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How to Keep Animals Out of Your Chimney this Summer

The arrival of spring brings a renewal of nature.  Flowers bloom, days start to get warmer, and best of all, babies of every species are born.  These babies are adorable and endearing, that is until you find a nest of them in your chimney.  That’s when, without a chimney inspection and cleaning, the trouble starts.

Depending on the area of the country you live in, your chimney could be home to a multitude of wildlife.  Squirrels, raccoons, and birds are the most prevalent.  Some other areas are prone to bats, mice, and rats.

It would be wise to remember the animals in your chimney may be bringing parasites with them.   Those parasites can be anything from tics and gnats to fleas and mites.  When the animals leave, the parasites don’t always go with them.  Those same parasites will start looking for another source of food, you and your family.

What happens if an animal dies in your chimney?  You not only have a decaying dead animal in your chimney, but it will also be attracting flies.  Those flies will find a way into your home, carrying disease with them.

The key to keeping animals out of your chimney is proactive rather than reactive.  There are several steps a homeowner can take to avoid visitors in any part of a chimney.

chimney inspection, rocky hill ct

Annual inspection

A chimney inspection will provide knowledge of the condition of your chimney—the best time of year for a chimney inspection in the spring.  After using your fireplace all winter, it’s essential to check the creosote buildup and the inner workings of the chimney.  The chimney sweep can check to see any wildlife setting up housekeeping anywhere in or on the chimney.

Cut Back All Avenues To The Chimney

Cutting back all branches, vines, and other accesses into your chimney is the best deterrent for wildlife.  Animals, like many things in nature, take the path of least resistance.  If it is too much work, they will find another place to nest.

Chimney Caps

One of the best ways to stop wildlife from entering is to place a chimney cap and sturdy screen on the outside opening to the chimney.  These two create the best defense against all animals, twigs, branches, and dried leaves.  A homeowner can install a chimney cap, but it is highly recommended to hire a chimney repair expert to install and guarantee their work.

keep animals out of chimneys, farmington ctPlace a Decoy on or Near the Chimney

Placing a ‘scarecrow’ decoy animal in the vicinity of the chimney, more than just birds will be frightened away.  An owl, hawk, or eagle decoy should frighten away most smaller animals.

Putting these suggestions into play will go a long way in preventing and keeping animals out of your chimney and out of your home.

Northeastern Chimney, LLC has been in the business of helping homeowners for nearly 40 years.  Each year they clean and service hundreds of chimneys in the area.

Techs will be on time for each service call, with clean uniforms and badges for identification. Their technicians are trained continually on the newest equipment and techniques for cleaning and repairing chimneys. Each technician will clean and inspect the chimney and will leave the premises as they found it.  Clean.

Anything chimney needs Northeastern Chimney, LLC.

Northeastern Chimney, LLC.

37 Cody Street

West Hartford, Connecticut 06110

Phone: 860-233-5770

 

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

How Summer Storms can Damage Your Chimney

Summer storms that dump huge amounts of rain in short periods of time can be problematic for a home causing damage to your chimney system. In fact, if the system isn’t properly maintained, any rain any time can lead to serious issues.

Here are some things you need to know about chimneys and rain.

chimney leak, independence moWater + chimneys = bad recipe

As long as the bricks and mortar and certain components that make up your chimney system are in excellent shape, rain from summer storms shouldn’t be anything to worry about. Unfortunately, most chimneys and their components are not in perfect shape.

Water that infiltrates a chimney system will cause deterioration, leading to potentially expensive repairs to both the chimney and adjacent areas within the home.

Rain can get into chimney systems in several ways. Here are some of the most common.

Cracks in the chimney crown: The concrete chimney crown at the top of the chimney can become cracked and allow water to seep through it and affect the bricks below.

A missing or damaged chimney cap: Chimney caps seal off the flue opening. With a damaged cap or no cap at all, water has a free ride into the chimney system.

Cracked or loose bricks: Water can get into these cracks and then freeze, which expands it and causes further damage. Eventually, the masonry can be compromised to the point the chimney leans or falls apart.

Decayed mortar joints: Water also can move into minor cracks in your chimney’s mortar and begin a cycle of decay and destruction, making your chimney weak, vulnerable and dangerous.

Warped, rusted or missing chimney flashing: The flashing that seals the gap between the roof and the exterior chimney must be solid, flat and secure. Water that gets past the flashing can damage interior chimney masonry and building materials of the home.

Signs of chimney water damage

Watch for these signs of water damage in your chimney:

  • Discolored or damp patches on walls and the ceiling near the chimney/fireplace
  • Water in the firebox
  • Strong musty odors coming from the fireplace, attic or crawl spaces
  • White staining on exterior chimney masonry
  • Crumbling masonry on the roof near the chimney
  • Leaning chimney

If the area where you live is prone to lightning during summer storms, visually inspect your chimney when the weather clears up to look for signs of lightning damage to the masonry and all exposed chimney components.

If you find damage or suspect that damage may exist, contact a local chimney repair company and have the situation resolved. Getting chimneys into tip top shape always starts with a proper chimney inspection.

chimney inspection, olathe ksAnnual chimney inspections

It’s advisable to schedule annual chimney inspections – even if you live in a relatively dry region. Only through a proper inspection can you know the exact condition of your chimney and its components and get on top of any repair work that’s needed.

Licensed chimney inspectors have the training and equipment to thoroughly inspect your chimney’s masonry, flue liner, venting capacity, crown, cap, flashing and more. Regular inspections can save you a lot of money and keep your chimney safe and efficient all year long.

Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS, will help you prevent damage to your chimney caused by sudden summer storms. If damage already exists, we’ll fix it. Speak with a chimney expert today at (913) 236-7141.

The post How Summer Storms can Damage Your Chimney appeared first on Fluesbrothers Chimney Service.

Chimney Company: 3 Things To Do For Your Chimney During Summer

Homeowners use their chimneys only during winter. This means that most of them neglect the chimneys during summer. While this is the trend with most homeowners, this shouldn’t be the case with you. Here are some of the things recommended by chimney repair professionals that you can do for your chimney during the hot months of the year:

Install a chimney damper

A chimney damper is located inside the chimney and it comes in handy during summer—when you aren’t using the chimney. The unit prevents animals and birds from getting access to your house. The damper has also been shown to prevent cool air from escaping the house. This aids in lowering your air conditioning bill. If your chimney doesn’t have a damper this is the best time to install it.

There are two main types of dampers that you can install: Throat and top sealing dampers. Throat dampers are made up of a metal flap and track. The flap is usually controlled by a lever and can move in different ways including: Up and down, side to side, or in and out. While throat dampers protect your house from animals and birds they don’t provide a tight seal thus don’t prevent cold air from escaping your house. The reason for this is because they are made from metal that doesn’t form a good seal.

Since they are made from metal, they tend to suffer from extreme summer heat. When it cools water droplets form on it and drips down the chimney walls. The dampers have been shown to warp over time thus failing to form a barrier between the fireplace and chimney.

Top sealing dampers sit at the top of the chimney. They are loved by many as they form a tight seal that not only prevents animals and birds from getting the chimney, but also prevents cool air from escaping.

Schedule chimney cleaning and inspection

Since you aren’t using the chimney, this is the best time to hire a chimney contractor to clean and inspect the chimney for any problems that might be there. When problems are identified during inspection you have ample time to repair them. Since you aren’t in a hurry, the chimney technician tends to do a great job.

Buy seasoned wood

If you have a wood burning fireplace this is the best time to buy seasoned wood in preparation for the heating season. As you know, burning seasoned firewood reduces creosote depositions. This reduces the frequency at which you hire a chimney company to clean your chimney.

The post Blog first appeared on First Class Chimney Services.

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

Do I Need to Waterproof the Chimney?

waterproof your chimney

There are a lot of questions being asked

about waterproofing the chimney. Many think it’s a ‘nice to have’ versus a necessity. We decided to ask the certified technicians about waterproofing the chimney, and here’s what they had to say.

Q: Should bricks be waterproofed? I thought that bricks need to ‘breathe’?

Bricks are a porous material which makes it a great entry point for moisture to enter and settle. However, they do not need to breathe and therefore should be waterproofed with Superior Chimney’s Chimney Saver product. This way the water repels off of the bricks, slowing the deterioration process while still maintaining the ability to breathe.

