All posts by Terri Pocock

Terri Pocock

About Terri Pocock

Terri and her husband, Rick, are the owners of Swede Chimney Sweep & Dryer Vent Cleaning in San Diego, California since 1994. Terri is just one of a small handful of women in California who is a F.I.R.E. Certified Technician as well as only one of three women Certified Dryer Exhaust Technicians in California. Swede Chimney Sweep & Dryer Vent Cleaning - 858/573-1672

House showing chimney inspections

Levels of Chimney Inspections

House showing chimney inspections

In 2000, the National Fire Protection Agency, otherwise known as NFPA, addressed chimney inspections. The NFPA established three levels of inspection–Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. This three-tiered system of chimney inspections can be confusing to homeowners, real estate agents, and even home inspectors. This is a brief explanation to clarify this important subject. […]

Autumn is the time of year to call your chimney sweep

Call your chimney sweep today

Autumn is the time of year to call your chimney sweep

The kids are back to school and life has returned to the normal routine. The leaves are starting to turn colors. Sunrise is later and sunset is earlier. Autumn is here. Soon enough you’ll be looking at the fireplace, wanting to light a fire on a cool evening. Then you realize that you can’t remember […]

Money flying out of wallet

An open fireplace damper is like an open window

Money flying out of wallet

During these dog days of summer, many homeowners are making a very expensive mistake. Here in San Diego, homeowners are opening their SDG&E envelopes and getting sticker shock with astronomically high utility bills. What homeowners don’t realize is that by making a very simple change, they can save a great deal of money.   So […]

Birds on top of chimney

Birds in Chimneys

Birds on top of chimney

As I’m sitting in my office working, I can hear the high-pitch chirping from some obviously newly-hatched baby sparrows just above my office window. I’m not surprised by the chirping. I’ve been watching the mama bird building her nest on a ledge just above my window for several weeks. During her time building her nest, […]

Gas logs on fire in fireplace

16 Tips To Know About Artificial Gas Logs

Gas logs on fire in fireplace

Gas logs are so very convenient–no fuss, no mess; instant on-instant off; clean burning to the environment as well as very little creosote build-up in the chimney. Before making that decision, there are several things to take into consideration first. To help you, here are 16 tips you need to know when deciding on artificial […]

A chimney cap will prevent roof rats from entering a home

Roof rats love your chimney!

A chimney cap will prevent roof rats from entering a home

Even if homeowners don’t use their fireplace, there are still very important reasons to have a chimney cap. This last week, as a chimney sweep, I received a record number of phone calls from people who had critters in their chimney.  This time of year here in San Diego, during the rainy season, it’s not […]

Chimney cap askew on top of a chimney

Chimney Caps and Termite Tents

Chimney cap askew on top of a chimney

What do chimney caps and termite tents have in common? More than you think! Several times a year, the strong Santa Ana winds hit Southern California. These winds are something we San Diegans dread because it usually brings with it the threat of wildfires. But there’s something else that occurs due to these forceful winds. […]

contractor with tool belt

25 Important Tips to Hire a Contractor

contractor with tool belt

A true story: About ten years ago, a friend of ours decided to do a major remodel on his house, basically doubling the size of his home. He did his due diligence in researching contractors and he narrowed it down to three very qualified candidates. Then he went to the California State Licensing Board website […]

The top of an unlined chimney

Problems with an Unlined Chimney

The top of an unlined chimney

As a chimney sweep, the most important part of a chimney that we inspect is the flue lining. In many older homes, there is no flue lining. This type of chimney system is referred to as an unlined chimney.  According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, “Never use a chimney that does not have […]

A masonry chimney on the exterior wall of a home

What is a Masonry Chimney?

A masonry chimney on the exterior wall of a home

Just like automobiles that have different manufacturers and models, the same goes for fireplaces and chimneys. Here in Southern California, there are primarily three different types of open fireplace systems–1) masonry chimneys; 2) prefabricated, factory-built systems; and 3) Rampart General Pre-Cast systems. Since I’ve already addressed Rampart General Pre-Cast systems in the past, this post […]

Firewood, center cut dried out

14 Need-to-Know Facts about Seasoning Firewood

Firewood, center cut dried out

Here are some interesting facts that will help you season your firewood for your fireplace or stove.  Seasoning your wood is critical not only for safer fires, but to reduce creosote buildup in your fireplace or stove flue pipe and to reduce pollutants into the atmosphere.  This is the second post in a series of […]

Young couple sitting next to fireplace

Wind Caps Solve Fireplace Smoking Problems

Young couple sitting next to fireplace

Enjoying a warm fire on a cold evening is one of the simple pleasures in life, but not when that beautiful crackling fire is accompanied by the eye-burning scent of smoke. There are a number of causes for fireplace smoking problems, many of which are easily remedied. If you live in an area prone to […]

Dryer fire

How to Avoid a Dryer Fire During a Flex Alert

Dryer fire

Here we are in July and we’re all enjoying the beautiful summer weather that’s common here in beautiful San Diego, but this heat has created some unintended consequences. Due to the extreme summer heat throughout the region and the resulting high electricity usage, the manager of the state’s power grid has issued a Flex Alert […]

3 Issues with Rampart General Pre-Cast Chimneys

Imagine this scenario: You have spent a great deal of time looking for that perfect home. You did your due diligence. You had the proper home inspections and then made the single most expensive investment of your life. After moving in, you decide to get the chimney inspected and swept. The chimney sweep comes in […]

Young couple sitting in front of the fireplace with their dog

50 Tips For Enjoying Your Fireplace

Young couple sitting in front of the fireplace with their dog

There’s nothing better than a warm fireplace on a cold evening. Here are 50 quick and simple tips that will help you safely enjoy that cozy fire even more. IMPORTANT SAFETY TIPS 1. For an open fireplace, the glass doors must be in a fully open position. Once the fire has died out, close the […]

Woman looking at clothes in dryer

10 Signs That You Need a Dryer Vent Cleaning

Woman looking at clothes in dryer

There’s nothing more annoying for a homeowner than when the clothes dryer stops working. Laundry comes to a complete standstill and there’s no place to put the basket full of sopping wet clothes. In this case, most homeowners automatically think there’s a problem with the dryer itself and so they call the appliance repair company. […]

Damper clamp

Fireplace Damper Clamps

Damper clamp

The issue of damper clamps can be confusing, not just to homeowners but to home inspectors, utility companies, government building departments and even amongst chimney professionals. In many cases, this issue rears its ugly head during the stressful time of purchasing or selling a new home. What is a damper clamp? Damper clamps are also […]

Fireplace odor like a campfire

Six Causes of Fireplace Odors

Fireplace odor like a campfire

There’s nothing better than a warm, cozy fire in the fireplace but there’s nothing worse than the “campfire-in-the-living-room” smell that can sometimes occur afterwards. Understanding some of the causes for a stinky fireplace will help prevent the problem. There are several key causes for fireplace odor issues.   1) Smoking Problems Sometimes a smoking problem […]

Rolled up newspaper used in priming the flue

Priming the fireplace flue

Rolled up newspaper used in priming the flue

What does a rolled-up newspaper have to do with preventing a smoking problem in a wood-burning, open fireplace? One of the most common causes for smoking problems in open hearth fireplaces is due to homeowners not priming the fireplace flue before starting the fire, especially during cold weather.  An indication that this is the cause […]

Smoke coming from fireplace

Ten Fireplace Smoking Problems and Solutions

Smoke coming from fireplace

As a professional chimney sweep, the most common phone call I get is about fireplace smoking problems.  Sometimes the smoke can fill the room; other times you may not even realize you have a smoking problem because the smoke is so subtle.  If it smells like a campfire in your living room the day after […]

Dryer in laundry room

18 Important Tips for Dryer Vents

Dryer in laundry room

Many homeowners don’t realize just how potentially dangerous it is to do laundry. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were an estimated 16,800 fires due to washers and dryers in the United States in 2010. Interestingly, the innocent-looking clothes dryer accounted for 92% of those fires. With over 20 years of experience as […]

Close-up of the face of a sheep

Timing is Everything – Don’t be a Chimney Sheep!

Close-up of the face of a sheep

Sheep are best known for flocking and will run together as herds because there’s safety in numbers. This works great for sheep but works against homeowners for their home maintenance, especially in preventing fire hazards due to chimneys and fireplaces. It’s common knowledge that you never call for maintenance on your air conditioning on the […]

A house on fire

5 Things to consider when hiring a Chimney Sweep

A house on fire

Imagine watching the local evening news that shows a story of a hapless victim of a chimney fire, resulting in a house burned to the ground. It makes you realize that it’s been far too long since you had your own chimney looked at, and you make a mental note to call a chimney sweep […]

Spring flowers with the words "Time for a Spring Cleaning"

10 Easy Steps to Spring Cleaning Your Fireplace

Spring flowers with the words "Time for a Spring Cleaning"

Spring has sprung and it’s time for some spring cleaning, and that includes your fireplace! Many people would agree that one of the least favorite household chores is cleaning out the fireplace after the last fire of the season but it doesn’t have to be difficult with some easy tips. Ashes should be removed from […]