Is Your Chimney Safe to Use?

Is Your Chimney Safe to Use?

“Is it safe to use my chimney?” is a common question many homeowners ask themselves. Regretfully, not all the information about the topic is correct.

You should note that the safety of your chimney is dependent on numerous factors, some of which are under your control and others of which are not.

Thankfully, there are several measures you can take to ensure your chimney is as secure as possible by being aware of the apparent warning flags. These signs include:

Animal nests and debris buildup

Squirrels, bats, and birds are just a few creatures that could live in your chimney. Chimney inspection professionals advise that using your chimney is dangerous if you witness animals emerging from it or hear strange noises like squeaking, shrieking, or cheeping.

Smoke can find it difficult to escape due to obstructions and buildups. Additionally, they may contain diseases that you and your family could contract.

In addition, any debris—such as sticks or leaves—inside your chimney may indicate an obstruction that could become harmful if you try to start a fire.

Have your chimney inspected by a competent provider before using it. Before using your fireplace, ensure everything is safe; cleaning it yourself could be risky.

Smoke draw issues

A draft produced by the rising hot air in a chimney at optimal working conditions draws smoke up and out of the hearth. This draft may be disrupted by obstructions or other problems, which cause the smoke to start re-entering your house.

This lessens the appropriate airflow that keeps your fireplace burning correctly.

In addition, harmful chemicals from combustion and smoke, such as carbon monoxide, might seep into your house. Because CO poisoning is a severe health risk that can be fatal, it’s critical to recognize the signs and leave your home as soon as possible.

Some of the signs you should look out for include:

  • Headaches
  • Neasa
  • Weariness
  • Bewilderment
  • Irritation

If you encounter these symptoms, immediately leave your home and dial 911.

To ensure that your family is always safe, consider installing carbon monoxide detectors that will let you know when the levels of carbon monoxide are too high.

Broken or blocked chimney flue

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), a clogged flue is one of the main causes of chimney fires. Possible obstruction causes include creosote accumulation, fallen leaves, and bird nests.

You should note that your flue will not draft correctly if it is entirely or partially obstructed.

When hazardous gasses accumulate inside your home due to a broken or obstructed chimney flue, you and your family risk carbon monoxide poisoning.

To help you out, the following are some indicators that your chimney flue may require repair:

  • Your chimney has a fire, but the smoke isn’t rising.
  • Your fireplace’s draft isn’t as forceful as it once was.
  • There are gaps in your chimney mortar through which light can enter.
  • Your chimney’s inside has a buildup of soot or creosote.

If you observe any of these symptoms, you should get your chimney inspected by a professional as soon as possible.

The beauty is that expert chimney sweepers have the necessary training, equipment, and supplies to ensure that your fireplace and chimney are in good operating order.

They will assess whether the chimney has to be replaced or if they can resolve the issue.

You have soot and creosote buildup.

Inspecting your chimney for soot and creosote accumulation is imperative to ascertain its safety. Soot is the black powder left over after burning wood.

When wood doesn’t burn all the way through, creosote, which resembles black or brown tar, accumulates on the walls of your chimney.

This material is highly combustible, and if it accumulates enough, it can cause chimney fires. In addition, a house fire can quickly follow a chimney fire.

If there is more than one-eighth or a quarter-inch of soot or creosote on the walls, it’s time to have your chimney cleaned.

Creosote comes in three classes with varying degrees of risk.

Stage 1 is the most prevalent and least harmful kind of creosote. Typically, it is detected in small amounts and effortlessly eliminated with a wire brush.

If stage 2 creosote is not cleaned frequently, it can lead to chimney fires and is more challenging to remove.

The most dangerous kind of creosote is stage 3, which is nearly impossible to remove and readily ignites, creating a potentially devastating chimney fire.

You should seek advice from qualified chimney sweepers if you are worried about creosote accumulation in your chimney.

The professionals will evaluate the circumstances surrounding the creosote and recommend the best course of action.

Getting professional help early when using your chimney will save you money and ensure the safety of your house.


