Month: June 2023

Why You Need a Professional Chimney Cleaning

Can homeowners sweep their chimneys on their own? It may seem like a simple task, and essentially it can be done, but there are a few risks you will run into if you attempt to do it yourself. Choosing a reputable company with certified technicians will ensure that you get it done safely and quickly.

At Best Chimney Services we have a qualified team of chimney professionals that are eager to help you. We have extensive experience with chimneys, including repairs, masonry work, inspections, cleaning, and more. For additional information or to get started, click here or dial (781) 893-6611.

When considering hiring a professional vs. doing it yourself, keep the following things in mind:


Sweeping chimneys can be dangerous, especially for those who lack proper training and equipment. Specific safety precautions must be taken when working at heights, climbing rooftops, and handling the byproducts of combustion. Professional chimney technicians have the tools and necessary training to complete the task properly, so that you know that your chimney is safe to use.

professional chimney cleaningExpertise

Professional chimney technicians have a great deal of experience working with different kinds of fireplace systems and chimneys. They know how a chimney works, including the intricacies involved in chimney building, ventilation, and potential chimney problems that may arise. Their knowledge allows them to spot issues, provide recommendations to make sure the chimney is properly swept and operating at its best.

Thorough Cleaning

Effective chimney sweeping requires more than just clearing the flue of soot and debris. Professional chimney technicians use specialized equipment and methods to access the firebox, smoke chamber, damper, and chimney cap, among other areas of the chimney system. With more advanced techniques, we can get rid of stubborn buildup and guarantee that the entire chimney is clear of obstructions.

Time & Convenience

For people with no training or knowledge of chimney maintenance, it can take a lot of time. Getting a professional chimney sweeping will save you time, effort and stress. Professional chimney technicians can also plan recurring maintenance visits, so you won’t have to worry about keeping track of when the chimney needs to be cleaned.

Compliance with Regulations

There may be unique codes and regulations controlling the maintenance and cleaning of chimneys depending on where you live. We recommend checking to see if a company has CSIA-certified chimney technicians before hiring anyone. CSIA-certified chimney technicians are trained experts that inspect, clean, and maintain chimneys and venting systems in homes and businesses. They aid in the prevention of hazards like chimney fires, carbon monoxide leaks, and other problems associated with the use of fireplaces, wood stoves, and other heating appliances.

Inspection & Maintenance

An inspection of the chimney system is required to be part of a professional chimney sweeping service. They can spot structural problems, evidence of damage, or possible dangers that could need fixing. You can save money in the long run with peace of mind by taking care of these issues as soon as they arise.

While doing your own chimney sweeping could seem like a cost-effective choice, it’s crucial to weigh the risks and the benefits. The comfort and safety aspect that comes with a thorough sweeping and inspection by a professional chimney technician is priceless and helps maintain the longevity and efficiency of your chimney system.

our professional chimney cleaning team at boston's best chimneyContact Best Chimney Services for Your Professional Chimney Cleaning

With more than 30 years of experience, Best Chimney Services is happy to help address any chimney need you may have. To schedule your cleaning or to ask questions, dial (781) 893-6611 or click here.

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Reasons Your Chimney Is Smoking Up the House

When the chimney smokes up the house, it makes the house uncomfortable to live in and gives you more work as you have more spaces to clean. According to chimney contractors, the chimney will send smoke into the house due to various reasons such as: 

The indoor-outdoor temperature differential is too low

The temperature differential between indoor and outside temperatures determines the strength of the chimney draft. The stronger the draft, the bigger the temperature difference; the weaker the draft, the smaller the temperature difference.

When it’s chilly outside, but warm inside, hot air and fire by-products ascend the flue to meet the cold air out. When the temperature outside is roughly the same as inside, the hot air and smoke will float in the firebox. In other cases, they will enter the room rather than rise up and out of the chimney. 

When the flue is cold, hot air will float rather than rise to the top of the chimney, so proper drafting will not occur.

If your fireplace only smokes when it’s warm outside, a low indoor-outdoor temperature differential is most likely the blame. 

Check your thermostat and the weather forecast to improve drafting, and start a fire only when the difference between the inside and outdoor temperatures is at least 20 degrees.

To avoid a cold flue, light a rolled-up newspaper and hold it in the flue above the damper (just above the firebox) for one to two minutes before lighting a fire on below-freezing days or after the fireplace has been inactive for several months. 

By pre-warming the flue, you increase the temperature differential between the flue and the outside, enhancing draft and lowering smoke levels in the house. 

Water is seeping into the flue.

Rain or snow can soak into an unprotected flue, lowering the air temperature in the firebox and blocking its ability to climb, potentially causing back-puffing.

If your fireplace emits smoke just when it rains or snows, you may have a water seepage problem. To avoid a damp flue, have a chimney cap installed by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweep.

This covering, erected around the outside mouth of the flue, keeps water (along with animal nests and detritus) out of the chimney. It strengthens the draft and prevents indoor smoke.

The flue is blocked

A flue can get clogged by leaf debris, animal nests, or creosote build-up. These impediments can reduce or prohibit smoke from passing from the firebox to the outdoors via the flue, resulting in back-puffing.

More significantly, when the temperature in the flue rises sufficiently, creosote build-up or debris can ignite a chimney fire, causing significant structural damage to your home.

Observing nests or debris with a flashlight up your chimney flue can alert you to a larger obstruction in the flue. If you notice either, contact a CSIA-certified chimney professional to inspect it and, if necessary, clean it to remove creosote accumulation, nests, and other debris to prevent back-puffing.

Your home has a negative air pressure.

A high chimney draft necessitates neutral air pressure, which means that outside air enters the home at the same pace that interior air escapes it, resulting in equal indoor and outdoor air pressure. This permits fire by-products to depart the flue as outside air enters it.

In a house with negative air pressure—typically newer, energy-efficient homes well-sealed with weather stripping or caulking—more air enters than escapes, resulting in higher outside air pressure than inside air pressure.

The increased air inflow from outside drives smokes down the flue until it reaches your home.

If your fireplace is smokey, open a window or door while the fireplace is on to see if this is the situation in your home. If this reduces or eliminates indoor smoke, your home most likely has negative air pressure.

To fix the problem, get in touch with a mason and have them install an air supply vent. This rectangular grate brings air from outside to the fire, regulating indoor-outdoor air pressure and allowing fire by-products to exit the flue.

Your chimney has a design flaw.

If none of the above-mentioned issues are to blame for your smokey fireplace, the culprit could be the chimney or fireplace itself. 

Proper drafting necessitates constructing a specific size of chimney and fireplace components. A flue that is too tiny, a chimney that is too short, or a lintel (horizontal support above the firebox entrance) that is too high are all examples of what can cause a weak draft and a smoky fireplace.

While changing these structural components is frequently too expensive, you can install a smoke guard in front of the fireplace as a remedy. 

This bar at the top of the fireplace opening reduces the amount of smoke entering the home by limiting the amount of fire by-products.

For the best outcome, ensure the guard is installed by a professional who knows what they are doing. 

Tricks to avoid a smoking chimney

You can take several measures to prevent your chimney from smoking. They include: 

Use safe fuel, kindling, and tinder. Only use well-seasoned hardwood or CSIA-approved logs. Use dried twigs or branches and torn old newspaper or pine cones as tinder for kindling. Avoid unseasoned firewood or cardboard, as they might produce a large volume of smoke that your chimney cannot adequately expel.

Use the top-down burn technique. This technique calls you to vertically place the heavy logs in the firebox, then light them. 

This fireplace lighting method produces a hot, fast-burning fire that emits little smoke and mist.

Place the grate in the firebox with at least a few inches surrounding it. When the fireplace grate is too close to the front of the firebox, it produces more smoke, and you don’t want this.

After using the firebox, remove the ashes. Scoop the residual ashes into a metal container when the firebox has cooled fully. This is because ashes from the previous burn can cause the fireplace to create additional smoke.

Annually, have a CSIA-certified chimney sweep Ellicot City inspect your chimney. This skilled service keeps your chimney clean and clear of obstructions or structural damage.

The post Reasons Your Chimney Is Smoking Up the House first appeared on First Class Chimney Services.

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Why You Shouldn’t Be Using Your Fireplace in Summer

As the warm summer months approach, the fireplace that provided comfort and warmth during the winter may seem out of place. There’s a reason why fireplaces are traditionally associated with cozy winter nights, and it’s important to understand why in most circumstances, using your fireplace in summer is not recommended.

When prioritizing safe chimney and fireplace usage, it is important to have your chimney inspected and maintenance performed by a professional chimney service company. Have your chimney needs met by Best Chimney Services.

In this article, we’ll explore the various reasons why you should avoid using your fireplace in summer and discover alternative ways to maintain a comfortable and inviting atmosphere in your home.

The Importance of Fireplace Maintenance

Before diving into why it’s best to avoid using your fireplace in the summer, it’s crucial to emphasize the significance of regular fireplace maintenance. Fireplaces require proper care to ensure their optimal performance, efficiency, and safety. Regular inspections, sweeping, and repairs should be conducted by professionals like Best Chimney Services to maintain the functionality and longevity of your fireplace. Learn more about how to maintain a chimney over the summer in our blog post.

fireplace in useThings to Look Out For When Using Your Fireplace In the Summer

Creosote Buildup

Time, temperature, and turbulence all have an immediate impact on creosote formation. The duration of the smoke’s stay, the fire’s burning temperature, and the path it takes to vent. Tar fog can linger and produce too much creosote if you are unable to create a strong draft. Check out our blog discussing how to remove glazed creosote from your chimney to learn how to combat this issue.

Poor Draft

A temperature difference between the warm interior flue temperatures and the cooler outside air produces a fireplace updraft. It’s possible that the fireplace won’t draft properly if the outside air is too warm. First, check the flue by lighting a piece of newspaper and holding it to your throat to see if the smoke rises or returns to the living space. If your fireplace smells in the summer, there may be a draft problem, or it may just be time for a chimney sweep.

Campfire Smell

Although September has some of the most magnificent weather, beware of the cool nights and hot days. The Fall temperatures are typically the perfect storm for campfire odor the following day if it is lit on the eve of a hot, humid day. If the humidity level is too high, sometimes closing the damper will help.

chimney serviceEnergy Efficiency Considerations

Using a fireplace in the summer can have adverse effects on your home’s energy efficiency. Fireplaces are designed to provide heat, and during the summer, when temperatures rise, using the fireplace can cause your air conditioning system to work harder to maintain a comfortable indoor environment. This additional strain on your cooling system can result in increased energy consumption and higher utility bills. You can learn how to make your chimney more efficient during the fall and winter in our blog.

Alternatives to Fireplace Usage

Fortunately, there are numerous alternatives to using a fireplace during the summer. One option is to create an outdoor gathering space, such as a fire pit or a chiminea. These provide a rustic and inviting atmosphere where you can gather with friends and family, roast marshmallows, and enjoy the crackling sounds of a fire under the stars. Additionally, utilizing natural light and opening windows can bring in a fresh and airy feel, while maintaining a connection to the outdoors. Exploring these alternatives allows you to embrace the spirit of summer while still enjoying a touch of comfort and relaxation. Just remember to follow these bonfire safety tips as you enjoy an outdoor fire this summer.

firepit use in summerLearn More Chimney Tips and Get Chimney Services from Best Chimney Services

Refraining from using your fireplace during the summer months is a wise choice for various reasons. By exploring alternative methods to create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere in your home, you can enjoy the summer season to its fullest while maintaining a more sustainable and cost-effective lifestyle. Once summer’s end comes closer, take a look at our end of summer chimney checklist and consider scheduling your fall chimney inspection with Best Chimney Services here or by calling us at 781-893-6611.

The post Why You Shouldn’t Be Using Your Fireplace in Summer appeared first on Boston's Best Chimney.

Signs Your Chimney Needs A Professional

One of the most important features in your home may be your fireplace. When a homeowner is searching for a home, one criterion many have is that the home has a fireplace. The warmth that a fireplace brings to a family gathering is enticing. To gather with friends and family for a quiet night together is priceless. The fireplace is also something that you do not want to neglect.  There are so many aspects of a fireplace that are wonderful, but with the ownership of a fireplace comes the annual maintenance.

Level Two Chimney Inspection in Newington CTWhen to Call in a Professional

Can I fix it myself? Do I have the tools to do it right?  Do I have the experience? Let me help with that decision.  Here are some of the reasons that you would want to call in a professional.

Strange or Bad Odors

If you are recognizing an odor coming from your fireplace, you may want to call in a chimney sweep. This foul odor can be a decaying animal, mold spores as well as decayed foliage. Unfortunately, the warmth of your fireplace attracts small animals.


You should not see a large amount of smoke coming from your chimney. This may be from a buildup of creosote which can be very dangerous if it caught fire. Over time, while you have fires, it is normal for a degree of creosote to build up in your chimney.  You will want to try and avoid this in excess. Yearly chimney sweeps will take care of this for you.

Debris in the firebox

If your chimney has a clay liner, chances are over time that pieces may chip off. If you see particles of clay in your firebox, contact your chimney professional. Chances are the chimney has weakened over time and needs to be repaired.

Chimney and Masonry Repair Professionals in Rocky Hill CT

Fires not lighting up

When you have a hard time lighting your fire, there may be an obstruction in your chimney. You may be getting a back-draft if the draft flow is not allowing air to pass up the chimney. This may be causing the fire not to light or keep the fire burning. If the obstruction is not taken care of, you may have issues as a result. Smoke, soot, and flames can come down your chimney into your home. If you see this, it is time to call your chimney professional.

Contact us today to get on our calendar!

If you notice that your chimney has any of the signs we’ve mentioned or other apparent damage, let us know. Because now is the best time for completing chimney inspections, repairs, and sweeping. We’ll get you on our calendar ASAP. Ready to get started? Then contact Northeastern Chimney, LLC by giving our team a call at 860-233-5770 or by sending us a message through our contact page.

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Is Efflorescence on My Chimney Harmful?

Efflorescence is the scientific term for the white stains that sometimes appear on chimneys. For some people, efflorescence is a cause for alarm. For others, it’s just something ugly to ignore. Technically, neither of these reactions is appropriate. Northeastern Chimney of West Hartford, CT, would like to share a little about efflorescence and what your reaction should be if you see it on your chimney.

Leaky Chimney Repairs in Marlborough, CTWhat is efflorescence?

The white stains you see on chimney masonry are naturally occurring salts that have been leached out of the bricks. How did the salts get leached out? Water.

Bricks are porous, and even the best-quality bricks can absorb some water. The salts you see on the masonry surface aren’t dangerous in and of themselves, but if ignored, the leaky chimney situation can become both dangerous and expensive to reverse.

Water vs. bricks

In the ongoing battle of water vs. bricks, water usually wins out. Water is a chimney’s #1 enemy, and once it penetrates deeply into chimney bricks, serious problems will most likely occur. Water deteriorates bricks. When chimney bricks deteriorate, more water can get in and move throughout the entire chimney system. Severe water leaks can lead to some bad outcomes.

An unstable chimney

Brick damage throughout a chimney structure can cause the chimney to lean. If early damage is ignored, the entire chimney can collapse.

Damage to the chimney liner

Liners protect the home from fire and keep carbon monoxide and other combustion gases out of the home’s air.


An ongoing leaky chimney can send water down to the fireplace damper, rusting it and preventing it from opening and closing properly.

Damage to the home

Depending on the nature and extent of a chimney leak, the roof, attic and building materials of the home adjacent to the chimney can be affected.


Mold grows in damp, poorly ventilated spaces, which perfectly describes your chimney flue when there’s a leak.

What to do if there is efflorescence on your chimney

If you notice the unmistakable white stains of efflorescence, your first step should be to call a licensed chimney mason or chimney repair company.

A technician will inspect your chimney, looking not only at the stains but also at other areas and components that might have been harmed by the problem. When caught early and no collateral damage is present, the solution may be as simple as cleaning off the stains and applying a chimney waterproofing sealant to prevent future water intrusion.

If bricks and mortar have begun to crumble, your technician may recommend having the bricks replaced and adding new mortar where the original mortar is missing. If the chimney structure has become severely damaged by years of neglect, partial or complete chimney rebuilding may be in order.

Chimney efflorescence and Water damage repair in Tolland CT

Other chimney leaks

Aside from water-damaged bricks, chimneys can leak in other ways. Here are three common culprits.

• Damaged chimney cap
• Cracked or deteriorated chimney crown
• Warped, rusted or misaligned chimney flashing

Your Connecticut chimney experts are standing by

Northeastern Chimney is ready to help with problems surrounding efflorescence or any other chimney issue. We provide licensed chimney repairs, certified chimney sweeping and expert chimney inspections. Speak with a chimney professional today by calling (860) 233-5770. You can also get in touch through our handy contact form.

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Most Common Fireplace Repairs

Fireplaces bring that warmth and cozy feeling to your home on a dreary winter day. It’s where you can relax beside the dancing flames sipping your favorite hot beverage or engaging with family and friends while the snowy day slips away. Whether your charming fireplace is wood or gas-burning, masonry or prefabricated, it will eventually need repairs. In this post, we will discuss some of the most common fireplace repairs we perform for customers in Lenexa, KS, Grandview, MO, and throughout the Kansas City, KS/MO region:

Professional Chimney Sweeping in Leawood KSClogged Flue

A clogged flue is perhaps the most common fireplace repair. The Kansas City area is home to abundant wildlife that are creatures of habit. These critters, like birds, opossums, raccoons, and squirrels, often seek shelter inside a toasty chimney. This can harm the animal, your home, and your family. As these critters build their nests or get stuck in the narrow flue pipe, it will restrict the expulsion of smoke and harmful gases from your fireplace. When the obstruction becomes severe, the building pressure will eventually cause a backdraft forcing smoke, soot, carbon monoxide, and other harmful contaminants to pour inside your home. A chimney sweep can solve this!

Pilot Light Misfire

Another common repair is the thermocouple on a gas fireplace. When you notice that the pilot light keeps burning out or won’t light up, the thermocouple may need cleaning or replacement. Since firing problems can also be due to gas leaks, loose fittings, and clogged burner ports, always consult with a National Fireplace Institute (NFI) certified technician like the experts at Fluesbrothers before attempting any repairs or modifications to a gas-burning heating appliance.

