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The Dangers Of Creosote

When it comes to keeping your fireplace and chimney clean, most homeowners understand the importance of removing soot and ash. However, there may be something more dangerous hiding in your flue – creosote.

What is creosote? The Dangers Of Creosote Image - Memphis TN - Coopertown Services

Creosote is a naturally occurring byproduct of combustion. All fuel burning fires create creosote during the combustion process, including wood, pellets, natural gas, coal, and propane; however, creosote creation is the most common and most prevalent in wood burning fires.

There are three stages of creosote. The longer the creosote is allowed to remain in the flue the more advanced the stage will become.

  • Stage 1: Light and fluffy like powder or soot. In this state, creosote is easily removed during a chimney sweeping.
  • Stage 2: Shiny, hard, black flakes. This requires the use of tools such as drills or rotary loops to remove.
  • Stage 3: Thick, hardened tar. Also known as glazed creosote, Stage 3 creosote is extremely difficult to remove and can damage the flue liner.

Why is creosote dangerous?

Creosote is dangerous because it damages your flue in two ways. First, because creosote is highly flammable it can accidentally ignite due to stray sparks or embers from the fire. Accidental creosote ignition is responsible for more than 25,000 chimney fires in the United States each year.

The second way that creosote damages your chimney system is by eroding and damaging the chimney flue liner. The longer creosote remains in the flue the more difficult it is to remove; removing stage 3 creosote, for example, often causes damage to the chimney flue liner underneath. Likewise, excessive creosote buildup can also cause smoky chimney odors throughout the home.

Preventing Creosote

As a naturally occurring byproduct of combustion, it is impossible to entirely prevent creosote buildup. However, there are a number of ways that homeowners can minimize creosote creation when using the fireplace.

  1. Use the right firewood. Burning seasoned hard woods creates the least amount of creosote. Freshly cut, green, or wet wood creates more creosote as it burns due to the high moisture content and lower burn temperature.
  2. Stop smoldering fires. Fires allowed to smolder or burn at a low temperature for a long period of time can create additional creosote. This is especially important for wood stove owners; purposefully maintaining a low temperature in the stove can create excessive creosote in the flue.
  3. Resize the flue. If you have changed fuel sources or installed a new insert, the flue may need to be resized. A correctly sized flue ensures that too must cold air is not pulled down; this can prematurely cool the creosote and cause it to harden faster.

There may be more in your chimney than just soot and ash. To prevent harmful creosote from negatively affecting your chimney system it is important to have it professionally swept at least once per year. For more information about the dangers of creosote or to schedule your next chimney sweeping contact the experts at Coopertown Services today.

By Christina Robinson on September 17th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Our Master Chimney Sweeps

In 1977 Ken Robinson was a professional chimney sweep in half a day as there was only one job, clean out the creosote. In 2017, thanks to organizations like the Chimney Safety Institute of America, the training, technology and scientific study takes about a year to become a certified chimney sweep. The homeowner greatly benefits by hiring a chimney sweep who has gone through this training.father and son master chimney sweeps - memphis tn - coopertown services

Yet the training has a more elite level that takes years to achieve, Master Chimney Sweep. This is not an honorary level but a highly scientific level that combines exhausting study and years of actual experience. You really have to walk the talk to become a Master Chimney Sweep. As of June 2017 there were only 32 Master Chimney Sweeps in the U.S.. Ken is one of the earliest Master Chimney Sweeps. This past August Master Chimney Sweep #33 joins the ranks, Ken’s son Kenny. They are the only father and son Master Chimney Sweeps in the U.S.

Master Chimney Sweep Kenny Robinson walks the talk and this is a big win for homeowners in the mid-south. Since 1977 our customers asked for Ken to come clean and inspect their chimney because they knew he was the best of the best. Today they’ll book as much as a year in advance to have Kenny come to their home.

We are so proud of Kenny to have followed not only in his father’s footsteps but also the tradition and dedication to be the very best of the best, Master Chimney Sweep.

By Christina Robinson on September 12th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , | Leave a Comment

Chim Chim Cheroo!

40 years ago this month Ken and Joyce Robinson with 4 little kids to feed decided to go all in on the chimney sweep business. 1977 was in the midst of the so-called energy crisis as OPEC ramped up prices sending fossil fuels skyrocketing. This affected not only cars but also home heating. Many people were looking at alternate sources of heating the home and hence more fireplaces were being used, converted to wood stove inserts and multi-fuel heating. Soon to follow were chimney fires because at the time no one took into consideration that the by-product of wood smoke is the highly flammable creosote. No one that is until a few guys in New England saw the need for chimney sweeps to clean out the creosote and ignite an industry. Ken and friends leaped onto the bandwagon and Coopertown Chimney Sweeps was born. The industry has grown into a serious scientific study and certification process thanks in great part to Ken and Joyce.

mary poppins sing a long - memphis tn - coopertown services 40th anniversary

On Saturday September 30th 7pm at the famous Levitt Shell in Memphis, Coopertown will formally celebrate 40 years of business by hosting a free big screen showing of the Disney classic Mary Poppins. But wait there’s more! It’s a sing-a-long and we’ll have a Bert and Mary costume contest, face painting, top hats for the kids and larger than life costumed raccoon, squirrel and roof rat! You can have your picture taken by REAL chimney sweeps. Did I mention that it’s free? IT’S FREE! Click here for info.

Help us celebrate 40 years of serving Memphis, Germantown, Bartlett, Collierville, Arlington, Lakeland and all points in between as one of the nation’s oldest and largest chimney cleaning and wildlife services company. We’ll see you at the Shell!

By Christina Robinson on September 7th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Your Chimney Might Need To Be Relined

When it comes to the condition of your chimney, there may be hidden hazards. The chimney liner, which runs the length of the flue, serves an important role in protecting your home from the heat and gas produced by the fireplace. However, it cannot be examined without special equipment. Whether your liner is dirty, damaged, or does not meet the needs of your current fuel source, you might need to get your chimney relined.

What is chimney relining? Your Chimney Might Need To Be Relined Image - Memphis TN - Coopertown Services

The chimney liner is “A clay, ceramic, or metal conduit installed inside of a chimney, intended to contain the combustion products, direct them to the outside atmosphere, and protect the chimney walls from heat and corrosion.” However, age, overuse, or lack of maintenance can all cause damage to the chimney liner.

Because the chimney liner plays such an important role in protecting your home from heat transfer, a cracked or damaged chimney liner can create a significant safety problem. Likewise, installing a new fireplace insert or switching fuel sources may also require your chimney to be relined. This can prevent drafting issues as well as ensure there will not be damage from byproducts of combustion.

Three types of chimney liners

There are three types of chimney liners that are used in homes today. The type of chimney liner your home needs will depend on the damage to the existing liner as well as the fuel source of the fireplace.

  • Clay tile liners. Clay tile liners are the standard when most chimneys are built. While built to withstand heat, the masonry joints can deteriorate over time. Clay tile liners are nearly impossible to replace as they are built using sections of tiles which cannot be easily taken out or replaced. Heatshield can also be used to repair a clay tile liner without relining the entire flue.
  • Cast in place liners. Cast in place liners are created by applying a cement product directly to the walls of the flue using a former. This creates a seamless, smoke tight finish that can also help stabilize a damaged flue.
  • Stainless steel liners. Stainless steel liners are a more expensive relining option but provide the best durability and heat resistance. Many stainless steel liners include a lifetime warranty when they are professionally installed.

Does my chimney need to be relined?

The best way to determine if your chimney needs to be relined is through a chimney inspection. During a Level II chimney inspection, a certified chimney sweep will use technology such as closed circuit cameras in order to evaluate the entire length of the chimney liner. This allows creosote buildup, damage to the liner, or cracking joints to be discovered.

If your chimney liner has been damaged, trust the experts at Coopertown Services to reline your chimney. Contact us today for more information on chimney relining or to schedule your next chimney inspection.

By Christina Robinson on August 28th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

What Our CSIA Certification Means For You

Choosing a chimney sweep to care for your fireplace system is about more than finding the cheapest company or picking the first name out of the phone book. Instead, working with the right chimney sweep ensures that your fireplace system will be well maintained in order to burn safely and efficiently for years to come. What Our CSIA Certification Means For You Image - Memphis TN - Coopertown Services

When it comes to finding a chimney sweep company, homeowners should look for sweeps with professional certifications and training. One of the top industry standards is a CSIA certification. At Coopertown Services we are proud to employ CSIA certified chimney sweeps in order to give our customers the best chimney care possible.

What is a CSIA certification?

The Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA, is a professional licensing organization for chimney sweeps. In addition to providing consumers with valuable information, the CSIA offers training and certification for chimney sweeps.

CSIA certifications are widely considered the industry gold standard for chimney sweeps. In order to earn this certification, sweeps much undergo an education, training, and testing curriculum. This ensures they are well versed and knowledgeable in all aspects of chimney care including sweeping techniques, building codes, and EPA standards.

In order to maintain their certification, sweeps must retest every three years. This focus on continuing education ensures that CSIA certified sweeps are always up to date on the latest advancements in the fireplace industry.

Choosing the Right Chimney Sweep

There are a number of factors that homeowners should consider when hiring a chimney sweep – including their professional certifications or guild memberships. The following are just a few examples of questions to ask your chimney sweep before they work on your home.

  • Will the chimney sweep at my home be CSIA certified?
  • How long has the company been in business in this area?
  • Can you provide references from current customers?
  • Does the company and the chimney sweeps carry liability insurance in case of accidental damages?

How our CSIA Certifications Benefit You

At Coopertown Services, we are proud to live in the same community we serve. We have been maintaining fireplace and chimneys in the Memphis area since 1977 and pride ourselves on providing high-quality services and education to our friends and neighbors.

All of our chimney sweeps are certified by the CSIA; this ensures that no matter which sweep is working at your home, you can rest assured that they are a knowledgeable professional with years of experience. We are a one-stop chimney shop and can take care of everything from chimney sweepings and inspections to humane animal removal and chimney rebuilds.

Working with a CSIA certified chimney sweep ensures that your fireplace system in being cared for by a highly trained, knowledgeable, and ethical professional. If you are in the Memphis area, trust the CSIA certified chimney sweeps at Coopertown Services to care for all your fireplace and chimney needs. Contact us today for more information on the benefits of working with a CSIA certified chimney sweep or to schedule your next appointment.

By Christina Robinson on August 14th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment