Chimney Care Company's Blog
So often, we focus our chimney maintenance efforts on sweeping and keeping our chimneys clear of creosote and debris to ward of the dangers of a chimney fire. While chimney sweeping is undoubtedly important, your chimney’s No. 1 enemy, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), is water. Fortunately, you can keep your chimney — and your home — safe from water damage with a waterproofing treatment from ChimneySaver.
The masonry materials many chimneys are constructed of are highly porous. Because your chimney rises high above your roof-line, it sees little protection from driving rain and melting snow. All of that water that comes into contact with your chimney is drawn into the chimney’s bricks and mortar. That can lead to several problems. The chimney itself can become damaged when temperatures drop and the water inside the chimney freezes and expands. The expanding water causes bricks and mortar to crack and crumble away. Over time, that damage can allow more water to penetrate the chimney, and it can weaken the entire chimney structure.
Additionally, moisture that enters through the chimney can damage your entire chimney and fireplace system. The damper can warp and rust, as can any metal components of the fireplace, including fireplace doors, fireboxes and fireplace grates. Moisture inside the chimney can cause flue tiles to crack or spall, and moisture into the chimney can cause a musty, smoky odor to fill your home. If chimney water damage is left unchecked, the leak can gain access to the rest of your home’s structure, causing mold to grow and wooden supports to rot away.
Protecting your chimney with ChimneySaver.
ChimneySaver has been protecting chimneys from water damage for more than 20 years. The solution is applied to the outside of your chimney, and once it is in place, it prevents more than 99 percent of moisture from entering your chimney’s masonry. At the same time, ChimneySaver still allows your chimney to “breathe.” That means vapors put off by your fireplace, which often includes water, can still exit through the chimney walls. Unlike ChimneySaver, other chimney waterproofing treatments can trap moisture, which can lead to crumbling, spalling masonry.
ChimneySaver’s water-based formula is environmentally friendly. It won’t leave a glossy finish on your chimney, and in addition to protecting your chimney from freeze-thaw damage, ChimneySaver can protect your chimney from mold and mildew growth and efflorescent stains. ChimneySaver’s waterproofing solution also comes with a 10-year warranty.
Call the Chimney Care Co. to protect your chimney from water damage!
If you want to keep your masonry chimney safe from water damage, call the Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment today! We can apply ChimneySaver’s waterproofing solution to protect your chimney from freeze-thaw damage, unsightly stains and mold, and to save you from have to repair costly water damage down the road.
The leading professional organizations for the hearth and chimney industry focus heavily on education. These groups know that it is important that chimney sweeps and fireplace technicians know everything they need to install, service and maintain fireplaces, heating stoves and chimneys to protect their customers and their customers’ homes. For that reason, these groups provide chimney sweeps with training courses, continuing education opportunities, conferences and plenty of information to keep sweeps’ skills sharp and make sure they stay up to date on new industry technologies, products and techniques.
Here are some of the things chimney sweeps learn as they undergo their professional certifications:
- The science behind how wood burns within the fireplace, and how creosote develops within the chimney;
- Industry best practices for cleaning, installing, repairing and maintaining fireplaces, fireplace inserts, heating stoves and chimneys;
- The proper clearances for fireplaces and chimneys during installation;
- How to select the right size heating appliance for a home;
- How to determine if a home’s ventilation system is adequate for a new fireplace or heating stove; and
- Codes and standards for installing fireplaces, heating stoves, vents and chimneys.
While training and education is the cornerstone of professional certifications, the certifications carry weight beyond that. The chimney sweeps and companies who become certified by or join the membership of industry organizations also agree to follow by those groups’ codes of ethics. That means that when you hire a certified chimney professional, you know that you are not only getting a knowledgeable professional, but also a professional who will treat you courteously and who will not take advantage of you.
Some of the things chimney sweeps agree to in signing industry codes of ethics include:
- Following industry best practices in performing their work;
- Adhering to local codes and manufacturers’ recommendations when installing, cleaning and servicing heating appliances;
- Representing their company honestly to customers;
- Educating their customers on safe operation of home-heating appliances; and
- Behaving in a professional and respectable manner when serving as a sweep or in representing the industry or their company.
The Chimney Care Co.’s professional certifications
If you are looking for a chimney sweep you can trust, look no further than the Chimney Care Co.! We take our professional certifications and memberships seriously, and we are proud members of the CSIA, the National Chimney Sweep Guild, the HPBA and the NFPA. Call to schedule an appointment today!
Have you burned your last fire for the winter season? If you haven’t yet, you likely will soon. As the annual fire-burning season ends, it’s important that you properly close out your fireplace for the spring. When you’re sure you won’t be burning any more fires for the spring, there are a few things you should do to ensure that your fireplace and chimney will be in good shape when the fall rolls around.
Look for any signs of damage
With whipping winds, freezing temperatures and plenty of wet weather, winter is hard on your chimney. Spring is the time to examine your chimney and fireplace for any signs of damage. On the outside of your home, walk around your chimney and look for cracked or crumbling bricks and mortar, stains or discoloration on your chimney, or any other changes to your chimney. If you are able to see your chimney top, or easily venture onto your roof to check it, make sure that your chimney cap is damage free and securely in place, that your chimney crown or chimney chase cover is in good repair and that the flashing remains securely against the base of your chimney without any signs of cracks or corrosion.
Inside the fireplace, look for rust on fireplace doors, grates and the damper, and make sure your firebox is free from any cracks, crumbling tiles or other damage. Check the ceiling and walls for any discoloration or signs of a leak. If you spot any damage, don’t wait to call in a chimney sweep! Spring and summer are the best time for repairs.
