Always Affordable Chimney's Blog

Collapsed Chimney Liner Blamed For Carbon Monoxide Incident

Posted On: January 09, 2018

Serious harm or even death can result from carbon monoxide poisoning. To make sure this does not happen, have your chimney and fireplace serviced. Getting your boiler flue cleaned annually can help avoid accidents related to carbon monoxide. Also, periodically check to see if your carbon monoxide detector is working, as it only takes a few seconds. It can help save lives and avoid tragic stories, like this one from New Jersey where a 13-year-old girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Initially, authorities believed the accident was due to a space heater that the family was using, but after an investigation of the incident another conclusion was determined. The City Administration wrote is a statement that "a clay liner within the chimney at the multi-family dwelling collapsed. This obstructed the flow of carbon monoxide exhaust from building, and caused high levels of carbon monoxide to be released into the apartment."

In fact, the carbon monoxide levels were so high that the 27 police officers who came to the building to help had to be treated for exposure to carbon monoxide. Three people from the apartment building remain in critical condition. 

Sadly, this sort of tragic incident could have been avoided it the building underwent routine chimney sweeps and inspections. The collapsing liner could have been spotted and rebuilt before any issue with the carbon monoxide surfaced. And to make matters worse, the carbon monoxide detector was not operating properly at the time of the incident. The owner of the building believes the residents had removed the batteries, but periodically checking the instrument could have avoided this instance entirely. 

"For a $50 detector, a life could have been saved," one officer said. Don't be careless with the carbon monoxide detector at your home and remember to periodically check it.


Three Benefits of a Chimney Cleaning Company

Posted On: November 14, 2017

Always Affordable Chimney, Inc. is proud to offer our superior chimney cleaning services to Westchester, Queens and Long Island properties. Our commitment to excellent customer support allows us to provide you with the most thorough chimney cleaning services. Our professionally trained technicians bring their years of knowledge and experience into all chimney services. Having your chimney cleaned and inspected every year is important. Here are three benefits to having a chimney cleaning performed by a professional:

  1. Experience - Cleaning your chimney is difficult work without formal training or background. Since our technicians have accumulated years of expertise, we will know exactly how to clean and perform all chimney services safely with ease. Our technicians also inspect your chimney before and after cleaning it to ensure the job is complete. We also inspect chimneys to look for any potential damage, obstructions or circulation issues that prevent your structure from functioning properly. These issues include cracked or broken bricks, loose mortar joints and debris or animals cutting off the opening of your chimney. Our staff is equipped to clean, repair and inspect your chimney efficiently and diligently.

  2. Creosote Elimination - Our technicians are masters of eliminating creosote buildup. Creosote is the leftover waste products from wood after it has been burned. Creosote sticks to the lining of your chimney along with tar and soot. If left uncleaned, it could ignite and set your chimney and property on fire unexpectedly. To prevent this dangerous occurrence, our technicians have the tools and capability to reach as far up and down your flue as possible to find and destroy creosote buildup. Creosote is also dangerous to breathe in. If you suspect your chimney has buildup, we strongly suggest calling a licensed technician immediately.

  3. Sustained Regular Airflow - Your airflow is vastly improved after a professional chimney cleaning. By giving your flue a deep clean and removing all obstructions, our licensed technicians ensure your chimney naturally removes all excess heat and smoke from your fireplace. We also have specific working tools created for these jobs that help our work go safely and smoothly. Our work ensures your chimney remains in excellent condition. Even if your chimney is functioning correctly, having regular cleanings will prevent many common issues from arising.

Our chimney cleaning team has worked on many chimneys of different shapes and sizes. We service both commercial and residential properties. We look forward to working with you. for more information on our chimney cleaning services and all else we offer, please call one of our courteous representatives today.


Five Reasons to Have Your Chimney Inspected

Posted On: September 27, 2017

Millions of people own chimneys. During the cooler seasons of Fall and Winter, a room with a beautiful properly functioning fireplace is perfect for both relaxing and entertaining guests. However, your chimney has many working parts that wear over time like any other household appliance. To keep your chimney working properly, scheduling annual chimney inspections is necessary. Here are a five reasons why you should have your chimney inspected.

Soot & Debris Accumulation

A thick black coating of soot and dirt called creosote builds up in the lining of your chimney after many uses. This creosote prevents your chimney from efficiently blowing smoke out of your home. More importantly, creosote causes increased levels of carbon monoxide and can severely harm your health if inhaled. If you notice your chimney struggling to expel smoke efficiently or a black substance in your flue, booking an inspection is imperative for you and your loved ones. 

