Thursday, September 29, 2011

Moisture In Your Chimney

Is that dew on the grass? Most definitely.

What does this mean for the coming months?

Bottom line: "You want to keep moisture away from your chimney, bar-none," says Steven Scott, General Manager for Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC. "Moisture is masonry's nemisis. Anything you can do to protect your chimney's integrity from moisture is necessary at this point of the year."

Let me educate you a little bit about the different forms of moisture this time of year. The following are some key words that I'm going to briefly discuss: Dew point, relative humidity, snow, rain.

Basically, the "dew point" is the temperature that an allotment of air has to be cooled at constant pressure for water vapor to be condensed into water. (Which is, of course, dew). Looking outside this morning at the office (pictured above), you can see that the dew point was reached in this area.

Relative humidity is important to be aware of as well, this time of year. The higher relative humidity is, the closer the dew point is to the existing air temperature. When relative humidity = 100%, the dew point is the same as the temperature, and this means maximum water in the air. Obviously, this time of year, we experience higher relative humidity (especially in the early mornings and late evenings), than any other time of the year. (Hense, the higher propensity for rain and snow).

What does this all mean for your chimney & home?

Well, first and foremost, it means that you need to have your chimney cleaned and inspected before the colder weather sets in any more than it's already starting to. It won't be long before the dew will turn to frost, and the roads will be slick with ice. Let's expand on this a bit: Moisture in the air this time of year is a given; whether it be dew, frost, rain, or snow. When you light a fire in your fireplace, you're going to increase the temperature of your chimney from the inside out. Thus, frozen moisture will melt and find its way in. (Yep, that means any other moisture will get in much faster).

Second, it's a good idea to get your chimney sealed for the winter, to protect your masonry from the damages that moisture in the air can cause. This picture shows evidence of on-going lack of moisture protection: moss, evidence of efflorescense, and this particular chimney is in a state of disrepair.

Lastly, you may need an estimate on repairs. Don't let it go this far. There are preventative measures you can take to protect the integrity and life of your chimney.

Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC can help you with all of the above. We don't just give you estimates on repairs/ replacements that you don't need.

Just give us a call, and we'll get you scheduled with an appointment today. (360) 691-9828

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Get ready for winter - now!

Hi everyone,

Just a brief, friendly reminder that the weather is changing - quickly!

It's time to get your annual chimney cleaning & inspection done. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment! (360) 691-9828

Friday, September 23, 2011

Don't Forget: Specials This Week!

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note to remind you to call today to schedule your chimney cleanings and inspections today! Today is the last day that we're running our specials! ($20 off any cleaning and a free 20-point inspection when booked with a cleaning!)

(360) 691-9828

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cloudy With Definite Rain

Have you looked outside today?

Most of Northwest Washington is under a dreary layer of gray skies, and some areas are getting plenty of rain, too.

Even though it's not exactly cold out yet, this kind of weather starts to turn our moods towards comforting things: a cup of apple cider, a warm blanket, and maybe a fire in our fireplaces.

The important thing to remember before you get a fire going this autumn is to have your chimney cleaned & inspected. If you have a build-up of creosote (which one of our technicians can tell you), it can potentially be hazardous. Don't be surprised by a chimney fire before you even get to enjoy it this year; call today to schedule your annual cleaning & inspection. You won't be sorry for winterizing before the cold season really hits.

(360) 691-9828

Monday, September 19, 2011

Limited-Time Offers!

This week, Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC is offering not one, but TWO very valuable specials!

When you call to schedule your annual chimney cleaning with us this week (September 19th - 23rd, 2011), we'll give you $20 off when you mention this blog post.

Additionally, we're running a special on our 20-point safety inspections - they are FREE when scheduled with any chimney cleaning this week! ($50 value)

That's $70 in savings!!

Don't wait to get your appointment scheduled; call now. (360) 691-9828

Monday, September 12, 2011

Autumn Is Upon Us/ Blog Follower Special This Week

I don't know where exactly all of our readers are located, but if you're anywhere near the northern Puget Sound Region, I'm sure you looked outside this morning and saw skies that don't look very promising. It's also evident that our climate is significantly cooler - it's barely 60 degrees outside, and we've recently been experiencing a streak of temperatures in the 80s.

Quite frankly, it is not getting any warmer, and that means most of us are going to be turning to our fireplaces and chimneys to keep us warm during the coming weeks and months, and we need to be prepared.

It's the perfect time to schedule your annual cleaning and inspection with us, and we do have openings as early as tomorrow!

Because it's my job as the Marketing Executive to make sure our customers are fully satisfied with our services and efforts, I want to offer something special to our blog followers only this week: $20 off any chimney cleaning. When you book a cleaning and inspection together, we'll give you an additional 5% off the work order total.

This offer is good for this week only, and for blog followers only.

Snag it up before it's too late! Follow the instructions below to receive your discount:
1) Follow this blog. (Either on the right-hand side by email, or in the upper left-hand corner click "Follow").
2) Call between September 12th-September 16th to schedule your cleaning/ inspection.
3) Mention the title of this blog post when you schedule your cleaning/ inspection.