Clean and close out your fireplace
Don’t be tempted to leave ashes or other fireplace debris in the firebox for the summer. Ashes are corrosive, and can cause undue damage to your firebox if they are left to sit. When you know the ashes have fully cooled since your last fire, use a fireplace broom and shovel or an ash vacuum to clear the ashes and debris. Ashes can be thrown away with your regular trash or turned into fertilizer for your lawn or garden.
If you have a gas fireplace that doesn’t require cleaning, make sure you turn off the pilot light. In all fireplaces, you will want to make sure that the damper is closed for the summer. A closed damper will ensure that conditioned air stays in and that any animals or pests that might make their way into your chimney stay out of your home.
Have your chimney swept
Fall might be the traditional time for a chimney sweeping, but spring is a good time for a chimney sweeping, too! You will want to have your chimney swept in the spring if you missed your fall cleaning, if you used your fireplace heavily this winter or if you notice foul smells coming from your fireplace in warmer weather. If your chimney was swept in the fall and shouldn’t need a spring cleaning; think ahead — Schedule your fall chimney sweeping and inspection now so you don’t have to worry about it as summer is drawing to a close!
If you notice chimney damage, or to schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection, call the Chimney Care Co. today!
Winter weather can be rough, and it can be especially rough on your masonry chimney. Snow, sleet, ice and freezing temperatures can all damage your chimney during the winter months, and it’s important that you are aware of the signs of winter chimney damage so you can stay on top of needed repairs.
Cold weather can damage your chimney’s masonry much like it damages the roadways and causes potholes each winter. Water penetrates your masonry’s porous surfaces. Once trapped inside, that moisture freezes and expands, causing your chimney’s masonry to crack and crumble.
That cracking and crumbling can have a major, negative impact on your chimney and your home. First and foremost, it can cause your chimney to look unsightly, harming your home’s aesthetics. Secondly, cracks and weaknesses in your chimney’s masonry can allow water to gain entry into the chimney’s interior or into your home’s structure, which can cause serious damage to walls, ceilings, your fireplace or heating stove, and your chimney flue. Finally, if left unchecked and allowed to progress, the cracking and crumbling of your chimney’s masonry can cause the chimney structure itself to become weakened and even fail.
Spotting Cold Weather Damage
It is important to be on the lookout for winter chimney damage so that you can have any damage addressed as soon as possible to prevent further deterioration. Some signs of freeze-thaw and winter water damage include:
- Crumbling mortar
- Spalling, or the popping off of pieces of chimney bricks
- Cracking or crumbing of the chimney crown
- Staining on walls or ceilings around the chimney
- Crumbling pieces of chimney flue tiles found inside the firebox
- Rusting of the chimney damper, fireplace grate or fireplace doors.
If you notice any of these signs of chimney masonry damage, it is important to call in chimney professionals to have your chimney inspected and repaired. When you ignore winter chimney damage, it only get worse over time.
Preventing Cold Weather Masonry Damage
To prevent winter masonry damage, your primary goal should be protecting your chimney from water and moisture. A chimney cap prevents water from running down your chimney flue and doing damage; make sure that your chimney cap is in place and in good repair. Your chimney’s crown deflects water away from the chimney flue and should provide some protection to the exterior sides of your chimney. During your annual chimney inspection, make sure you ask your sweep if your chimney crown has been properly constructed and is free from damage. Finally, chimney waterproofing provides a protective barrier for your chimney’s masonry that seals out water to prevent freeze-thaw damage.
If winter’s cold weather has been hard on your chimney’s masonry, call the chimney experts at The Chimney Care Co. We can evaluate wintertime chimney damage and restore your chimney’s look and function.
We live in an era of online reviews. Before most people make a purchasing or hiring decision — whether it’s deciding which restaurant to go to or which contractor to hire — they research the business to see what others have said about the business online. An online review can greatly hurt or help a business’s success.
What you might not realize is that when you provide a review of your chimney sweep, you benefit more than just the company; you help your neighbors and even yourself.
How reviews help the business
It is pretty clear that a well-reviewed business likely will do better than one with bad reviews. If you have a positive experience with your chimney sweep, you absolutely should provide them with a good online review! Providing your chimney sweep with a positive online review is a great way to support a small, local business and to thank your chimney sweep for their exemplary service.
How reviews help your neighbor
As we have observed, most people now research businesses online before they make hiring or purchasing decision. Your online review can help you neighbor to make a good decision. An honest review can help steer your neighbors to the right company, saving them from the hassle or dealing with poor service or from wasting their money all together. Additionally, your review can help your neighbor make an educated purchasing decision that they feel confident with.
How reviews help you
You might not realize it, but leaving online reviews of your chimney sweep can help you, too! Potential customers aren’t the only ones who read online reviews; the companies that are reviewed read those reviews as well. A smart company will learn from and react to those reviews. A good online review will detail honestly what you did and did not like about your chimney service. Your chimney sweep will read your honest feedback and work to improve what you did not like, which means you will see better service the next time you are in the market for chimney services.
Keep in mind that there are a few guidelines involved in writing a good online review that helps your neighbor, the business and you. Never write a review while you are upset about the service, as others will see that anger and question the fairness of your review, and the business likely will be less willing to help you resolve the issue you are upset about. Second, make describe the service in detail. Include pertinent details that will give others a clear picture of your service. Finally, make sure your review is free of grammatical and spelling errors, as well as typos. Others are less likely to take your review seriously if it is riddled with obvious mistakes.
Leaving an online review for your chimney sweep won’t take you very long, and your efforts will be appreciated by your neighbors and your chimney sweep — and hopefully, you will be rewarded with even better service in the future!