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Chimney caps are a lot like the topper on a Christmas tree, with one glaring difference-a chimney cap is much more than decoration. They’re vital organs to a chimney that should be well taken care of and replaced when needed.
Chimney caps come in many different designs, shapes and sizes. Just choosing the right one can be a chore sometimes. They’re generally made from some kind of metal, whether it’s copper, stainless steel or galvanized steel. Some are better quality than others, and some look better than others. No matter which type of chimney cap you have, however, it should be inspected regularly and replaced when necessary.

Inspecting the Chimney Cap

Inspection of the chimney cap should occur right alongside your annual chimney inspection. If the cap becomes clogged with creosote or begins to come loose from the chimney, it can hinder the proper functioning of the chimney and/or allow unwanted things inside your chimney. The first thing to inspect is how securely the cap is attached to the structure and the next thing to inspect is the assembly of the chimney cap. Over time, whether it’s due to the weather, the heat of the chimney or animals, parts of the chimney cap may begin loosening. The metal top of the cap could have warped over the years and could be pulling away from the sides.
Another thing to check is that the metal mesh is in good shape. Just because it’s there to keep birds and animals out doesn’t mean they won’t still try to get in. Hopefully, the mesh will be in good shape when one of your friendly neighborhood squirrels starts tugging at it.
 

When to Replace your Chimney Cap

Any time you’ve had a chimney fire, the cap should be replaced. Chances are, it’ll be warped and damaged beyond recognition, leaving you no choice but to replace it. If your cap is on a metal chimney liner, and you’ve had a chimney fire, you’ll have to replace the liner as well as the cap. The chimney cap protects the upper opening of your chimney and prevents rainwater, debris, and animals from entering. Inspect it regularly and, if necessary, don’t be hesitant to have it replaced by a certified chimney sweep.

Your home can benefit from attic insulation whatever the season. These attic insulation benefits show you how insulating your attic can make a big difference in the comfort of your home.

1. Saves on Your Energy Bill
Insulating your attic lowers the cost of cooling and heating your house. This is because heat travels. It moves out of your home in the winter and flows into your home in the summer. Proper attic insulation reduces this airflow, so you don’t use as much energy to heat and cool your home.

2. Controls Air Leakage
Insulating your attic limits air leakage into your house. It is estimated that heat leaks from the ceilings, floors and walls. So, if you limit the air leaks in your house, you can reduce your utility costs.

3. Keeps Your Room Temperature Stable
If your home isn’t insulated, it can cause fluctuations in the temperature of your rooms. Your upstairs rooms could be hotter than downstairs, or you might notice different temperatures in all your rooms.

4. Gives You Better Air Quality
Pollutants enter from outside your home, such as dirt, radon, smoke and mold. Installing insulation in your attic, it helps prevent the health effects of air pollutants.

5. Increases Your Home’s Value
Upgrading or installing attic, high R-value insulation adds value to your home. Even though it’s not visible to home buyers, new attic insulation is a strong selling point. It reduces energy costs, protects the roof and keeps your home comfortable and inviting.

6. Makes Your Attic Useful Space
Adding spray foam insulation to your attic roof deck eliminates the extreme temperatures in attic space. Once you do this, you can make an extra bedroom, playroom or family room in the attic. This once uncomfortable storage space can become an enjoyable room, which also adds value to your home.

7. Deters Pests
Pest resistant insulation can keep unwanted pests from entering or building nests in your attic. The last thing you want is a nest of mice, squirrels or birds living in your attic. If your insulation is old, it could already have pests nesting in it. This can be a health hazard due to animal droppings, dead animals and waste products.

8. Prevents Structural Damage from Moisture
Insulation helps prevent water vapor from reaching your home’s structure. Open cell spray foam insulation is a vapor retardant and closed cell spray foam is a vapor barrier. Water vapor can seep into your roof, walls and ceiling causing wood rot, eroding cement, and growing mold and mildew.
 
9. Makes Your HVAC System More Efficient
Poor insulation causes your HVAC system to work harder to keep your home warm or cool. By installing attic insulation, you decrease the wear and tear on your temperature control system.  Adding spray foam insulation to the roof deck allows the attic to become a semi-conditioned space and brings your HVAC system out of the hostile environment of a poorly insulated attic.

10. Protects the Environment
Insulation provides an eco-friendly way to keep your home warm or cool. Insulating your attic reduces energy use so it reduces your carbon footprint. The less energy you use, the less carbon dioxide pollutes the atmosphere.

Did you know that the average house accumulates forty pounds of dust per year? While that number may shock you, what’s lurking in your ducts may be even more shocking. Here are five facts about air duct cleaning and why you should get your air ducts cleaned.