Proper Blower Function

Both coal and wood burning fireplaces have blowers that push smoke and other hazards, including carbon monoxide, out of your home through the flue. If this chimney component malfunctions, soot and debris could build up leaving you at risk of getting sick from breathing in creosote toxins.

Damaged or Cracked Bricks

Bricks and the mortar joints that hold them together are what make up the structural integrity of your chimney. If you notice bricks that are slipping out of place, broken or chipped, calling a chimney inspector is a must. Allowing bricks to keep cracking and breaking can interfere with your chimney's airflow by not allowing hot air to escape or by letting cold air into the flue while it is in use. If cold air gets in, you will have to use more energy to warm your home and spend more money to do so. A chimney inspection will lead you to a professional chimney technician who can easily correct this problem as well as most others.

Airflow Obstructions 

If you live is in an a woodsy area, your chimney's flue could be accidentally blocked or closed off. Environmental factors including broken tree branches, leaves, debris and even animals could get stuck inside your flue. If you figure that your chimney's airflow is not working efficiently or actually see foreign objects in your chimney, scheduling a chimney inspection is crucial to correcting the problem. 

Building Codes & Laws

Your area's building codes may have changed since your last inspection. Your chimney is no different that any of your utilities that you schedule inspections for.  To ensure that you do not get in legal trouble or pay a possible fine, an inspector will check to guarantee your chimney's safety and compliance with local code and protocol.

Learn more about Always Affordable Chimney, Inc. chimney inspection services.

If you have any questions about chimney inspections or our other services, please call us today at (855) 244-6880


AAC Does It All - Liner, Tile Knocking & Repointing

Posted On: August 21, 2017

Even the most modern chimneys require maintenance from time to time.  Check out the video below to see our Always Affordable Chimney technician on the job.

Chimney Liner Replacement is necessary to ensure quality air circulation as well as the safety of those inside of the structure on which the chimney is supported.  The stainless steel liners are used in replacing terracotta clay chimney liners most commonly found in residential areas.  Chimneys should be inspected annually for safety precautions.  For your convenience, Always Affordable Chimney offers a Free Chimney Inspection Service.

Chimney Tile Knocking is the process of breaking up terracotta chimney lining.  Over time the terracotta lining can break or crack.  This often occurs in older homes with older chimneys. When this occurs, it is most often replaced with a stainless steel chimney liner.  Tile-Knocking is a tough and dirty job and should only be performed by an experienced chimney professional.  

Repointing a chimney is a very important part of masonry maintenance.  Although the bricks surrounding the chimney may last for over 100 years, even high quality mortar decays over time, usually within the first 25 years of installation.  Weather is a huge indicator in how long the mortar holding the bricks in place will last.  Chimneys built in areas of higher temperatures and humidity may require more attention and maintenance as a result of moisture being absorbed into the brick and mortar.     


Critters, Wildlife, Chimney Information

Posted On: August 09, 2017

Keeping Critters Out Of Your Chimney

Having your chimney cleaned is an excellent way to ensure its longevity and peak performance. However, even if you have your chimney cleaned regularly, there are still some outside factors that are hard to control. One of the most common sources of headaches for Long Island, New York, and Westchester homeowners is keeping local wildlife from getting stuck or even nesting inside of their chimney's flue.

Most Long Island and Westchester neighborhood critters such as squirrels, skunks, raccoons, and even birds and bats can find ways to make your chimney their new homes. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to help prevent them from taking over your chimney.

Fill All Openings

One precaution to take when keeping animals out is to look out for any openings, holes or cracks inside your house. These exposed areas let moisture enter and can damage any wood and walls in your house, as well as the mortar joints on your chimney. They also let warmer air escape, especially on Long Island, resulting in higher energy bills. Most of all, these openings easily allow animals to enter your living space and take residence in your chimney.

The next time you perform your spring and fall cleaning tasks like weatherizing, gutter cleaning, and limb trimming, keep in mind how animals could take advantage of these areas and enter your home.

Make Sure All Wildlife Are Out

Despite your efforts to keep animals out of your chimney, some may have been sneaky enough to get in already. For this reason, it is important to make sure all animals are out before you place a chimney cap on top of it.  

First use a flashlight to inspect the flue from ground level for any animal traces such as droppings, fur or hair. Look closely for these traces especially on your chimney's smoke shelf and damper.

Next, from your rooftop, look down your chimney with a flashlight for the same traces.  Frequently, birds make their nests near the top of chimneys. Check the chimney flue from the roof (or have a chimney sweep do it) to make sure no animals are present.