Leaks are the main offender when it comes to the early warning indicators of a failing chimney. You should note that it’s time for repairs if you hear or see droplets coming from your chimney. After looking into other places in your home, determine where they might be coming from.

Given how fast water travels across surfaces, locating the leak’s source might be challenging for the untrained eye. You should note that in most cases, a broken or cracked chimney crown or chase cover is a common reason for chimney leaks.

The concrete slab that sits on top of your chimney to shield it from the elements is the chimney crown. Temperature variations and moisture can cause this part to deteriorate and crack over time.

As a result, there might be a leak. To be on the safe side, have an expert inspect the area and fix any issues that might be there.

Parting shot

These are some of the signs that might signal that your chimney isn’t safe. To stay on the safe side, work with experienced chimney contractors Elicott City who will not only inspect the unit but also recommend the best course of action.

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The Benefits of a Commercial Chimney Drone Inspection

In the world of commercial chimney maintenance, staying ahead of potential issues is crucial for safety and operational efficiency, making commercial chimney inspections necessary. But when technology expands, so do our strategies and services. That is exactly why we offer drone inspections!

At Best Chimney Services, we prioritize your building’s operation and tenants’ safety, hence why we take chimney safety so seriously. Maintaining your commercial chimney is essential for ensuring your chimney is operating safely without any existing damage or growing problems. Stay updated with your chimney by booking a commercial chimney inspection today! In the meantime, learn about the game-changing benefits for both chimney technicians and property owners of booking commercial chimney drone inspections, below.

Enhancing Accessibility & Safety

Traditional chimney inspections can be dangerous at times, making the process time-consuming and hazardous depending on the size of the building. With the addition of drones, chimney technicians are able to access those hard-to-reach areas without putting themselves at risk or losing high-quality visuals.

Gaining High-Quality Visual Data

Commercial chimney drone inspections provide high-resolution images and video footage of your chimney. This detailed visual data allows technicians to detect even minor cracks, blockages, or structural issues that may not be visible during a standard inspection but require a necessary chimney repair. Property owners then benefit from a more thorough understanding of their chimney’s condition by having the chance to see what’s happening inside and outside of the structure without having to access the chimney.

Improving Cost-Effectiveness

While the upfront expense of adopting drone technology may seem considerable, its long-term advantages justify the investment. By cutting down on inspection time and labor, drone technology enables chimney service companies to operate more efficiently. This efficiency directly benefits customers by potentially preventing costly repairs and minimizing safety risks through early issue detection, while also offering a more cost-effective chimney inspection option.

Showing a Commitment to Customers

Choosing a chimney company that utilizes drone technology demonstrates a commitment to quality and innovation. Customers appreciate the transparency and professionalism that come with advanced inspection methods. The ability to view drone footage and inspection reports instills confidence in the service provided, fostering trust and long-term relationships.

Furthering Environmental Consciousness

Depending on the current status of your commercial chimney and access, heavy equipment  may be necessary for a traditional inspection which operate on fossil fuels. With the use of drone inspections, you minimize the carbon footprint associated with typical methods. Therefore, furthering your dedication to environmental sustainability as a property owner.

Book Your Drone Chimney Inspection with Best Chimney Services

Commercial chimney drone inspections offer benefits for both you and your local chimney technician. You gain the benefits of efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability as a property owner, while chimney technicians can benefit from advanced safety. By taking advantage of drone inspections, you’re staying ahead of the curve by maintaining your chimney for safe operation. Give us a call today to book your first drone chimney inspection, or to learn about our other reliable commercial chimney services

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How to Take Care of Your Outdoor Fireplace in the Summer

Do you love to use your outdoor fireplace during the summer to roast marshmallows, host outdoor gatherings, or simply warm up on a cooler night? It’s one of the many benefits of having an outdoor fireplace! However, it’s important to take care of your outdoor fireplace in order to ensure it’s safe to use and performing efficiently.

At Best Chimney Services, we help homeowners keep their chimneys in the best and most efficient condition for proper operation and safety. We’ve offered a range of residential and commercial chimney services in the Boston area since 1989. If you believe your outdoor fireplace with a chimney needs to be inspected or cleaned, give us a call! In the meantime, learn about the regular maintenance you should be performing this summer, below.

Regular Cleanings

One of the most important steps to maintaining your outdoor fireplace is with regular sweepings. Over time, your chimney and fireplace will accumulate ash, soot, and other debris that can affect the operation and safety of your fireplace. At a bare minimum, you’ll want to remove any debris or ash sitting in the firebox before each usage. 

As for a less consistent maintenance procedure, we recommend having your chimney professionally inspected and swept at least once during the summer to avoid creosote buildup. Creosote buildup can lead to dangerous chimney fires because of how flammable creosote is if not removed.

Cut Back Nearby Vegetation

Many don’t know that overgrown vegetation around your outdoor fireplace can pose a fire hazard. During the summer, plants and trees can grow rapidly, so keeping them trimmed back is important. Keep any plants, bushes, and trees at least ten feet away from your fireplace and chimney. This reduces the risk of fire spreading to nearby vegetation. This will also help improve airflow and reduce the risk of sparks igniting nearby foliage.

Inspect for Damage

Booking regular inspections can help you identify and address any potential signs of chimney damage before they become major problems. Inspect the exterior and interior of your fireplace and chimney for any signs of cracks or deterioration. Pay close attention to the mortar joints, as these can wear down over time, and ensure that the chimney cap isn’t rusting and is securely in place. The chimney cap prevents rain, debris, and animals from entering your chimney, which can cause blockages and damage.

Schedule Professional Inspections

While regular sweepings and inspections are essential, it’s also important to schedule professional maintenance with your local certified chimney technicians at least once a year. Hire a professional chimney sweep to thoroughly clean your chimney and inspect for any hidden issues that may not be visible to the untrained eye. 

Reach Out to Best Chimney to Maintain Your Outdoor Fireplace

Are you unsure how to maintain your outdoor fireplace? Give us a call to get started! Following these tips and working with chimney technicians will ensure that your fireplace is running safely and can be enjoyed all summer long. Schedule an appointment with us today for your first chimney inspection.

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Preparing for New England’s Changing Seasons:

Why Now is the Perfect Time for a Chimney Inspection

As New Englanders, we’re savoring these precious moments outdoors, basking in the warmth and beauty of our current season. Yet, we know all too well how swiftly the weather can change in our corner of the world. Before we know it, the crisp autumn air will beckon us indoors, and we’ll be reaching for that cozy throw blanket and lighting the season’s first fire. At Best Chimney, we understand that now is the perfect time to prepare your home for the ever-changing New England seasons. While you’re enjoying the outdoors, let us help you ensure your chimney is ready to keep you warm and safe when those chilly nights inevitably return.

Your home is more than just a structure; it’s a complex network of systems working in harmony, much like your car or your own body. We understand that your house is not only your largest investment but also the place where your family finds safety and comfort and builds lasting memories. Just as you wouldn’t wait for your car to break down before seeing a mechanic or ignoring your health until you fall ill, your home deserves the same proactive care and attention.

chimney inspection

That’s where we come in. At Best Chimney, we bring our expertise to bear on one of your home’s most crucial systems – the chimney. Regular, professional inspections are key to ensuring your chimney functions safely and efficiently, protecting your home and loved ones from potential hazards. Let’s explore the two types of chimney inspections we offer, along with some home-saving and money-saving tips:

Level 1 Chimney Inspection:

Our basic inspection is ideal for annual maintenance when no significant changes have been made to your chimney system. During a Level 1 inspection, our certified technicians will:

  1. Examine readily accessible portions of the chimney’s interior and exterior
  2. Check the basic structural integrity of the chimney and flue
  3. Ensure the chimney is free from obstructions and combustible deposits
  4. Verify proper installation and security of chimney connections and appliances
  5. Inspection of visible portions of the chimney exterior

Level 2 Chimney Inspection:

This more comprehensive examination is necessary when changes occur in your system, such as switching fuel types or after events that might have damaged the chimney, like a fire or severe weather. A Level 2 inspection includes everything in a Level 1 inspection, plus:

  1. Inspection of accessible areas in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces
  2. Evaluation of the chimney’s interior using specialized video scanning equipment
  3. Verification of proper clearances from combustibles in accessible locations
  4. Assessment of flue liner condition with internal camera

chimney inspection

By scheduling regular inspections, you’re taking a proactive step in maintaining your home’s safety and efficiency. This proactive care ensures that most issues in your chimney, which aren’t visible to the untrained eye, can be identified and resolved before they become costly hazards. This not only saves you money but also ensures your peace of mind, knowing that your home is safe and efficient.

As you enjoy the current season, let Best Chimney help you prepare for the changes ahead. Our expert inspections and maintenance services will ensure that when the time comes to light that first fire or turn on your heat, your chimney will be ready to perform safely and efficiently, keeping your home warm and your family protected throughout the coming New England seasons.

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Can You Pass the Chimney Inspection This Year?

It’s summertime in the Chicagoland area! The birds are out, making nests in chimneys, rain soaking into the bricks, heat and humidity wearing away slowly on the outside of your chimney. As the sun beats down on the chimney cap, you might notice some small bits of rust tucked away underneath the cap’s edges and the beginnings of new cracks forming on your chimney’s concrete crown. These are just small problems that the summer likes to expose.

Yes, it’s true, you aren’t using your chimney this summer. With these hot temperatures across Chicagoland, we hope you are not! Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean that deterioration stops. Even if you just got your chimney inspected earlier this year, it might have undergone too much stress from the rain, hail and wind conditions.

Tips For Chimney Maintenance

We always recommend that you to make an appointment for a chimney inspection before the fall busy season and have a Superior Chimney certified technician evaluate and complete any necessary chimney repairs. Here are 4 ways that will help reduce the amount of chimney repairs this summer.

  1. Keep your chimney waterproofed! Your chimney’s porous mortar, bricks and/or stone are prone to the most damage during the summer. Water from rain and high humidity are absorbed in the bricks and mortar. Having it sit there for months at a time causes slow and steady deterioration, which at first you can’t see. Your chimney professional will waterproof the chimney with ChimneySaver, keeping moisture from being absorbed.
  2. Rusting on your chimney cap is inevitable, but may be a sign you need to replace it. Without a properly working chimney cap, animals, debris and water can get inside the flue. You don’t want those little birds living inside the flue, cute as they are! Replace the chimney cap by a certified professional from Superior Chimney.
  3. Inspect your chimney at Least Once Per Year. Have you noticed missing mortar? It looks like deep holes? Any strange smells coming from the firebox? If so, call Superior Chimney as soon as possible. The goal is to keep the cost of repairs to a minimum.
  4. Cleaning your chimney is difficult to do on your own. We recommend that if there’s black or white streaks on the outside (creosote or calcium buildup from water damage), to call Superior Chimney certified professionals. The cleaning process can be very dirty and challenging to do yourself. By having a certified technician maintain the health of your chimney and fireplace, you’ll reduce the cost of repairs.

No Damage? Can you Pass the Chimney Inspection? Hold on, not quite! Maybe you didn’t notice any of the above damages, and you recently got your chimney waterproofed. You still need to have an annual inspection. Though it may look good on the outside, there’s always something going on inside of the chimney that can manifest into a bigger problem. Only a Superior Chimney professional can tell you if your chimney passes this year’s inspection! Call us at 877-244-6349 to make an appointment today.

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What Type of Chimney Do You Have?

Stone or brick masonry, gas or wood burning…There are many types of chimneys out there! Are you wondering what type of chimney you have in your home? Knowing the type of chimney you have is important for proper maintenance. In this article, we will discuss the different types of chimneys, their characteristics, and how to identify which type you have in your home.

Stone vs. Brick Masonry Chimneys

There are lots of different styles and designs of chimneys. You might have noticed a few of them while walking around your neighborhood. The most popular chimney type is brick masonry. This type of chimney is great if you like a more traditional home look. Maintenance and upkeep of a brick masonry chimney can be challenging, as the materials such as mortar and brick are porous. Over time, the constant exposure to the elements deteriorates the masonry and brick. In the Chicagoland area, this can be a real challenge, with spring and summer storms and winter snow.

Another common chimney type you might have seen around your neighborhood are stone chimneys. Stone chimneys aren’t too structurally different from brick chimneys. Stones are held together with the same porous mortar, which deteriorates over time.

Gas Chimneys

Gas chimneys are different from stone and brick masonry chimneys. Gas chimneys have a different structure, inside and out. On larger buildings, like apartments, you might notice small pipes attached to a gas heater inside which then leads to a small vent outside. The vent looks like a metal pipe sticking out of the building. This type of chimney generally experiences the least amount of water damage. 

Metal Chimneys

Metal chimneys are best made of stainless steel and are used with modern fireplaces. They are lightweight, but don’t provide as much insulation as stone or brick chimneys.

Is there “a Best” Chimney Type? Your preference is what chimney type is best for you! Let’s find out what that is. Aesthetically pleasing stone or brick masonry chimneys that are pleasing to the eye, or a metal chimney that looks more contemporary and cleaner. However, whatever your preference is or chimney you currently have, you still must have your chimney inspected once a year. A certified technician will help with inspecting the inside and outside of your chimney to make sure that it’s fireworthy and in good, working order. Though a metal chimney requires less repair, it’s still important to get it swept and checked by a certified technician once a year. Leaks happen to all chimney types and build up occurs as well. If you are interested in looking into the type of chimney you have and want to keep it in good working order for the coming fall and winter, call Superior Chimney for an inspection today at 877-244-6349.

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Now’s the Time to Get the Chimney Repaired

When you get a bigger project done such as tuckpointing the chimney, or partially rebuilding the chimney, it seems like it was just completed yesterday.

A customer recently called and asked for one of our masonry tech experts to inspect the chimney. When we looked up the customer’s name and address, we found that the project was completed just about ten years ago. When we shared that with the customer, she said, “What? That was ten years ago!” “It seems like yesterday when you were here repairing the chimney.” We take that as a compliment.

It’s Lonely at the Top

When a company, like Superior Chimney, takes quality of work seriously, comments like this customer are regularly shared. That’s because ‘Peace of mind’ and trust are important. Homeowners don’t get to climb up on the roof to ‘see’ what’s going on. Homeowners don’t think about the chimney unless you find water stains on your walls or hear dripping water in the fireplace. That’s why Superior Chimney is important to the overall health of your home.

Start from the Outside

The chimney is the highest point on your home. It stands tall each day through all of the rain, sun, snow, wind, hail and whatever else Mother Nature has in store. Those elements hit, slam and pound at the chimney from every direction, challenging its integrity. One slip up, and the water, debris and animals are coming in!

  • Tuckpointing the chimney is critical! Missing mortar is like a door that just swung open and said, “come on in!” Clearly, we’re open.
  • Loose Bricks or Stone – When there’s missing or loose mortar, you can be sure the bricks or stones are loose as well. What happens when the bricks or stones are loose? They can fall away from the chimney exposing the interior of the chimney, and encouraging much faster deterioration.

How Do You Know the Above Problems Exist?

During the inspection, the certified chimney technician takes pictures of the chimney. We point out the good and the areas that need repair. With the pictures, we discuss what the issue may be, explain what we do to repair it and discuss what it will look…and perform like in the end.

We believe this is a critical part of the ‘peace of mind’ and trust that we build with our customers. With every satisfied customer, we know that when you have a question, you’ll be giving us a call, just like the customer we shared at the beginning of our story.

Be a part of the Superior Chimney family. Contact us today.

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What Precautions Should You Take During a Chimney Fire?

According to estimates from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), creosote is the leading cause of one-fourth of home fires in the US, with 25,000 incidents reported every year.

One of the reasons for this is that many homeowners don’t hire chimney cleaning services to clean their chimney as often as they should.

When you have a chimney fire, you might wonder what to do. Well, there are several precautions you should take. These precautions include:

Get everyone out

Everyone should leave the house as soon as possible if you suspect a chimney fire has started. By doing this, you’ll be able to limit the quantity of oxygen that the fire can absorb and prevent larger flames from spreading.

Getting everyone outside will also stop pets from escaping into the burning rooms. If you have children living in your house, this is especially crucial.

Using the right fireplace tools whenever you use a wood stove or fireplace is a way to avoid chimney fires. Doing so can help produce an updraft that will force the smoke up the chimney and out of your room.

Along with following these simple guidelines, you can hire a cleaning expert to clean your chimney regularly, which will help avert chimney fires before they start.

This is a crucial step since chimney fires can be quite dangerous, especially those that burn slowly.

Close all the openings

The purpose of your chimney system is to keep smoke, fumes, and flammable gasses out of your house. It must, therefore, be thoroughly inspected and cleaned regularly.

The flue is the hole in your chimney where smoke travels. It should be the right size to fit the capacity and chimney height of your stove.

Dampers are installed inside the flue to help regulate ventilation and keep a fire from getting too hot. When the fire isn’t burning, they also prevent cold air from entering.

There could be major issues if you open the damper when there is a fire. Your fire will have difficulty getting oxygen, producing smoke and carbon monoxide.

While the fire is blazing, the damper can be turned off by pulling chains at the inner front of the fireplace or by pressing a lever. As long as you know what you’re doing, that method is safe.

Put out the fire

Make sure your flue and fireplace are kept clean and clean of combustible materials to prevent chimney fires. This includes burning glossy pages, cardboard, and paper, spilling chemicals up the chimney, and discharging toxins into the air.

Additionally, you should keep the duration of your fire to no more than five hours per day. You should note that spending too much time in the fire can harm your chimney and possibly ignite a fire inside your house.

It is challenging for you and your family to experience a chimney fire. A chimney fire can spread quickly and endanger the building’s structure or demolish your home’s internal walls if not put out.

First, open the fireplace damper to put out the fire. Make sure to open the damper slowly because leaving it open too quickly could result in the start of another fire inside your house.

Get in touch with the fire department.

You must notify your local fire department and get everyone out of the house when you discover a chimney fire. In addition to putting out the fire, they can determine whether it has spread to other areas of your home.

A chimney fire can potentially destroy both your house’s structure and your life. It may even result in severe harm.

There are multiple indicators that a chimney fire might be present. Some are obvious, like a strong smell coming from your house.

Flue tile damage and potential flue wall cracks might result from a slow-burning chimney fire that burns through the exterior of your chimney.

Another indication that a chimney fire has occurred is the presence of melted roof shingles and other accessories.

In addition, keep an eye out for any additional indicators of a chimney fire, such as falling ash or loose soot down your chimney or blazing materials inside your chimney.

Ways to prevent chimney fires

You can significantly lower the risk of chimney fires and guarantee the security of your house and family by being aware of these issues and implementing the appropriate safety procedures. The common problems that will prevent chimney fires include:

Frequent Chimney Sweeping: To reduce the chance of a chimney fire, schedule routine sweeping. The kind of fuel being consumed determines how often sweeping is necessary.

If you are wondering how often you should clean your chimney, here are recommendations based on fire-prone appliances:

  • Oil: Yearly
  • Gas: Yearly
  • Twice a year for bituminous coal
  • Burning wood: Four times or more annually
  • Burning smokeless fuels (such as coal): At least one time annually

Prevent burning wet wood: Ensure the wood you burn has no more than 17% moisture content. Burning damp wood increases the risk of creosote buildup and chimney fires because it causes incomplete combustion.

Use a fireguard while using open fires: To avoid embers that are smoldering and sparks that are flying, generating a fire hazard, use a fireguard when using open fires. The fireguard will control any possible sparks and embers near the fireplace.

