Why are chimney liners important?
Where can I find reviews of A Step in Time?
Why is it important to have a chimney cap.
How do I stop my chimney from leaking when it rains?
What is a smoke chamber and do building coded require it to be parged smooth?
Why are wood stove inserts dangerous? Can they be safe?
What is a chimney swift?
Do dryer vents require cleaning?

Why are chimney liners important?

Chimney Liners

Beware! Chimney sweeps may be selling dangerous repairs!

The chimney liner of a fireplace is one of the most critical components of the operating system. The chimney liner is design to safely expel hot flue gases to the exterior atmosphere. The proper sizing of these liners is very important. If the liner is too small, the gases will back into the home and cause smoking issues. If the liner is sized too large, the smoke will travel slowly up the chimney and large amounts of creosote will form on the liner. Creosote build-up is one of the major causes of chimney fires.

Types of liners

If you have read other pages on our website, you have likely been informed there are basically two types of fireplaces. The first is masonry (brick construction top down) and the second is a prefabricated chimney which is sometimes called a “fake fireplace.” The chimney liner of a masonry fireplace is usually constructed with terra-cotta flue tiles and acts as a heatshield. These flue tiles are an excellent material to contain and shield heat but are prone to crack during thermal shock of a chimney fire. The National Fire Protection Association 211 Standards for Chimney, Fireplaces, Vents and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances section 13.9 state that cracked flue liners should be either repaired, removed and replaced or relined with a UL listed chimney liner. This is a very important recommendation and should be discussed in detail. There are three options mentioned which are repair, remove and replace, and reline.

UL1777 – The gold standard!!!
If you want your chimney liner to be safe regarding the chimney industry – this is the standard you need to achieve.

Heatshield? Many homeowners ask us if this chimney liner product is a good product. The only issue I have regarding this product is the way some chimney companies are selling this product. They provide literature that advertises the product to be UL1777 listed but provide quotes to simply coat the existing chimney liner. If the Heatshield product coats the existing liner – it does not achieve any active UL standard. Now if the chimney repair company is an honest company and clearly discusses how to achieve the UL1777 standard and that the existing terra cotta chimney liner will require removal (not coating existing) and then the Heatshield product is installed then congratulations – you have a good company servicing your chimney. Make sure the company pulls a building permit and that the city inspector is informed that in the details of the product that the terra cotta chimney tiles require removal then you should have a professionally installed product. To see more information that details the requirements of existing chimney liner removal for Heatshield – go to their website at http://cecurechimney.com/technology-and-testing.html#liners

Repairing chimney liners: This is a very heated issue in the chimney industry. Currently, it is the opinion of A Step in Time that there is NO system that can properly repair a damaged chimney liner. See our detailed explaination regarding chimney liner repair located at the bottom of this page. Basically, UL has withdrawn it’s 2425 standard for repairing chimney liners. http://ulstandardsinfonet.ul.com/tocs/tocs.asp?fn=2425.toc

Replacing chimney liners: When a person talks about replacing a chimney flue liner, they are likely talking about breaking out an existing terra cotta flue tile and reinstalling another terra cotta flue tile. This operation is a little difficult because you need to properly apply mortar between flue tiles joints. The terra cotta flue tiles are very heavy and stand 24 inches tall. Unless you are going to tear down a chimney and rebuild it, a technician can only replace the top two flue tiles. The reason why he can only replace the top two flue tiles is that he will need to reach down 48 inches inside the chimney to place the mortar joint.

Relining chimney liners: If a chimney liner is damaged farther than 48 inches, the best repair is to reline the system. It is the opinion of A Step in Time that relining with stainless steel liners is the best solution. There are many reasons why we feel this system is the best way to reline a system but the strongest reason is that it is easy to inspect the condition of the liner after it has been installed. The draft of the chimney appears to follow the coils of stainless steel liners. Basically, smoke travels up a chimney flue in circular spiral cones which follow the groves of a stainless steel chimney liner. Many stainless steel chimney liner manufactures offer a lifetime manufacturer warrantee on their relining products.

