Month: April 2020

The Hardships of Being Chimney Tall. It’s Always First.

Our team of chimney technicians continue to be hard at work cleaning and inspecting chimney’s after the winter months. Winter can be hard on all of us, but it’s hardest on the chimney. The chimney is the tallest point on the house, it’s the first to get rained on, the first to break the wind, and the first to feel the heat from the sun (when it chooses to show itself). With so many firsts, it’s also first to need repair.

The Hardships of Being Chimney Tall. It’s Always First. by Superior Chimney

14 Points…Inspection, That Is.

Part of the 14 Point certified chimney inspection with photo documentation is that our chimney technicians check the inside AND the outside of the chimney. The chimney inspection gives you details of the health of your chimney from the winter freezing, contracting, thawing and now expanding from warmer weather. We’ll check for wear & tear, the condition of the bricks and mortar as well as the flashing, the material that connects the roofing system to the chimney.

What is that Sound?

Now that you’ve had plenty of time to be at home during a rainstorm, you may have heard that annoying sound of dripping water. Have you said, “What is that sound?” or “Where is that noise coming from?” It’s probably a leak from the chimney down into the fireplace, or even the storage box next to the chimney.

Water is amazing. It gets into the smallest of cracks or any type of opening. If there is one in the chimney cap, chimney crown or even in the mortar, water will find it. We have to remember that the masonry is very porous and absorbs water. That’s why we talk about expansion and contraction of materials during the winter, late-fall and early-spring months. The repetitive expansion and contraction motion is what creates cracks.

Repair & Protect!

By having a Superior Chimney technician clean and inspect the chimney inside and outside, we can identify issues and get smaller issues repaired right away. The longer the leak and crack is exposed, the greater the problem it will become.

Once all the repairs are complete, you can take it one wise-step further and waterproofing the chimney. Chimney Saver minimizes brick masonry deterioration by causing water to bead-off of the masonry rather than absorb into it. It also reduces any future repairs by allowing your chimney to enter the next freeze thaw cycle of winter in a dry state, rather than saturated.

Give us a call today at 877-244-6349

This way, you’ve taken care of your home and prevented a bigger repair bill from progressing. See you soon!


This post first appeared on https://www.superiorchimney.net

Spring is the Perfect Time for Your Chimney Inspection

Are you feeling it? That urge you’ve got to bury yourself knee-deep in old mail and open boxes, folding sweaters away and pulling out all your t-shirts…you must be ready for spring cleaning! 

Did you know you’re already doing it wrong?

Don’t want to alarm you but you’re forgetting something. There’s a giant, important part of your home that you probably haven’t even thought to clean.

It’s your chimney!

Your chimney was working its hardest over the last few months. Now is the perfect time to see what –if any– damage all the cold weather and rain did to things over the winter. A springtime chimney inspection and a possible chimney sweep can prevent disasters that will affect your home all the way into next winter. Take advantage of your desire for spring cleaning and boost your chimney and fireplace performance by getting yours inspected now!

Five reasons spring’s the right time for a chimney inspection!

  1. Keep your home smelling fresh.
    Ever heard of creosote? It’s the buildup that comes from wood fires and turns into dark, cruddy deposits in your chimney. Creosote sitting there in your chimney and, as the weather warms up, it’s going to create a terrible odor that will spread all throughout your house.

  2. Make sure your home’s safe…
    …from critters. Chimneys are also common entry points for a variety of unwanted pests, ranging from squirrels to birds. A properly installed and inspected chimney cap, pan, or shroud will prevent these pesky critters from entering your property and causing problems.

  3. Don’t let the water in.
    All of that rainy weather can cause water damage from the buildup of moisture in your chimney. In fact, with the record rainfall we’ve had recently, water might already be puddling up in there. Your chimney can collect debris and water just like your gutters do. Make sure they’re as clean as can be before things get even worse.

  4. Take advantage of the off-season schedule.
    Honestly, the smartest customers take advantage of a spring chimney inspection because they’re also taking advantage of it being our “off-season”. It’s a less-busy time for chimney services than say, early fall when everyone suddenly starts remembering they have chimneys. It’s easier to schedule around your own schedule if you call us now.

  5. Get ahead of things.
    Be prepared for upcoming service needs and long-term maintenance. If you get your chimney inspected now and find that there’s damage that needs repairing by fall/winter, you now have a little more time to act. Prevent chronic issues and costly repairs by spotting and fixing problems early.

Feel as fresh, clean, and smart as possible this spring. Give Southern Chimneys a call today. Our technicians will complete an inside and out 18-point inspection and complete a consultation to address and discuss any issues or concerns.

 

This post first appeared on https://southernchimneys.com

Has Your Chimney Been Damaged by Severe Winter Weather?

Below-freezing weather prompts everyone to protect the P’s—passenger cars (vehicles), pets, plants, and pipes. That about covers everything as long as you don’t forget your chimney pipe! Chimneys across the country are damaged every year by harsh winter weather. Read on to learn how chimneys can be affected by severe weather plus some tips to prevent chimney damage.

Water Damage

Keeping water out of a chimney system is important but it is anything but easy. The worst kind of result from moisture intrusion is spalling, which is when bricks break apart. Spalling occurs after water inside a masonry system freezes and thaws, expands and contracts. The movement causes the bricks to deteriorate. Water-damaged bricks must be removed because they will only continue to break and cause the structure to lean and potentially collapse. The following are some of the ways water gets into the masonry.

newington ct chimney cap installation

Chimney Caps

The chimney cap over the flue pipe keeps snow, sleet, and rain, from getting into the chimney. When chimney caps are damaged, water can get in. Animals can get in, as well, and cause a range of problems that are not easy to deal with. 

Expired Mortar

The mortar between bricks plays an important part in keeping water out of the masonry system. When the mortar begins to flake off and deteriorate, it’s important to have it replaced with a procedure known as “tuckpointing.” Otherwise, without the protection from mortar, water intrusion will occur.

A Flashing Leak

The metal band that creates a watertight connection between the chimney and the roof is the chimney flashing, and it is subject to leak. The waterproof seal can be disrupted by poor installation, inadequate materials, wear and tear, rusty nail holes, and loose caulking. Leaky flashing not only exposes the masonry to moisture but it also causes serious damage to roof systems.

Damaged Chimney Crown

The chimney crown covers the top of the chimney, and it is supposed to be made with durable cement-like material. Oftentimes, however, it is made with inadequate materials that won’t provide protection for the chimney system for long. Chimney crowns are always exposed to the weather, and they tend to crack and deteriorate, no matter what type of material they are made with. Any damage that occurs allows moisture to seep in between the masonry and the flue. 

Tips to Prevent Chimney Damage

At Northeastern Chimney LLC, we recommend solutions that will help to protect your masonry from moisture damage year-round.

Outside-Mount Custom Chimney Cap

You can have a chimney cap system installed that is more of a cover because it also protects the chimney crown. This is called an outside-mount custom chimney cap or band-around brick chimney cap. This accessory provides significantly more protection against the worst winter weather than the type of cap that sits atop the flue pipe. 

Waterproofing

Waterproofing specifically made for masonry adds an additional layer of protection against bitter-cold weather and water intrusion. The special sealant can help reduce chimney maintenance costs since it helps to keep moisture out.

Chimney Crown Repair, Farmington CTContact Northeastern Chimney Today

Have you had a chimney inspection done lately to determine whether your chimney has successfully weathered the cold season’s winter blasts? It can be difficult to recognize water damage without the expert help of a professional chimney sweep. Call Northeastern Chimney at 860-233-5770 today to schedule a chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, chimney maintenance, and more.

This post first appeared on https://www.mychimney.com

Surprising Things That Happen To Chimneys In The Spring

Chimney swifts & chimney repair in Mclean VAAnother brutal winter is over, and it’s time to forget all about your chimney and start getting ready for better weather with so much to do. Well, not exactly. Just because you aren’t regularly using your fireplace doesn’t mean that your chimney doesn’t need some attention. Here are some things that can happen to your chimney in the spring and how to address them.

Animals and their nests

Operating a chimney without a full-width chimney cap or at least a basic flue top cap is asking for trouble.

