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Magic Sweep Blog

Creosote Removal

Your chimney works constantly while there is a fire burning. Whether you burn a fire every day, or infrequently, it still releases byproducts that coat the inside of your chimney. Every fire releases soot and creosote into the chimney to be vented. These fine particles stick to the walls of the flue liner because of their sticky composition.

Creosote Removal Image - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep CorporationWhat is Creosote?

Much like soot, creosote comes from every organic fire. It’s made up mostly of tar, which makes it sticky and flammable. A fine coating of creosote can quickly become a dangerous buildup. This is due to the nature of creosote sticking to itself and reacting to heat. When it is left unchecked it becomes a dangerous level 3 buildup, also called glazed creosote.

Glazed Creosote and Fire Risk

When creosote is subject to high temperatures, it melts from it’s solid form and evaporates. It then leaves behind a highly concentrated, glazed fuel. Glazed creosote is not only highly flammable, but extremely hard. It also disrupts airflow and causes further creosote and soot buildup within the flue. When the airflow is compromised and the chimney’s efficiency drops, the hot air and sparks slow in the flue. This ignites the creosote, thus resulting in a creosote fire!

Creosote Fire Versus Flue Fire

When creosote ignites, it is in the flue, so it’s referred to as a flue or chimney fire, but a creosote fire is far more serious than any flue fire. Because of the concentrated fuel present in the glazed creosote, the fire burns at such a high temperature and intensity, it can crumble and destroy mortar, can shoot fire out of the chimney and onto the roof, crack or warp flue liners, and flames can quickly spread to the rest of the house causing fire and smoke damage.

What You Can Do

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), most flue fires go unnoticed. They end up dying out, because of a lack of oxygen or fuel. This is an ideal scenario, but is not the case if there is creosote in the chimney. Creosote adds fuel to the fire! You can prevent a creosote buildup by scheduling a regular chimney sweep with your trusted chimney professionals. At Magic Sweep, our technicians are experienced and trained to clean every chimney until it’s safe and clean.

When a Magic Sweep technician comes into the home to sweep your chimney he will use drop cloths to protect your floors. Also, use a state of the art vacuum system to protect your belongings and air. Using hand tools and brushes, the chimney is swept clean of soot, creosote, and debris. If there is a buildup of glazed creosote, the removal is slightly different. It requires a chemical treatment to transform it into a brittle, easily-removable substance. This process is the easiest way to prevent a flue fire, keep your chimney working at its best, and keep it working longer.

You should not depend on amateurs or chimney sweeping products to clean your chimney! Not to mention, any store-bought product stands NO chance against glazed creosote.

Let the sweeps that put your safety and comfort above all else. Call Magic Sweep today at 757-523-2400 or schedule your sweep using our convenient online appointment manager!

Get a Jump-Start on Your Annual Chimney Cleaning by Scheduling Now

Everyone loves the warm temperatures of summer – at least for a few weeks. Whether you love it or hate it, the summer months never last quiet as long as expected. Before we know it, temperatures are dipping again, and it’s important to be ready for it. You spring clean to prepare for another year of wear and tear, and clutter. You pack away seasonal clothes in order to find them when the weather changes. We like to prepare ahead of time! You can make sure your chimney is prepared ahead of schedule as well.

Get a Jump-Start on Your Annual Chimney Cleaning Image - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep CorporationPreventative Maintenance

Both the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend annual chimney maintenance to keep your chimney at it’s safest and most efficient. When your chimney system works properly, it means less repairs, less wear and tear, and less danger overall.

  • Routine chimney sweeps are essential for a healthy chimney system.
    The soot and creosote produced by your fire can coat the inside of the system causing corrosion, buildup, and fire danger.
  • Annual chimney inspections are more than a cleaning.
    They involve a thorough assessment of your chimney system by a certified chimney sweep who is trained to spot weaknesses before damage occurs. Afterwards, offer the homeowner a report and a detailed repair plan. For more information on the three levels of inspection, click here.

Forward Scheduling

Schedule your annual chimney sweep today and avoid the fall rush. The fall rush is the time between October and January in which chimney sweep companies are busy with emergency calls, installations, inspections, and more. During this time it can be difficult to get a desired appointment time, technician, or even the company you want. You can avoid the hassle of the fall rush by scheduling in advance. Magic Sweep takes appointments a year in advance! You can schedule your chimney sweep for next year; and don’t think about it again until a technician calls you to confirm.

Summer Scheduling

You can benefit by scheduling your chimney sweep during the summer months for a variety of reasons.

  • Scheduling during the off season means you don’t have to go without your fireplace before the chimney sweep. Your fire is already out.
  • A clean chimney system means no foul, summer odors. Summer humidity mingles with soot and creosote to create unwelcome odors.
  • Chimney maintenance in the summer means you have several weeks to make necessary repairs. Even during a chimney sweep, an experienced chimney expert can spot a problem or weakness and recommend repairs.
  • Summer work can be easier on the wallet due to tax refunds and avoiding major holidays.

When you schedule your chimney sweep now, you ensure your chimney is ready for winter. Make sure your chimney is ready with the Three S’s: SAFE, SATISFACTORY, and STANDARD. By hiring a professional now, your winter fires will be safe for your family, warm, and up to code! Schedule now online or by phone at 757-523-2400.

Make Sure Your Air Ducts Are Clean

During the summer months, we generally spend the hottest parts of the day indoors. The cool air blasting through our central air and heat duct system is great! Despite the fact that this air is “conditioned” it can carry harmful particles to your family. This can result in illnesses that you won’t even realize are related to your air conditioning. Common contaminants that are found in air ducts include: dust, dirt, debris, and pathogens. The US Environmental Protection Agency says you should consider having your air ducts professional cleaned if you can visibly detect mold, rodent infestation, or a dirt or debris buildup in your duct system.

Make Sure Your Air Ducts Are Clean Image - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep CorporationThe Problem with Dirty Air Ducts

When an air duct isn’t cleaned regularly, it can become filled with dirt, dust, and debris that isn’t caught by the filter. Generally, the filter is placed at the intake vent where air is pulled into the system. Many outlets are found on the floor. This means dirt, toys, and other debris can fall into the vents. Unfortunately, this isn’t filtered out since it’s the vent that pushes conditioned or heated air into the home. Do you have roaches, ants, or rodents in your home? If so, you can assume they travel through air vents as much as they do interior walls and floors. Mice leave droppings and urine in air ducts that will be constantly re-circulated!

Moisture in Your Air Duct

A water leak in the hidden portions of your home can result in water in your air duct. Rodent urine can also result in moisture in your air duct. Despite the cause of moisture in the air duct, it is the first component needed for bacteria to thrive. Water in your air duct, combined with the heat and dark of a central air and heat system can result in a thriving population of mold spores. This mold is then circulated constantly throughout your home. Consequently resulting in respiratory illnesses, chronic cough, cold symptoms, sinuses, allergies, and more. You may go months without realizing the occurrence is due to a dirty air duct system!

Professional Cleaning and Maintenance

Like every system in the home, the safety, efficiency, and life of the air duct system depends largely on routine and professional maintenance. The average homeowner doesn’t know how to clean an air duct, detect damage or dirtiness, or maintain it properly. Do you suspect a problem with your air duct system? Then you should contact a professional to asses it. If you haven’t had it assessed or cleaned, or if it wasn’t installed by an HVAC professional, you should call one to assess it. If you just bought or are looking to sell your property, you should have it professionally assessed.

At Magic-Sweep our air duct cleaning services include a power vacuum system. This system removes pollutants and contaminants such as animal dander, dead skin cells of humans, mold spores, dust, pollen, and more. These things that you may inhale and breathe regularly, can be gone in a matter of hours.

Don’t worry about the air you’re breathing while you’re stuck inside on those hot days. Enjoy your air conditioning system with clean air circulating throughout your home. Call Magic-Sweep today at 757-523-2400!

We Can Help You Sell Your House

The housing market can wax and wane as swiftly as the stock market. It can be nearly impossible to sell property during certain economic circumstances and even certain times of the year. One thing remains unchanged about the housing market, however: fireplaces sell. In fact, real estate agents and home-buyers list fireplaces as one of their most sought-after features. It doesn’t even matter if it’s a traditional masonry fireplace that burns wood or a a gas insert or log set. Fireplaces are coveted by homeowners either for the added heat or the ambiance. There are 40 percent of buyers admitting they’d pay more to have a fireplace!

