Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Every year? Yeah, no.....maybe.

Do I need to get my chimney cleaned every year?

The most common question for the guys on the coal face during chimney season.

The short answer is yes....hmmmm actually no, hang on maybe. I guess there is no short answer.

It really comes down to two factors;

1. The physical
2. The paperwork

From a physical perspective it really depends on what type of fire you have, how often you use it and what sort of wood you're burning.

If it's an open fire (you know the old brick one's with a grate) that you use every night with wood that you bought from the guy that chopped down that pine tree last week....then the answer is definitely yes.
If it's a wood burner (the one's with a door) that you only use occasionally with that nice dry wood that's been seasoned for two years....then you can safely get away with every couple of years.

Physical: sweep and inspection = fire type x how often you use x quality of wood

The paperwork side of things is a lot less subjective. If I don't get a sweep and inspection every year am I covered by insurance......or not? Time to drag out that policy, dust it off, and battle through the small print or....we suggest you give them a quick call and make them work for their money. The most common conditions are;

1. Open fire: annually
2. Woodburner: every 2 years

Paperwork: Am I covered = CHECK YOUR POLICY!!!

If you're unsure, or need some advice, don't hesitate to call the team at Chimney King

The team at Bug King/Chimney King

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Arrghhh cockroaches. What will the neighbours think!

Hey, it's probably not as bad as you think because....

  ....not all cockroaches are equal. You can divide them into two distinct categories;

Update 2 September 2012.
We're getting a few enquiries from customers saying the cockroaches they've got are different to the one's featured below.  Apologies for not explaining ourselves better. These aren't the only outdoor cockroaches you'll see around your home.....just the most common ones by far. Other common outdoor cockroaches you may see include the Smokey Brown, Oriental and Brown Banded. Oh, and if you're interested these are the two types of nasty indoor cockroaches. German and American

  1. Indoor cockroaches: the nasty little buggers that live in your kitchen behind the fridge and think nothing of walking all over your dinner with their little disease ridden feet . You definitely don't want these in your home but we won't spend to much time on these as they're not as common as the......
  2. Outdoor cockroaches: these guys are harmless. Scary looking, especially if they're the big black Gisborne cockroach, but harmless. They'd much rather be outside frolicking in leaf litter and decaying wood but they occasionally they pop inside for a visit and to hang out on the walls of your home.
Gisborne Cockroach (Actual Size)
So why do these outdoor cockroaches want to pop in for a visit? Well, it's winter and it's getting a bit cold and wet outside. If you're looking for somewhere warm and dry, then it's just a short crawl up the wall and through that gap in the window or around the drainpipe. 

So, as long as you're not seeing cockroaches scuttle for cover when you switch on the kitchen light at night, then you've probably just got a few harmless wood cockroaches coming in looking for a bit of shelter.

Unpleasant. Yes, but certainly not a hygiene issue.

Still who really wants cockroaches in their home, even if they're harmless.

So what can you do to keep these guys out. Exclusion, exclusion, exclusion!!! You need to apply treatments to all potential entry points as well as the external walls to keep these pests out of your home and in the garden where they belong.

p.s. Above right is an actual size picture of native wood cockroach. Another very common outdoor cockroach you might see in your home this winter.

Regards, The Team at Bug King/Chimney King.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Chances are.......

H-cowls.....can't think of a better place to build a nest.

Do you have a woodburner? If so, have a look on the roof. Does it have a top bit (the cowl) that looks like this?

The H-cowl, the discerning bird's preferred nesting site.

If you do then there have probably been down-draught issues with your fire. These cowl's do an excellent job of solving that problem, HOWEVER, there is a downside.

There's a very high chance that you'll have birds nesting in the cowl come Spring. If you don't do something to prevent this, then when you light that first winter fire, you'll enjoy that lovely barbecue smell throughout your home as smoke pours out the fire rather than up the blocked chimney.

That's the bad news. The good news is, this is very easy to fix.

Either, get your friendly sweep to inspect the cowl in early Autumn as part of your annual sweep....

Or, get bird-proofing installed to stop birds accessing the cowl.

Physically, most woodburners don't need to be serviced every year (but check with you insurer for their requirements) so the least expensive option would be to have some simple bird-proofing measures installed.

Have a H-cowl or other bird control issues? Please feel free to give the team a call for advice.

The team at Bug King/Chimney King