Month: April 2019

Animals on the Prowl – Don’t Forget About Your Chimney Caps!

Woodland creatures — like squirrels, raccoons, opossums, owls, etc. — are on a constant hunt for a warm, snug spot to build a nest and call home. To these animals, an open chimney fits the bill just right. Once a critter sets up shop inside your chimney, it can wreck all sorts of havoc, but luckily, there’s a specific device to prevent your home from gaining these unwanted tenants: a chimney cap.

Without a cap,
a chimney sits open and unprotected, creating a prime opportunity for animals
to make their way inside. By themselves, an animal in a chimney will
potentially block the flue, or even find its way completely inside, dropping
unannounced into a family or living room through a faulty damper. However, critters
are rarely alone, bringing with them mites and bugs in their fur, as well as
sticks, twigs, dried leaves, and other nest-building debris that can clog a
chimney, with the possibility of preventing smoke from properly venting through
the chimney.

According to
the Humane Society of the United States, chimney caps are an excellent way to
keep animals (in this specific case, squirrels, but the advice applies
universally) out of your chimney, and back in nature, where they can thrive
without harming your home. When looking for the right cap for your chimney,
make sure it has grating small enough to keep out smaller animals, but large
enough that it still allows for the open passage of air and smoke from your
fireplace. Additionally, make sure that the cap is made from a rust-proof
material, such as galvanized steel, as it will be in contact with the outside
elements. For added precaution, if there are multiple flues in your home, it
could be worthwhile installing a cap on each flue.

If you find
yourself in the unfortunate situation of having a woodland roommate in your
chimney, make sure to contact the local animal control. Dealing with a wild
creature yourself carries several risks, and a professional can safely remove
and relocate the animal more efficiently.

To best avoid
finding unwanted furry “friends” in your chimney, and to make sure the right
chimney cap is correctly installed on your chimney the first time around, reach
out to Lindemann Chimney & Fireplace at (847)739-4199or schedule from the
comfort of your computer online.  

The post Animals on the Prowl – Don’t Forget About Your Chimney Caps! appeared first on Lindemann Chimney Co..

Spring is Here! Time to Check Masonry for Leaks before Rainy Season

After months of
snow, ice, and chilly winds, spring and sunshine can’t come soon enough! Rolling
into the warmer months with higher temps and blooming flowers also means the
return of a fair amount of rain, bringing rejuvenating water to the grass and
plant life, and a welcome respite from the seasonably scorching days.

Of course, while the water is necessary in nature, it can quickly become a pain if it finds its way indoors uninvited. So before the drops start falling, remember that spring days are also the perfect time to take a peek at the masonry around your chimney, to make sure your chimney is ready to stand up to potential leaks.

During the
colder months, as the precipitation outside freezes and thaws over the bricks
of your chimney, moisture can make its way into small crevices in the
stonework. As the water thaws and expands, it slowly enlarges the crevices into
cracks, leaving potential openings for moisture to seep further into the
chimney and beyond. A few key signs that you’re dealing with a leaky chimney
include spotting moisture in, or at the bottom of, your chimney, seeing water
marks form on the ceiling near (i.e. within 10ft) your chimney, and if you
notice spalling of the chimney, inside or outside.

Potential chimney leaks or cracking masonry can be diagnosed during an annual chimney cleaning and safety inspection, especially to catch potential leaks at higher, harder-to-reach points around your chimney. Once confirmed, and depending on the advice from your inspector, these spots can be repaired, or the chimney can be waterproofed. This waterproofing process works by using a specific masonry-friendly sealant that blocks water absorption, but does not interfere with the naturally porous brick. This same process will also help to protect your chimney during the winter’s freeze-thaw cycle.

Prevention
always beats surprise when it comes to chimney leaks and masonry cracks. Let
Lindemann help with full peace of mind by scheduling your annual chimney
cleaning and safety inspection! Contact Lindemann Chimney & Fireplace today
at (847)739-4199, or through our convenient online scheduling portal!  
       

The post Spring is Here! Time to Check Masonry for Leaks before Rainy Season appeared first on Lindemann Chimney Co..

Typical Damage that May Occur if Your Chimney Masonry has Leaks

Dealing with a leak in your chimney masonry is never a fun scenario, but catching it as early as possible can save you from several potential headaches. As you start to take a look at the inside and outside of your chimney, here a few major signs to watch out for that will tip you off to the presence of a chimney leak in your home.

Wet/Mildew Smell

An unpleasant
odor is a fast way to determine something is wrong before you can see the issue.
A damp, mildew, or musty scent near your chimney will let you know that water
has somehow found its way within the chimney itself, and that it’s time to
locate the source of the moisture. This can often be associated with a dripping
sound coming from within the chimney as well. 

Brown Spots on the Ceiling

If moisture
makes its way through the masonry in your chimney, it can also find its way
into your ceiling. This could result in water spots emerging, generally brown
or slightly yellow, staining areas in close proximity to the chimney. This same
moisture could also partially soak into wood beams or insulation in the same
areas.

Rusting Firebox and Damper

Water leaking
and dripping onto metal dampers and fireboxes will, over time, erode the outer layers
and create rust. Once rust sets into metal pieces within your fireplace, they
will need to be properly replaced before the fireplace can once again be safely
used.

Spalling and Structural Issues

Moisture
seeping into masonry will break down the layers between the stone and brick,
causing the stonework to deteriorate structurally. Not only does this hurt the
individual pieces, but it can cause the entire chimney to shift or lean. If the
chimney has moved enough, this potentially creates the need for the chimney to
be rebuilt completely. 

Catching issues
early-on is a surefire way to avoid costly incidents from masonry leaks, and
ensures your fireplace will continue to provide warmth when needed, while
preserving its overall longevity. To keep your fireplace in tip-top shape,
identify issues before they become problems – and to give your fireplace a
fresh cleaning, contact Lindemann Chimney & Fireplace, or schedule your appointment online today.

The post Typical Damage that May Occur if Your Chimney Masonry has Leaks appeared first on Lindemann Chimney Co..

CHOOSING THE RIGHT FIREWOOD FOR FIREPLACE SAFETY

Selecting the best firewood for your fireplace may not seem like that important of a decision, but well seasoned, quality firewood can not only help your fireplace burn cleaner but more efficiently too! Green or wet wood can cause smoke problems, odor, creosote buildup and can even lead to dangerous chimney fires. So, next time you head out to stock up on wood, make sure you select clean, seasoned wood.

Now you may be asking, “what is seasoned wood?” Well, while freshly cut wood can contain up to 45% water, seasoned wood has been reduced to only 20-25% of the moisture content. If you cut your own wood 6 months to a year before using it, properly store it and allow the sun and wind to do the seasoning for you. If you try to use green wood, the heat it produces via combustion must dry the wood before it will catch fire and burn, using up a large percentage of its available energy. Less energy results in less heat to your home and gallons of acidic water being deposited into your chimney. Yikes!

Ideal wood storage would consist of a dry woodshed with a roof that allows for air circulation to perform the drying. The next best option would be to keep the wood piled in a sunny area, covering it during rain or snow (while still allowing airflow to avoid trapping the moisture inside).

If your chimney has fallen victim to moist wood burning, call Quality Fireplace today for a complete chimney inspection quote!

The post CHOOSING THE RIGHT FIREWOOD FOR FIREPLACE SAFETY appeared first on Quality Fireplace and Chimney Services.

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