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We’re Proud To Serve Ames, Iowa

There are four distinct seasons in Ames and there are four distinct reasons why Top Notch Chimney Service is proud to be able to serve those who live in here. The people, the location, the history, and the quality of life are what make living and working in Ames a wonderful experience, and why Ames is so special to us.

The residents of Ames are hardworking, studious, fun-loving, and family oriented people who enjoy all that Ames has to offer. In 2010 Ames was voted as the 9th Best Place to Live in the U.S. by and continues to thrive and provide a rock solid foundation to raise a family and earn a living. Ames attracts international businesses such as 3M and Barilla. Iowa State University(ISU) is located in Ames and there is a strong emphasis placed on quality education beginning with kindergarten and continuing all the way through advanced college degree programs.


Residents of Ames enjoy the four seasons and all that each season brings in the way of sports, outdoor activities, and climate. From a health care perspective, Ames attracts the finest health care professions so residents of Ames and the surrounding communities not only have a place for quality medical care, but between the medical facilities, university, Fortune 500 companies, governmental agencies, and private businesses, the employment opportunities are numerous and diverse at all skill levels.

Ames is in the central part of Iowa in Story County and about 30 miles north of Des Moines. The temperature usually runs from the teens to 30s and 40s in the colder months and highs in the 80s during the summer months. The South Skunk River and Squaw Creek run through Ames and are home to small and largemouth bass, gar, walleye, and bluegill which delight fisherman and draw naturalists from the university as well as throughout the area.

The area was founded in 1864 as a railroad station by Cynthia Olive Duff and John Insley Blair. By 1870 the population was just over 600 and has continued to grow ever since with current population estimates over 62,000.

Another strong contributor to the valued quality of life in Ames are all the fun activities available. If you like live performances, ISU offers everything from theatrical performances to sporting events to unique museums. The Brunner Art Museum and Textile and Clothing Museum offer traveling and permanent collections and exhibits. The Alluvial Brewing Company, Torrent Brewing, and the Prairie Moon Winery and Vineyards are favorites. The Reiman Gardens attract tourists and residents alike with their art, architecture, plants and insect collections. The Octagon Center for the Arts is a community gem. There is an art gallery, exhibits, workshops and classes and workshops for beginning and advanced arts of all ages. The Octagon Art Festival, held at the end of September, has been attracting artists, visitors, and shoppers since 1970.

The entire team at Top Notch Chimney Masonry & Chimney knows how important it is to preserve the quality of life residents of Ames enjoy. That’s why we are committed to providing unparalleled customer service and expert craftsmanship with every contact you have with us. We love Ames!

Everything & More You Need To Know About Creosote

The most important information you need to know about creosote is that it is highly flammable and a dangerous health hazard. That’s why Top Notch Chimney Sweep & Services takes removing the creosote in your chimney and fireplace very seriously. In order to keep you safe and your home protected, Top Notch’s CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certified chimney technicians are highly skilled at removing the creosote that builds up in your fireplace and venting. According to the National Protection Association “over 57% of home fireplace, chimney, and chimney connector fires involve failure to clean as a factor contributing to ignition”.


Creosote is produced when wood or fossil fuels are not completely burned. When the by-products of combustion–wood particles, smoke, gas, water vapor, hydro-carbons, and minerals–travel up the chimney, a black or brown sticky, gummy, flaky, and crusty substance that smells terrible is formed and coats the lining of your chimney and fireplace. The built up creosote is so dangerous because it is composed of highly flammable materials. Also, as the creosote cakes and builds up on the walls of your chimney flue, the passage way is narrowed causing hotter fires and greater combustibility.

The CSIA warns, “Certain conditions encourage the build up of creosote. Restricted air supply, unseasoned wood, and cooler than normal chimney temperatures are all factors that can accelerate the build up of creosote on chimney flue walls. Air supply may be restricted by closing the glass doors, by failing to open the damper wide enough, and the lack of sufficient make-up air to move the smoke up the chimney rapidly (the longer the smoke’s “residence time” in the flue, the more likely it is that creosote will form).”

The CSIA also reminds homeowners that using unseasoned wood in their fireplace or wood stove and overloading the firebox of a wood stove also substantially increase the amount of creosote that builds up. The moisture content of the wood greatly contributes to how fast creosote builds up. Wood containing a high moisture content adds to the rapid build up of creosote because its burning temperature is less than the condensation of the creosote gasses (approximately 212 degrees verses 250 degrees, respectively). The hotter the fire, the less creosote produced. In addition to being a fire hazard, creosote is also corrosive to your venting.

Throughout a normal year of using your fireplace or wood stove, several inches of creosote can build up and the more creosote that builds up the faster new build up attaches to the existing build up compounding matters. Pieces of this highly combustible matter can also come loose and be blown to your roof and ignite.

How long has it been since you have had the creosote buildup professionally removed from your chimney, flue and fireplace? Over a year? Two years? Longer? Scary to think about all the build up isn’t it? (And we bet you didn’t even know all the dangers associated with creosote build up.)

When you hire a CSIA certified chimney technician they have the professional tools and expertise needed to properly and thoroughly remove the built up creosote and other dirt and debris. Because of its toxicity and the complexity of the job, you don’t want to attempt to do it yourself. Each home has a different size chimney, placement, construction, flue size and pipe span that must be taken into consideration when cleaning. Also, due to the limited access to your entire venting system you need to have the proper equipment as well as structural knowledge to sure proper removal of all the creosote. Removing creosote is not something you want to leave undone or not done correctly and completely…there is just too much at stake.

When you call Top Notch Chimney Sweep & Services you will know we are the chimney professionals you can trust. We will thoroughly remove any build up, perform yearly inspections and make any necessary repairs so that you can enjoy the beauty and warmth of the fireplace without worrying about the potential hazards.

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