Month: May 2021

3 Chimney Repairs ‘To Do’s’ this Summer

3 Chimney Repairs ‘To Do’s’ this Summer by Superior Chimney, Lombard, IL

It is exciting that warm weather is on the way. I know that it’s not likely you’ll be thinking about turning on your fireplace. But it is the time to be thinking about getting it checked and get any type of repairs done now so you can enjoy it when the weather cools off.

Here are the top 3 chimney repairs to make this summer:

Repair #1: Chimney Cap

The chimney cap is a critical component to the chimney. It protects from debris, animals, water, snow, and wind from entering the chimney – Every chimney needs a chimney cap for the same reasons every home needs a roof!  There’s another benefit many don’t consider…

If you have a woodburning fireplace, sparks can go up the chimney flue and reach the outside causing a potential fire on the roof or any dry debris such as leaves and grass. The chimney cap also has spark inhibiting components that prevent the sparks from exiting the chimney cap.

Repair #2 Masonry

Mortar is the filling in between the bricks or stone in your chimney. Masonry or tuckpointing is the repair made by a masonry professional in order to build or fix the deterioration or missing mortar in between the bricks or stone.

In a repair situation, not all mortar will be replaced. As a result, Superior Chimney works to match the color of the existing mortar so it all looks clean and uniform.

It’s best to have the chimney inspected each year as the chimney is exposed to the weather elements on all four sides. If a homeowner waits too long to have repairs done on the masonry, it can lead to the need for a full rebuild of the chimney.

Repair #3 Chimney Liner

The chimney liner is a very important part of your chimney system. The chimney liner directs all smoke and gasses out from the home. If cracks appear in the chimney flue, this can be a safety hazard as fires can easily ignite adjacent home construction materials. Some older homes were built without chimney liners. We highly recommend getting a chimney liner installed, as required by code, by a certified chimney technician from Superior Chimney. Now that you have your chimney repair to do list, let’s get started by scheduling a chimney sweep. This will include a 14 point inspection with pictures (ever wonder what it looks like up there?). Now you’ll know the condition of your chimney cap, masonry and chimney liner. If repairs need to be made, you can get that done now over the summer so that when cool weather returns (sorry), you’ll be ready to fire up the fireplace.

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3 Critical Jobs of a Chimney Damper

Although you probably rarely if ever see your chimney damper (or fireplace damper), much of your enjoyment of your fireplace and hearth area is made possible by this important component.

Typically set just above the firebox, but sometimes at the top of the chimney, dampers are simple assemblies that include moveable plates, clamps and a mechanism for you to open and close them.

top mount chimney damper, colesville mdWhat your chimney damper does

The three main jobs of a damper are:

  1. Open fully to allow sufficient air to be drawn into the fireplace during a fire and then channeled up the flue and away from the home.
  2. Close completely to keep conditioned air inside your home and prevent outside air from getting in.
  3. Prevent small animals from invading your home.

If your damper doesn’t work . . .

A damper that won’t open fully can cause fires to burn inefficiently due to lack of oxygen (air). A fully open damper creates a natural draft, and wood logs need this draft to combust completely and vibrantly.

A sluggish fire usually creates a lot more smoke, much of which will make its way into the flue and deposit excess flammable creosote.

A partially open damper also can send smoke back into your room. Smoke is bad enough, but even worse is the carbon monoxide that smoke contains. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and invisible gas that can be fatal to people and pets when inhaled.

When a damper is so rusted or warped that it leaves a small – or large – gap when it’s supposedly closed, your home can be open to all kinds of creature invasions.

Birds, squirrels, snakes, rodents and the like enjoy getting into chimney flues, and some of them set up birthing headquarters. Very often, these critters will wander down through a gap in the damper to see what’s going on inside your house.

A properly sealed damper will keep these animals out of your house. A custom full-width chimney cap will keep them from getting into your flue in the first place.

How dampers get damaged

chimney damper operation, washington d.c.

The main reasons a damper malfunctions are
rust and warping.

Chimney leaks cause the rust. Years of extreme heat cause the warping. Unfortunately, these damages are often unknown to homeowners and keep on progressing until serious problems occur.

If you use your fireplace regularly or even periodically, it’s a smart move to schedule an annual fireplace and chimney inspection. Damaged dampers – and other problems in their early stages – can be discovered during an inspection and repaired quickly and at much less expense than full-blown repair projects.

You can watch for signs of damage

While regular inspections are the best way to ensure a well-working damper system, there are a few things you can watch out for:

  • Noisy operation when opening and closing your damper
  • Drafts in your house that can’t be accounted for
  • Backups of smoke when using your fireplace
  • Water or crumbling debris on the floor of your firebox
  • Signs of small-animal intrusion – or the animals themselves

Get your damper fixed

High’s Chimney Service of Gaithersburg, MD, is ready to help with all your chimney damper needs. We repair dampers, and if the damage is too severe, we replace them with fine new products that will serve you well for many years. We offer licensed inspections and all manner of chimney and fireplace repair work.

Speak with an expert technician today at
(301) 519-3500.

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Chimney Contractor: Guide On How To Prepare Your Chimney For Winter

Winter is the time that you spend most of the time indoors by the fire. It’s also the time that you use your chimney the longest. To have a stress-free winter, you need to prepare the chimney for the season. Here are some of the things that you need to do:

Protect the chimney from leaking

Snow storms and rainfall are common during winter. To protect your home from water damage you need to ensure that no water gets through the chimney.

Hire a chimney cleaning professional to inspect the chimney and test whether it can leak. Even if it’s not leaking, protect it as you aren’t sure of the extent of the snow storms. Some of the ways of protecting the chimney include:

Installing crickets: A cricket is a compact diversion roof that protects the chimney from being deluged. It’s ideal for chimneys located on the low side of the roof, those on a steep roof and those that are 30 inches or more in width.

Installing these units requires specialized skills; therefore, ensure that they are installed by an experienced chimney professional.

Chimney cap: chimney caps prevent water from getting into the chimney. The cool thing with them is that they are cheap and come in different materials including steel, concrete, and aluminum.

Waterproofing the chimney: masonry chimneys are made from porous materials that have the ability of absorbing large amounts of water. When they absorb a lot of water, the water can get into the house causing damage. There are many chimney waterproofing materials in the market that you can use. You should agree with your chimney masonry repair professional on the best materials to go for.

Undertake Chimney cleaning

Another way of preparing your chimney for winter is by cleaning it. Even if you have not been using the chimney actively, clean it. This is to avoid fire and ensure that your family is safe.

You can clean the chimney on your own, but for professional services hire a chimney cleaning professional to do the work. The cool thing with hiring a cleaning contractor is that you have peace of mind that the work is perfectly done.

The chimney sweep not only cleans the chimney, he/she also inspects and repairs it making it ready for the cold season.


To have a great experience and avoid hiring emergency chimney service, prepare your chimney for winter. For ideal results, work with an experienced chimney company.


The post Blog first appeared on First Class Chimney Services.

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Safety Tips for Using a Masonry Chimney to Vent a Furnace

Furnaces and boilers, just like fireplaces, need a system for venting. Depending on how these appliances are installed and set up, it may have been logical to use an existing fireplace chimney for venting. This is a good idea: use what’s already there rather than constructing something entirely new.

Problems arise when the homeowner rarely if ever uses the fireplace and assumes that since furnaces and boilers (and some hot water heaters) are “cleaner burning” than the fireplace, the chimney flue isn’t a big concern.

The fact is, it’s a huge concern, especially if the appliance is used frequently and regularly.

chimney cleaning, olathe ksBuildup in the flue

Gas appliances don’t produce smoke-based creosote like wood-burning fireplaces and stoves. But they do produce corrosive substances that can damage the system through which they vent. In the case of a fireplace chimney, this would be the flue liner, which can be made from tile, stainless steel or a poured-in-place compound.