Chimney liner repair – is it possible?- by Raymond Gessner, P.E.

There has been a flurry of discussion regarding new ways of repairing damaged terra cotta flue tiles with chimney liner repair and resurfacing systems. They claim to seal your chimney liner as a flue sealant. Unfortunately, there has been very limited written discussion regarding this issue. Our industry should thoroughly research these topics when they surface. NFPA 211 section 13.9 might suggest chimney liners can be repaired instead of replaced or relined. It is my opinion that cracked terra cotta flue tiles can not be successfully repaired and the reasons are noted below:

1) The UL 2425 Standard for chimney liner repair is a withdrawn standard. (http://ulstandardsinfonet.ul.com/tocs/tocs.asp?doc=o&fn=o2425.toc)

The reasons why this standard has been withdrawn should be discussed with UL but some of the reasons why I feel it should be withdrawn are listed below.

2) Part 4 of the withdrawn UL 2425 standard is a 100 stroke steel wire test. This test is designed to simulate how the product would handle typical cleanings of a chimney. A normal chimney is routinely cleaned with a steel wire chimney brush. The problem with this test is that if the chimney has experienced a chimney fire, it likely has a design issue. The chimney might draft too slow and produces more than normal amounts of creosote. When the chimney produces more than normal amounts of creosote, sometimes level three or glazed creosote is formed. To clean these flues, chimney technicians will employ motorized glazed creosote removers which are designed to scour the interiors of chimney flues and smoke chambers. The 2002 reference manual for the Certified Chimney Sweep Program of the Chimney Safety Institute of America chapter 4 state “this method of cleaning is far more aggressive than conventional means of chimney cleaning and is normally used when a heavy glaze exists.” Basically, the withdrawn standard was testing products to a very light standard.

When the tested product is installed, the product will typically coat the liner. Since the general configuration of the system is not changed, the performance of the system will not change and the issues which caused the liner to crack will continue. Typically cracked flue tiles are caused by chimney fires which are usually caused by ignition of excessive creosote build up. The “repaired” system will likely continue to form excessive creosote build up. This glaze creosote will coat the tested repair product. A chimney technician will see the glaze creosote and will “normally” clean the chimney by mechanical cleaning which is “far more aggressive.” If the chimney liner repair product was not tested to situation which might be encountered in the field, the mechanical cleaning might remove the chimney liner repair product from the chimney liner. The chimney technician might not even realize the product was installed and assume the chimney is in good condition. If the original damaged is not discovered after the chimney technician cleans the chimney, the home owner might be living with a false sense of security.

3) Chimney liner repair would have a variety of field control issues. This is a little difficult to explain. If the chimney liner repair product coats the existing terra cotta flue tiles, then the product is designed to repair cracks and voids in chimney liners. Let’s assume it is a void and the void is 1 inch. The product is installed and successfully bonds and transitions the damaged liner for 1 inch. Now let’s assume the void is 2 inches and it successfully transitions the repair. There will be a point when the transition will not set. The repair technician will attempt this repair and the bond will not hold. At this point, the technician might recommend relining with stainless steel. The issue which should be considered is repairs which are on the edge of success. The repair barely makes the void transition. It appears to the product installer that the bond was successful but might be on the verge of failure. This repair might be weak and may be easily damaged during a later chimney cleaning process.

4) The UL 2425 standard which has been withdrawn, did not consider important issues regarding product adhesion. The UL 2425 standard requires tested products to be applied to a clean terra cotta flue tile. Flue tiles which require repair may have situations which may prevent product adhesion. These situations might include flaking tiles which occur when oil flues are converted to natural gas and light acid deteriorates the interior skin of the flue tile. Other circumstances might include glaze creosote deposited which may not be removed with even thorough mechanical cleanings. The UL 2425 test does not account for these situations.

