Chimney Care Company's Blog
More than any other chimney repair, a leaky chimney should never be ignored. When leaking chimneys are neglected, they continue to allow water into the chimney system, or even into your home’s structure, causing major structural damage over time. A small chimney leak that is ignored now can mean a big home repair later.
If your home has a chimney, there are several signs of a chimney leak you should be on the lookout for:
Discoloration on your chimney’s masonry.
If your chimney is turning a funny color, that can be a sure sign that water is doing damage. White staining indicates that water is penetrating the chimney’s masonry, while black, blue or green stains can indicate mold or algae growth on your chimney’s masonry due to water penetration. Rust stains down the sides of your chimney can mean a rusting and failing chimney cap or chimney chase cover.
Water pooling in the bottom of your fireplace.
A puddle forming at the bottom of your fireplace is a clear indication that water is finding its way into your chimney’s interior.
Rusting firebox components
Rust in your fireplace means moisture is getting in somehow, likely by leaking in through your chimney. If you notice that your damper, fireplace doors or fireplace grate are rusting, your chimney should be inspected for a leak.
Cracked or spalling bricks
Masonry materials are highly porous, and the brick in your chimney will draw in moisture from rain, sleet and snow. When temperatures drop, that moisture freezes and causes the bricks to crack and crumble. If that breakdown is allowed to continue, it can lead to a larger and more problematic chimney leak, or to the structural breakdown of your chimney.
Sagging or discolored ceilings and walls
If you have water damage within your home and you think your roof might be leaking, check your chimney! Leaks around the base of the chimney can cause damage within your home, including staining on your ceiling or walls, peeling wallpaper or sagging ceilings. If left unchecked, the leak could cause wood rot and structural damage to your home’s supports.
If you notice these or any other signs of a water leak in your chimney, it is crucial to have your chimney inspected now! Any water damage will only get worse with time. Summer is the best time for chimney repairs, because the warm temperatures and sunny weather afford chimney experts the time to work and masonry materials the time to cure properly. And by scheduling your chimney repairs this summer, you can have your chimney ready to operate, and ready to resist wetter weather, before fall comes.
If your chimney is leaking, call the Chimney Care Company to schedule an appointment today! We can assess your leak and plan and execute the repairs needed to keep your home and chimney safe from further water damage.
At The Chimney Care Co., we are proud members of the Cincinnati community. For more than 25 years, we have been providing the best in chimney and fireplace care to Cincinnati, southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky. We offer a lineup of fireplace, chimney and vent services designed to keep your hearth and your home working safely and effectively.
Chimney and fireplace sweeping and inspection
To keep your home safe from dangers like chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, your fireplace, heating stove and chimney requires annual sweeping and inspection. At The Chimney Care Co., our technicians are trained and certified at clearing debris away from your chimney, servicing your fireplace or heating stove, and inspecting all of the components of your fireplace, stove and chimney. We are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild, the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, the National Fire Protection Association, and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
Fireplace and chimney repair
At The Chimney Care Co., we can solve any of your fireplace or chimney problems! We can reline your chimney flue, repair cracked or crumbling bricks on your chimney, replace a damaged chimney cap or damper, shore up a leaking chimney and service the mechanical parts of your fireplace or heating stove. We also provide preventative chimney maintenance, like chimney waterproofing!
Sales and installation
If you are looking for a new fireplace, a fireplace insert or a heating stove, The Chimney Care Co. is the company to call in the Cincinnati area. We sell and install all types of fireplaces and stoves, including wood-burning, pellet and gas appliances. We carry a range of types and styles of fireplaces, fireplace inserts and heating stoves from the best brands in the business, such as Hearthstone, Lopi, Avalon and Fireplace Xtrordinair. We also sell and install gas logs.
Dryer vent cleaning and repair
The Chimney Care Co.’s services don’t stop at fireplaces and chimneys. We also clean and repair clothing dryer vents. Dirty or damaged dryer vents keep your dryer from running efficiently and pose a fire and carbon monoxide risk to your home. We use specialized brushes and powerful vacuums to clear away any debris, and we inspect dryer vents to ensure that they are free from obstructions and damage. If our cleaning and inspection turns up a problem with your dryer itself, we can order parts and repair your dryer so they entire dryer and ventilation system once again runs safely and effectively.
If you are looking for a company in southwestern Ohio or northern Kentucky to clean, inspect or repair your fireplace, heating stove, chimney or dryer vents, look no further than The Chimney Care Co. We are proud to serve our neighbors in the Cincinnati area. Call to schedule your appointment today!
Summer is peak real estate season, when eager sellers put their houses on the market, and anxious buyers hit the streets looking for their next homes. If you will be buying or selling a home with a chimney this summer, make sure a real estate chimney inspection is part of the process.
Real estate inspection for sellers
If you have a home with a chimney you are planning to sell, a real estate inspection can be an asset in marketing your home. Most buyers love fireplaces and list them as one of their top preferred features in a home. At the same time the chimney can be a source of anxiety for homebuyers. Potential buyers may worry that chimneys aren’t structurally sound, are overdue for a sweeping or require costly maintenance. When you have your chimney swept and inspected before you sell your house, your realtor can use the inspection and sweeping to assure buyers that the fireplace they admire doesn’t come with any hidden complications.
Real estate inspections for buyers
Real estate inspections protect buyers in several ways. First and foremost, they ensure that the fireplace and chimney are safe for use. A new homeowner should not use a fireplace and chimney without first have an inspection to protect against the risk of a chimney fire, home fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Secondly, real estate inspections protect a buyer’s investment in a new home. A new house is the largest investment most people will ever make. A real estate chimney inspection helps protect buyers from purchasing a home with a structurally unsound or otherwise damaged chimney, which could mean thousands of dollars in repair costs.
The real estate inspection difference
Most home sales include a home inspection, but that is not the same as a real estate chimney inspection! Home inspectors are not chimney experts, and while they may take a glance at the fireplace and chimney, they do not have the tools or the knowledge to prove that a chimney is sound and in good working order. At The Chimney Care Co., our real estate inspections include a video inspection of the chimney flue to reveal any cracks, evidence of past chimney fires or other deterioration that might jeopardize the safety of the chimney. We also inspect all chimney masonry, the firebox and the damper to make sure there are no other defects. When we’re finished, we provide you with the video, still photographs and written recommendations for any necessary repairs, so you have a full report to present to the sellers.
If you are buying or selling a home with a chimney this summer, call The Chimney Care Co. to schedule your real estate inspection today! As a seller, the inspection gives you a valuable marketing tool, and as a buyer, it protects your investment and leaves you confident in your decision to purchase a new home.
As winter’s chill gives way to warm spring days, we tend to forget about our fireplaces and chimneys. But warmer days, especially mixed with spring’s rains or summer’s humidity, can bring on an unpleasant problem: A stinky chimney that can draft odors into your home. Fortunately, there are ways you can prevent a smelly chimney.
While most people schedule their annual chimney sweepings for the fall, a spring chimney sweeping can be one of the most effective ways to prevent a stinky chimney. Creosote, the primary target of chimney sweepings, can emit a foul, burnt-asphalt odor on hot and humid days, especially if any moisture has leaked into the chimney and come into contact with the creosote. Other common causes of bad chimney odors include animal nests, trapped or dead animals, and rotting leaves or organic debris. A spring chimney cleaning removes the root cause of chimney odors before they can be exacerbated by summer’s hot temperatures.
A spring chimney sweeping brings other advantages. It is easier to schedule appointments during the spring, when sweeps’ schedules are less busy; a spring inspection gives you time to schedule any needed repairs before you are ready to light your first fall fire; and a spring cleaning removes acidic creosote, soot and ash from your fireplace and chimney before it can do harm.
Install a top-sealing damper.
You are probably familiar with your chimney’s damper; you open it each time a you light a fire to allow smoke to exit the firebox, and you close it when the fireplace isn’t in use to block drafts. You might not be familiar with a superior damper option, the top-sealing damper. As the name implies, top-sealing dampers are installed at your chimney’s crown, and form a perfect seal around your chimney top when the damper is closed. Top-sealing dampers prevent animals, debris and moisture from entering your chimney, and when those odor-causing materials can’t get in, you drastically cut your risk of dealing with a stinky chimney each summer.
Consider a chimney exhaust fan.
Another reason unpleasant smells could be entering your home through your chimney is a faulty draft. Typically, warm air flows up your chimney and out of your house. However, negative pressure can draw air downward through the chimney and into the home, bringing with it any unpleasant smells that might otherwise stay contained within the chimney. Improper drafting can be caused by a variety of factors, but it can be solved with a chimney exhaust fan. Chimney exhaust fans are motorized fans installed atop the chimney to help pull air upward and out of the chimney. They can be used to keep smoke from flowing backward into your home, or they can be used as a vent to pull unpleasant smells, whether from your chimney or from your home, out of your home’s living spaces.
Call The Chimney Care Co!
If spring’s warmer temperatures are bringing unpleasant odors from your chimney into your home, or if you’ve dealt with a stinky chimney in the past, call The Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment today. We can help prevent the frustration and embarrassment of a stinky chimney!
Spring is the time of year when we begin to notice and address home repairs. Especially after the harsh conditions of winter, weaknesses in our home’s structures can become evident.
That includes chimneys. While masonry fireplaces and chimneys are incredibly durable, they also put up with a lot of abuse during winter months. Internally, they must cope with the extreme heat of your winter fires. Externally, they have to endure rain, ice, snow, sleet and freezing temperatures. If you start to notice damage to your chimney’s masonry this spring, The Chimney Care Co. can help repair your chimney in time for next season’s fires.
Common masonry repairs
The need for most chimney masonry repairs is obvious. There are telltale signs of damage, so you’ll know when your masonry fireplace or chimney is in need of professional attention. Some of the most common masonry repairs include:
- Crumbling mortar. Over time, your chimney’s mortar absorbs moisture, which can lead it to degrade and crumble away, leaving cracks in your chimney’s structure that can expose it to moisture damage and weaken the structure. Crumbling mortar can be easily fixed with tuckpointing, which involves removing the damaged mortar and replacing it with new mortar.
- Spalling bricks. Another common chimney problem caused by moisture is spalling, or crumbling bricks. These bricks can be replaced to prevent your chimney from losing its structural integrity.
- Cracked or crumbling chimney crown. Many chimney crowns, the masonry structure that surrounds the top of chimney, were improperly constructed from the wrong materials, causing them to crack and crumble quickly. Even well-built chimney crowns can fail over time and require repair or rebuilding.
- Cracked masonry. Masonry can crack for a variety of reasons. Flue tiles and firebox masonry can crack if they are “shocked” by the extreme heat of your fire or a chimney fire. We can repair cracked tiles or bricks, or rebuild entire fireboxes, if needed.
- Structural weaknesses. Water damage, settling foundations and seismic events can cause chimney structures to become weak. Those weaknesses can be revealed in a leaning chimney or in large chimney cracks. If your chimney structure is failing, The Chimney Care Co. can rebuild it quickly and effectively.
Protecting your chimney
By and large, the majority of chimney masonry damage is caused by water. Masonry materials are porous and can draw water in over time. When temperatures drop, water inside the masonry freezes and expands, causing some of the cracking, crumbling and structural weaknesses we’ve described. As such, it’s important to take measures to ensure your chimney is as protected as possible from water. That means making sure you have a secure chimney cap and a chimney crown that is in good repair. We can apply ChimneySaver’s waterproofing product to your chimney, which keeps moisture out while still allowing your chimney’s masonry to breathe as it needs to.
Most importantly, if you’ve noticed any of the common masonry problems we’ve described above, or if you have concerns about your chimney’s masonry, call The Chimney Care Co. today. We can provide you with a host of masonry repairs to keep your chimney safe, structurally sound and looking good.