Q: I purchased a chimney cap. It keeps the inside of the chimney dry. Is it necessary to worry about the outside of the chimney?

A: Sometimes an analogy helps. Let’s say its pouring rain outside. You’re in your everyday clothes and you need to spend the next hour outside in the rain. You get ready by putting on a wide brimmed rain hat. Is the hat protecting the rest of you from the rain?

Q: I’ve never had a problem with my chimney. Why is it important now to do it?

A: Chimneys are a living, breathing functional part of your home and its structure. Deterioration is occurring each day reacting to the heat, cold, rain, snow, wind and freeze/thaw cycles of winter. It chips away at the brick and mortar causing it to crack and break down over time. Once a thorough inspection of the bricks and mortar are complete, we’ll inform you of the best way to repair (if needed) and install Chimney Saver. It will help to preserve and maintain the existing appearance and integrity of your chimney.  

Q: I have no idea what’s going on with my chimney. It’s simply too high to get up there.

A: We understand. We’re safety trained to assess the best way to get up on top of the roof to inspect the chimney. When we’re up there, we’ll take pictures of the chimney so you can see for yourself what it looks like. We’ll show you with the pictures and explain what is going on and how we will repair it, if there are any issues. Once all is good to go, then the Chimney Saver application can be applied for long term protection.

Q: Can I get it inspected?

A: Sure, call us at 877-244-6349. See you soon.


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

Chimney Repair: 3 Common Gas Fireplace Problems And How To Fix Them

In addition to being clean, efficient and economical, a gas fireplace also requires less attention than its wood fireplace counterpart. While the fireplace is great, it tends to develop a number of problems that include:

Soot buildup

Unlike in a wood burning fireplace where black soot buildup is a by-product of the fire burning, soot on a gas burning fireplace is an emergency issue that should be addressed immediately by a certified gas fireplace repair professional. If there is soot on the fireplace it means that logs, venting system and firebox are clogged. This results to an inefficient fireplace. A clogged gas fireplace puts your house at the risk of fire.

In addition to soot, other items such as dirt, dust and dead insects also accumulate in the burner and fireplace orifices causing it to work inefficiently. To fix the problem schedule regular gas fireplace maintenance.

Fireplace wear and tear

Any device in your home undergoes wear and tear. According to chimney contractors, a gas fireplace also undergoes wear and tear. The wear and tear is more pronounced when it undergoes periods of no use and periods of high use. Due to wear and tear, it’s common for valves and gas connections to leak. It’s also common for gas logs and gas fireplace inserts to move from their intended place. To protect your home and keep the fireplace in perfect working condition, you should hire a chimney company to inspect and fix the fireplace once a week. You can hire the company more often if you actively use your fireplace.

Fireplace venting problems

Due to the warmth in the chimney, bats, birds, raccoons and squirrels build nests in it. The nests, especially those made by squirrels can block the chimney flue resulting to huge venting problems. In addition to nests, it’s also common for birds and animals to die in the chimney putting a further strain on your venting system. Just like in the above problems, the best remedy for this problem is regularly inspection of the vent and fixation of any problem. If there is anything that causes a blockage, remove it immediately.

Conclusion

While a gas fireplace is great, it comes with its responsibilities. Since it uses gas, it puts your house at greater danger of fire. Studies show that neglected gas fireplaces are highly susceptible to explosions. It’s also common to have fires if there are leaks or the fireplace components are malfunctioning. As I have said above, schedule regular inspection of the fireplace. For peace of mind ensure that the inspection is done by an experienced chimney repair company.

The post Blog first appeared on First Class Chimney Services.

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

Parge Your Chimney Smoke Chamber this Summer

corbeled masonry chamber, blue springs moMany homes in the Kansas City area have masonry chimneys built with corbeled brick, and homeowners may need to parge their smoke chamber this summer. While your wood-burning fireplace was keeping your family warm and cozy in the winter, the smoke and fumes were passing through an area known as the smoke chamber as it travels up the flue to exit the chimney.

Due to its proximity to the firebox, the smoke chamber is a high-heat area.  The stair-stepped design of corbeling can create problems for homeowners, highlighting the importance of annual chimney inspections, especially in older homes. That’s because the exposed jagged edges can allow moisture to pool on the brick surface, accelerating masonry deterioration. It also reduces airflow efficiency and results in the additional build-up of combustible deposits, increasing the risk of fire and exposure to carbon monoxide fumes. If smoke chamber defects are not corrected, the high heat can ignite the creosote and cause a chimney fire. Even a small chimney fire can spread to nearby combustible building materials and cause a house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), excessive creosote in the chimney is the leading cause of residential structure fires.

What is Parging

smoke chamber parging, lenexa ksParging is the process of smoothing the jagged edges and repairing any masonry damage like cracks or gaps in the brick and mortar. We use Heatshield® to make smoke chamber repairs because the cerfractory sealant increases the chimney’s integrity while resisting moisture, corrosive gases, and the extreme temperatures of the smoke chamber. It is UL listed and tested to ASTM C-199 and can withstand temperatures of over 2,500°F. A smooth smoke chamber surface reduces the build-up of creosote and soot deposits in the smoke chamber and reduces fire risk. It also improves the airflow efficiency in the chimney, making it easier for smoke and dangerous gases to vent out of the home.

Does My Chimney Need to Be Parged?

Both NFPA guidelines and the International Residential Code (IRC) state that if the inside surface of the smoke chamber has corbeled masonry, it shall be parged smooth. However, it is difficult for homeowners to determine whether their chimney needs parging without a chimney inspection. The smoke chamber is one of the many parts of the chimney system checked during an annual inspection. If it has been more than two years since your last chimney inspection, we highly encourage scheduling a level 2 chimney inspection this summer, including a video scan of the interior surfaces. A video scan can spot minor cracks and other imperfections in the masonry that are more difficult to see with a visual inspection allowing repairs before they can cause more severe issues.  When the Certified Chimney Sweep® observes corbeling in the smoke chamber, parging will be recommended to bring the fireplace and chimney into compliance with current building codes and to reduce the risk of fire and carbon monoxide exposure.

The post Parge Your Chimney Smoke Chamber this Summer appeared first on Fluesbrothers Chimney Service.

5 Ways Chimney Leaks Can Happen Even If You Never Use the Fireplace

5 Ways Chimney Leaks Can Happen Even If You Never Use the Fireplace by Superior Chimney, Lombard, IL

Chimney leak? “What do you mean? I don’t use my fireplace.” There are many homeowners that simply don’t use their fireplace. However, they do a great job of decorating all around it.  Just because you don’t use the fireplace doesn’t mean that chimney leaks can’t form.

Here are 5 ways chimney leaks form even if you’ve never turned on your fireplace.

  1. Rain: Rain coming in right from the top! Chimneys without a chimney cap will get plenty of rain right directly into the chimney. A chimney cap fits snug around the opening of the chimney with includes a steel mesh to allow proper ventilation while eliminating animal entry and a solid piece of steel that extends over the mesh. This is to ensure the rain falls away from the opening.  Every chimney needs a chimney cap for the same reasons every home needs a roof!

A chimney cap does more than just keep rain out of the flue. It also helps to keep birds, animals and debris out of the chimney as well. Some people wonder, “How can debris get into the chimney?” Debris isn’t just garbage, it’s also leaves, twigs, windblown items and animal nesting to name a few.

2. Cracks in the Chimney Crown: If you don’t use your fireplace or had the fireplace inspected, then the words chimney crown wouldn’t mean too much to you. However, it’s a vital component to the outside chimney structure. A chimney crown is the cement slab that is located on top of the chimney. The chimney crown or the concrete slab has a purpose. It keeps the rain out of the chimney structure.

Cracks in the chimney crown occur when the structure shifts due to expansion and contraction in the freeze thaw cycles of winter months. For whatever reason for the shifting, it affects the chimney crown. Hairline cracks or even larger cracks is the perfect entry for even the smallest amount of water. As soon as it identifies the weak spot in the chimney crown, in the water goes!

3. Chimney Liner: If you have a newer home, chances are you have a chimney liner. However, if you have an older home, the situation may change. Let’s start there and take a look if there’s something lining your chimney.

Even if you’ve never used the fireplace, the chimney is still being used by your heating appliances. Condensation develops which causes deterioration of the bricks and mortar. One of the quickest ways to notice condensation is if you have your chimney glass doors closed and you see condensation or water droplets on the glass, that needs to be taken care of ASAP.

4. Chimney Flashing: On June 12th, we talked about chimney flashing… what it is and when to repair it. Chimney flashing is what connects and protects the exterior of the chimney where the roofing system meets it. If the chimney flashing has come away from the home, it is exposed to water penetrating the inside of the home.

Chimney flashing looks like steps cut into the bricks, then sealed with caulk. But as weather has its own mind and way, these elements weaken bonds & seals causing leaks to occur.

5. Chimney bricks and mortar: Chimney bricks and mortar are pretty tough materials, but like any material over time outside in the weather elements, it begins to deteriorate. As it does the bricks and mortar form cracks. Water and snow have a way of quickly finding those small cracks and make their way in… Especially through the freeze and thaw cycles of our winter months

These 5 ways a chimney leak can from has nothing to do with you turning on your fireplace…or not. That’s way the CSIA, or the Chimney Safety Institute of America, encourages all fireplace owners to have it swept and checked each year. Keep your home, family and chimney safe by getting a sweep and inspection. Contact us at 877-244-6349 to have your chimney and fireplace checked today.


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

Chimney Company: 3 Gas Fireplace Options That You Have

Gas fireplaces are loved by people with busy lifestyles. Unlike the traditional wood burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces are convenient, soot-free and don’t require you to haul, chop and store firewood. If you lead a busy life and would like to install a gas fireplace in your home, here are options that you can go with:

Gas fireplace inserts

If you have a traditional fireplace, gas fireplace inserts make it possible for you to upgrade the fireplace in a gas fireplace without constructing a new unit. In addition to this, the inserts have been shown to prevent heat lose in gas fireplaces. This results to your fireplace being energy efficient thus saving you plenty of money.

The inserts come in different styles such as modern, chic, traditional, contemporary and rustic. You should go with an insert that is perfect for the impression that you want to create. In addition to the units coming in different styles they also come in different sizes. To buy the right unit, take your time to measure the size of your fireplace.

Free standing gas stoves

They resemble the traditional wood stoves. In fact if you are not keen, you can mistake them for wood burning units. To give them a traditional look you have to install logs. You can buy the logs together with the gas stove or buy separately. Just like the traditional wood stoves, you have to clean them regularly. This is to prevent creosote from accumulating to worrying levels. In addition to this you also have to regularly hire a chimney company to inspect the stove and logs and ensure that they are in perfect working condition.

ZC gas fireplaces

Zero gas fireplaces are ideal if you are looking to heat a small space. They are unique in that you can place them directly against combustible materials or a few inches from the flammable materials. Since you don’t need any buffer zone, you can place them even close to your seat or bed. The units have been found to be highly efficient thus heat your home at a low cost.

They come in different styles and models. There are those made from heavy iron and other made from glass. For a great look, go for a unit that complements your home décor.

Conclusion

These are the options that you can go with if looking to install a gas burning fireplace. You should consult your chimney contractor and settle on the best appliance for your home.

The post Blog first appeared on First Class Chimney Services.

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

What You Need to Know Before You Install a Fire Pit

Just like fireplaces, fire pits come in many shapes and sizes with the purpose of adding a little warmth and a lot of beauty to a backyard setting. Just about everyone enjoys a fire pit, but here are a few things to know and choices to make before you run out and have one installed.

Check with local zoning

Before taking another step, check with your city or county zoning office to make sure fire pits are lawful where you live.

gas fire pit, mission hills ksGas or wood?

Fire pits, whether pre-made or custom-built, can run on either gas/propane or wood fuel. Gas is easier to ignite and extinguish. Wood gives you the nostalgic look and aroma that many people love. With a gas fire pit, you’ll have to run a line to the appliance; with a wood fire pit, you’ll need to purchase (or chop yourself), haul and store logs.

Have it built in a factory, or constructed on your property

You can buy fine fire pits that are fully contained and ready to set up in your backyard. You also can have a contractor who’s experienced in fire-pit construction build you one with all your exact specifications. Shop around before making a decision on which way to go.

Safe placement

Technically, a fire pit can go anywhere in your backyard where there’s space for it, but safe placement is always the goal.

  • Keep the fire pit away from walls of the house, fencing and other backyard items.
  • Place the fire pit under the open sky, not beneath tree branches or building overhangs.
  • Install the fire pit on flat ground comprised of pure dirt or cement, not on grass or in weedy areas.
  • Make sure there’s distance between the appliance and shrubbery.
  • Never place your fire pit near areas where accelerants (charcoal lighter, gasoline, etc.) are stored. Or better, never store combustibles near your fire pit.

Safe operation

safety around a fire pit, leawood ksHere are seven very important safety tips that will allow you to get years of enjoyment out of your new fire pit.

  1. Burn only wood logs or gas to make your fires. Never use clothing, pressed board, furniture, household garbage, plastics, tree branches or packing materials in your fire pit.
  2. Accelerants as mentioned above should never be used to get a fire going.
  3. Never leave an active fire pit unattended.
  4. Use hardwoods such as oak, beech and elm as they produce fewer flying sparks than redwood, spruce, pine and other softwoods.
  5. Make sure children know to stay away from the flames; very young children need to be supervised at all times when fire pit is in use.
  6. Avoid using the fire pit in heavy wind.
  7. Keep a fire extinguisher handy and train responsible family members to use it.

By following these tips and making a few simple decisions, you’ll be ready to bring an exciting new fire pit to your backyard and enjoy it safely for many years to come.

Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS hopes these tips help you in deciding if a fire pit is right for your home. For your indoors supplemental heating, we offer fireplace and stove installation, chimney cleaning and inspections and all types of repair and rebuilding work. When you need it done right, call Fluesbrothers first at (913) 236-7141.

The post What You Need to Know Before You Install a Fire Pit appeared first on Fluesbrothers Chimney Service.

Chimney Contractor: Taking A Look At The Common Causes Of A Leaky Chimney And What To Do About It

A leaking chimney is a sign of trouble to your fireplace and home. When the chimney is leaking, the chimney remains wet for long. This results to chimney deterioration. A leaking chimney is an emergency issue and you should hire a chimney masonry repair professional as soon as possible to fix it.

Why your chimney could be leaking

Some of these reasons why your chimney could be leaking include:

Lack of chimney cover: From its name, a chimney cover is a unit that covers the chimney. It’s usually placed at the top of the chimney preventing water, birds and other animals from getting into the chimney. When your chimney doesn’t have a cover, water easily enters from the top and runs down the inside of the chimney.

Cracked flashing: A chimney flashing is made from aluminum and is placed at the area where the chimney pokes above the rooftop. The flashing is designed to function as a water seal; therefore, when it’s cracked, water easily finds its way into the chimney.

Cracked chimney crown: The chimney crown is the cement portion at the top of the chimney. It’s designed and installed to keep rain out; therefore, when its damaged or cracked, rain seeps into the chimney. Cracked bricks: Most of the chimneys are made from bricks. Due to old age or trauma the bricks crack thus allowing water to find its way into the fireplace.

What to do about a leaking chimney

The cool thing with a leaking chimney problem is that it’s easy to fix. The first thing that you should do is to undertake chimney inspection. This is to identify the cause of the problem. For ideal results hire a chimney professional to undertake the inspection. If your chimney doesn’t have a chimney cover, install it. If the cap is cracked, you can either remove it entirely and replace it with a new one or coat the cover’s top surface with a waterproofing agent.

If the flashing has become loose or has peeled up, nail, caulk and tar it back into place. In addition to this also consider coating all the exposed masonry surfaces with a clear masonry waterproofing sealer. Apply two coats using a garden sprayer set at low pressure.

Conclusion

This is what you need to know about a leaking chimney. As mentioned, if you have a leaking chimney, treat it as an emergency. For ideal results, work with an experienced and certified chimney contractor.

The post Blog first appeared on First Class Chimney Services.

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

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