  • As homes are built tighter than they used to be, indoor air quality has been on the decline. Particles in the air can become trapped in your ducts.
  • Duct cleaning helps increase the efficiency of your HVAC system. When your ducts are free of debris, air can flow properly. But if your ductwork is clogged and dirty, it decreased efficiency and puts unnecessary strain on your HVAC system.
  • Duct cleaning can improve indoor air quality by reducing pet dander, dust, mold, chemicals, and dirt from your air ducts. Studies have shown that we spend 60-90% of our lives indoors, so all that dirt and debris is recirculated in the air you breathe.
  • Bugs could be lurking in your ducts. Insects can make their way into ductwork and can even attract other pests that prey on them.
  • Air duct cleaning is recommended every three to five years. We also recommend a good ductwork cleaning after new construction, renovations, or when moving into a new home.

Why You Should Get Your Air Ducts Cleaned

When your air ducts are clean, it helps your system run smoothly and improves your indoor air quality. Air can flow freely which helps cut down on wasted energy and utility bills.
Cleaning your air ducts help eliminate these items from the air you breathe:

  • Dirt, dust, debris
  • Pollen
  • Pet hair and dander
  • Insects
  • Mold or mildew
  • Post-construction debris

The best time to have your home’s chimney system inspected and cleaned is before the burning season, which is in the summer or early fall.  
During this time, the frequency of burnings slows down. This normally occurs during the cold season. In addition to a lower frequency of usage, you can enjoy proper conditions for cleaning out deposits from creosote bush. This plant releases a flammable sap when it becomes heated or encounters air.
Combined, these factors make the sweeping process more difficult and dangerous when performed during other seasons. It almost always results in additional wear on your chimney system as well as the sweep crew performing the work. A better option is to make an appointment after spring and then another before fall arrives each year.
It is wise to have your chimney inspected by a Certified company before thinking of building a fire after the weather has changed.
 

Schedule a Chimney Inspection Once a Year

The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends the inspection of all chimneys and vents at least once a year. CSIA also advises that you have your chimney cleaned when an inspection reveals creosote deposits thicker than 1/8 inch.
You can also have your chimney cleaned when you notice:

  • Increased levels of smoke in the home
  • Soot on the walls or ceilings of the home
  • Odor of burning wood in the home
  • Rust on the damper handle
  • An animal nest in the chimney, or other debris blocking the flue

Have you been having trouble with your fireplace? When the answer is yes, it is time for an annual chimney inspection. Most experts recommend this important procedure. It is one way that homeowners can ensure their fireplaces are running smoothly all year. Performing inspections every twelve months also guarantees that any needed repairs will get fixed before they become serious problems.

Many homeowners may be tempted to light up the fireplace without having it cleaned for the year. However, an unclean chimney will show obvious signs that it needs cleaning. For instance, you may notice a lot of soot, or there may be a strange odor when you are burning a fire. Sometimes signs are not as obvious, but it is still a good idea to have your chimney cleaned whether there are obvious signs or not. This is especially true if it’s been over a year since you’ve used it or can’t remember the last time it was cleaned.

Emergencies

Sometimes the buildup in a chimney is so copious that you can’t use your fireplace until it is cleaned. You may even have to have repairs done to your chimney to get it working correctly. However, if the chimney needs more serious repairs, it could cost several thousand dollars, depending on the type of repair needed. Below are some reasons you will need an emergency chimney sweep:

You have recently had a chimney fire.
Smoke enters the home when the fireplace is in use.
Your carbon monoxide alarm keeps going off when you use the fireplace.

Non-Emergencies

Chimney cleaning is essential, but in most cases, having it cleaned won’t be an emergency. Here are a few non-emergency reasons you will need to call a chimney sweeper:

Your chimney requires an annual cleaning.
Dead animals keep landing in your fireplace.
The fire is not burning evenly or won’t stay lit.

Other Considerations

Some other reasons to clean your fireplace or chimney primarily relate to decor. For instance, if you plan to paint your fireplace, it’s a good idea to have the chimney cleaned first so any debris or residue doesn’t drop down and ruin the paint. Another reason you may want to have the chimney cleaned is if you are planning to remodel it—you may as well get the dirt and grime out of it before you renovate it so that you can use it as soon as it’s done. Finally, it’s a good idea to clean the chimney if you plan to sell your house. A fireplace that hasn’t been cleaned or maintained may affect the value of your home, and having it cleaned can make you aware of any repairs or replacements that need to be done.

Most of the time throwing our clothes into the dryer after they have been washed is a no-brainer and little thought goes into this chore-We throw them in, and press start. But what we often forget is that the dryer is a household appliance that is very susceptible to fires (if not taken care of properly).

According to the US Fire Administration there are three facts everyone should know about dryers and household fires. 1.2,900 home fires reported each year are caused by dryers resulting in 5 deaths, 100 deaths, and over 35 million dollars in property loss. Failure to properly clean or maintenance the dryer is the leading cause of fire in the first place, and more dryer fires occur in the Winter months than any other month, peaking in January. As we are quickly approaching winter…. It is necessary to make sure that you are cleaning and properly caring for your dryer before you throw those clothes inside.

Below are some ways to decrease your chances of having a fire in your dryer & how to keep your home healthy and safe…

1.    Clean your lint screen BEFORE every drying cycle. Frequently use a vacuum to reach down in the lint area where you cannot reach.
2.    Check your vent hose. Make sure that there are no breaks and that everything is properly connected. If you have a white plastic hose remove immediately. The hose must be aluminum.
3.    Clean inside the vent hose or vent line by removing lint with your hands and a vacuum.
4.    It is best to remove all clothing or flammable material surrounding your dryer. If you do have a fire that will prevent the flames from spreading quickly.
5.    If you have a gas-powered dryer, ensure that your gas line looks intact. If you smell gas for any reason do not use the dryer and call your gas company.

By following the above precautions to take care of your dryer, you will avoid any type of household fire and ensure your home and family are protected.

Fireplaces can be a great source of heat, but you need to make sure yours is working properly and efficiently in order to be able to heat your home safely. Home fires that stem from fireplaces and chimneys are more common than we would like to think. Ensuring your home and family are protected this fall and winter season is crucial. And not only now, but all year long. 

Annual Inspections

Making sure to have your chimney inspected every year by a professional is the first step.. When we inspect your chimney, we look for creosote, which is a black, oily substance that builds up on the walls of your chimney and is extremely flammable.  Because of this build up, there is a tremendous risk of combustion and is often a common result of home fires.

Chimney Cleaning/ Sweeping

If there is enough creosote built up, you will need to have your chimney professionally cleaned. When you go through a professional company like us, we always use specialized tools that allow us to remove all of the mess out of the chimney, while keeping it out of your home. If you try to DIY and do this job with a vacuum or another do it yourself remedy, you’ll often find a bigger mess in your living room than in the chimney. Plus, you won’t get the entire chimney very clean at all, and most of what is dangerous, the creosote, will stay.

Fireplace Cleaning

One thing you can do regularly is to clean out your fireplace or wood stove. Clean all of the ashes/dust regularly as well as the shredded papers. When you do this, make sure to get all of the bits with your vacuum or other methods. This will help reduce your risk of fire, and will keep the fire far less smoky. After all, isn’t the goal of a fire to produce heat and be comfortable? It wouldn’t be so comfortable with a lot of smoke!

Cap your Chimney

Having a cap be placed on the top of your chimney has its benefits. First, you’ll keep animals like birds and squirrels from making a home or nest chimney. Another benefit is keeping hydration and water out.  Lastly, when you cap your chimney, you don’t need to worry about debris or dust getting in. Leaves and other fallen items can make their way into your chimney, filling it up, and creating extra smoke throughout your house.

Use Common Sense

Don’t leave your fire unattended. Keep your children and pets away from it, and make sure that you have a door blocking the open flame

Following these tips should help you get through the winter safely while keeping your heating bill low! 

About ABC Cleaning, Inc. of Orlando, FL

Serving Central Florida since 1992, ABC Cleaning, Inc. has been the acknowledged leader in air duct cleaningchimney cleaning and dryer vent cleaning. We’re NADCA certified, we consistently invest in and have the most modern equipment and utilize the latest technology available with the best-trained service technicians in all of Orlando. If you need help deciding whether to replace or repair faulty ducts, please contact us at ABC. We provide quality HVAC service throughout Orlando and the surrounding communities. Please give us a call today at 407-477-4302. We are here to help!

Homeowners rarely examine their chimneys apart from a quick glance at the exterior. While a chimney may seem like one home feature that doesn’t require regular maintenance, a closer inspection often reveals otherwise. 

Soot and other particulate matter can build up on the interior of your chimney and any blockage can lead to smoke entering your house, or worse. Whether you use your fireplace three times a year or fifty, chimney cleaning needs to be a regular component of your home maintenance efforts. Soot buildup is normal for any chimney. The natural result of burning wood, soot can accumulate on the inner walls of the chimney and on the chimney cap. Over time, this can lead to reduced airflow. A clean chimney has a reduced presence of soot, which means better performance and less risk for smoke intake.

However, it’s not just soot you need to worry about. Creosote is another substance that is often found on the inner walls of chimneys. Another byproduct of smoke, creosote is even more problematic than soot. This is because it is flammable and excessive creosote buildup will not merely reduce the airflow; it can actually start a fire.

If you don’t have a chimney cap, soot and creosote may be the least of your problems. Chimneys without a protective cap often have a problem with debris intake and in some cases, animals can get into the chimney as well. Bird nests have been known to start fires in chimneys. Dry leaves and other debris can pose the same problem. If you don’t have a chimney cap, you will need to have your chimney cleaned even more often than you would need to otherwise.

You may be under the impression that you can easily clean your chimney yourself. There are several reasons why you should hire a professional company. If you attempt to clean your chimney on your own, you may end up with a significant mess and a chimney that is not much cleaner. The removal of substances like creosote often requires the use of special tools that you may not have or know how to use. In addition to cleaning, a professional chimney sweep can assess the structural integrity of your chimney and determine whether there are any physical flaws that need to be fixed.

About ABC Cleaning, Inc. of Orlando, FL

Serving Central Florida since 1992, ABC Cleaning, Inc. has been the acknowledged leader in air duct cleaningchimney cleaning and dryer vent cleaning. We’re NADCA certified, we consistently invest in and have the most modern equipment and utilize the latest technology available with the best-trained service technicians in all of Orlando. If you need help deciding whether to replace or repair faulty ducts, please contact us at ABC. We provide quality HVAC service throughout Orlando and the surrounding communities. Please give us a call today at 407-477-4302. We are here to help!

A seeping chimney is a slow, gradual way of water entering into the home and causing damage slowly, steadily and over time. The seeping chimney damage can range from a minor repair to something far more extensive. However, when it comes to water, it certainly doesn’t play nice with the materials your home is made from, including your chimney.

Let’s take a look at some of the various damage that can occur when your chimney leaks and makes its way to the various part of your home.

Wall Damage

One of the most obvious telltale signs of a water leak from the seeping chimney is wall damage. When it reaches your walls, the paint can peel, the wall can little bubbles or even the drywall can begin to chip away. No different if you have crown molding, wood paneling or other decorative aspects to your walls. Water can make the varnish peel and cause discoloration. When your chimney isn’t inspected each year by a certified technician, these damages can be very expensive to repair.

Mold Growth

Many of us have experienced mold in the bathroom. Why? Because it is a perfect place for mold to grow. You have the perfect main ingredient. Moisture. If a seeping chimney allows for moisture to enter your home, it can create a perfect scenario for mold to grow. Mold can be harmful to your heath, especially if you have health issues such as asthma, allergies or emphysema to name a few. By maintaining a healthy chimney equipped with a chimney crown, chimney cap and a waterproofing solution called Chimney Saver, you can keep moisture out and your health in good shape.

Soft Wood, Walls & More

When water gets at wood or walls, and it drips over time, the wood and wall material turn soft and falls apart. This rotting makes the wood or walls flaky to the touch and can cause structural damage. There’s another issue that comes with rotting wood or water-logged walls…bugs and pests. This is the perfect vacation spot for bugs and pests. Keeping them out of your home is a top priority.

Keep unwanted visitors out of your home by having an inspection on the chimney, the flue and down to the fireplace completed. 

What You Can’t See Can Hurt You

One way to ensure wall damage, mold spores and deteriorating wood and walls don’t happen is to get a yearly inspection on the chimney. Whether you have a gas or wood-burning fireplace, use it all the time or not, rain water is still active trying to find its way into your home. Don’t give it that chance. Keep on top of it with a yearly inspection

About ABC Cleaning, Inc. of Orlando, FL

Serving Central Florida since 1992, ABC Cleaning, Inc. has been the acknowledged leader in air duct cleaningchimney cleaning and dryer vent cleaning. We’re NADCA certified, we consistently invest in and have the most modern equipment and utilize the latest technology available with the best-trained service technicians in all of Orlando. If you need help deciding whether to replace or repair faulty ducts, please contact us at ABC. We provide quality HVAC service throughout Orlando and the surrounding communities. Please give us a call today at 407-477-4302. We are here to help!

While you may not be able to control your air quality outdoors or at your place of work, the choices you make inside your home have a direct impact on the quality of the air you breathe. Below will explain how you can improve the quality of the air your family breathes by removing potential pollutants, increasing ventilation, and making good air quality choices.  

