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3 Fireplace Safety Tips for the Fall

As the leading chimney cleaning service in Philadelphia and Bucks County, Above All Chimneys knows what you need to do to avoid fireplace disasters in your home. In our last blog post, we outlined a few tips to help you prepare your fireplace and chimney for the fires you will have during the fall — but even once your fireplace is prepared for action, there are still other safety considerations to keep in mind while having a fire inside of your home! Let’s take a look at three ways to be as safe as possible before, during, and after you enjoy a fire. 

Make Sure the Flue is Open

This one seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many homeowners and their families forget this crucial step. The flue is what allows air (and smoke) to enter and exit your home through the chimney, and it can be opened by flipping a lever inside of your fireplace. The first thing you should do EVERY TIME you have a fire in the fireplace is to check to see if the flue is open!

Clean Out Ash After Using

So, you know what to do before the fire — but what about after it’s done burning? Instead of simply piling more wood onto the burnt ashes in your fireplace, you should clean out all of the old ash that was left behind by the fire. Just make sure that the ashes are not burning — or even hot, for that matter — before you throw them in the trash!

Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby

Now that we’ve covered what to do before and after a fire, let’s talk about a key safety measure that you must account for during the fire — you must keep a fire extinguisher on standby at all times during fireplace season. If you want to be as safe as possible, keep the fire extinguisher close to the fireplace (but not too close), as this is where it will be most needed during the colder months. 
Another way to keep your home safe during fireplace season is to keep your chimney clean! If you need help with chimney cleaning near Bucks County, PA, reach out to Above All Chimneys to schedule an appointment with our team. 

Tips to Prepare Your Chimney/Fireplace for the Fall

Did you know that fireplaces and chimneys play a part in 42% of all home-heating fires? The colder months are fast approaching, and natural gas prices can add hundreds of dollars to heating bills. For this reason, many homeowners will be using their wood-burning fireplaces this fall. As the leading provider of brick pointing in Philadelphia, we’ve provided this video to advise homeowners of some essential tips to help prepare their fireplace area for fall conditions: 

Hire a Chimney Sweep

Before you light the first fire of the season, schedule an inspection with a professional, certified chimney sweep. These experts can make sure that all accumulated creosote deposits have been removed, helping to avoid the possibility of a fire. Professionals will check the seals on all the gaskets to prevent air leakage. They can also replace any broken brickwork that could cause damage and test all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

Check for Additional Damage and Cap the Chimney

On top of thoroughly cleaning your chimney and fireplace, chimney sweeps should inspect the structure for any loose bricks, cracks, or missing mortar. The chimney liners should be checked for deterioration. And a cap should be fitted at the top of the chimney. Caps have wire-mesh sides covers that stop rain, squirrels, birds, and debris from entering your home. If your cap is missing or damaged, we recommend getting it replaced. 

Burn Seasonal Hardwoods and Don’t Overload the Chimney

Use dense woods, like oak, that has been split and stored in dry environments for at least six months. Greener wood and resinous softwoods such as pine will produce lots of creosote. Creosote is a flammable by-product of the combustion process that can quickly build up in the chimney. Smaller fires create less smoke and less creosote buildup. Also, fires that are too hot or large can cause damage to the structural integrity of a chimney.

Build the Fire Correctly

Be sure to place logs near the rear of the fireplace on top of a metal grate, Also, use kindling instead of flammable liquids to get the fire started.
For additional information, and to schedule brick repairs in Philadelphia, visit our website today.

How to Know Your Chimney Is Overdue For a Sweeping

Here at Above All Chimney & Masonry, our experts are the people homeowners in Philadelphia call for chimney repairs. But there are some effective ways to avoid the need for chimney repair, and one of the best is by hiring a chimney sweep. 

But maybe you’re not sure whether this service is really necessary at this time. To find out, here are some signs that you can look for. If you’ve noticed any of them, it’s time to call us. 

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4 Signs Your Chimney Needs Repair

Sometimes it can be almost impossible to spot signs that your chimney needs repairing. However, by scheduling regular maintenance checks, homeowners can avoid house fires and having their chimneys collapse, two potentially hazardous problems. Here at Above All Chimney & Masonry, we provide a range of services including chimney repair, flue repair, and brick pointing in Philadelphia, PA, and the surrounding area.

Below are some telltale signs that your chimney may need to be repaired:

Bricks Falling Into Your Yard Area

Have you noticed full bricks or parts of bricks falling from your chimney into your yard area? If so, your chimney is spalling. Spalling can be fixed by having a professional remove and replace all damaged bricks and add a waterproof sealant to prevent any future damage from occurring. The benefit of having a professional undertake this work is that they can check for any other problems that may cause further damage to your chimney’s structural integrity.

Warped or Discolored Wallpaper Around the Chimney Area

If the wallpaper beneath your chimney stack is showing signs of discoloration or warping, this could be a signal that your chimney is letting in water. If the chimney crown is cracked or damaged, water can leak through and run down your chimney and into your home. Chimney leaks are a common cause of damaged wallpaper, so we recommend calling a professional the second you notice any changes occurring.

White Staining/Efflorescence

White discoloration present on the exterior of a chimney is called efflorescence. This staining is a sign of moisture problems within the masonry. If this moisture isn’t dealt with professionally, the chimney is likely to deteriorate. This could lead to further issues as the structural integrity of the chimney becomes increasingly compromised.


If you notice rust appearing on your damper or firebox, it’s another sign of excess moisture within your chimney. This rust could be due to cracked flue tiles letting water enter into our home. Chimney sweeps use professional camera equipment to inspect the flue lining and make sure that there are no serious issues that could cause a house fire or any other type of dangerous situation.

Watch our video to see what these signs look like: 

For chimney and brick repair in Philadelphia, PA, and other local areas, click here today to contact the professionals at Above All Chimney & Masonry.