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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

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

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

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

New Year, Clean Chimney

As the New Year starts, most of us try to make resolutions to help improve our lives. One resolution you can easily keep is to have your chimney swept at the beginning of each New Year!

The start of the New Year is a great time to have your chimney swept. Not only does it leave you with a chimney that is clean and safe to use for the rest of the year, but it’s also an easy annual reminder of when your chimney needs to be swept!

When to have your chimney swept

Clean Chimney - Memphis TN - Coopertown Services

How often you have your chimney swept depends on a number of factors including the age and condition of your fireplace, how often you use it, and what kind of materials you burn. In general, homeowners who regularly use their fireplaces should have their chimney swept at least once per year; if your fireplace is rarely or infrequently used you may be able to have it swept about once per 100 fires.

The most important factor in whether or not your chimney needs to be swept is soot accumulation; according to National Fire Protection Association Code 211 1/8th of an inch of soot y buildup indicates it is time for a chimney sweep. This amount of accumulation typically occurs after burning a full cord of wood; if you burn more than that amount of wood each year, your fireplace may need to be swept more.

What a chimney sweep does

The primary job of a chimney sweep is to remove creosote. Creosote is a highly flammable byproduct of combustion that can leave buildup in your flue. Because creosote is the leading cause of accidental chimney fire, an annual chimney sweeping is an excellent way to prevent this from happening.

In addition to removing creosote, chimneys weeps also remove any soot, ash, or other debris from the fireplace and chimney structure. Traditional chimney brushes along with more advanced technology such as vacuums and cameras are all tools used by a chimney sweep to make sure your chimney system is safe and clean. Likewise, a highly trained chimney sweep can also spot signs of damage or deterioration in your chimney; the level of training required to be able to do this is why it is important to work with a certified chimney sweep.

Why work with a certified chimney sweep

By working with a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA, you can be certain that you are working with a highly trained and educated professional. In order to earn this certification sweeps must undergo a rigorous testing and training period as well as retest every three year to keep their certification current. This means that CSIA certified sweeps are up to date on the latest safety and technology advances in the fireplace industry.

Start 2016 off with a clean chimney; contact Coopertown Services today to schedule your chimney sweeping!

By Christina Robinson on January 29th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment