Chimney Inspection: 3 Reasons You Should Prioritize It

Chimney Inspection: 3 Reasons You Should Prioritize It

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that you hire a chimney professional to undertake chimney inspection once a year. Data has shown that less than 1/3 of homeowners do it.

If you are a homeowner and you rarely inspect your chimney, you should know that you put yourself, your property and loved ones at great danger.

Here are some of the reasons why you should religiously inspect your chimney annually:

Prevent fire

According to NFPA, 55% of fires result due to chimney problems. Most of the chimney fires result due to excessive creosote buildup. When you light fire in the chimney, excessive heat increases the temperature of creosote which damages the chimney lining.

If creosote isn’t removed, the chimney lining continues getting damaged until fire gets to combustible materials in the chimney.

Since the chimney fire burns at high temperatures, it sometimes gets impossible to put it out. In some cases, home occupants are unable to leave in time.

To avoid putting your property and family members at risk, hire a chimney contractor to inspect the chimney for problems including creosote levels. In addition to inspecting the fireplace, the professional will also clean it and fix any problems that might be there.

Avoid expensive chimney repairs

Just like any other part of your house that is in constant use, the chimney also deteriorates overtime. Common chimney problems include:

  • Damaged flue lining
  • Broken bricks
  • Damaged chimney flashing resulting to leaking
  • Cracked mortar
  • Damaged chimney cap

These damages don’t happen overnight—they happen slowly over the life of the chimney. When you hire a chimney professional to inspect your chimney, the professional identifies the problematic areas soon enough before the condition gets worse.

If the flue lining is damaged, the professional undertakes chimney relining.

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that is fatal if you inhale high levels of it. If you have a gas or wood burning fireplace, you should be cautious of it. Some of the things that can bring about carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Deteriorating chimney
  • Blocked chimney
  • Broken connector pipe
  • Rusted heat exchanger

When you hire a chimney repair professional to inspect your fireplace, he/she is able to identify the problems and fix them before they become catastrophic.

One way of protecting yourself from the poisonous gas is installing carbon monoxide detectors. The professional will help you identify the best places to install the detectors. He/she will also help you install them.



The post Blog first appeared on First Class Chimney Services.

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How Long Do Chimneys Last? When to Have Your Chimney Rebuilt.

How Long Do Chimneys Last? When to Have Your Chimney Rebuilt.

How long do chimneys lastThe Real Estate market is booming in New England and most are looking at homes with chimneys. Fireplaces add a charming look to any house and they provide warmth and a place to gather during the long winter months. Many homebuyers want to know, “how long do chimneys last” in order to decide if negotiating chimney repair during the purchasing process is warranted. Homeowners wonder the same thing as they try to keep up with regular chimney maintenance. Today, we will dive into how long the typical chimney lasts, along with how to know when to have your chimney rebuilt.

At Boston’s Best Chimney, we are a full-service chimney company. We are experts in chimney masonry repairs and rebuilds and we also perform chimney sweeps and chimney inspections. Click here or call (781) 893-6611 to get in touch for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Now, we’ll explore how long chimneys last and when to have your chimney rebuilt.

 How Long Do Chimneys Last?

If a chimney has been correctly built and cared for, it can be expected to last for 50 to 100 years! But here’s the thing, many chimneys have not been properly cared for throughout their lifetime, however. It is therefore essential to have your chimney inspected before you move into a new home and annually afterwards. A good chimney company will help you evaluate the state of your chimney to see if it has any damage and to explain the steps needed to keep your chimney safe and working well.

Some factors that can impact the duration of your chimney’s life include:

  • Waterproofing: If your chimney has been waterproofed over time, it will last longer. Brick is a strong and long-lasting material, but moisture will break it down. Waterproofing your chimney will ensure that it is kept safe from water.
  • Location: If your chimney is located in the middle of the house it will likely last longer than a chimney that runs up the side of the house which is exposed to the elements.
  • Chimney cap: Whether or not you have a chimney cap will affect the life of your chimney. Chimney caps keep out debris and rain, which will prevent the bricks from decaying. Check out our Ultimate Chimney Cap guide for more information on this important chimney feature.

 When to Have Your Chimney Rebuiltold chimney

Though many issues can be solved with chimney masonry repair, chimneys need to be completely rebuilt in certain circumstances. Some signs that your chimney is beyond the point of repair include:

  • Large cracks in the bricks: This is a sign that your chimney is no longer structurally sound.
  • Efflorescence (white streaks on your chimney’s bricks): If this is addressed quickly, it won’t necessarily ruin your chimney. If efflorescence is ignored, the underlying cause will break down your chimney over time.
  • Spalling bricks: When bricks or pieces of bricks begin to fall from your chimney, this is a major red flag that your chimney’s bricks are filled with water and deteriorating, which will threaten the integrity of your chimney’s structure.
  • Tilted chimney: If your chimney appears to be leaning, this clearly indicates that there is structural damage that should be addressed immediately.

 Call Boston’s Best Chimney with Your Chimney Rebuilding Questions

As we mentioned, it is best to have your chimney inspected annually and swept annually or as needed. If we find that your chimney has a masonry issue, we can then help to see whether you need your chimney rebuilt or repointed. If you would like to schedule a chimney inspection, click here or call (781) 893-6611 to contact us.

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The Importance of Waterproofing Your Chimney

Should I Waterproof My Chimney?

should i waterproof my chimneyOur customers often ask us “Should I waterproof my chimney?” The short answer to this question is “absolutely!” Waterproofing your chimney is a preventative measure that prolongs the life of the chimney’s masonry. As strong and sturdy as your chimney may be, it must withstand year-round precipitation. From rain to snow, your chimney takes on the elements and needs an extra layer of protection. That is where waterproofing comes in.

Do you suspect that your chimney currently has masonry damage? Check out our blog on Signs That You Need Chimney Masonry Repair to learn about common issues that can be addressed during chimney  masonry repair.

At Boston’s Best Chimney, we are a one stop chimney service company located in the Boston, Massachusetts area. We perform chimney waterproofing, masonry work, chimney sweeps, and more. Click here or call (781) 893-6611 to get in touch with us.

Waterproofing Agents on Masonry Chimneys

Our team of chimney experts uses ChimneySaver Water-Base Water Repellent to waterproof chimneys. Unlike products that you may find at the hardware store, ChimneySaver is 100% vapor permeable. This means that it prevents water vapors from being trapped and causing internal damage.

It also offers protection from efflorescence (those white streaks that you often see on chimneys) and damage that comes from freezing and thawing by not allowing water to become trapped within the brick structure and expanding/contracting.

To dive into the science of how this works, according to ChimneySaver, this is how their water-base repellent works:

waterproofing agents on masonry chimneys The repellent “reacts with the minerals in masonry in the presence of ultraviolet light and atmospheric moisture. This reaction forms strong permanent bonds beneath the surface and creates a hydrophobic zone that prevents water molecules from penetrating, while allowing free migration of water vapors. The chemical bonds formed in this process allow ChimneySaver Water-Base Water Repellent to become an integral part of the substrate and provide long term water repellent protection.”

As a waterproofing agent for masonry chimneys, ChimneySaver Water-Base Water Repellent stands out among other products in the market and we are confident and proud to use it when waterproofing chimneys.

Have You Waterproofed Your Boston, MA Area Chimney?

If you have not yet waterproofed your chimney, we highly encourage you to do so. This preventative measure will make your chimney last longer and save you time and money on masonry repairs down the road. We are located in Dedham, MA and we serve the Boston and Greater Boston, MA areas. Don’t hesitate to click here or call (781) 893-6611 to ask us questions or schedule an appointment.

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What is Chimney Flashing? How Do I Know When to Repair It?

The configuration of metal parts are cut, shaped and installed in the mortar joints of the chimney and sit between the roofing material and the chimney. Then caulk is used to seal the edge of the flashing to the chimney material. This provides a tight seal so water can’t get behind the flashing.

However, with weather conditions and time, the sealant will dry out and crack. Another reason why it’s important to have your chimney inspected each year by Superior Chimney.

Repair or Replace the Chimney Flashing

As we all know, living in our weather conditions can definitely take a toll on everything, including the flashing. It’s important to get the exterior of the chimney and the flashing checked each year. Weather has a way of eroding the flashing seal which can miraculously disappear in areas.

Well, now you know all about chimney flashing. That metal configuration that has a very important job. Be sure to take care of it with a yearly 14-point inspection by Superior Chimney.

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Do Gas Fireplaces Have A Flue?

Many homeowners are ready for a change and oftentimes this means a fireplace makeover.  They enjoy the ambiance of a fire.  However, the annoyance of continually replenishing wood reserves, cleaning up the ash, and calling in a chimney sweep every year is too much work.

gas fireplace install, granby ct

Gas Fireplaces

An alternative to the wood-burning fireplace is a gas fireplace.   These fireplaces are clean burning and will light up at the flip of a switch.  There are lots of models to accent many different home decors.  These fireplaces are convenient and quiet and they are an excellent addition to any home.

When the subject of converting from a conventional fireplace to gas, one of the first questions is, ‘Does a gas fireplace need a flue.’

The answer to that is a little complicated.  It depends on what type of gas fireplace you purchase. There are three types of gas fireplaces on the market today.

Natural Vent Gas Fireplace

The first choice is a natural vent gas fireplace.   This fireplace option needs a flue or vent somewhere for the small amount of exhaust product to exit the home.  For homes with an existing chimney, this is a practical choice.

Direct Vent Gas Fireplace

Another choice is a direct vent gas fireplace.  This type of fireplace creates exhaust and needs a place to vent.  It doesn’t have a fireplace/chimney, but it requires a place for the exhaust to leave the home.  The installer will have to construct a small pipe or vent leading out of the house’s interior for the exhaust exit.

Ventless Gas Fireplace

The third option is a ventless fireplace.  As the name indicates these fireplaces do not need a vent; there is no significant exhaust from the fire itself to make a vent or flue necessary.  These types of fireplaces are the ones you see built into walls of more modern homes.

Gas Fireplace Overview

All these fireplaces have codes or regional regulations a builder or installer needs to follow.

Another similarity of these gas fireplaces is they all need yearly inspections.  Some homeowners scratch their heads, wondering why.  Every fireplace vented or not requires a professional to troubleshoot or correct any problems.

Some of the problems that could exist are clogged and blocked flues or vents, obstructed burners, or burn bars.

Manufacturers recommend a yearly inspection of the fireplace and its functional components for safety and proper functions.

Call Northeastern Chimney

gas fireplace cleaning, bloomfield ctNortheastern Chimney has been installing and servicing fireplaces for nearly four decades.  We provide continuing education for our technicians and provide them with the most up-to-date equipment on the market.

All our techs are fully certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.  This means you are getting the best in the business for chimney cleaning and inspection.  Also, our field staff is fully insured, professional & polite.  Each one of our service members will be happy to answer any questions before, during, or after our visit.

We serve all homes and businesses in and around central Connecticut.  If you have a chimney, we can service it.  Call us for an appointment.

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Chimney Contractor: Taking A Look At The Main Parts Of A Chimney

For you take care of your chimney you need to know how it works. To help you out, here are the main parts of your chimney:


This is where combustion takes place and fire burns. If you have children, it’s recommended that you protect the area to protect the little ones from getting burned. Fireboxes come in different designs. If you are constructing a new house and have a unique design in mind, discuss it with your chimney contractor and find out if it can work on your chimney.

If you burn wood in the firebox, you need to undertake regular cleaning for the fireplace to continue working efficiently. Major problems with the firebox include: heat damage and water damage. To avoid surprises, hire a professional at least once a year to undertake firebox inspection.


This is a movable metal door located at the throat of the chimney. Its main role is to close off the fireplace from the outdoors. To allow smoke and gases to leave the fireplace, always keep the damper open when the fireplace is in use. To prevent draft from entering the house, close the damper when the fireplace isn’t in use.

To have an easy time opening and closing the damper, keep door in good condition. To avoid fires, ensure that the door is free of creosote. Also ensure that the hinges are in good working condition. You should regularly inspect the damper for problems. For ideal results, hire a chimney professional to help you out with inspection.

Ash dump

This is where ash collects when the ash dump door opens. The door is located in the middle of the firebox and makes it easy for you to remove ash from the firebox.

Below the ash dump is the ash pit. This is the area where dumped ash collets. To avoid accumulation of ash and other flammable substances, regularly empty the ash pit. If you don’t have time, hire a chimney cleaning professional to empty it for you.


It’s the foundation of your chimney and is made from heavy duty brick or cinder block. It should be constructed from tough materials in order to withstand heat. Since it’s always exposed to high temperatures, it’s prone to heat damage.

You should regularly check on it to ensure that there are no severe damages that compromise the stability of the chimney. When you notice serious damage, immediately contact a chimney masonry repair professional.

The post Blog first appeared on First Class Chimney Services.

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Step-by-Step Guide On How To Undertake Chimney Cleaning

Crackles and pops of a wood burning fireplace give life to any home. While a wood burning fireplace has an allure that few homeowners can resist, it comes with soot, ash and creosote. These substances not only give your home an ugly appeal, they also put your home at the risk of fire. To protect your property you need to undertake chimney cleaning on a regular basis. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

Prepare yourself for chimney cleaning

Chimney cleaning is a dirty affair; therefore, you need to prepare yourself for it. Wear rubber gloves, dust mask and clear goggle to avoid direct contact with the chimney waste. Also lay a plastic tarp around the hearth. The plastic will protect the surrounding carpet thus reducing after-work cleanup.

Sweep the chimney interior

The best appliance to use in cleaning the interior of the chimney is a brush attachment or vacuum. When buying the chimney brush, buy a circular one that is 8-10 inches in diameter. You should attach the brush to a flexible pole and move it up and down the chimney’s length. You should repeat the process until you have no soot or creosote.

Get rid of outside chimney obstruction

In addition to cleaning the inside of the chimney, you also need to address the outside. Remove any debris that might be attached to the sides of the mesh around the chimney cap. Also get rid of tree branches hanging too close to the chimney.

Clean the chimney with water

You don’t have to clean the entire chimney with water—clean only the visible areas. Use a hard scrubbing brush and cleaning solution. Great cleaning solutions to go with are: vinegar and water, cream of tartar and detergent and baking soda. You should scrub the chimney until there is no visible creosote.

Inspect and replace chimney parts

Once the chimney is clean and dry, take one final look at all parts of the chimney and ensure that they are in perfect condition. After confirming that everything is fine, replace the chimney parts.


For your fireplace to look great and have peace of mind that your property isn’t at the risk of fire, clean the chimney on a regular basis. While you can inspect the chimney by yourself, it’s always recommended that you hire a chimney contractor to help you out. In addition to undertaking chimney inspection, the professional will also repair any areas that need fixing.

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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.


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