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Why You Should Care About A CSIA Certification

We expect our fireplaces to burn safely and efficiently each and every time we use them. However, many homeowners are guilty of neglecting their fireplace and chimney maintenance. Whether it has simply been several years since your chimney has been swept or you’ve been going with the cheapest sweep you can find, it is important to reconsider who cares for your chimney.

Because anyone with a truck and a brush can call themselves a chimney sweep, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a seasonal worker and a true professional. One of the best ways to identify a trustworthy, trained, and educated chimney sweep is the CSIA certification.Why Care About a CSIA Certification - Memphis TN - Coopertown Services

What is the CSIA?

The Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving standards within the fireplace industry through the education and training of chimney sweeps. One way that the CSIA achieves this goal is through their professional certifications; considered the top professional organization in the fireplace industry, fewer than 1200 chimney sweeps nationwide hold the prestigious CSIA certification.

Becoming CSIA certified

Earning a CSIA certification takes years of training and testing; the rigorous education process ensures CSIA sweeps are knowledgeable in a wide variety of chimney topics including:

  •  Best practices for safely sweeping and inspecting fireplaces and chimneys
  • Current local and national building codes and standards for fireplaces and chimneys
  •  Basic fireplace construction and draft dynamics
  • Current EPA emissions standards for heating appliances
  • Installation process for wood, gas, pellet, and other fuel sources

Chimney sweeps must re-earn their CSIA certification every three years. The re-certification process includes continuing education courses and testing; this helps ensure that all CSIA certified chimney sweeps are up to date on the latest technological innovations and safety standards in the industry.

Professional code of ethics

In addition to their expansive knowledge base, CSIA chimney sweeps follow a strict code of ethics. In the code of ethics, chimney sweeps pledge “To render my services in an honest and fair manner and to refrain from engaging in unfair or deceptive practices.” This can help homeowners feel assured they are being treated fairly by a professional, rather than someone looking to make a quick buck.

Hiring a chimney sweep

The CSIA database can help homeowners looking for a certified chimney sweep in their area. Asking the following questions before hiring a chimney sweep can help ensure you’re working with the right professional for your home.

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have any references from current customers?
  • Do you carry liability insurance in the event of an accident?
  • Will a CSIA certified chimney sweep be working at my job site?

Anyone with a few brushes can call themselves a chimney sweep; only a CSIA certified professional can truly clean, inspect, and care for your entire fireplace system. For more information on the importance of a CSIA certification or to schedule your next sweeping and inspection, contact Coopertown Services today!

By Christina Robinson on September 16th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Chimney Cap Installation and Repair

The chimney cap sits on top of the chimney and protects the flue from water, animals, debris, and more. In addition to keeping the elements out, chimney caps are also used to help keep sparks and embers off of the roof; this can reduce the risk of accidental firesChimney Cap Installation and Repair - Memphis TN - Coopertown Services your roof or surrounding landscaping or buildings, particularly during extremely dry conditions.

Made of a solid metal hood with mesh or wire sides, chimney caps allow the fireplace to vent effectively without allowing damaging things in. However, chimney caps may become damaged over time and need repairs – or to be replaced – in order to effectively protect your fireplace system.

Chimney cap repair

Chimney caps can be damaged in a number of ways; incorrect installation, overexposure to the elements, or severe weather can all cause damage to the chimney cap. Enterprising squirrels, birds, and raccoons have also been known to cause chimney cap damage in an attempt to get into the flue! If the chimney cap has sustained minor damage, such as holes in the mesh sides, it can often be repaired. More significant damage, however, may require the chimney cap to be replaced entirely.

Chimney cap installation

If your chimney cap is damaged beyond repair, missing entirely, or you simply want to update your roofline, it may be time to consider installing a new chimney cap. The first step is finding a chimney cap that fits your chimney; a perfect fit ensures there are no gaps or cracks large enough for animals, debris, or moisture to fit through. Likewise, a good fit can also prevent damage from severe weather or exposure to the elements. Professional chimney cap installation can ensure that your new chimney cap is not only the right size, but is safely and securely installed to the top of the chimney where it can protect the flue for years to come.

Types of chimney caps

Chimneys come in a wide variety of sizes and styles; because of this, there is also a wide variety of choices for chimney caps. There are three main types of chimney caps: single flue, multi flue, and custom chimney caps.

  • Single flue: Single flue chimney caps are the most common and are a standard safety feature for single flue fireplaces. These chimney caps come in a variety of sizes in order to best fit your specific chimney and can be made of metals including steel or copper.
  • Multi flue: If you have a chimney system with multiple flues, a multi flue chimney cap may be the right choice. These chimney caps are made with a larger hood to cover the tops of multiple flues instead of having a number of smaller caps. This can help create a sleeker roofline.
  • Custom: While chimney caps serve an important functional purpose, their design does not have to be utilitarian. A custom chimney cap can be designed to using a variety of metals to not just perfectly fit your flue, but to match your home’s design and add curb appeal.

Chimney caps serve an important purpose in protecting your fireplace and flue – but this doesn’t have to mean they have to be utilitarian. For more information on repairing your chimney cap or installing a new one, contact Coopertown Services today!

By Christina Robinson on August 31st, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Gas Appliance Services

Gas heating appliances are increasingly popular because of the low cost to operate, ease of use, and the ability to start a fire with the push of a button. While gas appliances require significantly less maintenance than wood burning appliances, they still need regular service to continue to burn safely and efficiently.

Maintaining your gas fireplace

Gas Appliance Services - Memphis TN - Coopertown ServicesIn addition to annual inspections, there are a number of ways homeowners can keep their gas fireplaces burning safely. You should clean the exterior metal and glass of your fireplace. Exterior metal and glass needs to be cleaned when the fireplace is not in use. Regular household glass cleaner is used to remove smudges and smears from exterior components. However, only fireplace-specific cleaners is used on the interior of the gas fireplace.

You should also remove dust from the logs and gas lines. Interior logs and gas lines needs to be cleaned at least one to two times per year. A clean, dry cloth or a new, soft paintbrush are the best tools for cleaning these delicate fireplace components. Special care need to be taken to not move or shift gas lines, as it affects fireplace performance and creates safety problems.

Don’t forget your other gas appliances!

Many homes have other gas appliances too– most of which are rarely inspected or serviced. Gas furnaces and water heaters also vent through a chimney. The venting systems of these gas appliances also need to be regularly inspected. An annual inspection of the venting systems ensure there are no damage or deterioration. It also ensures no gas or byproducts of combustion are entering your home.

Relining the flue

One of the most common major maintenance projects for gas appliances is relining the flue. Many gas appliances are installed with little thought to the existing chimney; while this makes for easy installation, the flue is often sized incorrectly or made of the wrong materials for burning the new appliance. Different size appliances need different size flues to draft safely. When it is too large or too small, the chimney needs to be relined. Relining the chimney ensures the appliance draft safely and efficiently, preventing backup or building of dangerous gases into your home.

Gas heating appliances require flues made of different materials than their wood burning counterparts. They produce different byproducts of combustion. Burning propane and natural gas create corrosive and acidic condensation in the chimney, and it eats away the lining of the flue. Without proper maintenance, these corrosive byproducts lead to extensive damage to the venting system and expensive repairs.

When to call a chimney sweep

Coopertown Services is here to sweep the chimney of your gas fireplace – as well as your other gas appliances. Contact us today at 901-358-7777 for more information regarding the importance of maintenance for gas appliances or to schedule your next appointment.

By Christina Robinson on August 16th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Tips To Keep Squirrels Out Of The Attic

One of the most prolific – and persistent – backyard animals is the squirrel. While many people enjoy seeing them in parks or out in nature, they can become a serious Keep Squirrels Out Of The Attic - Memphis TN - Coopertown Servicesnuisance if they take up residence in your backyard trees. Squirrels have a knack for a number of annoying antics; in addition to being noisy and upsetting family pets, they can destroy gardens, eat the seed from bird feeders, and chew and gnaw their way into your home.

The destructive power of squirrels

Squirrels may be extremely cute, but they can also be extremely destructive. In addition to being able to climb virtually any surface and jump long distances, squirrels can pull apart and chew through most building materials. With a biting power of 7500 pounds per square inch, squirrels can bite through aluminum, wood, vinyl, and plastic.

Keeping squirrels out of the attic

Squirrels may be extremely motivated to find their way into your home, but there are a number of things homeowners can do to keep them out.

  • Remove bird feeders. Bird feeders are an easy to access food source for many squirrels; removing them can encourage them to find food elsewhere.
  • Cut back tree branches. Cut back trees branches that hang over or come near the roofline. This can make it more difficult for squirrels to access the roof.
  • Secure garbage cans. Open garbage cans or those with easy to remove lids can provide scavenging opportunities for squirrels, raccoons, and other animals. Securing trash cans with difficult to remove lids or moving them into an enclosed space such a garage or shed can discourage animals from taking up residence in your home.

I have animals in the attic – now what?

While ventilation is a key part of any attic and roof, it can also provide squirrels plenty of entry points into your home. There are several indicators that squirrels have taken up residence in your attic including:

  • A strong smell of urine or animal waste
  • Sounds of scurrying or movement in the attic
  • Visible holes around the roofline or attic vents

Squirrels can be territorial; because of this, it is important to not attempt to remove them on your own. At Coopertown Services, our team has been removing squirrels and other small animals from homes since 1978. Our technicians identify and seal off their point of entry in the attic, fix damage they have caused, and remove all the animals in the home. We are so confident that we can remove all the animals from your home that we provide a written, money-back guarantee against animal entry for the next year, with an option to continue to renew it each year.

Squirrels may be sneaky, but our team of trained animal removal experts can keep them from coming back. For more information on humane animal removal or how to secure your home against squirrels and other animals, contact Coopertown Services today!

By Christina Robinson on July 31st, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Chimney Swifts and Your Chimney

The Memphis area is known for having a variety of wildlife, including many species of migratory birds. One species in particular can be a nuisance to homeowners – the chimney swift.

Chimney swifts spend their winters in Mexico and South America, but return to the United States each summer for the nesting season. While these birds can be fun to observe, they prefer to nest in chimneys. This can damage your chimney, cause performance problems, and create safety issues.

How to Recognize Chimney Swifts

Chimney Swifts and Your Chimney - Memphis TN - Coopertown ServicesEven amateur bird spotters can recognize chimney swifts due to their distinctive characteristics:

– Color: Chimney swifts can be brown or a dull grey. They may also appear black when backlit against the sky.
– Movement: Swifts rarely land. Unless they are in their nests, they are almost always in flight. They make sudden twists and turns in the air that create a jerky flight pattern.
– Size: Chimney swifts are extremely small, typically around four inches long. They have “cigar shaped” bodies with long, pointed wings.
– Sound: Swifts do not have a song bird’s warble. Instead, they have a high-pitched chirp which they use to call to other swifts when flying.

While chimney swifts originally nested in hollow trees, the destruction of many wooded areas led to their preferred nesting in chimneys, and their name. Swifts build their nests vertically along the walls of the chimney and are one of the few species that can successfully navigate the narrow and twisting flue.

I Think I Have Swifts in my Chimney – Now What?

If you have birds in your chimney, it is important to call wildlife removal professionals. They can help you evaluate what kind of birds are in your chimney and how to best remove them. Chimney swifts along with several other species of migratory birds are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

This federal law states that the nests of migratory birds cannot be tampered with or removed during their nesting cycle. For chimney swifts, the nesting cycle lasts about six weeks. Once the hatchlings have left the nest, the nests can be removed and repairs can be made.

Preventing Chimney Swifts From Returning

Chimney swifts are migratory birds and will attempt to return to the same nesting ground each year. Therefore, it is extremely important identify and repair the point of entry the chimney swifts used to prevent them from returning.

At Coopertown Services, our animals removal experts spend an average of 10-12 hours inspecting and securing a home against future animal entry. Using steel mesh, stainless steel screws, and metal, our technicians can identify even the smallest holes and gaps and repair them. Our work includes a one year guarantee against animal entry that our customers can renew year after year.

Chimney swifts are a beautiful migratory bird, but that does not mean homeowners want them in their chimneys. If you think you have swifts in your chimney, it is important not to disturb the nests until the hatchlings have left. Schedule an appointment today for help identifying the birds in your chimney and to create a plan of action for how to repair they chimney when they leave.

By Christina Robinson on July 17th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment