ECS Homeowner's Guide

Chimney safety should be a concern for every homeowner. If you do find warning signs of
problems please contact us and we can provide you with a professional chimney inspection, before it becomes an expensive or dangerous situation. We are trained to look for conditions that a homeowner could easily miss even with the helpful checklist. The experience we bring to the process of checking the chimney is well worth the visit.

Download our Homeowner's Chimney, Fireplace Condition Report. (pdf)

deteriorating chimneyExterior of Chimney. Chimneys are highly exposed to the elements and if left unprotected, are susceptible to structural deterioration. It is important to address this problem before serious damage occurs. There are approximately 40 million masonry chimneys in North America and the most common problem with these structures is water penetration. Water causes over 1 billion dollars in damage annually

Chimney Cap. Is there a cap on the chimney? Water from rain and snow entering chimneys gradually damages the inside of a chimney. chimney cap and crownJoints between liner tiles gradually dissolve and corrosive elements exhaust from furnaces mix with water and slowly weaken the lining. Water pooling at the base damages the chimney structure. Freezing and thawing of water causes expansion damage. A good chimney cap reduces this damage by keeping most of the water out. Caps with a screen mesh also keep animals out.

Leaks/Stains. Look for leaks or stains inside the house near the chimney. Peeling wallpaper, stains on the walls, and dampness near the chimney are sure signs of chimney problems. Sometimes these problems are caused by faulty roof flashing around the chimney. But sometimes the source is the inside of the chimney, and this can mean trouble. Missing or damaged flue liners, interior decay, or excessive condensation in the flue could be the culprit.

clean out trapLook inside the cleanout trap. Look for one or more cleanout doors. Take a look inside the door. Take note of any buildup of soot or debris at the base of the flue. This can give you an idea of what is going on inside your flue. A note about condensation in flues; today's gas-fired appliances emit a considerable amount of water vapor. If not vented into a properly sized flue, condensation in the chimney can become a serious hazard.

Gas Appliances and your Flue.
If you have a gas-fired appliance connected to your chimney it is critical to have the chimney checked periodically by a certified and licensed chimney professional. Don't make the assumption that just because there is no smoke, there is no problem with the chimney. Odorless, colorless carbon monoxide fumes from improperly vented gas appliances can be fatal.

It takes a trained eye to determine just what's going on in a chimney flue. You can check the condition of the appliances and connector pipes. Again, this doesn't take the place of a professional check, but it will give you some ideas, and questions to ask.

certified logo CSIA
www.csia.org
Our technicians are all certified with the CSIA and members of the NCSG. We receive continuous education regularly.
wgcss icon Wisconsin Guild of Chimney Service Specialists
www. wgcss.org
This organization serves several states and is a great resource for continuing education. Environmental is a member of WGCSS.
sweep icon National Chimney Sweep Guild
www.ncsg.org
It is the mission of the National Chimney Sweep Guild to promote the success of its members by providing progressive services, encouraging professionalism and ethical accountability, and advancing the chimney and venting industry through public awareness of the trade. Environmental is a member of NCSG.
AWCC logo Association of Wisconsin Cleaning Contractors
www.awcc.org
Our technicians are members of the AWCC, a Wisconsin based non-profit professional association promoting the use of professional cleaning contractors by the general public. AWCC’s mission is to promote and foster the mutual interests of its various membership groups, while also ensuring the delivery of the highest level of professional cleaning services to the public.
IICR icon The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification
www.iicrc.org
Our technicians are members and hold certificates through the IICRC. As a non-profit certification organization, the IICRC helps ensure that you have access to trusted and trained cleaning professionals by establishing and monitoring certification programs and standards for these industries.
nfpa logo National Fire Protection Association
www.nfpa.org
Our technicians are members of NFPA, the world's leading advocate of fire prevention and an authoritative source on public safety, NFPA develops, publishes, and disseminates more than 300 consensus codes and standards intended to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks.
mcra logo The Midwest Cleaning and Restoration Association (MCRA)
http://www.mcraonline.org
MCRA is a Wisconsin based non-profit professional association promoting the use of professional cleaning contractors by the general public, through marketing and public relation efforts. MCRA’s mission is to promote and foster the mutual interests of its various membership groups, while also ensuring the delivery of the highest level of professional cleaning services to the public. Environmental is a member of MCRA.
Wi Dep of commerce icon
WI Department of Commerce:
http://apps.commerce.wi.gov/SB_Credential/SB_CredentialApp
Environmental is a certified company with the Wisconsin Department of Commerce and holds licenses and certifications:
Dwelling Contractor # 1104854 and
Dwelling Contractor Qualifier # 1104855.