Byproducts of furnace and boiler combustion can eat away at the liner and then begin damaging interior sections of the chimney’s masonry and adjacent materials within the home structure.

Even if you never use your fireplace, the particulate matter produced by your furnace or boiler can eventually build up to the point that drafting is hindered. If you do use your fireplace, the creosote and soot along with the substances produced by the larger gas appliance can cause a dangerous drafting problem.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, invisible gas wood or gas creates when burned. If the chimney flue is clean and open, CO will easily vent through it and exit the top of the chimney.

If drafting is obscured, CO can filter into rooms of the home and put the health of people and pets at risk. It is widely known that inhaling carbon monoxide can result in a host of respiratory problems and in the worst case, death.

Proper maintenance for a multi-use chimney

All chimneys need annual inspections, whether they’re used or not, and whether or not they’re connected to a furnace, boiler or other appliance. Unused chimneys should have their brick and mortar structures looked at regularly to spot signs of damage or decay. Used chimneys need much more thorough inspections.

When you’re adding another venting appliance to your chimney, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends a level 2 inspection. This inspection goes further than a basic inspection and involves the use of video imaging technology to see down into the flue.

Annual chimney sweeping is needed for any chimney used by a fireplace and/or other appliance. Certified chimney sweeps have the tools and hands-on experience to safely and properly remove creosote and other deposits from the flue.

gas appliance venting, leawood ksMaintaining a dedicated furnace or boiler vent system

If your furnace or boiler uses its own system for venting, it, too, should be inspected annually. Your inspector will check for drafting issues as well as damage to the venting structure and to the appliance itself. Cleaning should be performed on a schedule suggested by your inspector.

If your fireplace chimney is doing “double-duty,” call the flue venting experts at Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS. We’ll perform a complete inspection and do any necessary cleaning to help you keep your system in tip-top shape all year.

Reach a chimney technician today at
(913) 236-7141

The post Safety Tips for Using a Masonry Chimney to Vent a Furnace appeared first on Fluesbrothers Chimney Service.

The Purpose of a Chimney Damper

For most homeowners, a chimney is just that, a chimney.  Much of the population sees their fireplaces and chimneys as an accent piece; a let’s get romantic tool or keep warm when the power goes out.

If not used properly, a chimney can cause your heating bill to skyrocket or perhaps even trigger a fire.  A fireplace and chimney are more than just an opening in the roof.  It has important working parts.

Chimney Dampers

chimney damper, rocky hill ct

One of those working parts is a chimney damper.  Older homes may have a chimney without a damper, causing the air conditioning to escape in the summer and heated air to disappear in the winter.  Although not legally required, every fireplace should have a damper.

There are two different types of dampers.  The most common type is a simple lever that either slides back and forth or a chain and pulley set that opens a damper at the top of the chimney.  Both types open and close a door or valve, much like a faucet. If the damper is open, it allows all smoke and ash from the burning wood to rise through the chimney, keeping that same smoke and ash from flowing back into the home.

A Chimney Damper’s Job

What many people don’t realize is that fire is a living, breathing thing.  It needs oxygen and fuel, just like plants and animals.  Without either one of those elements, the fire dies or at least slows down drastically.  A fireplace damper controls the fire. The chimney damper dictates the amount of airflow/oxygen the fire gets.  A closed damper allows less oxygen in resulting in the fire goes out.

chimney damper operation, newington ctIs The Chimney Damper Open Or Closed?

The best way to determine if a chimney damper is open or closed, do the following before lighting a fire.  The damper’s handle is in the firebox (where the fire burns) is directly over the flame.  It is generally made of metal and will get hot and cause severe burns.  If you must touch the damper’s handle after the fire is lit, put oven mitts on before touching it.

If your chimney has a chain hanging down, that’s called a top-sealing damper, the process of checking is the same.  Pulling the chain down will close the damper.

Look up into the chimney, and if you can see the walls inside the chimney, then the damper is open, and it’s OK to build a fire.  If you look up and all you see is a large piece of metal and nothing else, your damper is closed.

