Family owned and operated since 1992
Licensed & Insured BL# 021908
Registered Wood Burning Heater Professional (RWBHP# 348)


Chimney Cleaning & Inspection - Wood Stoves Fireplaces & Inserts - Spark Arrestors Installed - Dryer Vent Cleaning - Real Estate Escrow Inspections







The primary cause of chimney fires is creosote, the substance that develops inside chimneys through burning. It's brown or black in appearance and can be flaky or crusty, or tar like & drippy. This substance can have the same ignition temperature as a piece of paper. Sweeping a chimney removes this dangerous material so that it does not contain the fuel that could ignite. When chimney fires occur in masonry chimneys - whether the flues are an older, unlined type or are tile lined to meet current safety codes - the high temperatures at which they burn (around 2000' F) can "melt" mortar, crack tiles, cause liners to collapse & damage the outer masonry material. Most often, tiles crack and the mortar is displaced, which provides a pathway for flames to reach the combustible wood frame of a home.

Are you allowed to burn today?   Valleyair.org

In newer homes, most factory (pre-fab) built fireplaces are tested and listed as decorative heating appliances and will not withstand the abuse often heaped on their masonry counterparts. Although they are tested to U.L. standards, severe over firing and chimney fires will often badly damage these units. Regular yearly maintenance, cleaning at generally 1/8" buildup, and careful monitoring can assure a safe enjoyable system. RC Chimney Cleaning featured: Visalia Times Delta Article

   Chimney FAQ's

How often should my chimney be cleaned?

The National Fire Protection Association recommends an annual inspection with cleaning as required. The evaluation is necessary to ensure that the chimney has adequate draft, is free of debris, cracks,  creosote build up and has no loose or missing mortar joints. In general terms a chimney should be sweept for every cord of wood burnt. A "cord" of wood is a stack 4 ft high by 4 ft wide by 8 ft long (128 cubic feet). A "face" cord is split wood stacked the same as a full cord but the log lengths are generally in the range of 16"-20" long (rather than 24" as in the case of a full cord).  

What is Creosote?


Creosote in chimneys comes in several stages. In its flaky, soot form, it's easily brushed away leaving safe and clean flue walls. When it appears as hard, brittle deposits, our extra efforts in brushing will remove most of the buildup. The nasty glazed variety is truly the most dangerous form and the most difficult to remove. This glazed creosote is recognizable by its dense, shiny tar-like appearance. It's basically wood tar which has become baked onto the walls of the chimney or flue lining. If this glazed creosote catches fire it could result in a dangerous chimney fire. As professional chimney sweeps, we have the necessary Third Stage Creosote Remover products to dissolve the baked-on resins from masonry, metal and stainless steel surfaces by reducing the hard glazed substance to a loose, brushable soot.


What causes creosote build up?


Burning unseasoned firewood. Unseasoned firewood has the fresh clean look of new lumber at the local building supply store. Any wet wood is bad wood! When it's wet, it creates much less heat, and actually fails to burn up alot of the available fuel in the wood. The "smoke" of unseasoned wood is heavily laden with unburned creosote. The moisture content in the wood determines how much heat the fire puts out, and how much creosote will build up in your chimney. Be sure to use only properly dried seasoned wood that will provide you with pleasant, trouble free heat. If you split a piece of seasoned wood, it would be white on the inside. If split into quarters it has cracks running through each piece, and alot of little cracks on the inner rings. Tap the wood with a key or coin. Seasoned wood gives a sharp, resonant sound, like a baseball bat. Unseasoned (bad) wood sounds dull and is much heavier in weight than properly dried wood. *** Never burn trash, magazines, newspapers, plastics or other materials not designed to burn in fireplaces or stoves. Doing so is illegal and hazardous.


How to you clean a chimney?


We first check creosote build up in the chimney flue and smoke chamber. We then set up the vacuum, cover the fireplace opening, and start the dust control vacuum. Chimney is swept from above with special brushes, which are attached to flexible poles. We then brush up the smoke chamber & vacuum behind the damper. The firebox is cleaned by hand using wire brushes. Remaining soot and ash on firebox floor is vacuumed.

NOTE: The procedure varies for pre fabricated fireplaces, freestanding stoves and stove inserts. Emphasis is still on being thorough with the sweeping and evaluation, and keeping the area clean. Some chimney tops can be inaccessible either due to steep roofs or fragile tile.