We Can Help You Sell Your House Image - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep CorporationLevel Two Inspections

Magic Sweep offers chimney inspections in compliance with CSIA standards. A level two inspection is required when there is a transfer of ownership of a property. This means that your chimney should be inspected before you sell your home. This is so that you can disclose problems to possible home-buyers. Also, so that you can improve the value of your home. A level two inspection can help you raise property value prior to a refinance or home sale.

The Solution to a Broken Firebox

If your technician finds your firebox has a major issue, repairs can come at a cost. However, there is another solution. Magic Sweep sells the best products on the market for just this situation. A gas, wood, or pellet insert can be just the solution for your broken firebox. A fireplace expert can work with you to choose exactly to your tastes and needs. They can even consult with your realtor for the best way to restore your fireplace and help you sell your home.

First, a Magic Sweep technician will carefully measure the existing firebox to choose the insert to fit perfectly. Then, will help you decide which insert will work best with your property. Gas inserts are a great option and most efficient. Remember though, they require an existing gas hook-up! Otherwise, installation may cost more than you’d like before a sale. Wood and pellet inserts are also great options and highly efficient.

The Solution to a Broken Chimney

Perhaps your firebox is in good shape, but your chimney is irreparably damaged. With professional help you can still use your fireplace to sell your house! Choose a gas log set and have your chimney closed off permanently. Magic Sweep technicians are experts at installing vent-free gas log sets that are realistic and beautiful, and will provide exceptional zone heating for your new buyer.

After Magic Sweep helps you prepare your chimney and fireplace for your sale, you will get an inspection for your personal records and sale. Call Magic Sweep today at 757-523-2400!

In addition to regular services that can help sellers get the most out of their property when they sell, Magic Sweep also offers special consideration to realtor and property managers.

Why You Should Choose A Fireplace Insert

There are a few great reasons to install a fireplace insert. Many homeowners choose to install a fireplace insert instead of repairing a badly damaged firebox. This is because an insert is a self-contained firebox in itself. There are other reasons to visit the Magic Sweep showroom and peruse the large selection of fireplace inserts there.

Why You Should Choose a Fireplace Insert Image - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep CorporationRaise Efficiency with an Insert

Even a well-maintained fireplace and chimney system is not as efficient as a stove or insert. The traditional masonry chimney loses up to 70 percent of it’s heat. Consequently, the bigger the fire, the more heat that’s lost. A wood fireplace without tempered glass doors can waste valuable firewood and heat over a long winter. Purchasing a fireplace insert means more heat with less resources!

Switch Fuel Type with an Insert

You can easily switch fuel type by installing an insert. Magic Sweep sells gas, wood, and pellet inserts that fit seamlessly into your existing fireplace.

  • Gas inserts are the most efficient and designed to look like a traditional wood fire, but with more heat and less fuel. Many homeowners choose gas inserts. This is because they’re considered low-maintenance. Plus, most have the convenience of an on/off switch.
  • Pellet inserts are also highly efficient. They feature a hopper that feeds the fire steadily, creating consistent heat. Pellets are a manufactured product that must be bought. Like gas, it is an eco-friendly option.
  • Wood inserts are as efficient as a wood stove, but less efficient than a gas or pellet insert. These are a good option if you have a source for seasoned firewood. If you are selective of how and where you collect your firewood, they are also an eco-friendly option, creating less particulate pollution than a traditional masonry fireplace.

Update Your Fireplace with an Insert

Are you remodeling or looking for a fireplace face-lift? If so, an insert can do the trick with minimal work. A beautiful insert complements your decor and an efficient appliance. Just like an insert can help you when re-financing, remodeling, or selling. Fireplaces are the most sought-after features, and home buyers will pay more for a fireplace!

Call a Professional

Many models require installation by a certified professional in order to maintain a factory-warranty. A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) should install your fireplace insert after inspecting the chimney system for proper function. Magic Sweep technicians are trained and experienced in proper installation, and the most common insert we sell and install are our gas inserts. One of our fireplace experts can walk you through the process from show-room to living room. We measure meticulously for a perfect fit, choosing the fuel type for your specific needs, and installing the appliance and inspecting it before use.

When you’re ready to make a change by choosing a fireplace insert, call Magic Sweep at 757-523-2400 or request an appointment online. We also offer special discounts to realtors and property managers. Find out how we can help you today!