In the spring, small animals such as squirrels, birds, bats, raccoons and others love to set up home and build nests in chimneys. The nests, and the animals themselves when they die in the chimney unable to get out, create drafting obstructions. The result? Sluggish fires, lots of smoke and a backup of deadly carbon monoxide.

Leaky chimney

Chimney leaks often get noticed in the spring when rains are the heaviest in many regions of the country. Over the winter, water may have gotten into the mortar joints or cracks in the chimney crown where it froze, expanded and caused significant damage. With heavy rains, large amounts of water can move into the chimney and start a cycle of decay and deterioration.

Chimney component damage

As noted, water can cause damage to various parts of the chimney. But so can springtime events such as gale-force winds and pounding hail. Components of a chimney that can take a beating by the elements include chimney caps, chimney chase covers, chimney crowns, roof flashing and top-sealing dampers. The problem with chimney damage is it doesn’t reverse itself. Once it starts, it keeps going until very serious problems have to be dealt with.

Chimney Sweep In Gaithersburg, MDCreosote and Soot

Without a thorough chimney cleaning each spring, when warmer weather arrives your flue may begin to send off some pretty powerful odors caused by a buildup of creosote and soot. This problem is worsened if there is a chimney leak that allows water to get into the mix. Creosote should be removed once a year, not only to keep odors at a minimum but, more importantly, to reduce the chance of a chimney fire when you start running the fireplace again in the fall.

 inspections & chimney sweep

Fire-safety and hearth-industry agencies throughout the United States recommend annual chimney inspections and chimney sweeping by trained, certified technicians. Inspections are ideally scheduled during the spring months so any damage that may have occurred during the burning season can be spotted and fixed. Leaks can be repaired to prevent widespread damage during the rainy months.

Chimney cleaning, which includes removing creosote, soot and obstructions like those mentioned above, is the best way to prevent destructive chimney fires when you start using your fireplace again. Most chimney companies are less busy during the spring, so that’s another good reason to arrange for service at this time of year. High’s Chimney Service of Gaithersburg MD is ready to help with chimney cleaning, chimney inspection and all types of chimney repair. All our work is performed or overseen by a CSIA-certified professional. Get your chimney into top shape and ready for next winter by calling (301) 519-3500.

 

The post Surprising Things That Happen To Chimneys In The Spring appeared first on Highs Chimney.

5 Things That Can Happen to a Chimney in the Spring

With winter in the rearview mirror, you’re probably ready to enjoy the beautiful warm and sunny days of spring. For many families, that also means thinking about their spring-cleaning chores. More than 75% of households clean their homes in the spring, according to the American Cleaning Institute. Since several things can happen to a chimney, don’t forget to add chimney cleaning and inspection to your spring-cleaning checklist.

Chimney Inspection in Lenexa KSUninvited Guests

When the trees and flowers are blooming in the spring, birds, raccoons, squirrels, and other wildlife come out to play, hunt for food, and look for a place to rest. As they roam around, they may climb up your chimney while escaping predators or idle curiosity. Once they get to the top, they will instinctively try to go inside unless there is a chimney cap to stop them. Small birds will also fly in and have a look around. They also bring with them dirt, debris, and bacteria, and attract pests like rats and mice. If you are noticing an ugly smell in the chimney in the spring, you may have some unexpected guests in the flue.
Water Leaks

 

Water leaking in the chimney can result in significant damage to the flue and metal components. Years of exposure to winter weather conditions and the effects of the freeze-thaw cycle can cause cracks in the masonry, including exterior brick and mortar and chimney crown. These cracks and crevices can allow water to leak into the flue where it can also weaken the flue liner and firebox. Water intrusion can also occur if the chimney cap is broken or non-existent.

chimney leaking in Kansas City MOFlue Liner Damage

A chimney leak or an accumulation of creosote, dirt, and chemical residues created during combustion can damage the flue liner. The damage can continue into the spring and summer. It also increases the risk of a chimney fire, which can cause clay flue tiles to crack or split, accelerating its deterioration if it is not repaired before the next burn season.

Creosote Build-Up

Creosote is a hydrocarbon compound naturally derived during combustion. It is harmless in its initial stage but develops into a thick, tarry, highly flammable substance as it accumulates in the flue.

 

An overwhelming majority of residential fires are due to excessive creosote. Sweeping the chimney in the spring reduces the risk of fire and prepares it for the next winter season.

Energy Loss

An unclean chimney and masonry damage can result in wasted energy and higher utility bills. The cooler air-conditioned indoor air escapes through cracks in the masonry, flue liner, and other parts of the chimney while warmer air is drawn inside. The resulting energy loss makes your air conditioning unit run longer to maintain cooler temperatures, which will increase energy costs in the spring and summer.

Spring Cleaning and Chimney Inspection

Take advantage of the off-season and schedule your annual chimney inspection and cleaning in the spring before demand increases. It will be one last thing you will need to do on your spring cleaning checklist, and you will have peace of mind knowing that your fireplace and chimney are safe and ready for the next cold spell.

The post 5 Things That Can Happen to a Chimney in the Spring appeared first on Fluesbrothers Chimney Service.

Chimney Rebuilding, Restoration, Renovation: What You Need to Know

Minor chimney repairs should happen periodically throughout the life of your chimney to keep everything running smoothly and safely. At one point, however, more extensive work such as chimney rebuilding, restoration and renovation may be needed. This can occur for several reasons including neglected regular maintenance, a chimney fire, major water damage and old age.

While we use different names for major chimney repair – names like restoration, renovation and rebuilding – the end-goal is the same: perform the necessary work to allow the chimney to once again operate with safety and efficiency.

Chimney Masonry Repairs Kansas City, KSHow chimneys suffer serious damage

Many things can damage a chimney. Here are some that we regularly encounter.

Lack of maintenance: Chimneys should be inspected once a year, and they should be professionally cleaned on the same schedule. When a chimney is allowed to run year after year without the necessary maintenance, structural and component damage is sure to occur.

Chimney fires: Many chimney fires are relatively small and of short duration. Homeowners often don’t even know they’re happening. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have destructive effects on the chimney liner and then the bricks and mortar that make up the chimney structure. 

Water damage: Small cracks in a chimney’s masonry, a cracked chimney crown, warped flashing, a damaged chimney cap and other problems allow water to infiltrate the system. Depending on where and how much water is getting in, severe structural and component damage is inevitable.

Old age/weather: Many years of service and cycles of intense weather events such as lightning strikes, extreme heat and cold, pounding hail and powerful winds all take their toll on chimneys. A weather-beaten chimney can deteriorate to the point it begins to lean or completely collapses.

Chimney Repairs, Kansas City, KSChimney rebuilding solutions

If your chimney is in urgent need of rebuilding, restoration or renovation, the first step is to schedule a chimney inspection with a CSIA-certified technician. This inspection will determine exactly what kind of damage exists, where it exists and what will be the best strategy for addressing it.

Every chimney rebuild is different, but the work generally falls into three categories:

  1. Partial chimney rebuilding: When just sections of the chimney need to be rebuilt, often including the chimney crown.
  2. Rebuild from the roofline up: When the entire visible part of the chimney must be rebuilt. The structure above the roof will be completely torn down and reconstructed.
  3. Complete chimney rebuild: When the majority of the chimney structure, both above and below the roof, is severely compromised and must be demolished. In some cases, the smoke chamber, firebox and hearth will not need to be removed, but everything else will be rebuilt.

Spring is a good time for chimney work

If you suspect that your chimney needs some serious attention beyond minor repair work, spring is an ideal season to schedule service because:

  • The fireplace isn’t in use, making it easier for crews to work around it
  • There’s less chance of brutal weather causing delays during the project
  • Chimney sweeps/chimney technicians normally aren’t as busy this time of year
  • Scheduling the work before summer won’t cut into your vacations or other warm-weather plans

Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS, provides CSIA-certified chimney experts for all levels of chimney rebuilding, restoration and renovation projects. We’ve worked on many chimneys just like yours and guarantee an outstanding result. Call us today at (913) 236-7141.

The post Chimney Rebuilding, Restoration, Renovation: What You Need to Know appeared first on Fluesbrothers Chimney Service.

The three levels of chimney inspections

chimney inspection
Whenever anybody thinks of a fire in the fireplace then it brings images of warmth, comfort and safety. Nothing can be compared with the comfortable feeling of sitting by warm fire in your fireplace on a cold night at your home. At the same time, homeowners must not ignore fire safety. Before using your fireplace, make sure to go for chimney inspection and be sure to keep yourself away from any form of fire hazard. The three level inspections by National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and the standards laid down plays an important role for chimney company to base their work on them.

Level 1

One of the most common type of chimney inspection is Level 1. This level inspection seems to be appropriate if you are using your fireplace regularly without any problems. The chimney contractor ensure to examine the accessible chimney parts properly by using a flashlight. The flue can be viewed without using any special tool. The technician may use some of the common equipments like screwdriver, pliers to inspect the openings and this prevents any sort of damage to any finishes or structures.

The level 1 inspection inspects the portions of chimney interior, exterior like woodstove insert and other accessible portions of the chimney. This help to ensure that basic structure of the chimney is intact with no signs of damage. The technician verifies absence of obstructions or combustible material in your chimney and completes the fireplace repair.

Level 2

Sometimes, homeowners make changes in the way to use chimney such as changing the type of fuel used, repairing any form of damage done to chimney, relining the flue. Such types of changes require level 2 inspections. This inspection is more detailed than level 1. It includes the detail examination of all the portions inspected in level 1 and also includes inspection of the attic, crawlspace and other surrounding areas. The chimney technician uses a video camera to examine the flue and inspect for the presence of any cracks or damage in the entire chimney structure. The entire examination rules out the possibility of any permanent damage to the chimney.

Level 3

The most comprehensive form of chimney inspection is level 3. In addition to inspection of all the checks performed in level 1 and 2, level 3 inspects the hidden areas of the chimney as well. It includes the removal of certain parts of the chimney structure or building if required. The detail examination requires removal of some of the parts and such type of inspection is undertaken when anything indicates a critical damage to the chimney.

This post first appeared on https://www.firstclasschimneyservices.com

Look Up at the Chimney

Look Up at the Chimney, Superior Chimney, Lombard, IL

Today’s going to be a pretty nice day. While you clean up
the yard for a bit of spring cleaning, be sure to check out your chimney. It’ll
be bright enough outside to get a good look.

What are you looking for?

  • Mortar that’s
    missing between the bricks or stone
  • Any cracks in the mortar
  • If the bricks are slanted,
    tilted
  • Missing bricks or stone

What causes the mortar between the bricks or stone to
deteriorate?

When water makes its way through a tiny crack in the mortar.
Now let’s have the temperatures freeze, then warm up, like we’ve had lately, it’s
a perfect scenario for the mortar to begin or continue to deteriorate.

How to fix the deteriorated mortar?

For a long-term solution, an experienced, certified
technician will perform the best service. Our certified technicians will first
match the original masonry texture and color as best as possible. Then he’ll remove
and replace the mortar.

For extended protection, waterproof the chimney with our Chimney
Saver
. The solution will minimize brick and masonry deterioration, prevents
water from being absorbed and eliminates future chimney repair.

Do I really need to get tuckpointing done?

Tuckpointing
prevents moisture from entering the chimney system. Meaning, water can enter
the chimney, make it way into the flue lining. You’ll get the lovely smell from
mold, mildew or rotting wood.

What if I have a gas fireplace?

The chimney is still the same if you have a wood burning,
gas or don’t even use your fireplace. The elements from the outside cause deterioration
to happen as well as the smells from the fireplace.

Who do I call?

Superior Chimney at 877-244-6349. We’re an essential
business, so we’re ready to take your call. See our COVID-19 practices
for homes and employees
.


This post first appeared on https://www.superiorchimney.net

The Effects of the Freeze/Thaw Cycle on Your Chimney

Freeze chimney Thaw repair in Prairie Village, KSWinter can be damaging to chimneys, especially in areas that experience above-average levels of precipitation. The freeze-thaw effect is the repetitive process of surface moisture freezing and thawing. It is a condition that usually occurs in winter and is especially damaging to porous materials like clay and cement that are used in the construction of brick masonry chimneys. During winter precipitation, the porous brick masonry absorbs the moisture from rain or snowfall. When external temperatures drop below freezing, the moisture turns into ice. As these ice crystals expand, it causes tiny cracks to develop in the brickwork.

 

When the temperature rises above freezing, melting snow and ice thaw into water. As the temperature falls below 32 F again, the moisture absorbed by the porous brick material freezes into ice, further expanding the cracks in the bricks. The accumulation of more rain and snow fills these more extensive cracks and crevices, accelerating the damaging effects of the freeze-thaw cycle.

The effects of the freeze-thaw cycle may be hardly noticeable in one season. However, the repeated effect season after season can take a heavy toll on the masonry. The widening cracks cause the bricks to chip or spall and crumble. The moisture also softens and erodes the mortar resulting in gaps in the joints. The spalling bricks and absence of mortar can cause entire pieces of brick to dislodge from the chimney, compromising its structural integrity. Without intervention to mitigate and repair the damage, the stack is in danger of a partial or total collapse.

professional chimney masonry repairFreeze-Thaw Chimney Repair

An experienced chimney mason can repair damaged bricks and mortar to restore the chimney. When the damage is caught in the early stages, it can often be easily corrected by tuck-pointing. The mason will replace the decaying mortar and fill in the missing mortar with a durable bonding material. Cracks in the brickwork will also be filled in. The brick and mortar repair will be color-matched to the existing bricks and mortar to complete the restoration process. In cases with extensive masonry damage, the chimney may require a partial or complete rebuild.

Preventing Freeze-Thaw Damage

The best way to protect your chimney is to help avoid freeze-thaw damage. An annual chimney inspection can help spot minor damage before more extensive problems arise. Also, applying a waterproof sealant that locks out moisture can help protect the masonry from water damage. It is highly recommended that this be done only by a qualified chimney professional. They will use a breathable, water-soluble solution that will protect the masonry without trapping the water vapors. Any brick damage will need to be repaired before waterproofing. Also, it will be necessary to re-apply the waterproof sealant every few years to maintain its water-repellant strength.

The post The Effects of the Freeze/Thaw Cycle on Your Chimney appeared first on Fluesbrothers Chimney Service.

3 Things You Need to Know About Your Spring Chimney Sweep

Now that spring is here, many Boston homeowners are thinking about their next home improvements. One of those improvements on your checklist should be a spring chimney sweep.

Here are some important things to know about your Boston chimney sweep in 2020:

1. You Can Get No-Contact Estimates

First, it’s important to address the COVID-19 situation as of the spring of 2020. The CDC strongly recommends social distancing, and Best Chimney is offering no-contact estimates for your springtime chimney sweep.

This means you may be able to keep your scheduled appointment with us or schedule a new estimate as needed.

2. Tend to the Heating Flues

Did you know there may be a secondary flue (tunnel) that connects to your chimney? One comes from your fireplace, but you may also have a second flue that connects to the furnace/boiler.

Even if you didn’t light a fire in your chimney this year, it’s still important to check the flues for combustible deposits. Hot gases from the boiler can also cool too quickly, causing it to condense and drip back down into the flue. This can turn dangerous especially if it lets off carbon monoxide—a poisonous gas that can cause sickness to people in your home.

You might think that your HVAC company would handle this issue, but most of the time, they do not inspect the chimney. This means that a potentially dangerous situation can go undetected.

3. Check for Sound Brickwork

Even though the winter was relatively mild here in Boston, temperatures still got cold enough to activate the freeze and thaw cycle. This cycle can cause bricks to crack or crumble allowing water to enter the home. The mortar may also loosen, which compromises the structural integrity of the chimney.

Get Your Spring Chimney Repairs from Best Chimney

For your safety, we are offering no-contact estimates! Please contact us to learn more and get scheduled for your spring chimney sweep.

The post 3 Things You Need to Know About Your Spring Chimney Sweep appeared first on Boston's Best Chimney.

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