Correct Wood Use
Wood has so many different uses. In Cape Town, the two main uses of wood are to start fires in both fireplaces and braais. While fireplaces and braais have two different purposes, they have one thing in common: they require the use of specific wood to function properly. Did you know that using the wrong type of wood in a fireplace can actually damage the chimney? Or that using improper wood in a braai can lead to extra smokey, undercooked meat? It is often best to check with your local wood supplier, which wood to use. Whether you’re gathering wood for your fireplace or your braai, there are several characteristics that you should look for to avoid these problems.
What to look for in wood for your fireplace or braai
The importance of using the right kind of wood
There are three main reasons why using the right kind of wood in a fireplace or braai is important: to ensure proper fire temperature, to prevent creosote build up, and to avoid exposure to chemicals. Firstly, if you use wood that isn’t seasoned (dried), the fire will not burn hot enough. This can cause the smoke to turn into soot and creosote, which is incredibly dangerous. Creosote can cause your chimney to deteriorate and even catch alight. It can be hard to notice creosote build up in a fireplace because it accumulates high up in the chimney. Creosote is a carcinogenic and can cause respiratory problems. The only person qualified to remove this creosote- and prevent it from accumulating- is a qualified chimney sweep.
Second, if you use wood that has been treated or painted, the chemicals will release into the air or onto your food, causing you to become ill.
Best types of wood for fireplaces and braais
There are several types of wood native to Cape Town that are ideal for fireplaces and braais. Here are the most effective woods:
The type of wood you use in a fireplace or braai is extremely important. Using treated wood, green wood, softwood, or unseasoned wood can all lead to disastrous results. If you want to ensure the health and safety of both you and your family, you should use dry and seasoned hardwood. The best types of wood to use in Cape Town are listed above and not only are they safe and efficient, but they are also easily accessible and affordable.
Firewood 4 Africa has been supplying businesses and warming up homes across the Western Cape since 2003.
They source their wood from local farming communities creating jobs and supporting locals. They donate firewood to certain non-profit organisations and mulch to assist with vegetable gardens at schools in the area creating food & nourishment for many children who would otherwise go hungry. All their wood is alien vegetation (Blue gum, Black Wattle, Rooikrans and Pine), seasoned naturally by weathering agents (no chemicals) specialising in closed combustion fireplaces, open fireplaces, braai’s and pizza ovens.
They pride ourselves in their service, quality of wood and being on time.
Firewood 4 Africa
Cell number: 082 042 6959
Can you believe that summer is over? We can’t either! While it may still feel quite hot in some areas of the country, the reality is that autumn and winter are upon us. Most homeowners have a detailed checklist of home maintenance that needs to be done before the cold weather hits. Unfortunately, cleaning the chimney rarely makes it onto this list. The saying “out of sight, out of mind” definitely rings true when it comes to chimney maintenance. However, just before winter is the most important time to have your chimney cleaned! Here are the top five chimney maintenance tips that you should take into consideration this season:
Remove rooftop debris
From one winter to the next, your rooftop is bound to get covered in leaves. If you have a chimney cap installed- which you should- this can help to prevent this debris from entering your chimney. However, if your roof has quite a bit of debris like branches and leaves, they can still find their way into your chimney while it’s in use. If your chimney become blocked by debris, smoke is unable to exit properly and could flood your home instead.
Check that the smoke alarm is operational
If you have a fireplace in your home, then it’s absolutely crucial that you also have at least one smoke alarm. You should also have a carbon monoxide detector. Before the fall and winter months- when you’ll likely be using your fireplace the most- be sure to check if these detectors are still operational. If they aren’t, then replace them as soon as possible!
Remove creosote buildup
Over time, creosote can build up inside of a chimney. While it starts out as harmless dust, it can eventually become thick and tar-like in consistency. Creosote becomes thick when it has been sitting inside the chimney for quite some time. This can cause toxic fumes to be emitted from your fireplace and can also cause smoke to enter into your home. Be sure to have creosote professionally removed before winter.
Assess the flue damper operation
Check your flue damper and ensure that it not only opens and closes fully, but that it can also be locked in both positions.
The best way to ensure that all of these maintenance tips are followed is to hire a professional chimney sweep. It’s important to get your chimney professionally cleaned at least twice annually and one of those times should be before winter hits. At The Original Chimney Sweepers, we want our clients to both enjoy their fireplaces and stay safe. It’s impossible to do these things if your chimney is dirty or structurally unsafe. But there’s good news- we can help. Whenever we service a chimney, we clean it thoroughly, remove and analyse all debris, and perform a comprehensive safety inspection. When you hire us to clean your chimney, you can rest assured that it will be done properly.
There’s nothing better than relaxing on the couch, reading a good book, and keeping warm by the fire. However, this fantasy is easily ruined if your fireplace isn’t working. When most people encounter a problem with their fireplace, there first course of action is to try to fix it themselves. However, unless you are a chimney sweep professional, chances are you don’t really know a whole lot about fireplaces. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry- we’re here to help! Here are the four most common reasons why your fireplace might not be working:
The damper is partially closed
The first thing to check if your fireplace isn’t working is the damper. In order for a fireplace to burn properly and safely emit smoke, the damper needs to be fully opened. However, it needs to be opened manually, as it should be closed when the fireplace is not in use. If the damper isn’t open fully, the fire can die out quickly or project smoke into the home. However, if you are unable to open your damper, it could be due to water damage or soot buildup. In this case, it’s crucial that you call a professional immediately.
You are using unseasoned firewood
The type of firewood you use in your fireplace can have a direct impact on whether your fire burns properly. You should only use seasoned, or fully dried, firewood in your fireplace. When wood is too moist or green, it doesn’t burn well and can create more smoke than heat.
The chimney flue is too small
If your chimney flue is the wrong size, it can result in smoke buildup that will flood into your home. To check if your chimney flue is the right size, keep in mind that your fireplace opening should be smaller than ten times the size of the flue. It’s common for older chimneys to have flues that are too small. If this is the case, contact The Original Chimney Sweepers and we will gladly replace it for you.
Your chimney needs to be cleaned
The most common reason why a fireplace isn’t working properly is because the chimney is too dirty. Over time, ash and creosote can build up in a chimney and prevent smoke from being able to exit the chimney safely. It can also lead to the release of carbon monoxide. Remember that you should have your chimney professionally cleaned at least twice annually.
Now that you have a better idea as to why your chimney isn’t working, you can fix the problem! However, while these are all common reasons why your fireplace isn’t working properly, there can be other culprits. If it’s been a while since your chimney has been professionally cleaned, you may have a blockage or creosote buildup. Both of these things can cause your fireplace to have excess smoke, emit toxic carbon monoxide gas, or generally work poorly. It’s crucial to hire a professional chimney sweep at least two times per year. If your chimney isn’t working and you can’t figure out why- or it’s been six months since its last cleaning- contact The Original Chimney Sweepers today!
There’s no denying that a fireplace is a wonderful invention. It not only adds warmth to your home, but is easy to maintain and gives your house a homey aesthetic. However, as wonderful as fireplaces are, they can be dangerous if you aren’t careful. For those who have used fireplaces for years, these safety tips have become second nature. However, if you are a first time fireplace owner, you may be unaware of these crucial safety tips. Here are the top nine ways to ensure that you can enjoy your fireplace without any problems:
Use the right type of wood
When it comes to a fireplace, the type of wood you use is crucial. Use only dry and cured firewood. When wood has too much moisture, it won’t burn properly and other types of wood could release toxic chemicals.
Install a chimney cowl
A chimney cowl is important because it can prevent debris, rain and animals from entering your chimney.
Detectors are arguably the most important safety tip when it comes to owning and operating a fireplace. However, keep in mind that you should install both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Smoke detectors can let you know if there is a problem with your fireplace- such as smoke coming back into your house- or if there is an active fire. Carbon monoxide detectors, on the other hand, will inform you if your fireplace is releasing toxic levels of carbon monoxide. This can happen if there is a problem with your fireplace, such as smoke being unable to exit from the chimney.
Get your chimney professionally cleaned regularly
If you want to be safe, it’s crucial to have your chimney professionally cleaned at least once per year. This should be just before winter, as objects like bird’s nests can be blocking your chimney. When professionals like The Original Chimney Sweepers clean your chimney, we do more than just give it a thorough sweeping. We also perform a safety inspection to ensure that your fireplace is structurally sound.
Build your fire slowly
When making a fire in your fireplace, start slow. Add more firewood as the fire starts to grow. When you try to build a huge fire all at once, it could get out of hand fast and pose a safety hazard.
Keep debris away from your chimney
If you have trees that hang over your chimney, be sure to keep the branches cut. Additionally, have your roof swept for leaves and other debris that could fall into your chimney. When items block your chimney, they could prevent smoke from exiting, which can cause smoke to spill into the house or start a fire.
Keep a fire extinguisher on hand
It’s always better to be safe than sorry. While you’re unlikely to experience an unruly fire if you follow the above safety tips, it’s important to keep a fire extinguisher on hand just in case.
At The Original Chimney Sweepers, we are passionate about client safety. While we love chimneys and fireplaces, we understand that they can be dangerous if not handled properly. We hope that these tips can help keep you and your family safe year-round!
There’s no question about it - hiring a chimney sweep to clean your chimney regularly is crucial. However, not every chimney sweep company is created equal. If you’re looking for a chimney sweep professional for the first time, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many options online- how do you know who to hire? Before hiring any chimney sweep company, we recommend asking them a set list of questions. This ensures that they are professional, safe, affordable, and reputable.
Here are the top six questions to ask a chimney sweep before hiring:
How much experience do you have?
When it comes to chimney sweeping, experience is important. If a company is brand new, chances are that their employees don’t have the knowledge or hands-on experience necessary to do the job well.
Before hiring any chimney sweep company, ask them these two questions: How long has your company been in business? How much experience does the specific chimney sweep who will be helping me have? Not only does the company need to have experience in the industry, but so do their employees. The company could have been in existence for over a decade, but if they send a new and inexperienced chimney sweep to your home, it could be disastrous.
Do you have references?
Before you hire any service provider, you should take a look at their references and customer testimonials. They may have a professional website, but that doesn’t mean that they know what they’re doing. It’s always best to hear first-hand from customers about their experience with a company before you hire them. This can save you both time and money in the long run.
Are you insured?
Every reputable chimney sweep company has insurance. If a chimney sweep company doesn’t have liability insurance, then they are putting both themselves and your home at risk. Accidents can happen to even the most experienced chimney sweeps. While this is a rare occurrence at The Original Chimney Sweepers, our customers’ safety and peace of mind are our first priority.
Whilst it may seem unusual to sweep the chimney of a pizza oven it produces the same byproducts of combustion as any domestic fire.
The chimney of a commercial pizza oven flue will need to be swept at least once per year, if not more. This can be influenced by how long and frequently pizza ovens are left burning & they may even need to be swept as soon as every 12 weeks; burning up to 12 hours every day for up to 7 days a week-along with a much larger fuel load which can cause a rapid accumulation of soot, ash & creosote.
Sweeping a pizza oven flue is both similar & different from sweeping a standard fireplace. Pizza ovens are much larger than residential fireplaces, which means that they take longer to clean & may require specialised brushes. The much larger fuel loads, longer burning periods and presence of food particles can all necessitate longer chimney sweeps.