Company Blog

How to Improve the Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

indoor air qualityWinter weather can be brutally cold here in the Hudson Valley, which means you are probably spending more time inside than you would normally spend. Unfortunately, staying indoors all winter can make you sick, especially if the air quality inside your home is not as good as it could be. In fact, it can be challenging during the winter to keep indoor air quality healthy because there is not as much air flowing from outside into your home, which can trap allergens inside your home. This can lead to serious respiratory issues, especially if you or any members of your household have asthma or another type of medical condition that affects breathing abilities. For over 25 years, All Seasons Chimney has provided professional chimney and venting system services to the Poughkeepsie region, and our expert team has training and experience in the best ways to improve indoor air quality. To help you and your family breathe easier this winter, we would like to share with you a few tips that can make the air inside your home cleaner and healthier.

Clean your floors often.

According to WebMD, one of the most important things you can do to reduce indoor air pollutants inside your home is to use a vacuum cleaner that is equipped with rotating brushes, strong suction, and a HEPA filter on a regular basis. This type of vacuum cleaner ensures that the air is not blown back into your home in the exhaust. For the best protection, it is recommended to vacuum two or more times every week, and you should also include cleaning the filter in your routine. Not only will frequent vacuuming reduce the number of harmful chemicals and concentrations of lead from the air inside your home, but it will also remove allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, and pollen. After you have vacuumed, you should then thoroughly mop the floors with plain water to remove any allergens and toxins that were left behind. You may even want to find a microfiber mop that does not require any type of cleaning product because they have been proven to remove more dust and dirt than regular fibers. Another suggestion to reduce the number of indoor air pollutants is to keep a large floor mat by each door. Even if people forget to wipe their shoes on the mat, it will still trap the majority of the pollutants.

Keep the humidity levels inside your home between 30 and 50 percent.

Since moisture creates the perfect atmosphere for mold and dust mites to thrive, All Seasons Chimney recommends that you use a dehumidifier during the winter to keep indoor air pollutants under control. Other ways to keep the humidity levels under 50 percent include using an exhaust fan when cooking, refraining from overwatering indoor houseplants, venting your clothes dryer to the outside, fixing leaky plumbing, and emptying the drip pan in your dehumidifier.

Use natural products to freshen the air.

When it is too cold outside to keep your windows open, the air inside your home can become stale and smelly, but you should never be tempted to use aerosol air fresheners as they can emit many volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including those that have been regulated as toxic or dangerous by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Instead of reaching for a spray can to freshen the air, you can use natural products that will not pollute the air inside your home. To keep your kitchen fresh and clean, we recommend that you use sliced lemons and baking soda. Another natural way to combat stinky indoor air is to bring plants inside your home because they can actually help to purify the air. The foliage and roots of plants such as ferns, aloe vera, and spider plants work together to absorb any chemicals in the air that were released by synthetic materials.

Have your chimney professionally swept and inspected at least once a year.

In order to ensure that your chimney is functioning efficiently and safely, All Seasons Chimney recommends that you make an annual appointment with one of our professional chimney sweeps to sweep and inspect your chimney and fireplace system. You can trust us to make sure that there is no damage or other issues in your chimney that could lead to toxic combustion gases like carbon monoxide leaking into your home. We will also remove every bit of flammable creosote from the inner chimney to greatly reduce your risk of experiencing a chimney fire. This will also help to keep your home smelling fresh and clean throughout the year as the heat and high humidity of the summer can intensify the acrid and unpleasant smell of creosote.

By following these tips, you can improve the air quality inside your home, which will help you and your family to breathe easier and remain healthy. Contact us today at All Seasons Chimney to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced chimney sweeps to sweep and inspect your chimney. We are here for all of your professional chimney maintenance, repair, and installation needs.

All About Winter Masonry Damage

When you live in the Hudson Valley, you know how brutally cold the weather can be during the winter. Not only do we experience frequent periods of temperatures below snow covered roof and chimneyfreezing, but we can also have winter storms that can leave behind lots of snow and ice in this region. This means homeowners need to be prepared by making sure they have the best preventive measures in place to protect their homes from winter weather damage. One of the most commonly damaged parts of a house by cold temperatures, masonry chimneys can suffer from accelerated deterioration when it is freezing outside. Fortunately, All Seasons Chimney has been taking care of masonry chimneys in the Poughkeepsie area for over 25 years with the highest quality of professional chimney maintenance, repair, and installation services. We know how to fix winter masonry chimney damage, and after we have made the necessary repairs, we can talk to you about the different preventive service options we provide that can protect your chimney from future masonry deterioration. We would like to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions about winter masonry damage that we get each year.

Why is winter weather so tough on masonry chimneys?

To understand why winter weather can cause so much masonry chimney damage, you should know more about the role that water penetration plays in masonry deterioration. In fact, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has referred to water as the biggest enemy of masonry chimneys. Every time it rains, sleets, or snows, the bricks and mortar joints naturally absorb that moisture because masonry materials are porous. Water penetration leads to erosion, and the CSIA warns homeowners that masonry deterioration can be accelerated during the winter because of freeze/thaw cycles. Also known as spalling, this type of damage occurs when water that is trapped inside masonry materials freezes and expands. As the water freezes and expands, the expansion can cause the bricks and mortar joints to crack and break apart. They could become loose and even fall from the structure of your chimney. Then, when everything melts, the water will flow into those new cracks and the process starts over. Repeated freeze/thaw cycles can result in serious masonry chimney structural damage that could be a safety hazard if repairs are neglected.

How can All Seasons Chimney help me with winter masonry damage?

If you notice damaged bricks and mortar joints on the exterior of your chimney after a period of freezing temperatures, you should contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with our team of CSIA-certified chimney professionals. We have years of experience with inspecting winter chimney masonry damage, and you can count on us to fully explain how we can restore the integrity of the structure of your chimney. We have been trained in the best masonry repair techniques, which include tuckpointing. After we remove the damaged bricks and mortar joints, we will replace them with durable masonry materials that have been precisely matched to your existing chimney. After we have repaired the masonry damage, we will make our recommendations for the best water penetration preventive services to keep this from occurring in the future.

What options does All Seasons Chimney have to keep water out of my chimney?

For over 25 years, we have specialized in water penetration preventive services, and you can count on our CSIA-certified professionals to ensure your masonry chimney has the ultimate protection against water leaks. You need a chimney cap professionally installed at the top of your chimney, and our expert team can help you find the best cap for your home. We have a wide variety of chimney caps of different materials, and our chimney professionals will properly install it to ensure it keeps water, and even birds and wild animals, out of your chimney. To protect the vulnerable spot where your chimney meets the roof, we can install and repair customized flashing. Our chimney technicians will take precise measurements to properly layer metal sheeting around your chimney to keep water from leaking into your home. For the ultimate protection against winter weather masonry chimney damage, All Seasons Chimney strongly recommends our professional waterproofing services. We only use 100 percent vapor-permeable waterproofing formulas that have been manufactured for masonry chimneys. This means that you will not have to worry about further spalling damage from trapped combustion gases trying to escape. After we have waterproofed your chimney, we will have reduced the possibilities of water penetration to as low as .01 percent! This professional chimney maintenance service is a great investment that will prolong the life of your masonry chimney.

Even though winter has arrived here in the Hudson Valley, it is never too late to protect your chimney from cold weather masonry damage. Contact us today at All Seasons Chimney to schedule an appointment with one of our CSIA-certified chimney technicians. We are here for all of your professional chimney maintenance, repair, and installation needs.