Finally, the ultimate decision whether chimney liners can be repaired will fall on the home owners. A product might offer long warrantees, but verify if it is a manufacture’s or a installer’s warrantee. If a resurfaced liner repair peels off the chimney liner and closes the flue, is that considered a product failure or an application error. Our industry should educate our clients with as much information as possible. If we inform our customers with testimonials and concerns from every point of view, than they will be more informed to consider this matter for themselves.

Tips regarding chimney liner facts

How do you know that you need a chimney liner?

Many homeowners may have had a chimney sweep recommend to have a chimney liner installed. The truth to the matter is that sometimes, chimney sweeps push liners on home owners. They may use scare tactics or automatically perform video inspections on every chimney. NFPA 211 recommends video inspections if the chimney has experienced chimney malfunctions (chimney fire), changing of appliances or on the sale of the home. There have been cases where chimney sweeps have manipulate cameras to illuminate “water marks” to look like cracked flue tiles. Make sure that you are watching the chimney camera monitor while the sweep is performing the inspection. The inspection of a chimney is common sense. If it looks like a crack, it’s likely a crack.

Most recent video inspection scam!
Here is the most recent trick that chimney companies are using to sell chimney liners. The chimney technician video inspects your chimney. While he’s out there, he takes “still photos” of your chimney liners. The technician returns to his office and they send you a report that states you have severe chimney liner damage. The problem is that the photograph they send you may be from a completely different chimney! A good chimney sweep company will discuss your chimney problems with you while they are performing the inspection. Buyer beware!

Beware Limited Warranty!

Where can I find reviews of A Step in Time?

You can find reviews for us on our Google+ page at the following link: https://plus.google.com/103293724579317486490/about

Why is it important to have a chimney cap.

Why install a chimney cap?

1) Keeps rain water from coming down your chimney. Rain water can damage many components of your chimney. Many times rain water can damage stainless steel liners, dampers and can even saturate mortar joints. Water can soak inside a chimney and produce mold and other non-pleasant results.

2) Keeps animals out of your chimney flue. Many times animals can make a home inside your chimney. These animals include birds, raccoons, and squirrels. Sometimes the animals can not get out of the chimney and will die. This problem produces maggots, flies, and usually results in a fairly nasty odor. A professionally installed chimney cap is sized for a custom fit to prevent animal intrusion.

3) Prevents wind induced downdrafts. Many times wind will blow in a certain direction and can cause downdrafts. If your fireplace is drafting smoke, wind may be blowing smoke back into your home. The flat portion of the top of a chimney cap is designed to prevent wind induced down drafts.

4) Spark arresting. Many times people refer to a chimney cap as a spark arrestor. This is a fancy term that tells you that your chimney cap can prevent many lit embers that travel up your chimney from landing on your roof. These embers can catch your roof on fire.

5) Keeps out leaves, branches and twigs which can lead to blockage.

What types of chimney caps are there?

There are basically two types of chimneys and chimney caps to install on these chimneys.

Prefabricated chimneys

A prefabricated chimney is a factory built chimney that is installed in modern homes. Prefabricated chimney we designed in the mid 1980’s and are currently installed in many homes. Building codes require chimney caps to be installed with a prefabricated chimney. If your chimney is not brick on the outside, you likely have a prefabricated chimney. Many homeowners call these “fake” chimneys. I guess they call them fake because they do not look like the traditional brick and mortar chimney. The chimney caps on these chimneys usually last a long time. If you see rust at the top of these chimneys, it is likely because the chimney chase cover is rusting which is a different problem. If you need a chimney cap, a professional will need to determine the make and model number of your chimney which is located on a metal plate inside your firebox. We can then order your chimney cap to fit your fireplace.

Masonry chimneys

Masonry chimneys have an exterior brick façade. Sometimes these chimneys have a single flue venting from the top and sometimes they can vent multiple flues. Usually multi-flue masonry chimneys vent regular fireplaces and sometimes oil or gas burning appliances. These chimneys require special attention if you want to install chimney caps.

Single flue masonry chimneys with extending flue tile:

The easiest chimney cap to size and install is a single flue masonry chimney. Simply measure the exterior dimensions of the extending chimney flue and bolt a chimney cap to the top of this flue. The most common sizes in inches are: 8×8, 8×13, 13×13, 8×17, and13x18.

Multi-flue masonry chimneys or non-extending flue tiles:

The installation of a multi-flue chimney cap is more difficult. If the flues are spaced enough apart, you might be able to install individual chimney caps on each flue. However, many times the flues are very close to each other and you need to install a chimney cap to cover the entire top portion of the chimney. A multi-flue chimney cap bolts to the chimney crown using high density tap con bolts. Further, to provide more adhesion, the cap is sealed to the chimney crown using liquid nail adhesion. To correctly install a multi-flue chimney cap, you will need five dimensions.

Dimension required:

  • L1- Overall length of the chimney.
  • L2- Overall length of the flue tiles.
  • W1- Overall width of the chimney.
  • W2- Overall width of the flue tiles.
  • H – Height of the tallest flue tile.

When you purchase your multi-flue chimney cap, it is a very tricky business. If you order the cap too long, it might hang off the sides of the chimney. If you order it too short, it might not be long enough to fit over the flue tiles. These chimney caps make nice paper weights because you will need to order new chimney caps and refunds are not an option with nearly all chimney cap suppliers. Many of these caps are custom made and once they are made, they are yours forever. Another problem people do not understand is how important it is to measure the height of the flue. If your flue sticks out of the chimney more than 3 inches, you might want to consider buying a taller multi-flue chimney cap. Multi-flue chimney caps are either 8 inch standard height or 12 inch extended height. If your flue tile is over 7 inches tall, you should cut the tile to proper size using a diamond bit saw. The height of your chimney cap should be 4 inches taller than the height of the flue measured from lowest point on the chimney crown. Be careful, many times the crown rises where the flue extends but the cap is bolted to a lower part of the crown. The measurement should be where the cap is being placed.

Special problem: No crown!

Every blue moon, you get a chimney with no crown. You better make perfect measurements to solve this problem. Basically, you need to fit a multi-flue chimney cap on the exterior brick of the chimney. The overall length of chimney is the same. But the chimney of the flue length is less two courses of brick. Best solution is to use “swing tabs” and order the length 3 inches less than the overall length. Likely you will have one tab swing in and one tab swing out. Good luck!

Three types of chimney cap material – Galvanized, Stainless and Copper.

Galvanized: Run! Galvanized chimney caps rust and do not last very long. When they rust, the bolts rust and are prone to blow off the chimney. Further, the rust will flow down the chimney and discolor the chimney. We will not even sell these chimney caps. Again, run!

Stainless steel: Most of the chimney caps manufactured today are stainless steel. They have a silver color and many times have a manufacture’s lifetime warranty. These are the chimney caps most professionals sell and install.

How do I stop my chimney from leaking when it rains?

Leaking chimneys! – two types- masonry (brick) and prefabricated

Masonry chimneys

Solving a leaking chimney can be sometimes difficult. There are many reasons why a brick chimney can leak. Let’s take a look at a few.

1) Missing chimney cap. Nearly all masonry chimneys are constructed without a chimney cap. Simply, if it’s not in the code books, the builders will not install it. This is great for aftermarket chimney sweeps but is terrible for a home owner. A missing chimney cap allows water to enter your chimney through the flue. This water can stand and collect mold and deteriorate mortar chimney components. A missing chimney cap is guaranteed to allow water into a chimney.

2) Cracked chimney crown. The chimney crown is designed to shed water from the top of the chimney. This material is usually constructed by the chimney mason and is many times brick mortar. The problem with using brick mortar is that it has a very weak tensile strength. When the exterior air freezes and thaws, the mortar will crack. These cracks will fill with water after heavy rains and the problem amplifies when it freezes and thaws because ice will expand. The bottom line is that cracked chimney crowns is one of the leading causes of chimney leaking problems of a masonry chimney. They usually cause more problems than a missing chimney cap.

