Top Hat Chimney & Duct Cleaning
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Chimney Cleaning (Sweeping)

Creosote is often VERY FLAMMABLE as it is the leftover fuel that does not combust when you burn. If soot or creosote burns, you may experience what most people call a chimney fire. Chimney fires can be a very dangerous situation.

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State College Chimney Sweep & Cleaning

When you are burning ANY Solid fuel appliance, you can build up a substance called soot, or creosote. This substance is often VERY FLAMMABLE as it is the leftover fuel that does not combust when you burn. If soot or creosote burns, you may experience what most people call a chimney fire. Chimney fires can be a very dangerous situation.

Chimney fires can be lessened by CLEANING YOUR CHIMNEY regularly.

chimney flue before cleaningChimney after cleaning

Soot/Creosote

When you are burning ANY Solid fuel appliance, you can build up a substance called soot, or creosote. This substance is often VERY FLAMMABLE as it is the leftover fuel that does not combust when you burn. If soot or creosote burns, you may experience what most people call a chimney fire. Chimney fires can be a very dangerous situation. Not only can a chimney fire cause damage to the interior of the chimney system, causing it to fail and not vent properly, structure (house) fires can start from a chimney fire event. Every year, millions of dollars in damage, lost possessions and memories result from chimney fires.

Wood Burning Fireplaces

Wood Burning Fireplace Wood burning fireplaces are a common cleaning service for Top Hat. Wood burning fireplaces can add elegance and ambiance to your living room. While wood burning fireplaces might be beautiful to look at while having a fire, they are one of the most inefficient wood burning appliances still available today. The fireplace chimney requires a tremendous amount of the heat and combustibles being produced to actually go up the chimney for the fireplace to function properly. Most of the time, if a fireplace is built to give off more heat, it causes more soot to build up in the chimney. For this reason, fireplaces need annual inspection and cleaning.

Free Standing Wood Burning Stoves

Wood Burning Stoves CleanedFree Standing Wood Burning Stoves are more efficient in terms of heat recovery than a fireplace. Heat recovery can have drawbacks in terms of creosote production. In older woodstove installations, the stove pipe is breached directly into an existing masonry chimney. Many times the chimney is too big for the stove, and the stove itself is siphoning heat away from the chimney.  This leads to unnecessary cooling of the gases in the chimney and causes the creosote to condense more rapidly than in a traditional fireplace system. It is HIGHLY recommended that woodstove chimneys be CLEANED and inspected AT LEAST once a year, especially if you use your woodstove as a source of heat during the cooler months.

Wood Burning Fireplace Inserts

Wood Burning Inserts CleaningWood burning fireplace inserts are a great way to increase the efficiency of your fireplace. However, like free standing wood burning stoves, they are subject to the same problems when it comes to creosote buildup. Many times we find that older fireplace inserts were installed without a properly sized lining system in the chimney. Fireplace flues were meant to vent inefficient fireplaces, NOT more efficient wood burning inserts. This leads to an extreme oversizing/cooling process of the flue gases and can create a very dangerous situation in your home.  Wood burning inserts, without a properly sized metal liner are a very HIGH RISK flue fire probability. 

Wood Pellet/Corn Burners

Pellet/corn stoves cleanedWood Pellets and Corn are an excellent source of heat for your home. They are also great for the environment because wood and corn are renewable. Wood Pellet and Corn stoves are very easy to use and very efficient in terms of wood burning and heat recovery. Pellet stoves are not like traditional wood stoves due to the mechanics inside the stove. Just like a forced air furnace, there are many different parts that need regular maintenance such as combustion fans, overheat switches, gaskets, vacuum switches, auger motors and more.  Even though these stoves are usually more efficient, there is still some soot that builds up in the flue. These stoves and their accompanying parts need to be checked / cleaned as well as the exhaust vent cleaned regularly.

Coal Chimneys

Coal Burning Stoves CleanedAnother common type of heating fuel is coal. Coal can be a wonderful form of heat for your home and is popular in Pennsylvania. Coal burning produces coal soot which is an EXTREMELY FLAMABLE form of soot. Even the smallest spark can ignite a chimney fire if the conditions are right.

There are many types of coal fuel including bituminous ("soft") coal and anthracite ("hard") coal.

Bituminous coal found in Western Pennsylvania and just about every other state in the U.S. It does produce a lot of smoke, soot and a powerful sulfury odor.

Anthracite coal is the highest grade of coal and is almost purely carbon. Anthracite coal does not contain the impurities found in bituminous coal and is almost exclusively mined in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Coal soot is EXTREMELY dangerous. It is dangerous for 3 reasons:

  1. Coal soot is flammable.
  2. Coal flue blockages due to either a buildup or a flue fire can be fatal to people and pets if coal gases, which contain carbon monoxide, cannot escape through the flue.
  3. If enough coal dust is built up inside your chimney flue, you run the risk of a dust explosion which will severely damage the chimney.

As such, it is important to have your coal venting chimney cleaned and inspected annually. Special types of brushes are used when sweeping coal flues, so not to create any sparks. In addition, a carbon monoxide detector with digital readout is strongly recommended. Carbon Monoxide is deadly.

Fuel Oil Chimneys

Oil burning appliance chimneys sweptFuel Oil is a common type of heating fuel. When fuel oil is burned, several types of emissions can occur. Carbon Monoxide can be produced, but also something called Sulfur Oxides. Depending on the sulfur content of the fuel oil, some of these sulfur oxides can react readily with moisture (do you have a rain cap on your chimney?) forming a sulfuric acid mist inside of the chimney. This acid can cause the interior of the chimney to deteriorate rapidly. If your chimney is deteriorated and not functioning properly, your oil furnace can malfunction and/or your chimney could be letting dangerous gases into your home. For this reason, it is important to have your oil furnace chimney inspected and cleaned regularly.  Note:  This is NOT a service that the furnace companies do. They service your furnace.   Top Hat services your chimney.

 

Note: If you see white spots on the outside of your oil venting chimney, it is an indication that a new lining system needs to be installed right away before even more serious damage is done. A liner now can save a liner & a rebuild later!

Gas Flues

Gas Burning Appliance Chimney CleanedGas appliance flues are a little different from other types of chimneys and appliances listed above. Very rarely is soot produced unless you have a VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM with your appliance. This does NOT mean these chimney flues do not need service.  Gas Flues need annual inspection and a different type of cleaning/neutralization.  Every now and then, we end up cleaning a gas flue when there is a blockage due to an animal or deteriorated chimney!

 

Typically, when you have a gas fired furnace, boiler, or water heater, your chimney is venting Carbon Dioxide and water. If there is not complete combustion, your appliance can produce Carbon Monoxide as well. The water that is being produced is usually vented to the atmosphere as steam in a properly installed heating/venting system. The keyword here is properly. Many times the chimney flue is too big for the appliance and the flue doesn't get hot enough to vent all of the water vapor out. That water is trapped in the chimney and causes deterioration in the chimney liner and can cause damage to the exterior of the chimney too!  A deteriorated chimney can malfunction and not vent properly.  It can even cause your heating appliances to malfunction. 

 

Note:  If you see white spots on the outside of your gas venting chimney - this is an indication that a new lining system needs to be installed right away, before even more serious damage is done.  A liner now can save a liner & a rebuild later!

See for yourself why Top Hat is the choice in the Centre Region of Pennsylvania when it comes to having your Chimney, Air Ducts, Dryer Vent, Furnace Flue or Gutters serviced.

When you are ready for the BEST chimney cleaning and masonry repairs, in State College and surrounding Centre Region, Call Top Hat Chimney State College for all your furnace venting needs.

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