Company Blog

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and our Company Protocols

logoWhile circumstances around the world remain watchful regarding COVID-19, we want to assure you of the steps we are taking to provide you with peace of mind around any needed service. It is our intention to continue to do everything we can to create an environment that is as safe as possible for everyone involved.

As our own safety and yours have always been our top priority, we’d like to take this opportunity to assure you of the steps we are taking to continue to provide you with peace of mind around any needed service.  Since it is virtually impractical to determine who has been vaccinated and who has not, we will continue with our current safety protocols defined around COVID-19 and the many variants’ continued existence.  

We have always utilized various types of gloves, floor coverings, foot coverings, respirators, HEPA filter vacuum cleaners as well as sanitizing hand wipes and cleaners to protect our workers & your home.   

  • We have updated our everyday processes to address what appears to be our new “normal” going forward.
    • Our technical teams continue to use personal protection equipment (PPE).  This may include gloves, masks and shoe coverings as necessary.
    • Our trucks will have ample supplies of sanitizing products to enable our team to regularly wipe down all equipment (including our vehicles) as often as is necessary throughout the workday.
    • Please do not be offended if you see our technicians wiping down surfaces in your home (i.e. doorknobs, doodads around your fireplace hearth, etc.) before and after touching them.
  • Our technical teams are trained to respect “personal space” and maintain a polite distance always seeking permission to enter closer proximity when necessary to share information.   
    • Our technical teams will greet you warmly with a smile, but no handshakes, please.
    • In our work process, personal space has been redefined and now extends beyond what is considered normal polite distance.  Our technicians are instructed to maintain 6-10 ft distance where possible.  Please don’t take this as a personal statement.  No offense is intended.
    • We do not require our employees to be vaccinated and therefore some may not be.  We also do employ some who are in the higher risk category as we are happy to employ skilled workers who are technically beyond “retirement” age when their skill set matches our needs. You may find that these workers will spend less time in your home than normal to minimize their exposure to potential risk factors.  
    • Most of our reporting is done electronically now, for a “cleaner” experience. However, if you, as a valued client, would prefer to receive paper reports at this time, just let us know; we may be able to provide them on-site or we will be happy to provide copies of our reports/invoices to you via US MAIL.
  • Our entire staff will be 
    • Practicing accepted guidelines as outlined by WHO, CDC, OSHA, Workman Compensation guidelines for the workplace.  
    • Monitoring and reporting the health status of themselves and their families on a daily basis. If any staff member or anyone in their family begins to exhibit symptoms related to the current health concerns, they will be required to self-quarantine until the risk is passed.

We are doing everything we can think of to ensure everyone’s safety and peace of mind. If, however, there is something further you would like us to do while we are providing service for your home, please do not hesitate to advise our office staff (when they call to confirm your appointment), or our technical team (when they arrive at your home). We will be happy to comply if it is at all possible.

We are confident, with continued common sense and a calm approach, that we will continue whether this continuing situation and eventually come out well on the other side of it.

Have a Pro Install Your Wood Stove Insert

As winter approaches, thoughts turn to a warm fire and, naturally, to thoughts of how to help the open fireplace produce more heat while using less wood. Provided you have a MASONRY FIREPLACE, this can easily be achieved by installing a wood stove insert or wood burning hearth stove. The fireplace flue provides the venting – saving the cost of building a new chimney – but will require a chimney liner that meets the need of the new wood burning model.

close up of wood stove insertWOOD INSERTS are models made to insert into the fireplace opening. Provided your fireplace is large enough to accommodate it, this installation will provide a cleaner look and likely require the least alterations to the hearth or mantel as part of the project. The fireplace flue (properly modified as described later in this article) is used to vent the wood insert.

HEARTH STOVES are freestanding models that fit onto the hearth in front of the fireplace opening – or just partially inside of it – while venting into the (properly modified) fireplace chimney.wood stove insert in brick wall

Installing a Wood Burning Insert or Hearth Stove Will Normally Require the Chimney to be Relined as Part of the Project

Simply stated, the venting system is of paramount importance to how a wood burning appliance operates. The required vent size on a wood burning stove will be specified by the manufacturer, but most new stoves today use a 6″ round vent.

Just sliding a wood stove insert into a fireplace results in the stove having poor draft (hard to light and hard to keep burning), resulting in a dirty burning fire that creates excessive creosote because that big chimney contains a lot of cold air that makes it difficult for smoke to rise through. This installation would not be allowed. CREOSOTE is simply wood smoke that has cooled down and becomes solid and creates a fire hazard that requires sweeping the chimney. Left unchecked, a chimney fire can cause chimney explosions and dangerous house fires. Today’s new wood stoves, when properly installed using good venting practices, are designed for optimum safety, providing long burn times while producing less smoke, yet they simply cannot provide good results when they’re not installed following exact venting requirements of the stove manufacturer and fire safety codes.

A standard fireplace – also considered a wood burning appliance – that has an opening of 36″ wide x 30″ tall needs a much larger chimney area than a wood stove with an opening of perhaps 20″ wide x 15″ tall. 

The AREA of the chimney should be 1/10th the size of the opening for a square or rectangle flue (though severe rectangles should be larger), or 1/12th the size of the opening for a round chimney flue.

As an example, our open fireplace example is 36″ x 30″ = 1080 sq. inches, and the chimney would need to be at least 10″ x 11″. Most commonly we find this fireplace will have a flue tile measuring or 12″ x 12″ (interior dimension roughly 11 x 11), a standard size that’s readily available at the brick yard. 

11″ x 11″ = 121 Square Inches
The area of a 6″ circle (the size of the vent on the wood stove) is 28.26″


This means the 12″ x 12″ chimney tile liner is MORE THAN 4 TIMES THE SIZE REQUIRED BY THE WOOD STOVE, therefore relining the flue to down size it is required.

Today’s new wood stoves are pretty finicky burners. Catalytic converters and other clean burning technologies demand strict adherence to venting requirements. The venting, along with close adherence to combustible clearances, really is a job best handled by a pro.

 

diagram of chimneyThe best alternative for lining your fireplace chimney to accommodate a wood stove is a stainless steel chimney liner. Stainless steel is designed to withstand higher temperatures than those experienced in a chimney fire, providing an extra layer of safety. The stainless steel liner extends all the way from the flue outlet on the wood stove to the top of the chimney, providing a seamless passageway for smoke to rise and exit quickly to the atmosphere. High-tech wood stoves, installed with the appropriate size liner, will burn the wood more completely, efficiently extracting the available btu’s in the wood and transferring that heat into your home. You’ll enjoy using much less wood; a wood stove will hold about 1/4 as much or less wood than the open fireplace, yet burn for 6 to 10 hours or more. Combustion technology reduces smoke output for cleaner air.  Used regularly, you may enjoy heating cost savings of many hundreds of dollars each winter. 

Please call BLUE SKY CHIMNEY SWEEPS to discuss and plan your new wood stove installation.

 

HOLIDAY CLOSINGS

Thank you for visiting Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps | Bless Your Hearth website today. 

This is the time of year when many families get to spend extra time together….and we think this is a GOOD THING.  So…we will be closed December 23rd through December 27th and again January 1st through January 3rd this year to allow our employees to do a good thing and spend more time with their families while their children are off from school and many family members have time off from work.