Our Company Blog
Your chimney may look good on the outside but can have hidden dangers lurking on the inside. A video inspection of your entire flue system is a good first step, as it will be able to spot missing or damaged mortar joints, cracks, and/or spalling that a professional may miss by doing a visual inspection alone after cleaning. If it is determined that you have a damaged chimney liner and repairing it is an option (which will save you a good chunk of change), HeatShield® can restore your chimney’s clay flue liner and save you the expense of rebuilding or relining with a stainless steel chimney liner.
What exactly is HeatShield® anyway?
HeatShield® is a chimney liner repair system that eliminates the hazards and draft problems caused by gaps, cracks, and spalling in otherwise sound masonry chimneys. It is a specially formulated “cerfractory” coating, which combines the strength of a high-fired ceramic with the heat resistance of high temperature refractory cement to restore the integrity of your chimney’s flue. This restored integrity allows your flue to properly vent hazardous flue gases up and out of your home.
Developed in Europe over 20 years ago, HeatShield® has been independently tested and has been found to exceed all American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Outlines of Investigation for chimney repair and resurfacing products.
What options are available to me?
HeatShield® provides several options to address varying degrees of chimney liner deterioration:
- Joint Repair System—recommended for the repair of defective mortar joints
- Resurfacing System—recommended for cracked or spalling chimney liners
- CeCure Sleeve Relining System—recommended for chimneys with more serious defects or those that are unlined
Your certified chimney professional will be able to let you know which option is best for your particular job depending on the severity of the identified defects. Each of the available options will help restore your chimney to its original peak level of safety and efficiency in a very timely and cost-effective manner.
The sealant is supplied as a dry powder that your chimney professional then mixes with tap water immediately before use. Once it has been applied, the compound dries to a hard ceramic-like material that’s both moisture- and corrosion-resistant. Once allowed to cure, it has been proven to withstand moisture, corrosive flue gases, and temperatures in excess of 2,900°F. ASTM rated it as a “Super-Duty” refractory mortar, which more than meets National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) and International Residential Code (IRC) requirements, as both only require “ Medium-Duty” refractory mortar for use in fireplaces and chimneys.
Remember that not all chimney liner repairs and systems are the same. For very severe flue system damage, it is possible that HeatShield® will not be the appropriate option. Chimney repair is nothing to mess around with; following professional and manufacturer instructions as well as local building and fire codes is an absolute must. Contact Chimney Care Company to schedule your next chimney inspection sooner rather than later so we can ensure that your flue system hasn’t been compromised. You owe it to yourself and to your family to take this issue very seriously. Your lives depend on it!
If you want your wood-burning fireplace to burn cleaner and more efficiently, choosing local seasoned firewood ranks high in importance. If you are not familiar with what this type of wood is, the term “seasoned” simply means dried. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), using seasoned firewood can actually improve the performance of your fireplace and chimney. Building a fire with freshly-cut, wet wood can create smoke and odor problems and promote the rapid accumulation of large creosote deposits, which are the main cause of chimney fires. Shopping for seasoned firewood can be tricky because you do not always get sufficiently dry wood. Our staff at Chimney Care Co. often suggests to our customers to find a trustworthy local firewood cutter to be sure the wood you buy has been dried or to cut their own firewood and season it themselves through proper storage. We have some tips on drying firewood we would like to share with you to help you properly dry and store your fuel.
- Cut each piece of wood to the same length. A uniform length makes the firewood easier to store. Consider the size of your firebox when determining the right length. In general, firewood should be about three inches shorter than the width or length of the firebox.
- Before you stack, split the wood. Splitting the wood in advance of stacking it improves the drying process by exposing more of the wood to the air.
- Check the moisture content. You will want to note the amount of moisture in the wood before drying it. You want the wood to reach a moisture content of 20% to be sure it is properly seasoned. To measure the exact water content in wood, you can use a moisture meter, which can be found for around $25 at a hardware store.
- Stack the wood in alternate directions. Using this stacking pattern creates better air circulation, allowing for faster drying.
- Store your firewood off the ground. To keep the bottom of your wood pile from getting wet and absorbing moisture, build a storage shed or other structure that can keep the wood at least six inches away from the ground.
- Cover the top of the pile, but leave the sides open. When building your storage shed, be sure to include a roof. A simple lean-to structure with a roof and a floor is all you will need. You can also cover your wood pile with a tarp, however, leave the sides of the pile uncovered as the tarp can trap moisture inside. You can remove the tarp when it is warm and sunny, which will speed up the drying process.
- Store your wood for at least six months to a year.[bold] The best way of knowing your wood is properly seasoned and dry enough to burn effectively is to wait at least six months before using it as firewood.
If you have any questions about local seasoned firewood, contact Chimney Care Co. today. We are happy to tell you more about the best fuel for your fire.
Replacing your old stove or fireplace has a variety of benefits, including being more environmentally friendly, keeping your family safe, and—best of all– saving money! Older wood stoves and fireplaces are not up to EPA standards, however; the majority on the market today is. You can tell if your stove is EPA certified because it will be labeled on the back. You can also check the EPA’s list of certified wood heaters. Stoves that are not already certified are not able to get certification; if your stove is not already certified, you must buy one that is.
Better Air Flow
Wood smoke is essentially wasted energy. EPA rated products have better insulation and improved air flow. With a properly installed EPA rated fireplace, you will see and smell much less smoke; which means less harmful chemicals in the environment. Because they are more efficient, there will be less creosote buildup in the chimney, lessening the risk of a fire and keeping your family and home safer.
There is also money to be saved when you make the switch. The higher efficiency means that you will spend less time and money replenishing and hauling fire wood. Making the switch means you will use up to one-third less fire wood. In addition, your purchase may qualify for a Federal Tax Credit for Consumer Energy Efficiency. Ten percent of your stove, up to five hundred dollars, may be covered. Make sure that you save all system receipts and manufacturer certifications, in case the IRS asks for proof of your energy improvements. Then, make sure to file IRS form 5695 with the rest of your tax forms.
There are some stipulations on switching your older fireplace. You cannot sell the old fireplace because if someone else is using it, it will not help the environment, which is, of course, the EPA’s main goal. The EPA recommends that the old stove be put out of commission. The new stove must also be installed by a professional. If a certified technician installs it, you can get a rebate and be assured that it will perform properly. Stoves installed by non-professionals can be deceptively dangerous. Problems with the installation may not be initially apparent—and may result in fires. Used, non-certified stoves can either be scraped or traded in with the purchase of the new one.
Deciding on which new stove or fireplace to buy may be difficult. You have the choice of wood, pellet, or gas burning and stoves, inserts, or fireplaces. It depends on your preference, needs, and budget. There’s not a one size fits all solution. Fortunately, you can make an appointment at Chimney Care Co. and we can walk you through the wide array of options. We sell and install stoves and fireplaces, so you can count on us during the entire process. Later on, you can also call us for maintenance and repairs. We do it all! Your wallet, your family, and the environment will thank you.
As your well-built masonry chimney ages, your exterior bricks and mortar are going to naturally suffer weather-related damage. Not only do older chimneys experience deterioration, newer masonry chimneys can also show signs of damage if they are not properly maintained. Unfortunately, the decaying of chimney masonry is a slow, gradual process and not always easy to spot. The biggest signs of masonry decay include cracks, holes, and crumbled bricks and mortar. All of these signs are symptoms of spalling, a term we at Chimney Care Company often have to explain to customers. We would like to take an opportunity to inform you about the causes, impact, and repair of chimney spalling damage.
What exactly is the definition of spalling?
As described by InspectAPedia, an online encyclopedia of building inspection and repair, spalling is the chipping off or loss of surface of any masonry material, including a brick chimney, a masonry block chimney, or even concrete sidewalks.
What causes spalling?
Water exposure and penetration are your masonry chimney’s biggest enemies. Most severe in colder climates, the freeze-thaw process causes major spalling damage. When water penetrates the bricks and mortar of your chimney, that water will freeze in cold temperatures and expand. As the temperatures rise and the ice thaws, parts of those bricks and mortar will break off completely due to the stress of the expansion. The more this cycle repeats in a season, the more spalling occurs, which can cause structural damage to your chimney. Other causes of spalling include masonry products that are soft, porous, improperly made, or poorly constructed.
Other than structural damage, are there other impacts of chimney spalling?
Yes, besides structural damage to your chimney, spalling can cause bricks to fall into your chimney and make it unsafe by blocking the flue. Your flue should always be inspected when your chimney suffers from spalling damage. Furthermore, holes left in your chimney structure from lost bricks and mortar increase the opportunity for water penetration, which leads to more costly damages.
How can spalling be repaired?
If the damage is not too serious, the expert masons at Chimney Care Company can fill in the holes, brick by brick. However, if your chimney has undergone severe spalling damage, it will need to be torn down to a sound level and rebuilt. When a flue has also suffered damage, rebuilding the chimney allows for new flue tiles to be installed.
What are ways to prevent spalling?
Keeping water out is crucial in preventing spalling damage. To stop water leaks, you should be sure you do not have a damaged or missing chimney crown or chimney cap. Damaged flashing also leads to water penetration of your masonry chimney. Our certified technicians at Chimney Care Company can inspect, repair, and install all three of these essential components of your chimney. We can also apply a 100% vapor-permeable waterproofing formula to further protect your masonry from water-caused spalling damage.
If you have noticed signs of spalling on your chimney, contact Chimney Care Company today. Our masons will take care of your chimney and give their full attention to every detail.
The Damage that H20 Can Cause
According to Chimney Safety Institute of America water can do a lot to ruin your chimney. The damage is often not apparent to the naked eye until it the moisture has caused a great deal of damage. Chimney Care Co. want you to know if the health and safety of your household is at risk when neglected for certain periods of time. The functionality and performance of your fireplace and chimney is also dependent on how well they are cared for.
Water as the enemy.
Weather plays a big part of a chimney’s deterioration. Winter and rainy days result to hastened damage of what most chimneys are made of except stone. Many construction materials contract during the freezing and melting process causing the materials more exposure to brittleness. We know what happens to metal when exposed to water for long periods of time as well. It rusts and eventually breaks. Wooden parts of fireplaces also deteriorate faster when experiencing weather changes.
A water leak found anywhere around the household is never a good thing. Whatever the source, once water leakage is involved the amount of damage can range from mild to severe. According to Jeff Del Guercio, who is president of the local National Association of Home Inspectors, “Water is probably the single most destructive force to a house, and a leak can go on for a long time without being noticed.”
If leaks are left unattended, it can lead not only to damaging effects on your household members’ health but can also cause mold and termite infestations. In the long run such exposure to water can cause chimneys to wear out and fall apart which in the end will call for more costly repairs.
The question is, how do we avoid or address water damage?
It is important to note that proper chimney inspections be done on a regular basis. It is best to consult experts when dealing with waterproofing your fireplace. Of course this is a good preventive measure. It may cost you more if you don’t take such measures and wait until it’s totally damaged. Schedule an appointment and inquire now. People more knowledgeable will be more than thrilled to guide you through the process.