Call Northeastern Chimney Service

The absolute best way to know what type of damper you have and how to operate it is to call Northeastern Chimney Service.

Our company uses the best equipment and supplies from the area’s top manufacturers. We also have a team of top-notch technicians who will service and inspect your fireplace. For your family’s safety, annual inspections of your fireplace are recommended.

If it’s time to get your chimney inspected, repaired, or a new look, please call us today.

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How Do I Stop Birds from Coming Down My Chimney?

How do I stop birds coming down my chimney During the cold weather months, birds and other animals look for the perfect warm spot to nest. Unfortunately, many animals choose to nest in chimneys. By springtime, many homeowners are wondering “How do I stop birds from coming down my chimney year after year?” Luckily, you can prevent birds from coming down your chimney with a chimney cap.

Does your chimney have a chimney cap? If your chimney does not yet have a chimney cap or if the chimney cap is old or possibly damaged, click here or call 781-893-6611 to contact us. We are a team of certified professionals and we have been serving the Boston and Greater Boston area for over thirty years. We would be happy to come and evaluate the state of your chimney cap and/or remove any nesting critters.

Now, we’ll explain how a chimney cap can solve your animal nesting problems.

How Chimney Caps Prevent Birds from Nesting in Your Chimney

How do I stop birds coming down my chimney Birds and squirrels typically choose the open space in your chimney flue to create their nests. They are often drawn to the warmth from your fireplace during the winter months and then continue their stay year-round. Not only is the sound of animals nesting in your chimney unnerving, but nests in your chimney can also cause your chimney to be obstructed. Obstructions can block smoke and gas from exiting your chimney which can cause soot damage and lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Check out our blog on how to tell if your chimney is obstructed to learn more.

Chimney caps can prevent this type of harmful and potentially dangerous situation from occurring. A chimney cap is made up of 5 pieces – screening on all four sides and a steel lid.  Though they are small and relatively inexpensive to install, many homeowners choose not to install chimney caps. However, we always recommend that chimneys have a chimney cap installed. Not only do they keep animals away, but they also protect your chimney from moisture entry. In addition, chimney caps act as a spark guard, which keeps burning embers from exiting the top of the chimney and onto nearby combustables. Check out our Chimney Cap Guide to learn more about how chimney caps work.

How to Remove Birds and Other Animals From Your Chimney

If you know that there are birds or other animals nesting in your chimney, take action right away. We do not recommend trying to address this issue yourself. It is best to leave climbing on your roof and checking out your chimney to a professional. A Chimney company can come to your property, remove the nest, and sweep your chimney in the process. They can also evaluate why the issue occurred in the first place and work with you to find a solution.

From birds’ nests to squirrels nests, the team at Boston’s Best Chimney has extensive experience in handling unwelcome critters. We would be happy to help you solve your nesting issue and prevent it from happening again. Click here or call 781-893-6611 to get in touch with us.

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Why is my Chimney Turning White? The Causes of Efflorescence.

Is there white on the bricks of your chimney? Each Spring, we receive a large number of calls from people who are wondering why there is white on the bricks of their chimney. Many people think that it is the natural effect of an aging chimney, but want to check to make sure that it is not a sign of a larger issue.

white on chimney brick
Photo Credit:

White staining on the bricks of a chimney is called “efflorescence.” Unfortunately, efflorescence is a symptom of a larger chimney issue. If you are seeing white staining on the bricks of your chimney, it is best to contact a professional for an inspection. Finding a team of reliable professionals is essential, so we’ve created this guide on How to Find a Chimney Service Company to help you as you search.

Best Chimney Services is Boston, Massachusetts area home for residential and commercial chimney service and repair. We are the community’s one-stop chimney service company since 1989, and we’d be thrilled to serve you. Click here or call 781-893-6611 to get in touch with us.

Now, we’ll discuss what causes efflorescence and what to do actions you can take if your chimney has white staining.