Cap Your Chimney

Finally, perform one more general inspection. After confirming your clear chimney, install your animal-proof chimney cap.

Need a professional? Call Always Affordable Chimney for any chimney cap installation! 


Getting Your Chimney Ready for Winter

Posted On: August 04, 2017

Easier Appointments & Minimal Repair Wait

A common time to have your chimney repaired and inspected is the fall and there is nothing wrong with that, but getting a timely visit and subsequent repairs will not be easy. By scheduling a chimney inspection for the end of the summer, you will be presented with an array of available times and the flexibility around your schedule for this inspection will be a breath of fresh air. You won’t have to worry about getting the inspection done last minute or waiting over a month for some repair work to be addressed. Another added benefit is the ability to use your fireplace if there is a brisk night in September or October without the risk of fire.

The weather during the summer also makes it easier for expedited chimney repairs. The drier weather allows for our chimney experts to get the job done quicker. The masonry materials that are used during chimney repairs need optimal time and weather to cure, which is why summer chimney repairs are ideal.

Perhaps you have been discussing whether or not to upgrade your fireplace with an insert, changing your fireplace fuel type or repairing your hearth or chimney structure. Perhaps your chimney needs a new liner, a new chimney cap or a new damper. Does your chimney need to be waterproofed? With the winter months coming, a properly waterproofed chimney will protect your family from the cold, wet winter weather.

Call Always Affordable Chimney to set-up your annual sweeping and inspection or for any repairs you may need!


Chimney Damper Service Information

Posted On: July 17, 2017


Long Island, New York and Westchester homes should all have efficiently working chimney dampers. Dampers stop gases from seeping into your home through your chimney’s flue.

What is a chimney damper?

A chimney damper keeps your flue shut when your fireplace is not being used. These devices are placed at the top of chimneys and are often used as replacements for fireplace dampers.

A common misconception is that a damper and flue are the same device. The damper is not the flue itself, but it is what provides access to the flue so different chimney services and maintenance can be performed.  

What factors impact damper performance?

Damper efficiency can be impacted by a variety of environmental factors. Wind, type of firewood used, the moisture level of the firewood, and temperature inside and outside of the home all play a role in your damper’s performance.

While starting a fire, your chimney damper should be completely open. The amount of smoke emitted is heavily dependent on the type of firewood being used. Damp woods and hardwoods tend to create much more smoke.

The flue will need time to generate heat if the air is colder outside the house than on the inside. This will build up the draft needed to pull the smoke through the flue’s top from the firebox.

Strong enough wind gusts can dangerously cause flames to flare out of the firebox by forcing air down into the flue. Fortunately, there are many chimney services that can help prevent this from happening.

Wind can also cause tall trees to create back drafts by keeping swirling wind above the flue.

For chimney damper inspection and many other chimney services, please call Always Affordable Chimney at (855) 244-6880.


Chimney Cleaning & Maintenance

Posted On: June 30, 2017

First and foremost, if a chimney is cleaned it should always be cleaned professionally. Your average homeowner is not equipped to adequately clean a chimney. It requires specialized tools and an understanding of the construction of the chimney to be able to recognize the warning signs of a chimney that needs repair.

The question of how frequently this professional cleaning should be performed is based on a variety of factors. A quick answer is that it should be professionally cleaned on an annual basis. If your chimney has been taken care of regularly, cleaning once a year should be sufficient. However, the answer to this question is also related to how frequently you use your fireplace or woodstove. It depends on the type of wood you burn in your fireplace. It depends on the age of your chimney and how well it has been maintained.

The frequency that you professionally clean your chimney is related to the standards set by the National Fire Protection Association (NPRA). This group also sets the standard for chimney inspections. An annual chimney inspection can give you a better idea of how frequently you should professionally clean your chimney.

The NPRA recommends that you have a basic chimney inspection annually. This inspection will check your chimney for soundness, freedom from deposits, and the clearances that are necessary to operate your fireplace safely. Even if you don’t use your chimney frequently, it can deteriorate due to animals building nests in the flue or deterioration due to many factors including weather.

The NPRA recommends that you have a chimney sweep come in if you have 1/8” of soot built up and sooner if there is a glaze buildup. A soot or glaze buildup of 1/8” or greater is a buildup that is sufficient enough to potentially spark a fire. If you have a factory-built fireplace, you should get your fireplace professionally cleaned when there is any appreciable buildup.

The deposits that build up in your chimney and fireplace are acidic. This acidic soot is corrosive and aside from being capable of starting a fire, it can significantly deteriorate your chimney.  Only a professional is capable of safely and adequately cleaning your chimney.