How to Maintain One’s Home While Being Climate-Conscious, with The Chimney Scientists Founder and Climate Enthusiast, Joe Ochal

According to the EPA, roughly 12 million American homes have wood stoves and fireplaces, and 9 million are outdated. Without updates that meet new EPA standards, these stoves and fireplaces are burning 50% slower, drastically increasing their carbon footprint.

Carbon emissions contribute negatively to climate change, and you’d be surprised how much most people unconsciously contribute to the problem via their respective fireplaces.

Joe Ochal is a microbiologist turned chimney scientist who knows something about fireplaces, stoves, and reducing their carbon emissions. He is adamant that if houses update their fireplaces and stoves, they can positively impact the environment and their personal health.

The Chimney Scientists hope to spread this message as widely as possible in an effort to save the planet. Everyone needs to participate in reducing emissions by altering how they operate in their daily lives — which sometimes means buying suitable wood for burning or getting yearly chimney inspections!

Ochal hopes to expand his 20-person team at The Chimney Scientists to become the country’s largest chimney, stove, and fireplace experts in the industry.

The Chimney Scientist on Chimney Carbon Footprints

The Chimney Scientists are experts dedicated to their customers and the environment, and they view both as going hand-in-hand.

“Our company is customer-oriented, and we’re ardently working to help reduce emissions and enable our clients to eventually become more climate-friendly,” Ochal said.

It was seemingly fate that Ochal would become a chimney scientist. When he was younger, his uncle taught him how to chop and burn wood to use as a heat source in the family home.

“The feeling that the fire gave me was total comfort and relaxation,” he proclaimed.

Because of Ochal’s genuine background as a scientist — with his M.S. in microbiology from Thomas Jefferson University — and his deep passion for all things chimneys, he is uniquely qualified to advise homeowners on reducing carbon emissions from their homes.

“Storing and using firewood properly is more important than you think,” Ochal said. “It is also important whether clients are burning wood or using a gas fireplace. This gives us an idea of best serving their needs.”

How to Reduce Carbon Emissions from Fireplaces and Stoves

Because The Chimney Scientists are a customer-first principled business, they consult their clients in a highly personalized manner when advising them on reducing carbon emissions.

“When we first go to a client’s home, we ask about their lifestyles and fire-burning methods,” Ochal stated. “We want to work closely with people and educate the public so they can burn wood guilt-free. Please put us out of business by using safe wood-burning practices. That is actually what we want!”

Sometimes this means telling clients that they increasingly risk carbon monoxide poisoning if they don’t clean their chimneys now. At other times, however, this means instructing clients on how to use their fireplaces and stoves in a more climate-friendly way.

One way to reduce emissions — apart from heeding the company’s indispensable advice to get yearly cleanings and inspections — is to know how to use a fireplace or stove correctly and which materials are the most climate-friendly.

For instance, the team does not recommend that fireplace owners use recently cut, wet or artificial wood when lighting a fire. There is clean and safe wood designed explicitly for burning in fireplaces that reduce emissions and the risk of sometimes developing respiratory illnesses.

This is also for safety reasons: one of the reasons using recently cut wood or artificial wood is such a climate and health hazard is that these are the number one material causes of house fires.

Informing clients about these hazards is the top priority for The Chimney Scientists because the health and safety of their customers is the absolute bottom line of their business model.

From humble beginnings, Ochal has gone from enjoying fires with his family to helping his community and the world with his burning passion for fireplace safety and environmental friendliness.

The Chimney Scientists are a scientifically-grounded business, and their dedication to combating climate change is clear evidence of that.

About The Chimney Scientists

Joe Ochal is the Founder of The Chimney Scientists, serving the Philadelphia area. The Chimney Scientists is a full-service chimney and fireplace company that provides chimney and fireplace repairs, inspections, and cleanings, as well as historical restorations. To find out more about chimney repairs, please visit

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