Sacramento Claims Association Website
The first thought of a chimney sweep conjures images of Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins for many, “happy go-lucky guys, yes,” said Aaron Zambrana, “but we take what we do very seriously.”
Mr. Zambrana was the guest speaker at the October 9, 2008 Sacramento Claims Association. His presentation included an effective powerpoint visual, as well as some sample props he used to illustrate how chimney damage often appears.
“Keep fire you want from becoming fire you don’t want,” he urged.
His talk covered a lot of ground. He gave an overview of industry standards; discussed cause and hazards of creosote; as well as plusses and minuses of various types of chimneys.
“National Fire Protection came out with rules in 2000 - NFPA 211, levels one, two and three,” he stated. Modern cameras can and should be utilized for “chimney scan” not unlike an X-ray.
Chimneys are not designed to contain combustion,” he explained. “Most fires last 1-15 minutes, but can go on for several hours.” How long a chimney fire burns depends largely on what type of fire you’re dealing with.
“Red common brick is a great heat conductor, not an insulator,” he said. “A slow burning chimney fire loos like a tire fire, with smoke coming out,” he said. “Typically, there’s a wood stove insert involved.
“Terracota is a good insulator, but cracks easily with a hot fire. Tiny cracks,” he said, “ can open up when heated up.
Zambrana began his chimney sweep career while working his way through college. He told the story of his conversation with his father about choosing to continue his work even after receiving his degree. Eleven years later, he’s enjoying his business, averaging 30-45 chimney inspections each month.
He recommended pre-insurance inspections of chimneys, so that you know what you have beforehand. Aaron also gave away a free chimney sweep service as a door prize.
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