3) Damaged chimney flashing. The chimney flashing is designed to prevent water that saturates the chimney from entering the space between the chimney and the roof. If this occurs, usually water will damage the ceiling just above the fireplace. Usually the chimney flashing is constructed with sheet metal and is secured to the chimney with a sealant. Many times the sealant will deteriorate and begin to leak or the sheet metal will rust and cause leaking. Either way, chimney flashing is another way that a chimney can leak.

4) Saturating bricks. Did you know that bricks are very porous? Water saturates brick during heavy rains and the bricks soak the water like a sponge. IRC building codes even require weep holes installed on typical brick walls. These weep holes allow saturated water to drain outside the brick wall. The problems with chimneys are that weep holes can not be installed because of the unique nature of a chimney composition. Unfortunately, water saturated the bricks and damages internal components of the chimney. The best way to solve this issue is to apply water repellant to the chimney. You need to apply a repellant that allows the chimney to breath. Basically, water is prevented from entering the brick, but water is allowed to escape from the brick. Call us to order your chimney water repellant.

5) Chimney cricket. IRC building codes R1003.20 require a chimney cricket to be installed if the chimney is wider than 30 inches where it intersects the roof. A chimney cricket is designed to shed water away from the chimney when it travels down the roof. If the chimney is wide and there is no chimney cricket, water will pool at this location and leaks will occur. Many times home builders do not realize IRC building codes have this requirement and mistakenly omit the chimney cricket.

6) Roof leaks. Many times, the roof will leak and water will travel down the roof rafters. When the water reaches the chimney, the water saturates the ceiling. Many times homeowners believe the chimney is leaking when actually the roof is causing the leaks.

Prefabricated Chimneys

There are not too many ways that a prefabricated chimney can leak. The three most common are the following:

1) Missing chimney cap. All prefabricated chimney are installed with chimney caps. There are times when these caps rust or are blown off. If a prefabricated chimney is missing a chimney cap, this is especially dangerous because the water saturates the metal chimney liner. If you have a prefabricated chimney that is missing a chimney cap, it is very important to address this problem immediately.

2) Damaged chimney chase cover. The chase cover of a prefabricated chimney is one of the major reasons why they leak. If you catch the rusting in time, you might be able to resurface it with a rust inhibitive material. If the rust has occurred too long, a full replacement is required.

3) Leaking. Another common leaking issue is the sealant around the chimney lining pipes and storm collars. When water hits these areas, if the sealant has deteriorated, the water path travels down the liner. The liner can rust and cause many problems.

What is a smoke chamber and do building coded require it to be parged smooth?

Unparged Smoke Chambers

What is a smoke chamber?

The smoke chamber is the area located directly above your fireplace damper. When you build a fire and the smoke travels through your damper opening, the smoke chamber is the passageway that funnels the smoke from the damper opening to your chimney liner. There are building codes that have placed specific requirements concerning how these smoke chambers are constructed. Basically, the smoke chamber should be parged smooth with high temperature mortar. The two main reasons why this is important is that building materials can be located just on the other side of the brick which could lead to a potential fire hazard. A layer of high temperature mortar helps prevent heat from transferring through these brick. The second reason why a properly parged smoke chamber is important is that a smooth smoke chamber transition will allow smoke to travel at a quicker rate up the chimney. A faster draft decreases the amount of creosote build up and decreases the chance of a chimney fire.

Properly parged smoke chambers

Repair of smoke chambers: To repair a smoke chamber, a chimney technician usually will cut out the damper frame and parge the corbeled brick with high temperature specially designed smoke chamber material. This repair will allow smoke to properly pass from the firebox to the chimney liner. The photo below is a repair from the photo directly above.

Finally, when a chimney technician recommends to have a smoke chamber parged, it is important to understand the science behind this statement. The answer is that the engineering behind residential construction is founded on the requirements of building codes. The most widely adopted building code in the United States is the International Residential Code and it clearly states the requirement for parging a smoke chamber smooth. We hope this section of our frequently asked questions has been informative and feel free to check other sections of our website.

Why are wood stove inserts dangerous? Can they be safe?