Does the cleaning cause a mess in my home?

All our equipment is laid out on clean tarps in front of your fireplace. The hose of our special vacuum collects the debris as we brush the chimney. We can only brush the chimney as fast as our vacuum collects the dust. The dirtier the chimney flue, the slower we brush.


Is it ok to burn artificial logs like Duraflame and the Chimney Sweeping Log?

Many people have questions about burning artificial logs. Convenience is their strong suit and in general they're fine when time is an issue and you want a quick fire without all the fuss of natural firewood. They should be burned only one at a time and only in an open fireplace. Be sure not to go about poking them and moving them around once they are burning since they may break up and the fire could get a bit out of control. Be sure to carefully read the directions on the package.

Use of a Chimney Sweeping Log is no substitute for a manual cleaning and inspection of a fireplace. The log itself notes the following: Regular chimney inspections are always recommended. The CSL will not tell you if your chimney is blocked or has any kind of structural damage. The Chimney Sweeping Log does not take the place of inspection and professional cleaning.

What are you looking for when you do the chimney inspection?

We check for code compliance as to construction and clearances to combustible materials. If you have an insert or freestanding stove we check for proper installation. An inspection includes: Checking the firebox for damaged brick and missing or crumbling mortar. Check the damper for cracks, pitting or rusted-out sections. Look for and remove debris that may restrict air flow. Check for broken or damaged bricks or flue liners. We also check to see if you already have a chimney cap. Any questionable conditions will be noted on our 21 point condition report and discussed with the homeowner.



  Spark Arrestors/Chimney Caps

A spark arrestor prevents sparks escaping from the chimney and landing onto the roof or surrounding trees. It has the added benefit of preventing animals (birds, bats, cats) from falling into the chimney and getting stuck. Spark arrestors also prevent rain from getting into the chimney flue. Rain causes mortar joints to erode and metal parts of your fireplace to rust, causing damage to the inside of the chimney and the firebox.



Dryer Vent Fire Risk

The U.S. Product Safety Commission estimates that, in 1998,over 15,600 fires were associated with clothes dryers. Fires can occur when lint builds up in the dryer or in the exhaust duct. Lint can block the flow of air,cause excessive heat build up and result in a fire. You can usually tell if your dryer requires cleaning. If your clothes take longer than one cycle to dry, this is an indication that your dryer vent may require cleaning.

How do we clean dryer vents? Problem cleaning is performed when an individual dryer is not drying clothes fast enough. We disconnect and pull the dryer out, install a blower on the vent, and then blow, brush, vacuum and or dismantle - whatever it takes to get the vent clean. Commercial dryers in central laundry rooms are also cleaned this way. For large quantities of vents at apartments and condo's, we clean from the outside using a high pressure compressed air tool. It will normally turn 2 or 3 corners, cleaning the flexible hose behind the dryer. This tool shoots down the vent, blasting loose lint, debris and nests, sending it to the outside where we capture & dispose of it.

Fire damages home, destroys garage

Visalia Times Delta Article: 


A fire that destroyed the attached garage of a south Visalia home Friday morning was close to spreading next door before firefighters knocked down the blaze.

Flames at the home in the 1800 block of West Sunnyside Avenue were first reported by the house's renters about 7 a.m., Visalia firefighters said. James Bauer said his 14-year-old daughter woke him and his wife when she saw smoke pouring into the kitchen from the garage.

Bauer's wife called 911 and the family, including two other children, quickly got out of the house.

"[The garage] was fully in flames coming off the roof," Bauer said. "It got going real fast."

Five engines, one truck and 25 firefighters responded to the blaze, which firefighters contained mostly to the garage, said Visalia Battalion Chief Brian Adney.

The garage's roof collapsed and flames singed the front half of a 1983 Chevrolet pickup parked in the driveway. Damages and losses to the house totaled $65,000, Visalia Fire Marshall Charlie Norman said.

Flames did reach the fence and exterior wall of a next-door home, Norman said, but caused only about $3,000 in damages.

An initial investigation pointed to a clothes dryer as the possible cause of the fire, Norman said.

For the Bauer family, a point of consolation beyond their own safety Friday morning was firefighters' rescue of six puppies from the living room, which had been quickly engulfed by smoke.

"They were pretty happy about that," Norman said.