That's it! Have a fabulous Monday, everybody!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Our work with CAMP

This post is primarily about something that most of our readers aren't aware of.

The Central Area Motivation Program, or CAMP for short.

Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC, is an O.E.S. (Other Energy Services) vendor for CAMP. As a vendor in the chimney & masonry industry, we are responsible for helping service and repair heating systems, chimneys, fireplaces, etc. Additionally, we check to ensure proper carbon monoxide detectors are installed in any home we service.

These carbon monoxide detectors are important and essential to any home that has a heating source, regardless of whether it is a fireplace or furnace. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas, and it can affect the brain within less than a minute. The detectors Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC installs are designed to detect high levels of carbon monoxide gas, and sound an audible alarm to alert the resident of the problem, very similar to a smoke detector.

CAMP is a service that is federally-funded, and also funded by the State of Washington and private donations. The history link on the CAMP website begins with this statement: "For over 45 years, Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP) has provided essential human services to meet the needs of Seattle’s poor." (See the information here.)

Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC has found this work to be rewarding and fulfilling. Please, check out the CAMP website when you have a moment.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

30-Day Anniversary and questions from YOU!

As of the start of this week, this is my (Kimi's) 30-day anniversary with Powers Chimney & Masonry.

I just wanted to take a couple minutes and write about my experience here. (This will be a little more of a personal blog post than anything.)

My first day here was a bit different than any of the other days I've come in to work. I was on the road with Steve, the General Manager for most of the day. We were doing everything from errands to checking on the guys in the field to make sure they had what they needed. That first day was also unique because I worked a full 8-hour day (I'm generally only in the office from 8am to noon). It was a lot of fun, and I ended up learning so much in that one day!

As the weeks have gone on, I've gained a sense of what happens on a day-to-day basis around here. The flow of the day has become more natural to me, and I'm not as nervous about my participation in the work load, either. It's almost become second-nature to walk in on any given day and know what needs to be accomplished. As with any job, I generally check with my superiors (the GM and owner) to make sure I'm doing everything that needs to be done, and asking for anything more that we can do in a day. But for my part here, I have a to-do list for every single day of the week. (Those of you who know me personally probably understand the concept of my list-making a little more than someone who's unfamiliar to me).

Generally speaking, nothing ever goes 100% according to plan. I always have to be on my toes, and not plan for things going in a straight path, but instead I have to have a backup plan, as well as information to support the plan. For instance, I could be in the middle of AP/AR tasks, and I could get 3 phone calls in the middle of it, have a question from one of our crews in the field, and end up taking an hour up dealing with the immediate tasks at hand before I can tend to what I started with. That's a typical day!

My responsibilities here are widely spread, and include everything from paying bills to marketing ventures. I'm enjoying the research I'm doing for all aspects of my position, and I love putting it into action. I'm very much enjoying myself here at Powers Chimney & Masonry, and I love the crew and office staff!

Some things I've learned in the past 4 weeks:
* Things aren't always what they seem. Always dig for more information.
* It's much easier to go with the flow while having a plan as a goal, than focusing solely on that plan.
* Always be ready for anything.
* Research is beneficial in all aspects of my job.

That's me and my hubby, Robert in Maui in 2010. :)
Anyway, those are just a few notes about my time here so far, and I hope to get the opportunity to answer any questions you might have for me! If you have a question you'd like me to answer personally, just leave a comment on this blog, and I'd love to see what you're curious about and answer you!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chimney and fire safety, and your children

Most of us are very familiar with this: It's a lock placed on a cabinet to protect young children from accessing what is inside.
Typically, the things we'd protect children from are everything from cleaning products to sharp objects. This Mr. Yuk sticker is an indication of such in many U.S. households, and has been since the 1970s.
In the United States, millions have used the Mr. Yuk sticker as a source of warning for their children regarding toxic chemicals, cleaning products, etc.

Additionally, it's common to allow kids to be responsible for fixing at least one meal per day on their own. Parent News reports that it's best to provide children with simple, easy-to-prepare meals that don't require a range or oven when they are home alone, due to the dangerous nature of such appliances.

Which brings me to ask the question: If you can go to all the trouble of labeling cleaning supplies with the Mr. Yuk sticker, lock them away in a cabinet that can easily be reached by small hands, and walk away feeling secure - why wouldn't you protect your children from fires?

It seems a bit trite, I'm sure. But to be more specific, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission labeled the 4th most common cause of chimney fires to be "Structural damage to the chimney caused by the ignition of creosote (a black tar-like substance that builds up inside the chimney in normal use)." (See article here.)

Left to their own devices, especially in winter months, kids are likely to keep the house warm by doing what they see their parents doing: starting a fire in the fireplace. But if you haven't had the chimney cleaned, there could be a dangerous layer of creosote building up that could cause a fire.

It's better to be safe than sorry, as the adage states. Always instruct your children on proper fire safety, get your chimney cleaned and inspected every year, and make sure that you have proper procedures articulated to your entire family about heating your home via the fireplace.

Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC can help you by scheduling an annual cleaning/ inspection. Call us today for more information: (360) 691-9828.