Have your heater & fireplace chimneys inspected today!

Date: 3/5/2018 11:53 AM EST

structure fire

Chimney Fires occur at an alarming rate in our country, over 25,000 chimney fires account for over 120 million dollars in damage to property every year. Thousands of injuries and even many deaths result every year from chimney fires that spread to the structure of the home. Chimney liners or structural problems can allow high temperatures, sparks and embers to escape to combustible areas in walls, roofs or attics. A common cause of chimney fires is creosote inside the chimney catching fire and burning inside the chimney. Creosote is a by-product of burning that coats the inside of your chimney that needs to be removed during regular annual chimney cleaning by chimney sweeps.


Unwanted Blazes – A Fire in Your Chimney

fire in fireplace

Along with the soft crackling of the wood, your fire should only produce pleasant sounds, not ones like a freight train barreling toward your house at 100 miles an hour. When this raging noise is coming from your chimney walls, it means you have a powerful chimney fire on your hands. But chimney fires are not always that easy to detect.


Learn to Identify a Chimney Fire

chimney fireThere are two different types of chimney fires that are quite easy to tell apart, but both have the ability to cause substantial damage to your chimney and possibly your home.

Free Burning – These are the fires that sound like you have your own freight train or roaring airplane in your chimney. The blaze is loud and unmistakable. Oftentimes dramatic flames or billowing smoke may lap out of your chimney top. Your neighbors or people walking by may be alarmed by the noise and sites from this fire.

Slow Burning – This quieter version of a chimney fire is no less dangerous. You may not even know it has taken place. These undetected fires burn slowly and at high temperatures that can cause more than just structural damage to your chimney, they can easily catch flammable parts of your home on fire as well.

What to do if a chimney fire happens at your residence.


As with any other type of fire, the first step that should always be taken is to get everyone out of harm’s way and call the fire department. After everyone is safe and assuming the situation permits without putting yourself in danger, you can first try to cut off the air supply leading to the chimney. To do this close the damper on the chimney or any other pipes to attempt to smother the fire this way. Then close the glass doors or any other fire grate and leave the home. Once outside, take a garden hose and spray water on the roof around the chimney to prevent the roof from catching on fire. Once the fire is completely put out, it is best to monitor the wall temperature of any surrounding walls for the next few hours to ensure no other part of the home catches on fire.


The danger with chimney fires, even after they have been put out, is that if it happened once, it will most likely happen again if no further measures are taken. For this reason, after one of these fires has taken place, it is important to call a chimney professional right away to determine the cause of the fire. Besides removing the reason for the fire after one has raged inside of your chimney walls, prevention is also very important.

The key to preventing a chimney fire is to have a cleaning burning fire.

The Best Ways to Prevent a Chimney Fire

  • Only burn seasoned or dried out wood – Wood that is completely dry will sound hollow when hit against another piece of wood, it will be dark in color and may have cracks in the ends. It takes about 6 months for wood to be ready to burn.
  • Start fires with clean newspaper or dry kindling – Gasoline or kerosene should never be used to start a fire.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper or your Christmas tree.
  • Burn large logs, rather than many smaller logs when possible.
  • Get regular chimney inspections and cleanings to remove the excess creosote from the chimney walls and ensure safe burning.
What causes the fire in the first place?

creosoteCreosote build-up is the main cause of chimney fires. The creosote comes from particles that were not fully burned during the fire and when the temperatures in the chimney lowered, they attached to the chimney walls forming the creosote. In fact, when the temperatures within the chimney are below 250 degrees Fahrenheit, the substance in the smoke will condense and stick to the walls. When the temperature drops below 150 degrees Fahrenheit, the substance again changes form, this time to a dark, sticky substance. This dark sticky and sometimes flaky material can easily catch on fire, and thus is the root cause of the chimney fires.

How much damage can a chimney fire cause?

The type of chimney and the strength of the fire determine how much damage is done to the chimney.

housefire 1 damagegutted

Masonry Chimneys – A chimney fire can cause severe damage to the structure of the chimney. The walls may crack and the tile or clay liner pieces may break or even collapse from the high heat. A chimney fire can get up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and that is enough heat to even melt metals. Oftentimes the first fire will do some type of damage to the structure and the liner will crack or the mortar will be displaced. Then when the issue is not addressed, the second chimney fire will utilize the pathway created by the first fire and make nearby flammable materials of the home go up into flames. The heat is often hot enough to even catch the roof or other wood around the chimney on fire even without first damaging the structure.

Prefabricated Chimneys – For these factory built, metal chimneys, the structure must pass regulated guidelines and stand up to high temperatures. This does not mean they are immune to damage from chimney fires though. The metal liner of prefabricated chimneys can collapse or be distorted by high temperatures. If this happens to this type of chimney, it is very important that the liner is completely replaced before the chimney is used again.


Chimney fires are a dangerous problem to experience first hand, but the good news is that they are also entirely preventable. It is important to always take care to burn only the materials that are meant to be burnt and not use ones that could harm the chimney. This is crucial to keeping your chimney in a safe and working condition. While using the correct fuel is important, a chimney fire can still occur even with these precautionary measures in place. This is why annual chimney inspections and cleanings are another critical part of home maintenance.

Don't wait until it is too late. Take precautions now to make sure you have a clean, safe chimney system.

A clean chimney will not burst into flame, therefore proper care and regular cleanings are necessary to ensure the safety of your family and your home. Don’t get caught off guard by the roaring sounds and raging blazes coming from inside the chimney walls, keep a clean chimney and you’ll have a safer house!


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Date: 2/7/2018 11:57 AM EST

Many of us know that using outdoor appliances – like charcoal grills or portable generators – inside the home is a major cause of CO poisoning. But there are other, more subtle factors, that can be just as deadly. These include:

Energy Efficient Houses & Appliances – As houses are made more airtight and fuel efficient, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can build up inside. Energy-wise homeowners look for ways to seal up their house against the elements, but in doing so, they’re preventing fresh air from coming into the house and polluted air from escaping.

Appliances also contribute to the problem. Newer, high-technology heating appliances save money and decrease environmental pollution, but they may not burn off carbon monoxide as well as they should. They also may not be vented properly, resulting in a CO buildup inside the home.

Attached Garages – Attached garages are convenient, but they can also be dangerous. Starting a vehicle in an attached garage, even with the overhead door open, can add significant levels of carbon monoxide to the air inside the house. Studies revealed that carbon monoxide emissions from cars (when started cold) can fill the garage with CO in a short time, even with the door open. Once the car is backed out and the door closed, large concentrations of gas remain, where it can seep into the house for hours.

Chimney Problems – Soot or creosote buildup, blockages, damaged flue liners, or chimneys that are too short for proper venting can all lead to a dangerous buildup of CO. Even if you don’t use your fireplace, a damaged chimney is dangerous because they’re often used to vent gases from furnaces and water heaters. If you haven’t yet had your annual chimney inspection, schedule one nowRemember, your house may be sealed up to keep it warm for the winter, but you could also be sealing in CO!

What Are the Signs of CO Poisoning?

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like,” but people who are sleeping or incapacitated can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms. The elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are especially at risk.

How Can You Prevent CO Poisoning in Your Home?

The Center for Disease Control offers these tips:
  • Install a battery-operated CO detector (or one with a battery backup) in your home. Place the detector where it’s alarm will wake you up, such as outside your bedroom. Don’t put the alarm in the garage, furnace room, near a fireplace or in the kitchen. Also, don’t put it near a window or door – where fresh air could cause a misleadingly low reading – or behind the drapes or furniture that could block the air flow. Replace the battery every year and the CO detector every five years.
  • Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal-burning appliances inspected by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
  • When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters’ Laboratories.
  • Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances, such as a water heater, should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors. This prevents CO from leaking if the joints or pipes aren’t fitted tightly.
  • Never patch a vent pipe with tape or other materials.
  • Never use a gas range or oven for heating.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors.
  • Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors.
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
  • Never run your car or truck inside a garage that is attached to a house even with the garage door open. Always open the door to a detached garage to let in fresh air when you run a car or truck inside.

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Date: 2/6/2018 12:00 PM EST

Your chimney is an important part of your home and fireplace. If it can’t function correctly, your safety is at risk. Some of the signs of chimney damage may appear to be benign wear-and-tear to the untrained eye. A damaged chimney can lead to moisture problems, chimney fires and even the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning! Keep an eye out for these common signs of chimney damage.

Most Common Signs of Chimney Damage


Have you ever seen an unusual white stain across the brick of a chimney? Otherwise known as efflorescence, it’s a sure sign of excessive moisture in the masonry. Whether due to leaks or other damage, if you spot efflorescence, don’t wait to get a chimney inspection! Moisture and mold can quickly deteriorate your chimney and lead to other, more dangerous problems.


Cracked or Deteriorated Mortar Joints

Mortar joints in your masonry can happen for a variety of reasons. Even when maintained perfectly, they will deteriorate over time from weather and wear. If you see space between bricks or any other obvious cracking, it needs to be repaired immediately.

Damaged mortar joints greatly increase the amount of moisture that leaks into your chimney. During the colder months, this moisture can freeze, expand and cause further damage. These cracks allow smoke and heat to escape the chimney in places they shouldn’t. However, the most serious risk is the increased chance of collapse when the bricks lose their stabilizing mortar.

Sometimes the mortar joints are visible on the exterior of the chimney. Other times, the damage is on the interior and can be seen in the firebox. For any other damage, you would need a professional chimney inspection using a video camera.

Spalling Bricks

Bricks are porous. Over time, moisture can penetrate brick masonry and begin to break it apart. This is known as spalling. Like mortar joint damage, this can be exacerbated in cold weather climates when moisture freezes in the bricks.

There are a few common causes of spalling:

  • Using a high-powered pressure washer when cleaning the masonry
  • Weather, particularly in extreme weather climates
  • Aging brick in old homes
  • Low-quality components, often used in newer pre-fabricated homes
As age plays a big role in spalling, it’s impossible to completely prevent. However, if you pay close attention and use a masonry sealant, you can minimize its effects.

Cracked or Melted Crown

A chimney crown is essential to protect your chimney from external damage. Rain, snow and animals will all invade your chimney if it’s not guarded with a crown. Even a small breach can lead to major chimney damage.

That means any visible damage to your chimney crown should be repaired. For smaller cracks that happen due to weathering, you can simply reseal them. However, if you notice bigger cracks or crumbling masonry, the crown may need to be replaced.

Shaling Flue Tiles

Inside your chimney is a flue liner that protects the brick and your home from heat, while helping to direct the flow of air up and out of your home. A damaged flue liner is no joke. If you start to see thin slices of the tile from your liner in your firebox, you have a shaling problem.

Fortunately, you have an obvious sign of damage. Many chimney liner problems are hard to detect for the average homeowner, due to the liner running the entire length of the chimney. If you notice shaling tile, call your local CSIA-certified chimney sweep for an inspection right away.

Deteriorated Flashing

Chimney flashing is a sheet of metal that adds a watertight seal to the connection between your chimney and roof. Water leaking into your roof can cause wood rot, mold and a host of other problems. Flashing isn’t immune to weathering and over time it will need replaced.

If you find rust, holes, or areas where the seal between the flashing and the roof have worn, you’re at risk for water damage. Corners are particularly vulnerable to wearing away, so keep a close eye on your flashing. It may be possible to repair small damage to flashing, but it’s often better to replace it. Compromised flashing will lead to water reaching parts of your home that you won’t notice until major damage is done.

Wallpaper & Paint Damage Near Your Chimney

Have you ever noticed wallpaper or paint peeling near your chimney? This is a clear sign that something is wrong. The brick or mortar on the interior could have chipped or cracked, or your flue liner may be damaged. In some cases, homeowners that installed gas fireplaces neglected to install properly sized flue liners.

If you notice peeling wallpaper or paint, or paint that appears to bubble near your chimney, schedule a chimney inspection as soon as possible!

Can a Chimney Be Damaged Beyond Repair?

Yes! Unfortunately, in some cases, a chimney in such disrepair that it becomes a structural hazard, it needs to be replaced entirely. While most homeowners catch problems before they get this bad, it can happen.

The best way to avoid needing your chimney replaced is to continue scheduling annual chimney inspections and repairing any issues as they appear.

Don’t ignore a damaged chimney, Call American Chimney!

If you think your fireplace or chimney needs repairs, contact us today! American Chimney can inspect your chimney and identify any potential risks. We’ll get you set up right away so you can have peace of mind.

Call Us: 215-364-0881

Email Us: info@americanchimney.net

Office Hours: Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm

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Date: 2/1/2018 11:45 AM EST


Chimney Liners

A chimney liner plays an important role in the safety and efficiency of your whole system. This inner portion, made of clay, cement, or metal, keeps the combustible elements inside from damaging your chimney and causing a fire. It also allows the smoke and carbon monoxide to safely vent outside your home.

Unfortunately it may become necessary to have your chimney relined at some point. Here are seven common reasons why this may need to happen:

  1. Moisture Damage– Moisture can enter your chimney through repeated cycles of freezing and thawing. Over time this can cause cracks in the clay liner or flue tiles. For example, you may notice pieces of broken tiles in your firebox-a sign that all is not well up inside.
  2. Deterioration– While chimney liners are meant to last a long time, even well maintained liners begin to deteriorate with age! 

  3. Lightning Damage– Clay tiles have advantages, but a lightning strike can heat them up quickly and make them expand, causing them to crack. If your clay tile lined chimney is the unfortunate casualty of a lightning strike resulting in fire, a relining is definitely in order! Often a stainless steel liner is recommended as a replacement. 

  4. Improper Installation– A liner that isn’t installed properly the first time won’t be able to perform properly and can cause major problems in your system. As a matter of fact, faulty chimney liners are a major cause of chimney fires. 

  5. Flue resizing– Replacing your furnace with a new one may mean that your liner may not be the proper size. Relining with a different sized flue will help solve the problem.
  6. Change in fuel type– If you’re making a change from one fuel type to another (for example from gas to wood), it’s important to note that some liners aren’t compatible with all kinds of fuel.
  7. No liner at all– Believe it or not, some older homes may have chimneys that have no liner at all! If your home was built before 1940, that may very well be the case.
So how do you know if your chimney is in need of a new liner? Call in the chimney experts at American Chimney to inspect your chimney and determine what your liner needs may be!

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Date: 1/27/2018 11:50 AM EST


Are you having difficulty getting a fire to ignite in your fireplace?  There are many possible reasons for this frustrating fireplace problem.  See the issues listed below as well as those mentioned in Part 1 of this two-part series.

6 – The Chimney Draft isn’t Adequate
If there isn’t enough of a draft in the chimney, it’s difficult to get a fire going due to lack of oxygen.  There are several reasons a chimney doesn’t provide enough of a draft.  If you don’t have a chimney cap, an animal may have built a nest in your chimney, causing blockage.  Branches may be obstructing the chimney.  If you do have a chimney cap, it could be clogged with soot or external debris on the netting.  Our professional chimney sweeps can handle these issues as well as any other problems you have with your chimney.
Another possibility is that the chimney isn’t tall enough.  It should project above the roof at least 3 feet, and the chimney should be at least 2 feet higher than anything that’s within 10 feet of it.  The overall height of the chimney should be at least 10 feet.  If your chimney is too short, it becomes more apparent when the wind blows since the wind can more easily blow down the chimney.
You can increase the height of the chimney by a few feet, as needed.  Another option, though a quite costly one, is to invest in a motorized draft inducer which fits at the top of the chimney and sucks out the smoke.
7 – The Chimney is Filled with Cold Air
Especially when a chimney is on the outside of the home, there is a possibility that there is a cold column of air pushing down toward the fire.  Since the fireplace doesn’t have enough of a draft, it could be difficult to light; and the smoke can flow into the house instead of up the chimney.  The cold needs to be dispelled to some extent before the smoke can flow in the right direction.
An action that many people take, though it should be done with extreme caution, is to light a rolled up newspaper and hold it up near the damper, so that heat from the makeshift torch can dispel the cold air.
8 – Your Home is Too Tightly Sealed
A lot of air is required for a fire to burn.  Air is flowing up your chimney in large volumes, which means that there must be a sufficient air supply in the home to both move up and out of the chimney and provide oxygen for the fire.  Sometimes modern, energy-efficient homes are insulated and weather-stripped to the extent that fireplaces become sluggish and smoky.  Another problem this issue can cause is a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.  The problem can usually be temporarily relieved by opening a window, but a permanent solution is needed; our chimney professionals can help.
9 – Inadequate Flue Size

A problem with improper flue size most typically occurs when a wood-burning stove or pellet stove is installed and the chimney is connected to the appliance.  A flue must be within the range specified by the appliance’s manufacturer.  It’s always best to get the help of a professional when installing wood-burning appliances.

Chimney Cleaning

10 – The Chimney is Dirty
Has it been a long time since you had your chimney cleaned?  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests that chimneys should be inspected and cleaned annually, to ensure the safe use of the fireplace.  Yet sometimes this step is neglected.  It could be that you moved into a pre-owned home and weren’t aware of the poor condition of the fireplace.  In any case, it is possible for the soot buildup to restrict proper venting of the fireplace.
There are actually many other possible reasons that a fireplace doesn’t operate correctly.  Sometimes it requires the help of a professional to figure out what the issue is.  Contact our professionals today for a chimney or dryer vent cleaning and inspection or for any other chimney and venting issues.
Read Pt 1 of this article to find out more common reasons you may have issues getting a fire started in your fireplace.

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Date: 1/26/2018 11:42 AM EST

Fireplace Problems

Winter is hanging on; and even in the southern states, the fireplace can still be needed for warmth before spring comes to stay until summer. But what if you suddenly find that you can’t get a fire started? There are many possible explanations for why a fire won’t start in a fireplace, and the following are a few of the most common:

1 – The Damper Isn’t Opened Fully

Even if you remembered to open the damper in your fireplace, it’s possible that something has occurred which prevents it from opening all the way. From soot buildup behind the dampers to water damage, there are many possible reasons that the damper won’t open sufficiently. Hiring a professional chimney sweep to address the issue is typically all that’s needed.

2 – The Gas Supply is Cut off, in a Gas Fireplace

Of course, there must be a gas supply for a gas fireplace to operate. There are several possible reasons why there is no gas for a fire. There is usually a wall switch or a valve near the fireplace which transfers the gas from the main line or source to the fireplace; it could be that it was turned off and simply needs to be turned back on. The gas line may be open but there may be no more gas or perhaps a utility payment got lost in the mail and it was cut off.

3 – The Pilot Light is Out in a Gas Fireplace

The pilot light for a gas fireplace can be blown out by a sudden downdraft or by the wind. If this is what happened, turn the pilot light back on. The usual way a pilot light is lit is that you turn the control knob to the Pilot position, a counter-clockwise movement. Click on the red button, which should light the pilot. Hold the button in for about a minute and then turn the knob to the “on” position.

4 – The Gas Valve is Blocked in a Gas Fireplace

The thermo coupling produces an electric spark from the pilot light which opens the gas valve. This is a very tiny spark, and even a small amount of dust can block the valve.