Fireplace inserts

Wood Stove and Fireplace inserts

(Wood stove with surround shroud.)
In the early 1980’s, the cost of heat had reached an all time high. The return of wood burning spread throughout the United States. Steel manufacturers begin manufacturing fireplace inserts and wood stoves. These heavy steel stoves were great conductors of heat. When home owners burned fires inside these units, the heat would radiate throughout the home and less wood was required to produce a good amount of heat.

(Wood Stove before surround shroud is installed. You can see the drastic difference in the fireplace opening and the wood stove opening.)

The problem – Chimney fires!

A strange thing occurred during the 1980’s. A significant amount of chimney fires occurred in homes that purchased wood stove inserts. Many of these chimney fires spread to other areas of the home and caused structural damage. This spike in chimney fires alarmed the home owner insurance companies and they begin to take various measures regarding wood stove inserts. Since these units were relatively new, home owner’s insurance companies would require homes with wood stoves to have their chimney inspected by chimney sweeps to report on the condition of the chimney. Even with inspections, chimney fires still occurred. Everyone was stumped.

The cause!

Chimney professionals during their cleanings of these wood stove inserts would find significant amounts of creosote. Many times the creosote would build so much that it would block the flue passage or stage three glaze creosote would form. Creosote is very flammable and is the main fuel source for chimney fires. The question chimney sweeps wondered was “what’s causing the excessive build-up of creosote?” The answer was “draft.” This is a little complicated but here is the watered down version. Draft is the flow of smoke through a chimney flue. There are two main requirements for draft. The opening of the fireplace and the size of the chimney liner. If you have a big fireplace opening (place where you burn wood) than you will require a bigger flue to draft the smoke up the chimney. Usually the ration is about 10:1 but shape and height of liner can cause minor variations. Here is where it gets a little tricky. If your chimney liner is too small, smoke will back up into your house because the liner will not properly vent the fireplace opening. On the other hand, if your chimney liner is too big, the smoke travels up the chimney very slowly and the flue gas cools. When flue gases cool, creosote drops out of the gas and forms on the chimney flue liner. A well drafted chimney will expel the gases out of the liner before significant amounts of creosote can form. So what is causing wood stove inserts to form creosote. The answer is the opening of the wood stove. When wood stoves are inserted into a fireplace opening, the area of the fireplace opening is now greatly decreased from the original opening to the opening of the wood stove doors. Installers simply placed these units inside the fireplace and did not bother to modify the area of the chimney liner. Small fireplace openings require smaller liners. With a small fireplace opening and a large liner, the smoke will take a long time to draft up the chimney. The flue gas will cool and creosote will form. Lots of creosote will form!

The solution!

Wow, so all these houses are burning down because the liners are too small. Chimney sweeps begin to tell home owners there was a problem but home owners assumed the wood stove manufacturer would have known if there was a problem. They’ve been burning the stove for years and there hasn’t been an issue. They just wanted the stove cleaned and “see you next year.” Finally, in the late 1990’s, the National Fire Protection Association specifically addressed this problem in there NFPA 211 code book. – A natural draft solid fuel-burning appliance such as a stove or insert shall be permitted to use in a masonry fireplace flue where the following conditions are met:

1) There is a connector that extends from the appliance to the flue liner.

2-8) a bunch of other requirements. 7 – says it needs to be able to be cleaned and inspected.

So what does this say? Basically, the wood stove insert has an opening in the front and an opening on the top of the appliance. The top of the appliance is the proper flue size for the unit. You need to place a direct connector from the opening of the top of the unit and run it up to the first chimney flue liner. Most home owners simply “slip in” the unit and vent it into the fireplace opening. Smoke needs to work its way out of the firebox, through the damper and past the smoke chamber to the flue liner. This process takes too long and the flue gas cools and large amounts of creosote forms. NFPA says to connect the wood stove to the chimney liner with a connector.

More problems! Go figure.

The politics and engineering of building codes is twice as bad as the red tape in the government. There are many boards involved with many different industries voicing their opinions. The facts were simple. The wood stoves were causing chimney fires. The reason was the liner size issues. Their solution was to install a short liner to the first flue tile. The problem is that now it is nearly impossible to clean. The chimney brush gets stuck where the larger chimney liner meets the smaller appliance connector. Even worse, the larger liner requires a larger brush and the smaller liner requires a smaller brush. A chimney sweep needs to disconnect the connector, remove it, and re-install it. Since these connectors are usually bolted to the wood stove, the process is very difficult and frankly stupid. The codes (7) require the appliance to be able to be cleaned and inspected. It doesn’t say that the cleaning should be easy.

Another solution!

The easy solution would be for NFPA to say to install the connector to the top of the chimney with a full reline. Basically install chimney liners to the top of the chimney. To clean these systems, simply open the wood stove damper and sweep a brush from the top of the chimney down the inside of this new liner. Clean the debris out of the wood stove opening and everyone is happy. The wood stove manufacturers would not vote on this idea convinced the Environmental Protection Agency to develop the “Great American Wood Stove Change Out.” Keep America safe and sell more stoves! Bottom line – A Step in Time recommends the installation of full reline chimney liners to connect wood stove appliances to the top of the chimney.

What is a chimney swift?

Chimney birds

Physical description
In flight, this bird looks like a flying cigar with long slender curved wings. The plumage is a sooty grey-brown; the throat, breast, under wings and rump are paler. They have short tails.

Chimney Swift at nest
The breeding season of Chimney swifts is from May through July. Their breeding habitat is near towns and cities across eastern North America. Originally, these birds nested in large hollow trees, but now they mainly nest in man-made structures such as large open chimneys. The nest is made of twigs glued together with saliva and placed in a shaded location. They will lay three to seven white eggs, which the female will cover at night. The incubation period is 19-20 days, and the fledglings leave the nest after a month. Chimney swifts can nest more than once in a season.

They are long distance migrants and winter in eastern Peru; other nesting locations in South America may exist. They migrate in flocks. This species has occurred as a very rare vagrant to Western Europe. The gregarious nature of this species is reflected in that two individuals of this species turned up together on the Isles of Scilly.

Feeding habits
These birds live on the wing, foraging in flight. They eat flying insects. They usually feed in groups, flying closely together and making a high-pitched chipping noise. A vigilant observer can see them entering and exiting chimneys at a high speed, almost as if they were being shot out. Their flight is distinctive: they make rapid angular turns unlike most other birds.

Their population may have increased historically with the introduction of large chimneys as nesting locations. With suitable man-made habitat becoming less common, their numbers are declining in some areas. They were listed as Threatened by COSEWICK for several years with a likely listing of the species on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. Currently, federal law imposes a $10,000 fine for moving their nests.

Best advice
The best advice if you have Chimney Swifts making a home in your chimney is to wait until the birds grown and fly away. When they leave, have your local chimney sweep remove the fire hazardous nesting material and install a chimney cap. This will prevent future nesting inside your chimney.

Do dryer vents require cleaning?

Most home owners are not aware that they need to have their dryer vent cleaned. Many times animals build nests or just the normal flow of lint coats the interior of the dryer vent lining. When these lines become clogged, it’s a fire waiting to happen. You can usually tell if your dryer requires cleaning. If your cloths take longer than one cycle to dry, this is an indication that your dryer vent may require cleaning. Most home owners actually believe that it is normal for their cloths to take longer than one cycle to dry. Some home owners have actually replaced perfectly good dryers because they believe their dryer is not working. It’s a great idea to have your dryer inspected to see if it requires cleaning. If you don’t have time to wait for an inspection, there is another way to see if your dryer vent is clogged or if it’s your dryer. Simply disconnect the line from behind your dryer and let it vent into your laundry room for one cycle. The damp air might cause damage to your floors but if your cloths dry quickly, this indicates your dryer vent is clogged and you need to have it cleaned. Call the experts at A Step in Time and we will send a dryer vent cleaning technician to clean and inspect your dryer vent line