Keep combustible items and dangerous compounds out of children’s reach: It’s critical to keep combustible items and hazardous compounds out of children’s reach. To avoid mishaps, chimney contractors Columbia MD recommend keeping kids away from fire hazards.

Keep wood and fuel away from the fire to prevent unintentional ignition of nearby objects like flammable materials or supplies meant for burning by flying sparks. Ensure that you keep every igneous substance at a safe distance from the hearth.

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Reasons Your Chimney Is Smelling and What You Should Do About It

When you light fires in the hearth’s firebox, you want to enjoy the warm ambiance and pleasant aroma of firewood. Unfortunately, your house has an unpleasant smell that makes the house uncomfortable to live in and it’s not fun for anyone.

There are plenty of reasons your house will have an unpleasant smell. These reasons include:

Creosote accumulation

You’re probably aware that creosote poses a fire risk to your home, and you make it a point to get your chimney swept by an experienced chimney sweep before the fire-burning season each year to keep it safe.

Creosote also poses another risk: it can produce a strongly unpleasant odor that permeates from your chimney into your home. The creosote in your chimney, particularly during the humid summer months or when rainy weather causes water to enter your chimney, can fill your home with an unpleasant, barbecue or asphalt-like odor.

To get rid of this smell, you only need to hire a cleaning professional to clean the unit.

High moisture levels

A smell as a result of high moisture levels is difficult to define yet instantly identifiable. The musty odor of dank fireplace ash combined with humidity creates a weird, damp, smokey odor that lingers long after the fires have died down.

In most cases, humid, moist air can exacerbate any odor. Even still, chimney dampness has an old familiar fragrance. The musty odor, caused by unnoticed condensation, only worsens with time. Leaks are often always the source of the problem.

You should get this checked and treated right away to avoid breathing problems caused by mold or mildew in your house.

House airflow problems

Almost everyone knows the term “backdraft,” No, we don’t mean Ron Howard’s famous 1991 film, but rather what happens to fireplaces. Backdrafting is a major cause of foul-smelling chimneys.

A new roof, ventilation fans, new windows or skylights, and combustion appliances can all result in negative air pressure in your home. To help regulate the air pressure in your home, air can be drawn down the chimney and into it, carrying with it the scents that your chimney emits.

Cracking open a window, turning on a fan, closing your chimney’s damper, or closing your fireplace doors can all assist in preventing air from being drawn in through your chimney.

Dead animals and debris

There is never a shortage of critters attempting to enter your chimney. What animals leave behind after entering vents (such as chimney flues) is a nasty side effect. Assuming the animals make it out alive, they often don’t carry out their stuff.

Any sticks or leaves brought in by birds, bats, or other flying pests can become a blockage in your flue.

Larger animals, such as raccoons, squirrels, possums, cats, and small rodents like moles, can enter your chimney and make their home at the bottom.

Either they will rest on top of a closed chimney damper, or they will climb down (or fall) into your firebox and establish a cozy little home for themselves and their young.

Sometimes, these animals get stuck in your flue. The mother animals can occasionally enter and exit to excrete waste; however, the young animals are trapped in the chimney and must use their fireplace as a restroom, which makes the situation worse.

If you have determined you have animals in your chimney, you should get in touch with the relevant authorities in your area and ask them to come and remove these animals.

Tricks to get rid of the fireplace smells

Keep the chimney clean all the time

You shouldn’t wait until the day that a chimney cleaning professional comes to clean your unit. You should always exercise best practices that keep your unit clean at all times.

When you put out the fire, make sure that you sweep up all of the debris and ash; otherwise, it will leave a horrible smokey smell.

You should use a chimney cap or cover since it is an amazing or sensible way to ensure that nothing from the outside enters your property and also prevents moisture from entering.

Finally, maintain your chimney’s cracks to a minimum; otherwise, the chimney cap and other hacks will be ineffective.

Absorb the smells using charcoal.

A natural product that can absorb odors is charcoal. What you should do is move a bucket with charcoal briquettes and damp bits of old newspaper closer to the fireplace, then allow the charcoal to do the work.

Deodorize your chimney with vinegar.

Did you know vinegar is a powerful deodorizer and a natural way to get rid of the harsh soot and ash stink around your fireplace?

There are several ways to use vinegar for cleaning, and they all assist in controlling the foul odor of the fireplace, such as:

  • A dish of vinegar will absorb all of the aromas emanating from a fireplace.
  • Mix water and vinegar in a spray bottle and sprinkle the fireplace surround.
  • Alternatively, spray it on a towel and wave it.
  • If you choose to deodorize it with vinegar, make sure not to combine it with bleach or ammonia. In this circumstance, it emits a noxious gas that may be dangerous or even fatal.

Undertake monthly inspections

You should make it a habit to undertake a monthly inspection to eradicate odors from your fireplace. For example, if you performed all of the cleaning measures outlined above but the smell is still there, the issue is with airflow in your room.

That is why you must schedule a chimney inspection Elicott City. The inspection will uncover the actual problem with your unit.

You can do the inspection by yourself but for the best outcome, let a professional do it for you.

The post Reasons Your Chimney Is Smelling and What You Should Do About It first appeared on First Class Chimney Services.

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Signs of Chimney Damage to Look Out for this Summer

While you soak in the summer sun and enjoy outdoor cookouts, it’s easy to forget about your chimney. But it’s important that you take a moment to check for any chimney damage and address it before it worsens during the winter months. Regular maintenance and awareness can prevent costly repairs and ensure that your chimney is safe.

At Best Chimney Services, our top priority is making sure your chimney is safe. Our team of knowledgeable and personable technicians is dedicated to teaching our clients what to look out for and to lean on us when problems arise. Schedule your chimney inspection with us to make sure your chimney is in good condition for the upcoming seasons. In the meantime, here are some key signs of chimney damage to look out for this summer:

Cracked or Spalling Bricks

One of the most visible signs of chimney damage is cracked or spalling bricks. This occurs when water enters the bricks, freezes, and causes the surface to peel, flake, or pop out. Over time, this can lead to structural issues. If you notice any deterioration, it’s essential to address it promptly to prevent further damage.

Damaged Mortar Joints

Inspect the mortar joints between the bricks. Damaged mortar can allow water to seep into the chimney, leading to further erosion and potential structural instability. Repointing, or replacing the damaged mortar, is crucial to maintaining the chimney’s integrity.

White Staining (Efflorescence)

Are you noticing that your chimney is turning white? Well, that’s a sign of excess moisture inside your chimney. White staining, also known as efflorescence, appears as white, chalky residue on the exterior of the chimney. While it can be mostly cleaned off, it’s only temporary.  It’s important to address the underlying moisture problem to prevent it from returning or more severe damage developing.


Rust on the damper or firebox is a clear indication of excessive moisture within the chimney. Rust can cause the damper to operate improperly and may lead to further deterioration of metal components. If you spot rust, it’s a sign that your chimney needs professional attention.

Firebox Damage

Despite being the most visible, many homeowners forget to check on their firebox. We recommend inspecting the firebox for any cracks or signs of wear because damage in the firebox can reduce the efficiency of your fireplace and pose a safety risk. or Repairing the firebox can restore its function and ensure safe operation for the winter.

Unpleasant Odors

If you notice a strong, unpleasant odor coming from your chimney, then give us a call immediately. This could be a sign of creosote buildup, animal infestations, or moisture issues. If creosote buildup is the case, then this could put you at risk for a chimney fire. A professional chimney sweep can diagnose the cause and clean the chimney to eliminate the odor.

Book an Inspection with Best Chimney Services this Summer

Summer is the perfect time for chimney repairs and cleanings, so don’t wait to schedule an appointment! Regular chimney maintenance is essential for the safety of your chimney and your home, so stay vigilant and address problems before they can become severe. If you’ve noticed any of the chimney damages we mentioned above, don’t hesitate to give us a call so we can take care of the necessary repairs. Check out our blog post for more summer chimney problems to look out for.

The post Signs of Chimney Damage to Look Out for this Summer appeared first on Boston's Best Chimney.

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