5 – The Wood is Wet or Too Green


If there is no heat inside the chimney, the fireplace cannot work properly. In addition, if you are trying to light wet or green wood, all you may get is a lot of smoke but not enough fire to create the heat that’s required for the chimney to do its job of carrying the smoke up and away from the home. The type of wood you use in the fireplace is important. The wood should be seasoned, which means dried properly. Otherwise, there is too much moisture in the wood; and any flames which ignite produce significantly less heat than a fire with seasoned wood.

The other top five reasons a fireplace doesn’t start involve more complex issues. Be sure to read Part 2 of this series on reasons a fireplace won’t start. In the meantime, contact our chimney professionals for all of your chimney, fireplace, and venting needs.

Read Pt 2 of this article to find out more reasons you may have issues getting a fire started in your fireplace.

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Date: 1/25/2018 11:28 AM EST

Fireplace Safety Tips

Without realizing it, many homeowners create hazardous situations related to the use of their fireplace. Don’t light your fireplace again without making sure that you aren’t making any of the following mistakes which could lead to life-threatening situations:

Mistake #1: Using a fireplace that hasn’t been cleaned or inspected recently.

A report on U.S. fires in 2009 found that about 59,000 house fires were related to heating equipment. Of those fires, 55% of them were caused by using a fireplace that wasn’t clean or properly maintained. There are many potential issues which can interfere with the safe use of a fireplace, some of which can be difficult for the untrained eye to spot. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recognizes these hazards and recommends that a chimney and fireplace be inspected at least annually.

Using a fireplace is a dirty business. Creosote, a flammable tar-like substance, is deposited in the chimney lining every time logs are burned. It’s possible for the creosote to catch fire because of a hot spark or ember. A chimney fire is extremely hot, very dangerous, and can do serious damage to the chimney and flue. If the flue becomes damaged, the combustible parts of the house near the chimney are highly susceptible to catching fire. Home blazes caused by chimney fires usually spread rapidly because of the intensity of the heat.

When one of our professional chimney sweeps inspects your home, the flue is checked to be sure that it is intact and the creosote buildup inside isn’t significant enough to either obstruct the chimney or start a chimney fire. The chimney is also checked for other possible obstructions. There are more than a few potentially dangerous situations that are checked so that the homeowner’s safety when using the fireplace can be assured.

Mistake #2: Hiring a chimney sweep because of low prices without checking the legitimacy of the company.

Chimney SweepThe Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation has advised homeowners to be cautious because of an outbreak of chimney cleaning and repair scams. Con artists sometimes take advantage of the unregulated chimney sweep industry and lure homeowners into their scams in which extremely low prices for chimney maintenance are offered via phone solicitations, door-to-door sales pitches, and other types of advertisements.

Once they have had a chance to look at your chimney, scam artists routinely make false claims about expensive repairs that are immediately needed, to prevent fires or deadly carbon monoxide leaks. They will accept your money for these costly repairs, and then what they usually do is take the money and run. If they do work on your chimney, there is a chance they will do more harm than good. Though the industry isn’t regulated, there are building code requirements which apply to the chimney; fake chimney sweeps aren’t equipped to do repairs that are up to code. Also, if a fake chimney sweep supposedly cleans your chimney, you can’t be sure your fireplace is safe to use.

Before hiring a chimney sweep:

  • Make sure the company is an established business with a good reputation within the community.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau to see if there is any information about the company.
  • Make sure he or she is certified, a designation which serves as proof that the person has proper training and experience for the job.
Mistake #3 – Failing to install carbon monoxide detectors in the home.

Even when a chimney has been routinely inspected, unexpected situations can occur which could cause carbon monoxide to enter the home in large amounts. Known as the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide is not detectable until dangerous physical reactions are manifested. The toxic fumes have no smell and are invisible. To avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide which can occur through the use of a fireplace, simply install carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home.

All of our chimney sweeps are professionals and will give you a true assessment of your chimney’s condition. Our customers always get the VIP treatment because we want the ongoing privilege of helping you keep your chimney and fireplace safe.

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Date: 1/24/2018 12:00 PM EST

Franklin Stove

Benjamin Franklin, one of our nation’s Founding Fathers, was concerned because fireplaces during his day and time were very dangerous and frequently caused house fires and fatalities. He also knew that something needed to be done to ease the wood shortage that was also creating challenges at that time, and he took action.

Born on January 17, 1706, Benjamin Franklin was the tenth son of Josiah Franklin, a soap maker, and Abiah Folger, Josiah’s second wife. Josiah was the father of 17 children. From his childhood, Benjamin made significant contributions to society. In 1742, Benjamin designed a freestanding cast-iron fireplace that was inserted into an existing fireplace; and the invention addressed each of his concerns, though the design needed much improvement. Ben’s invention, which saved countless lives, was originally called the Pennsylvania Fireplace but later became known as the Franklin Stove.

As designed, smoke came out from the bottom of the new invention. Because smoke rises, the stove couldn’t work properly. In spite of the major flaw, it was a safer and more efficient method of heating homes than what existed previously. The benefits of the stove were widely recognized, in spite of the flaws, and Franklin was offered a patent so that he could solely produce them. Franklin declined because he wanted his invention to serve others, which he considered better than any financial reward.

Part of Benjamin’s design included a u-shaped duct between the fireplace and the chimney. He referred to it as an “aerial siphon;” its purpose was to extract as much heat as possible from the combustion gases. The earliest known inverted siphon from which Franklin got this inspiration was invented by Franz Kessler in 1618. Both men used a baffle, which forced the fumes to descend behind it prior to exiting through the chimney.

Benjamin’s use of cast iron for the Franklin Stove was inspired by Frenchman Jean Desaguiliers. He read about Desaguliers’ experiments related to using cast iron instead of masonry in a fireplace. Among the benefits he discovered was that the metal provided an enhanced yet comfortable heat.

The Franklin Stove that we are all most familiar with is a culmination of improvements made on Benjamin’s original design. As the stove evolved, even at the hands of other inventors, the name “Franklin Stove” endured; and people across the world still use these stoves today.

Franklin Stove DesignWhile the stoves are currently in use, over the past two centuries many more remarkable advancements have been made so that fireplaces, wood burning stoves, and fireplace inserts are more efficient than ever. In fact, modern efficiency ratings can hardly be compared to the stoves commonly used in households as recently as 40 years ago.

Benjamin Franklin epitomized what it is to be a truly astounding individual; and the invention of the Franklin Stove is just one of his many, many outstanding achievements that changed the world for the better. Of all his astounding accomplishments and inventions, we can’t help but be partial to his invention of the Franklin Stove, used in American homes for over 250 years and counting.

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Date: 1/23/2018 4:33 PM EST

8 Consumer Tips on How to Choose a Chimney Sweep.

There are ways to guard yourself and make an informed decision. Review these 9 tips and follow them anytime you are hiring a Chimney Sweep. This will guarantee that you end up with a reputable contractor and pay a fair price for the work done.

We all have heard of the news stories about con-artists who scam homeowners out of deposits for shoddy work, non-existent work or even for work that never needed to be done. The Chimney Sweep business is a prime territory for these shysters to operate. Because many unsuspecting consumers are not educated about fireplaces, stoves, heating appliances and their chimneys or venting systems they are often victimized by these crooks. Most of these operations start with a phone call offering special low prices. Once they are at your home, they may suggest repairs that are needed or safety issues that need to be addressed. Everyone wants to keep their home safe, so many are easy marks for these fake contractors.

#1 – Protect Your Home – Don’t Get Burned /

The proper operation and maintenance of your chimney, stove or furnace systems are of extreme importance. Taking chances by hiring a contractor based on price alone can spell serious trouble for your home and your wallet. The “savings” you may realize, will evaporate quickly if the work is never done or not done up to industry standards. When deciding on a Chimney Sweep choosing a reputable and well qualified company will ensure the safest solution to protect your home and family. Don’t take chances with this important decision.

#2 – Only Hire CSIA Certificated Sweeps /

The most important qualification when hiring, is to look for a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep. The standard for training across the country is the Chimney Sweep Institute of America when it comes to the care, maintenance and repair of all fireplace, stove and furnace systems and their venting systems and chimneys. Make sure you see proof of CSIA certification for the technician that will be working on your home. Many companies advertise that they are certified, but only one or two technicians actually have CSIA certification.


#3– Don’t Hire based on a Chimney Sweep Solicitation /

Stop scammers in their tracks, phone solicitors that promise low prices for chimney sweep services should be ignored. Do your research online and ask the important questions in our 9 tips when you call your choices. Reputable companies have detailed websites that contain qualifications, address and information to educate consumers. The phone banks usually will sell their appointments to independent contractors that may not be fully qualified. Many of these independents will produce inferior work results as they cram as many appointments into one day as possible. Most of our customers have been with American Chimney for years because they know they can trust us to do the job right.

#4 – Make Sure Your Chimney Sweep Company is Insured /

Don’t be afraid to ask if the Chimney Sweep Company has insurance that would protect against damage that may occur in your home, or to employees that are working at your home. Find out exactly what their policy covers, asking questions can prevent unnecessary risk. If the contractor has no coverage and gets injured or causes damage to your home you will assume the liability. At American Chimney we carry full insurance that protects you and your home while we work there. It is highly unlikely that anything will ever happen to require insurance, but like the old adage says “better safe than sorry.”

#5 – Look for Proper Identification /

When the contractor arrives, it ok to ask for their identification.  Take note that they arrive in a marked company truck and that they are wearing a uniform. Don’t ever hire a contractor that shows up at your door with a story like “we were working in the neighborhood…”, make sure you do your homework and hire a professional chimney sweep.


#6 – Professional Attitude and Appearance a Must /

As the customer, you should expect to be treated with courtesy, respect and provided with the answers to any questions that you may have about the work being done. Any work done in your home should leave everything just as clean as it was before the work began. Contractors should be dressed presentably in a company uniform. The nature of the work does result in a bit of soot here and there by the end of the day, but all of our sweeps take pride in acting and looking as professional as possible while delivering the best customer service possible.

#7 – Insist on an Appointment Time Window /

Nobody likes waiting around all day for a contractor to arrive late. When making your appointment the Chimney Sweep you choose should be able to give you a window of a few hours during which the technician will arrive. If the contractor you are interviewing is unsure when they will arrive or not sure they will make it, move on to a company that knows how to schedule work and get it done. At American Chimney, we pride ourselves on being ON-TIME, even if we are running a few minutes past the estimated time of the appointment our sweeps will always call ahead to let you know.

#8 – Ask For Current References /

Any reputable Chimney Sweep company should be able to provide names and phone numbers of customers that are in your general area. Don’t hesitate making a quick call to make sure the reference was happy with the company. There are no excuses for not providing a reference when asked. If this will help your assurance of performance and peace of mind, by all means – ask for references.

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Date: 1/23/2018 2:50 PM EST

Welcome to our very first American Chimney blog!

Thank you, Bucks and Montogomery County customers for supporting our small business for 25 years! Without you all, we would not be who we are today, and for that, we are eternally grateful.

For a quarter of a century, it is the mission of American Chimney to blend old world values of honesty, integrity, quality, and top notch customer service with the application of modern chimney maintenance techniques. American Chimney strives to foster public awareness and education on issues related to chimney and venting performance, heating and safety. We want homeowners to be educated and understand the potential dangers so that your time in front of your hearth on a chilly fall day or cold winter evening can occur consistently with more confidence and less risk.

We look forward to the opportunity to serve you all for 25 more years.

Your Partners in Safety,

Matt Halper, President

Nicole Lore, Operations Manager

Corey Miller, Service Manager


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692 Knowles Ave
Southampton, PA 18966

Phone: (215) 364-0881



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