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Carbon Monoxide FAQ

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. It is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it is impossible to detect without specialized equipment such as carbon monoxide detectors.

Carbon monoxide gas is naturally created as a byproduct of combustion in all fuel-burning fires. Wood, gas, kerosene, propane, and coal are just a few of the fuel sources that create carbon monoxide gas when burned. Carbon Monoxide FAQ - Memphis TN - Coopertown Services

What is carbon monoxide poisoning?

While carbon monoxide poisoning is rare, it can be fatal; because of this, all homeowners should understand the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. In the United States alone, more than 400 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide gas is poisonous and extremely hazardous to your health. With low levels of exposure to the gas, carbon monoxide poisoning often mimics flu-like symptoms including headache, nausea, and drowsiness. With continued exposure, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause impaired coordination, vision, and cognitive functioning. In high concentrations, exposure to carbon monoxide gas can lead to coma and even death.

If you believe you are suffering the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important to move to a fresh air location such as outdoors or near an open window as soon as possible. Emergency services should then be called.

How can I prevent carbon monoxide leaks?

Homeowners shouldn’t stop using their fireplaces, furnaces, or other fuel-burning appliances in fear of carbon monoxide poisoning. Instead, there are a number of easy and common sense ways to prevent carbon monoxide leaks.

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors.
    Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every floor of your home, especially near fuel-burning appliances and outside of sleeping areas. In addition to testing the detectors every 6 months to ensure they are still working, homeowners should have them replaced every 7-10 years; this ensures the carbon monoxide detectors are up to date with current technology and safety standards.
  • Have fireplaces and stoves swept and inspected.
    Regular maintenance such as chimney sweepings and inspections should be conducted at least once per year. This ensures that your heating appliance is free from damage or deterioration that could cause a carbon monoxide leak.
  • Never allow cars to idle in garages, even when the door is open.
  • Move grills away from open windows and doors.
  • Replace vent-free space heaters with vented models when possible.
    If using a vent-free fireplace or space heater, crack a window in the room.
  • Do not run generators in enclosed spaces such as garages or basements.

Use your fireplace with increased peace of mind this winter by having it swept and inspected to help prevent carbon monoxide leaks. For more information on preventing carbon monoxide leaks or to schedule your next maintenance appointment, contact the experts at Coopertown Services today!

By Christina Robinson on January 10th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Is It Time To Change Out My Prefabricated Chimney?

Decade after decade, fireplaces are one of the most sought-after features in real estate. For many families, achieving the dream of having a fireplace in the home means forgoing masonry in favor of less expensive prefabricated units.

Prefabricated fireplaces and chimneys offer the same benefits as their masonry counterparts, but they often have a significantly shorter lifespan. While most prefabricated chimneys can last up to 25 years, many need to be repaired – or replaced – before this due to condition, upkeep, maintenance, and damage.

Replacing a prefabricated chimney is much more than simply picking out a new fireplace unit. Because of this, it is important to trust a fireplace professional with experience installing and replacing prefabricated chimneys. Prefabricated Chimney Units - Memphis TN - Coopertown Services

How long can my prefabricated chimney last?

Factory built fireplaces and chimneys are not inherently flimsy or built using sub-standard materials. Despite this, they simply do not have the same lifespan as their masonry counterparts.

Prefabricated or factory-built fireplaces and chimneys are not inherently flimsy or built using sub-standard materials. Despite this, they simply do not have the same lifespan as their masonry counterparts.

The lifespan of a prefabricated fireplace is similar to that of major home appliances such as refrigerators. Even with regular maintenance and upkeep, prefabricated chimney units have a lifespan of 20-30 years.

How long a prefabricated chimney lasts often comes down to two factors: use and maintenance. Like with most major appliances, the more a prefabricated chimney is used the faster it will deteriorate and the faster it will need to be replaced; a fireplace that is only used one or two times each year will often have a much longer lifespan than a unit that is used daily during the winter months.

Regular maintenance such as chimney sweepings and inspections can also impact the lifespan of your prefabricated chimney. Prefabricated chimneys are much more prone to leaks than their masonry counterparts; the multiple metal components of prefabricated chimneys are particularly susceptible to water damage. Annual maintenance can help prevent leaks or identify them before they cause significant damage; while forgetting or forgoing regular sweepings can cause the chimney to deteriorate faster.

Replacing a prefabricated chimney.

Replacing a prefabricated chimney is not as simple as going to the store and picking out a new fireplace. This technical work involves in-depth understanding of the makeup of older chimney systems, as well as the installation requirements for newer units. Likewise, replacing a prefabricated chimney usually involves removing and replacing trim, tiles, marble, mantels, and more. Because of this, it is important to work with certified chimney professionals when replacing prefabricated chimneys.

At Coopertown Services, our staff is trained and certified in the areas of replacing prefabricated chimneys. With more than 30 years of experience replacing prefabricated units, our chimney technicians can ensure the construction is as quick and painless as possible, leaving you with a beautiful new chimney system that can be enjoyed for years to come.

If your prefabricated chimney is more than 20 years old, it may be time to have it replaced. For more information on installing a new prefabricated fireplace or to schedule a sweeping or inspection for your older prefabricated unit, contact the experts at Coopertown Services today!

By Christina Robinson on December 26th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Don’t Jeopardize Your Holidays With A Chimney Fire!

Spending time together in front of a roaring fire is the cornerstone of the holidays for many families. However, before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season begins, make sure your fireplace and chimney are ready to use; schedule a chimney sweeping with a CSIA certified chimney sweep! Doing this will keep your fireplace burning safely and efficiently this holiday season – and for the rest of the winter.

How often should my chimney be swept?

Don't Jeopardize Your Holidays with a Chimney Fire - Memphis TN - Coopertown ServicesThe Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that all homeowners have their chimneys swept at least once per year. Whether you use your fireplace only a few times each winter or on a near daily basis, an annual sweeping is one of the most important ways to keep your fireplace burning safely.

In addition to an annual sweeping, the CSIA also recommends that chimneys “be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances.” An inspection by a certified chimney sweep ensures that in addition to removing soot, ash, and creosote, there are no other areas of damage or deterioration in the chimney.

The importance of regular chimney maintenance.

Having regular chimney maintenance done is especially important before heavy use periods, such as the winter burning season.

“A chimney inspection is like an annual dental check-up,” says Ashley Eldridge, Director of Education for the CSIA. “It’s preventative maintenance that helps minimize potential hazards.”

Chimney sweeping before the holidays significantly reduces chimney fire risk. The accidental ignition of buildup of flammable creosote in the flue is the leading cause of accidental chimney fire; removing creosote, as well as soot and ash, during a chimney sweeping can significantly reduce the risk of chimney fire.

The importance of using a certified chimney sweep.

Remember, not every person with a truck and a brush is a certified chimney sweep! Before hiring someone to work on your chimney, it is important to make sure they are a “real” certified chimney sweep. Sweeps certified by the CSIA carry laminated credentials that include a photo, identification number, and expiration; likewise, the CSIA database of certified sweeps lists all credentials.

If you are in Shelby County, trust the experts at Coopertown Services to care for your chimney system. Since 1977 our licensed, bonded, and insured CSIA certified chimney sweeps have been servicing chimneys in the local community. Our years of experience, education, and certifications ensure we can care for all of your fireplace and chimney needs – from the bottom of the firebox to the top of the flue!

Have your fireplace and chimney swept before the holidays arrive to ensure their safety. Do you live in the Shelby County area? If so, contact Coopertown Services today to schedule your next chimney sweeping or inspection with one of our certified chimney sweeps.

By Christina Robinson on December 9th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

We Service Gas Fireplaces

Gas fireplaces, stoves, and other heating appliances are becoming increasingly popular. There are more realistic flames than ever before. Not to mention high efficiency, ease of operation, and minimal maintenance. This is why many homeowners have converted their masonry fireplaces to gas. While they are extremely easy to use and maintain, gas fireplaces still need regular maintenance in order to burn safely and efficiently!

We Service Gas Fireplaces Image - Memphis TN - Coopertown ServicesHow often should my gas fireplace be serviced?

Gas fireplaces are popular in part because they require significantly less day to day cleaning and maintenance as their wood burning counterparts. With no ashes to shovel or soot to remove, it can be easy to forget that gas fireplaces still need to be serviced, too. Just like wood burning heating appliances, gas fireplaces and stoves require annual cleanings and inspections in order to operate as safely as possible.

Why do gas fireplaces need to have their chimneys swept?

Sweeping the chimney of a wood burning fireplace is vastly different than that of a gas fireplace. However, both still require the same annual maintenance. When sweeping a gas chimney, corrosive condensation is removed from the flue. This is especially important in homes that have switched from wood to gas; while the old flue liner may have been designed for soot and ash, it may not be designed to handle the byproducts of a gas burning fire. Likewise, the entire fireplace and flue are inspected for signs of damage or deterioration.

Maintaining your gas fireplace.

In addition to having annual service done by a certified chimney sweep, there are a number of ways that homeowners can keep their gas fireplaces running smoothly all year long:

  • Clean exterior glass and metal.
    Wait for a time when the fireplace is not in use and is cool to the touch. Remove smudges and smears from exterior glass and metal using household glass cleaners; while these cleaners can be used on the exterior of the fireplace, they should never be used on interior components.
  • Remove dust from gas lines and logs.
    One to two times per year, clean interior glass logs and lines using a clean, dry cloth or a clean, soft paintbrush. Take special care not to move or shift any fireplace components; shifting a gas line by as little as a few millimeters can cause performance problems.

When to call a chimney sweep.

If your gas fireplace begins experiencing performance problems, it may be time to call a chimney sweep. Fires that no longer burn as hot, unresponsive knobs and buttons, or changes in flame color are all indications that there is a problem that requires professional inspection. At Coopertown Services, our staff are experts at gas fireplace service and repairs. Whether it is regularly scheduled maintenance or troubleshooting a performance problem, our chimney sweeps can help you get the most out of your gas fireplace.

At Coopertown Services, our expert staff of chimney sweeps are highly trained to service your gas heating appliances. Contact us today to schedule your next service appointment for your gas fireplace!

By Christina Robinson on November 25th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

We Fix Leaky Chimneys!

Chimneys are built to be strong and withstand the elements. Unfortunately, water can cause serious damage to both the interior and exterior of the chimney and fireplace system.

Water damage can manifest itself in a number of ways. Whether you have a few drops of water in the firebox, crumbling exterior brick, or a musty smell that won’t go away, a leaky chimney can cause a number of different problems throughout your fireplace system. At the first sign of a chimney leak, it is important to call a chimney sweep to troubleshoot and repair the cause of the water entry.

We Fix Leaky Chimneys Image - Memphis TN - Coopertown ServicesWhere is the Water Coming From?

Chimneys may look like a simple column of bricks, but they are surprisingly complex structures. Because of this, there are a number of places where chimney leaks can begin. The following are just a few ways that water can get into your chimney.

  • Cracks in the chimney crown.
    The chimney crown is a slab of mortar, concrete, or stone covering and sealing the top of the chimney. Chimney crowns are particularly susceptible to crack and water damage; because they create a large, flat surface on the top of the chimney, crowns receive more exposure to the elements than other chimney components. Well built chimney crowns have a slightly sloped top and edges that extend over the side of the chimney structure. This prevents water from pooling directly on the crown or from draining directly onto the chimney structure.
  • Water soaking through masonry.
    Bricks are naturally porous, making them an ideal building material for chimneys because smoke and gas can pass through the masonry. However, it also means bricks absorb the small amounts of water. Applying a waterproofing product can stop water damage to existing masonry and stop further cracks from developing.
  • Damage to the flashing.
    Flashing is created when strips of metal and weatherproofing materials are layered on the seam between the chimney and the roof. This protects both the chimney and the roofing materials from water damage; because of this location, damaged flashing is often confused for a leaky roofs. Overexposure to the elements, changes to the roof-line, or improper installation can all cause flashing to leak.

Repairing a Leaky Chimney

The first step to repairing a leaky chimney is identifying the cause of the leak. A chimney inspection completed by a certified chimney sweep can uncover the source of a chimney leak; by identifying the cause of a leaky chimney before making repairs, further recurrent damage from water can be avoided.

Preventative measures such as waterproofing protect your chimney system against water damage. In the waterproofing process, a barrier specifically-formulated for masonry is applied to the bricks and mortar of the chimney. These products allow gas to safely vent through brick but prevent absorption of water. Waterproofing can stop the progression of existing water damage as well as protect the chimney against future damage.

Don’t let a leaky chimney affect your fireplace. Contact us at Coopertown Services today for more information on how our chimney sweeps can repair your leaky chimney!

By Christina Robinson on November 10th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment