should ask your doctor to test your blood for carbon monoxide levels. If you continue to be exposed to this toxic gas, you are at risk for serious health issues, including organ damage and even death.

How do I prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in my home?

The most important thing to do to avoid exposure to this poisonous gas? Installing battery-powered carbon monoxide detector alarms in key spots in your home! These spots include the rooms where your fireplace and other types of heating appliances are located. Also, outside of each bedroom. If you have a multi-story home, you should install at least one alarm on each level. You can find detectors that can give you a digital reading of the levels of this gas in your home, as well.

However, all you really need to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning? Have an alarm sound to alert you of the presence of high levels in the air you are breathing. To be certain your alarms are working properly, the CDC recommends checking the batteries when you change your clocks in the spring and fall. Every five years, you should replace your detectors to ensure your safety. If your alarm should sound, you should immediately evacuate everyone from your home and call emergency authorities from outside the house.

Blue Ridge Chimney Services can also help you prevent carbon monoxide poisoning with our professional chimney maintenance services. Avoiding this health hazard is one of the most important reasons why you need to have your chimney swept and inspected annually. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps. We will make sure your fireplace and chimney are working safely with no problems. Especially problems that could cause an overproduction of carbon monoxide to leak into your home!