Throat Damper Damage

Most masonry fireplaces built in Independence, MO, Shawnee, KS, and surrounding KC/MO communities have a throat damper. The damper sits above the firebox just below the flue and operates like a window to the outside world. You open it to allow oxygen to flow into the firebox, giving life to a sparkling fire while smoke and fumes rise out the flue, exiting at the top of the stack. Conversely, closing the damper after extinguishing the flames prevents the warm air from escaping, keeping your home warm longer. However, due to age, creosote buildup, and corrosion, it is common for metal or iron dampers to rust, warp, or have other damage, making it difficult to operate. It may also not open or close fully, reducing energy efficiency that results in higher heating costs. When a damper is challenging to use or has lost its airtight seal, it needs immediate repair or replacement.

Cracks in the Firebrick

The firebox should be constructed with firebrick and refractory mortar, which can withstand the higher temperatures of a flame-burning fireplace. Still, moisture, creosote buildup, and combustion gas residue can accelerate its deterioration resulting in cracks, decay, or gaps in the firebrick and mortar. So, if you see any cracks in the masonry, contact Fluesbrothers to schedule a chimney and fireplace inspection today.

Firebox fireplace repair in Prairie Village KSKansas City Chimney & Fireplace Repairs

Your annual chimney inspection is the best way to minimize fireplace repairs.

So, if it has been more than a year since a Certified Chimney Sweep® has seen your fireplace, Call Fluesbrothers at (913) 236-7141 to schedule a visit, or use this handy form to contact us online today! We serve the entire Kansas City, KS/MO region, including Olathe, KS; Leavenworth, KS; Lee’s Summit, MO; and Raytown, MO.

The post Most Common Fireplace Repairs appeared first on Fluesbrothers Chimney Service.

Why Now Is The Best Time For Chimney Repairs

It’s summer and time to plan vacations, family outings, picnics, and as much relaxation as possible. The last thing you’re thinking about, however, is your chimney. But winter will be here before you know it, and now is the perfect time to take care of chimney repairs and maintenance, and here’s why.

Chimney Crown repair in Kansas City KSDrier Weather

The best reason to schedule chimney repairs and maintenance during summer is to take advantage of the dry weather, which is ideal for chimney repairs. The dry heat allows masonry materials to dry and cure properly, making them more durable. Additionally, summer is better for applying waterproofing products to minimize water damage and extend the chimney’s lifespan.

Easier Scheduling

Summer is typically slow for chimney professionals because most homeowners focus on vacations and other outdoor activities instead of home repairs.

Because chimney pros are slow during summer, you have a better chance of scheduling an appointment when convenient. And, should you need repairs, early scheduling allows you ample time to complete them before winter arrives.

Money Savings

Because chimney contractors are typically slow during summer, they often offer significant discounts on cleaning, masonry repairs, and inspections. Expect to pay full price as their schedules fill up in late fall or early winter. Taking care of these repairs now could save you a ton of money.

Avoiding the Rush

Waiting until the last minute to fix your chimney could mean not getting repairs done in time for winter. As mentioned, most chimney contractors get booked solid the close it gets to winter. If you wait, you might find it difficult to schedule an appointment, and there might not be enough time to fix the damage, making your chimney unsafe for the coming winter.

Common Summer Chimney Repairs

Now you know why chimney repairs are best performed in summer, let’s look at the most common situations we run into.


Water is a chimney’s number one enemy, especially in areas that undergo the freeze-thaw cycle. Over time, moisture causes bricks to crack and mortar joints to deteriorate, leading to spalling and other issues. To fix this, we recommend tuckpointing to replace the damaged joints and ensure the structure is sound.

Crown Replacement

The chimney crown protects against rain, snow, debris, and animals. Like the bricks, it’s susceptible to water damage and cracks. Depending on the extent of the damage, we may opt to replace it.

Flashing Repair or Replacement

Flashing is a metal strip that seals the area where the chimney butts against the roof to prevent water from getting into your house. Over time, weather can take a toll on flashing, causing it to peel away. Summer is the best time to inspect, repair, or replace the flashing because it allows the contractor to identify problem areas more quickly.

Chimney Cleaning

The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends yearly cleaning and inspection, even if you don’t use your chimney much. Creosote buildup creates a fire hazard and can lead to drafting issues. It’s best to take care of this chore in summer, so you can rest assured your fireplace and chimney are ready to go once winter arrives.

Liner Repair

Most masonry chimneys have clay flue liners that wear down over time and crack.

Chimney Liner Repair in Kansas City KS

Cracks in the liner put your home at risk of smoke, fire, and water damage. If the clay is too far gone, we might recommend replacing it with a stainless-steel liner.

Call Fluesbrothers Today

Fluesbrothers is the go-to chimney sweep in Kansas City because we do it all, from sweeping, repairs, installations, and rebuilds. Our technicians are fully certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and undergo constant training to stay current on the latest techniques and technology for our customers. Schedule your summer chimney cleaning and repairs now by calling 913–236–7141.

The post Why Now Is The Best Time For Chimney Repairs first appeared on Fluesbrothers Chimney Service.

The post Why Now Is The Best Time For Chimney Repairs appeared first on Fluesbrothers Chimney Service.

Six Ways Water Can Cause Crucial Damage To Your Chimney or Fireplace

No matter who installs or provides maintenance to your chimney, water erosion is always going to be your WORST enemy. Wisconsin winters can hide shards of ice in our rooftops that create long-lasting water damage effects.

Additionally, harsh rains and unmanaged chimneys cause natural erosion that is simply unavoidable. In a previous blog, we identify some of the most dangerous types of chimney damage and how to prevent it from costing you in repairs.

Of course, water is the main component of unnoticeable damage to a chimney. We have developed our way of finding and fixing all types of chimney damage before it is too late.

The question becomes:

“As a homeowner, what are a few common signs your chimney has suffered water damage?”

Search no further—at Quality Fireplace and Chimney Services we want to provide the answers that we think most homeowners need to know before they take the leap.

Dive into this short read so you can be aware and learn to identify problematic water damage.

Damaged Flue Ducts

First of all, we know the intrusive nature of water in a home. It can cause:

  • Molding and rotting
  • Leaky roofing
  • Dank smells
  • Warped floors

Throughout the years, we have been told or have noticed that the most forgotten part of the home is often the chimney. This is because the chimney looks like a strong part of your home’s core. While this may seem true, the interior of the chimney (called the flue) is quite fragile.

Flues, or ducts, are generally made of clay or metal. Both of those materials are susceptible to water damage without proper care. You would never be able to see the damage until it shows itself as something uglier.

We recommend a yearly inspection or “Chimnoscopy” to ensure that the harsh weather conditions didn’t make their way into your chimney.

Cracked Masonry

Developing cracks in a chimney is a common occurrence. As aforementioned, most chimney risks are to be expected but often forgotten.

Luckily, that is not the case for cracked masonry —which is usually the MOST expensive repairs to incur. We can easily see cracks in the chimney masonry which should be the first place you look if you have recently developed a leak.

The repairs on a masonry project can vary depending on the time it takes to become noticed. One little crack can turn into a crumbling decay if not appropriately maintained.

Unknown Leaks

There is no surprise to the numerous home projects that arise after purchasing a home. But does that mean you can DIY your way through unknowable leaks?

Some leaks don’t have to originate from the chimney to grow toward the chimney. Water is a finicky thing when it comes to building materials…and when you combine that with freezing temperatures?! It is NOT FUN.

There is always a fix for any sized project. In the case of unknown leakage… well, you are usually just going to have to ride it out until the leak is easy to identify. Again, yearly inspections can help you find and eliminate problem areas before they become a total restoration.

Firebox Condensation

If you have lived through a Wisconsin summer you know that it can be HOT. This dramatic change in heat difference can help you spot water damage in a chimney. The brick and mortar will show signs of “Sweating” which can impact the brickwork throughout the home.

Condensation doesn’t always mean you have chimney damage but it is worth taking a look. More times than not – we find that it is simply just the brick sweating out a few days worth of moisture. Yet, when it becomes a routine—you have likely have encountered a structure leak.

Warped or Broken Wooden Siding

Waterproofing on wooden siding is usually temporary and starts to deteriorate after years of rain and snow. If you notice any warpage on your shingles or wood siding you should get an inspection immediately. Warping generally will not occur until the warmer months since the moisture damage will start to rot.

Broken or Missing Chimney Cover

It sounds so simple, yet we see so many chimneys that have defective chimney covers or NOT HAVE ONE AT ALL!

No matter if your a “cup is half full” or “cup half empty” kind of person… we guarantee that all of the water that hits your chimney without a cover is going inside. Having a chimney without a cover installed isn’t as common nowadays, but we still occasionally meet customers who just didn’t have any idea they needed it!

Have we convinced you to get an inspection yet? If not, read our other article about the many benefits that come from good fireplace cleaning.

Contact us today and get your annual inspection booked so you can have peace of mind. Quality Fireplace & Chimney Service Professionals are CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps and operate using industry best practices! Don’t forget to refer a person to Quality Fireplace and when they complete service, we’ll send you a check for $25.00!

The post Six Ways Water Can Cause Crucial Damage To Your Chimney or Fireplace appeared first on Quality Fireplace Roof & Chimney.

Four Great Reasons You Should Have A Chimney Cap Installed

A Chimney Cap That Fits

Many of your needs can be met by having a chimney cap. The worry at night when you hear scratching in your chimney will be no more. But choosing the right cap has everything to do with the type of chimney you have. To figure this out, survey your chimney from a safe location (do not try climbing out on your roof!) and count the number of flues.

They will look like a square of stone or one or two metal pipes.

Write down a good description of each. Try to be detailed in your notes — you could even shoot a picture on your phone to provide better information, this is the information that the experts at Quality Fireplace & Chimney Service will inquire with you.

Benefits of a Chimney Cap

Chimney caps perform multiple duties for your fireplace and they are quite affordable. At first glance, you assume that the term chimney means the entire structure from top to bottom. Many homeowners may be surprised to know that the chimney is made up of several components.

Chimney caps provide many useful functions to protect the interior of the chimney. There are different types of chimney caps for homeowners to choose from, which we would gladly discuss with you. Due to the height of your chimney and the kind of your chimney, have a professional install your chimney cap.

The opening of the chimney will need to be measured, so the exact size of the cap is installed. The cap will be tightened down, then a caulk will be added around the base, so no water escapes to the chimney.

Here are just a couple of reasons for having a chimney cap:

Stops Rodent Access

  • Chimney caps are extremely successful in keeping out birds and other creatures like:
  • Bats
  • Squirrels
  • Raccoons
  • Rats
  • Ducks…yes ducks!

Keeping these pests out is important. Once they get comfortable and settle in they will bother you and can destroy the integrity of your fireplace and even the interior of your attic space due to cracks in the mortar…these feisty little pests are quite adept at creating quite a mess.

The risk of disease from these animals is eliminated as well. You do not want to be stuck with a sick animal in your chimney in the middle of the winter. Once they begin to build nests and bring in food for their young it can create a number of hazards for your own family.

Chimneys are such an ideal place for pesky wildlife because it is warm, dark, and provides plenty of shelter from the elements. It is much safer to keep out those pesky animals than to pay someone to come extract them.

Save Money

When the cold air arrives, you want to be safe and warm without the extra cost. Having a chimney cap can stop downdrafts inside your home. Downdrafts affect the temperature in your house and hike up your energy bills at the same time. A wind coming down your chimney can make everyone inside feel a draft of chilliness. A sudden gust of wind can be especially dangerous as it can blow in smoke, embers, and ash right out of your fireplace.

While there is nothing better than a glowing warm fire, the winter winds can channel down the chimney and create quite the mess to the interior of your home. If you want to cut back on the overall cost of your bill and protect the inside of your home as well, invest in a chimney cap today.

Helps Prevent Fires

The only fire that should be happening, is the one in your fireplace. Chimney caps are useful for controlling sparks and preventing fires. Sometimes a fire can throw spark up the chimney and out the flue. This can potentially catch your roof on fire causing terrible damage. The protection offered by a chimney cap goes both ways: it is outfitted with a mesh that keeps embers where they belong and protects the environment from a potentially dangerous situation.

Keeps the Water Out
A chimney cap can prevent water and moisture from ruining the inside of your chimney and your home. Brick and mortar chimneys will deteriorate faster when consistently wet. In addition, moisture collecting inside chimneys can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew. A chimney cap is installed over the flue so water cannot enter to protect from creating other issues within the structure.

Do Not Wait Until it is Too Late

When it comes to your fireplace and chimney system – it can all appear to be fine unless persistent problems arise. If you don’t know a lot about your chimney assuming that everything is okay is not good. It just means you are not paying attention.

Once there are issues like:

  • Water in the firebox
  • Dark stained areas in the ceiling or on the walls by your fireplace

It is too late and there is a bigger problem going on inside your chimney than the eyes can see. You probably have a leaky chimney!

Are you interested in installing a chimney cap? We are now offering a special deal on chimney caps for a limited time. Contact us and find out how we can get yours installed for a great price!

The post Four Great Reasons You Should Have A Chimney Cap Installed appeared first on Quality Fireplace, Roof, & Chimney Services.

Wood-Burning Fireplace Safety Tips

While a wood-burning fireplace brings warmth and comfort to a home throughout the winter, safety should always be a priority. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to ensure your wood-burning fireplace is safe. These ways include: 

Check for creosote buildup.

Creosote is a chemical mass of carbon produced by burning wood, tar, or fossil fuels.

When wood is burned, combustion byproducts such as water vapor, smoke, fumes, and unburned wood particles rise to the chimney. 

Creosote can slowly build up in the chimney, and you’d never know it was there from the outside.

If not removed, creosote can form a thick layer of debris in the flue and chimney. Because most chimney fires begin in the smoke chamber/smoke shelf area, it is critical to clean such areas.

Creosote ignites at 451 degrees Fahrenheit and, once ignited, expands like foam sealant, reaching temperatures of over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit in less than a minute.

To protect your home and property, you should regularly inspect and clean your chimney if dirty. You can do the work or hire chimney cleaning services to help you out. 

To reduce the creosote deposited on your chimney, you should only burn dry, seasoned wood: remember that moisture in the wood adds to creosote production. Using well-seasoned hardwoods that have been cured for at least six months reduces the buildup.

You should ensure that you have a good air supply to the fire by effectively employing a damper and keeping the air vents open. A hot, well-ventilated fire helps to burn the wood, reducing creosote accumulation.

You should avoid slow-burning flames at all times because they lead to excessive airflow restriction that results in smoldering fires, which produce more creosote.

Clean out the ashes before use.

You should clear out all the ashes from the firebox before piling wood for the first fireplace fire.

The cool thing is that you don’t need to be complex about how you go about it. Sweep or vacuum the cold ashes outdoors and dispose of them. 

Use the right wood

The type of wood you choose determines the quality of fire you get and the amount of creosote deposited in your chimney. 

For the best outcome, go with hardwoods such as oak, maple, birch, ash, and hickory. They are denser and burn for longer periods, producing greater heat and requiring less frequent reloading. 

Softwoods, such as pine and fir, burn more quickly and produce less heat, but you can use them as kindling or mix them with hardwoods to start a fire more quickly.

Burning wood with a high moisture level produces less heat and increases creosote buildup. Use well-seasoned firewood with a moisture percentage of 20% or less for the best outcome. 

This is because seasoned wood burns more efficiently, generates more heat, and produces less creosote. You should store your firewood in a dry, well-ventilated space for at least six months before use.

You should always burn clean, untreated wood that has yet to be painted, varnished, or coated. You should note that when you burn treated or painted wood, it emits harmful compounds. You also should avoid burning wood with a lot of bark since it can lead to a lot of creosote buildup.

Cut your firewood into lengths appropriate for your fireplace or wood burner. For ideal results, pieces should be 3 to 6 inches long and trimmed to fit correctly inside the firebox. Remember that smaller pieces ignite quickly, whereas larger logs burn for a longer period of time.

Cap the chimney

When you cap the chimney, you keep animals from entering, minimize downdrafts, and prevent trash or moisture from entering. Here are some things to think about while capping a chimney.

There are three types of chimney caps: single-flue caps, multi-flue caps, and spark arrestor caps. Choose a cap that meets your requirements. Consider the number of flues, the desired amount of protection, and any local building laws or requirements you must adhere to.

Chimney caps come in a variety of materials, including stainless steel, copper, and galvanized steel. Choose a material that is long-lasting, weather-resistant, and appropriate for your chimney and surrounding environment.

While capping the chimney can help prevent some problems, it’s still necessary to have your chimney examined and cleaned by a professional regularly. They can detect and correct any faults with the chimney and ensure its effective operation.

Keep the fire small

Small fireplace fires produce less smoke and creosote buildup. When starting a fire, place the logs toward the back of the wood-burning fireplace and use kindling rather than flammable substances to start the fire. 

You also should arrange the smaller firewood pieces in a compact configuration. Stacking the logs too high or close together can cause a larger fire.

If possible, reduce the quantity of oxygen feeding the fire by adjusting the air vents or dampers on your fireplace or wood-burning stove. With less oxygen, the flame is smaller, and the burn is slower.

Add just a few pieces at a time when feeding wood to the fire. Avoid adding large logs, which could enlarge the fire.

Always monitor the fire to ensure it remains small and under control. 

Ensure that the alarms are working.

Check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are operational before starting a fire. 

Check that the carbon monoxide detector is powered on. Some sensors are battery-powered, while others are hooked into your home’s electrical system. 

Confirm that the batteries are in good working order or that the power supply is not interrupted.

While checking the detectors, chimney contractors Upper Marboro recommend paying attention to the alarm indicators. Usually, there are lights or display screens indicating whether the sensor is working correctly. 

Confirm that the test causes these indications to light up, indicating that the detector is active. If not working, fix it or have a professional look at it. 

The post Wood-Burning Fireplace Safety Tips first appeared on First Class Chimney Services.

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