What Causes White Staining on Chimney Bricks? white on chimney brick

Efflorescence is a white powder-like substance on the bricks of a chimney, which causes discoloration. This substance is actually a collection of minerals that forms as water passes through the bricks of the chimney and deposits them on the surface.  When the moisture being held within the brick evaporates, it leaves the minerals’ crystals on the surface of the chimney, which is the white staining that you see.

Why is Efflorescence an Issue?

Small amounts of efflorescence are not a big deal, but excess staining is a sign that your chimney has water issues. After all, water should not be able to permeate your chimney’s masonry. If the bricks of your chimney are letting in moisture, then it is a sign that your chimney has an underlying issue. There are a host of reasons why this can be happening. Some of them include:

  • Cracks in your chimney
  • A missing or damaged chimney cap (the chimney cap plays in essential role in protecting your chimney)
  • A chimney that is not well sealed
  • Age
  • Improper construction
  • And more

What to Do if There is White Staining on the Bricks of Your Chimney

Since there are many possible causes of white staining on chimneys, it is best to call a professional if you see this issue occurring. An experienced chimney company will evaluate your chimney to determine the root cause and develop a course of action to remedy. Possible solutions may include replacing missing bricks, rebuilding parts of the chimney, re-sealing the chimney, repairing or replacing the chimney cap, and more.

At Boston’s Best Chimney, our team is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, and has the skills needed to diagnose and solve your chimney problems. Click here or call 781-893-6611 to contact us for advice or to set up an appointment.

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New Towels Produced a HUGE Lint Ball in the Dryer Vent

New Towels Produced a HUGE Lint Ball in the Dryer Vent by Superior Chimney, Lombard, IL

It’s always a treat when I can get new bath towels. These were probably one of the softest towels I’ve ever purchased. I removed the labels from the towels and put them in the washing machine and then the dryer. It’s always good to wash before use.

As I took the towels from the dryer, the dryer vent lint catcher or trap was overflowing. It looked like half the towel was in the dryer vent lint catcher. Once I removed the huge lint ball, I noticed all sorts of lint that spilled over into the dryers venting system.

I tried to reach as far as I could, and only grabbed a few of the pieces. The rest was sitting at the base near the opening. However, I also saw other lint debris in addition to the towel lint. How do I reach it? But more importantly, how much lint and debris are sitting in there?

5 Effects of Lint Buildup

  1. Drying time for your clothes takes longer and longer. If what took 20 minutes to dry now takes 30 to 40…time to get the dryer vent cleaned.
  2. Hot, hot, hot. When the clothes and the outside of the dryer feels hot to the touch, the lint build up is causing havoc.
  3. What’s that smell? If it smells like something is burning, it just may be. Lint is quite flammable and can build up in the exhaust tube or lint trap. It would be best to have the dryer vent cleaned and checked right away!
  4. Vent hood flap isn’t opening. If you have an outside dryer vent that doesn’t open when the dryer is running is a sure sign that something is blocking its path.
  5. It’s been a year. If it’s been longer than a year, time to get it checked! This will reduce the risk of any fires or carbon monoxide backup.

Contact Superior Chimney at 877-244-6349 to get a dryer vent inspection done.

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Chimney Inspection: Chimney Areas You Should Focus On

To ensure safety and efficiency of your fireplace, you need to undertake chimney inspection. It’s recommended that you hire a chimney contractor to inspect the chimney, but if you have the right tools and basic skills, you can go ahead and inspect the chimney on your own. Here are the areas of the chimney that you should inspect:


Look inside the firebox lining and identify cracks, gaps and signs of wear. To see signs of deterioration brush both the sides and bottom of the firebox with a stiff chimney brush.

If the lining is in bad condition, hire a chimney professional to fix it. Fixing the faulty areas ensures that the chimney doesn’t build up a lot of heat that can damage your chimney.

You should also inspect the creosote levels. If creosote is more than 3 mm, ask a chimney sweep to clean it.