Common Indoor Air Pollutants and Their Sources 

While many household items can cause indoor air pollution, some of the most dangerous and most common are:   

  • Asbestos: toxic fire-retardant found in older homes and businesses. Its presence can cause fatal lung disease.  
  • Biological pollutants: pollen, animal dander, and dust mites. 
  • Lead (Pb): Often found in paint, lead can be present in wall paint and paint on old toys. While we typically think of led paint exposure as ingestion, it may contaminate the air during paint removal or renovation. If exposed for long periods, lead can be extremely harmful and cause long-term health and developmental problems.  
  • Wood Smoke: From indoor wood-burning fireplaces in a home release fine-particle matter that’s small enough to enter the lungs and cause coughing or induce asthma.  
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): A group of chemical compounds commonly found in paints, waxes, varnishes, and cleaning solutions. VOCs emit gasses which have been liked to both short- and long-term health conditions.  
  • Pesticides: Rated for interior or exterior residential use, or used on neighboring farm fields and commercial entities, pesticides aren’t just toxic to insects and rodents, but people too.  
  • Radon (Rn): A radioactive gas that is also odorless and colorless. Most commonly found in basements, sometimes at levels that can cause lung cancer. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer behind smoking. 
  • Tobacco Smoke: Not only is tobacco smoke a risk to the smoker, but tobacco smoke may also stain your home and expose your loved ones to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

It’s unlikely that anyone would seek to buy a product that is a known pollutant. The problem is that many common building materials, cleaning solutions, and even time-honored traditions like enjoying a wood burning fireplace, may pose a risk to your pulmonary health.  

Reduce Indoor Air Pollution 

Because harmful ingredients are found in popular household products and common building materials and furnishings, it’s vital for homeowners to read ingredients labels, research new purchases, find trustworthy suppliers, and always ask questions.  

How to Prevent Indoor Air Pollution 

It’s difficult to avoid all potential indoor air pollutants, but homeowners can take steps to limit their exposure by:  

  • Having homes built before 1980 inspected for asbestos and lead paint before beginning any renovations.  
  • Equipping homes with carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. 
  • Having homes inspected for radon at the time of purchase. 
  • Always using low-VOC and nontoxic paints, waxes, varnishes, glues, and cleaning materials according to the manufacturer’s instructions and in a well-ventilated space.  
  • Buying furniture, carpeting, rugs, drapery, and insulation that’s made with nontoxic materials and doesn’t off-gas fumes. 
  • Purchasing or making your own nontoxic laundry detergents, fabric softeners, surface cleaning products, etc. 
  • Investing in a high-quality air purifier and replacing air filters quarterly.  
  • Maintaining an appropriate level of humidity throughout your home.

Why Eliminating Common Sources of Indoor Air Pollution is Important 

Indoor air pollution may cause irritation, shortness of breath, or aggravate asthma and other respiratory conditions. Long-term exposure to poor indoor air can cause more severe problems, affecting your heart, causing chest pain, and reducing resistance to infections. It’s critical for the health of yourself and household to not only improve indoor air quality but to prevent future pollution. Prioritize your home’s IAQ, and you will breathe easier—literally! 

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality at Home  

With so much time spent indoors, you want to have the best air quality possible. While many homeowners have pets and wood-burning fireplaces, there are ways to mitigate some air quality repercussions.  

To keep your air as pure as possible, you should: 

  • Engage in professional mitigation of dangerous or damaged materials, including those damaged by smoke or water.  
  • Change your AC, furnace, and humidifier filters regularly (at least once per quarter.  
  • Have your air ducts professionally cleaned.  
  • Improve home ventilation and have gas-fired home appliances (stoves, furnaces, heaters, dryers) maintained yearly by a professional.  
  • Use the range hood to vent fluorocarbons when using a gas cooktop. 
  • Use bathroom fans to vent shower humidity, especially in the summer months. 
  • Have soft surfaces including upholstered furniture, rugs, and carpeting professionally cleaned to remove pet dander and dust mites.  
  • Buy and use a hygrometer on each level of your home to monitor the humidity level to prevent the growth of mold spores. 

About ABC Cleaning, Inc. of Orlando, FL

Serving Central Florida since 1992, ABC Cleaning, Inc. has been the acknowledged leader in air duct cleaningchimney cleaning and dryer vent cleaning. We’re NADCA certified, we consistently invest in and have the most modern equipment and utilize the latest technology available with the best-trained service technicians in all of Orlando. If you need help deciding whether to replace or repair faulty ducts, please contact us at ABC. We provide quality HVAC service throughout Orlando and the surrounding communities. Please give us a call today at 407-477-4302. We are here to help! 

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