Take a look at the damper door and ensure that it opens and closes smoothly. Also ensure that the damper fits securely in the brackets. Wear protective clothing and safety glasses to protect yourself from creosote and ash buildup that might drop in your eyes. After inspecting the damper leave it in closed position.


Take a look at the grate and ensure that it’s the correct size. A small grate means that the heat produced may not heat your house the right way. A larger grate is even worse. A large grate takes more wood resulting to large flames that can overheat your fireplace.

As a novice, it’s hard to know whether your grate is of the right size. You should hire a fireplace technician to measure your grate. If the grate is too large, hire a chimney company to replace it with a smaller one.


The flashing prevents water from leaking into your house. You should put a lot of emphasis on the condition of your flashing especially if your house is old. The flashing may start leaking due to old age, corrosion and collection of debris.

If your chimney is leaking, ensure that you know the cause of the leakage. If the leakage is due to corrosion, remove the corroded material. If the flashing is old, hire a chimney masonry professional to remove the old one and replace with a new one.


You should inspect all parts of the chimney to have peace of mind that your chimney is safe. In case of any problem, hire a chimney repair professional to fix them.


The post Blog first appeared on First Class Chimney Services.

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Chimney Cleaning Myths You Should Be Wary Of

Just like those scary legends and myths many have told while enjoying a campfire, there are plenty of chimney cleaning myths going around. You may even be familiar with some of them. Chimney cleaning myths is they can be dangerous and make your chimney and fireplace unsafe to operate.  Be careful to avoid falling for these 4 common chimney myths.

Chimney cleaning isn’t necessary if you don’t use the fireplace.

fireplace cleaning myths, shawnee ksMany homeowners mistakenly believe that you don’t need to clean the chimney if you’re not using the fireplace. However, that is not the case. Even if you’re not using the fireplace, you still need annual chimney inspections and periodic cleaning. That’s because cracks in the chimney cap, masonry, and other components will expose it to moisture that can affect its structural integrity, eventually leading to extensive repairs. Also, small animals, pests, dust, and debris can accumulate in the chimney. The damp and humid conditions and decaying organic matter can create conditions for mold and bacteria to grow. It can give your house a foul odor, attract rodents, and even cause health issues in some individuals, especially those with allergies, asthma, or respiratory conditions.

Metal liners don’t require cleaning.

Many homeowners are under the impression that metal liners are a maintenance-free solution. While metal liners are more durable, provide greater energy efficiency, and require less maintenance, your chimney still requires routine inspections and periodic cleaning. Creosote and other corrosive combustion gases can accumulate on any type of liner, including metal and stainless steel. An accumulation of 1/8″ more of creosote is hazardous and should be removed to prevent a chimney fire. A chimney fire can cause extensive damage to your chimney and home. Although stainless steel liners offer better corrosion resistance, they still require annual inspections for creosote accumulation, corrosive residue, and damages.

professional chimney cleaning, Independence mo It’s easy to clean the chimney yourself.

Chimney cleaning is not as easy it may appear. It requires specialized tools, supplies, and equipment to safely and efficiently remove hardened creosote and other residues without damaging the masonry or components. Also, the interior of the chimney is very narrow and dusty. It is dangerous to clean the chimney without a respirator and protective equipment. A Certified Chimney Sweep® has extensive training and knowledge of the chimney system, including vents and attached heating appliances. They are also trained to spot problems to mitigate the risk of fire, exposure to harmful gases, and chimney repairs.

Burning seasoned wood doesn’t require chimney cleaning.

Wood that has been seasoned or dried for six months or more produces less smoke and creosote due to its low moisture content. Although burning seasoned wood is cleaner than burning green or fresh wood, it still produces creosote that will need to be removed during chimney cleaning. In its initial stage, creosote is a powdery substance that is easy to remove. However, it will harden into a dark, tarry substance known as stage 3 or glazed creosote. Stage 3 creosote is highly flammable and very difficult to remove without professional assistance.

The post Chimney Cleaning Myths You Should Be Wary Of appeared first on Fluesbrothers Chimney Service.

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