Chimney Care Company's Blog

Chimney inspections for real estate

Summer is the home-buying season. For homebuyers, fireplaces are among the most sought-after amenities. A fireplace certainly adds warmth, comfort, and beauty to your home. However, if you are buying a home with a fireplace, there are a few things you need to beware of. A real estate chimney inspection should be part of your home-buying process, and there is a good reason for this. At Chimney Care Co, we offer this service to homebuyers to ensure you have a smooth home buying process.

How do chimney inspections fit in with home inspections?

home with a masonry chimneyEvery homebuyer knows the importance of having a home inspection before they close the home to identify any safety issues or potential problems with the new home. While home inspectors are thorough, their inspections don’t include an in-depth look at fireplaces and chimney. They may ignite a gas fireplace and open and close a damper to see if they are functional, but they won’t perform an overall inspection to ensure that the fireplace and chimney are safe for use. That’s why it is recommended to have your chimneys and fireplaces inspected by certified chimney technicians as part of real estate transactions.

What does a real estate chimney entail?

For real estate transactions, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends having chimneys undergo a Level 2 chimney inspection. During a Level 2 chimney inspection, the chimney technician will inspect all visible portions of the chimney from above and below. They will inspect all accessible portions of the chimney by visiting crawl spaces and attic spaces and by removing any access panels to allow for a view of the chimney.

Finally, the chimney technician will insert a specialized closed-circuit camera up the chimney to inspect the health of the chimney liner and all chimney joints to ensure that the chimney is safe for use. Your chimney technician will inspect all seals and working components of your fireplace so you are sure that your new fireplace is safe and efficient to heat your new home.

Who can you call for a real estate chimney inspection?

When you are buying a new home, it’s important to have your fireplace and chimney inspected by a chimney sweep who is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. In and around the greater Cincinnati area, homebuyers can turn to the Chimney Care Co. for their real estate chimney inspections!

The Chimney Care Co. is CSIA certified to provide comprehensive chimney inspections to assure you of the safety of your new fireplace. A real estate chimney inspection from our team will include photos and videos and a complete written report noting any defects or problems of the chimney and fireplace. We also include recommendations for repairs for your fireplace and chimney so it can safely heat your home.

If you are buying a new home in southwestern Ohio or northeastern Kentucky — Congratulations! If your new home has a chimney, be sure to schedule your Level 2 chimney inspection with the Chimney Care Co. so you can be confident that the fireplace and chimney in your new home are up to par. Call the Chimney Care Co. to schedule your Level 2 chimney inspection today!

Chimney masonry and brick repair

Is the look of your chimney bringing down your home’s curb appeal and value? Over time, chimney masonry can deteriorate, causing your home to look old and in disrepair. On top ofbrick and chimney damage that, dilapidated chimney masonry can put your home at risk for water damage. The unsightly cracked and crumbling masonry can allow water to seep into your home through your chimney. If your chimney’s masonry is showing signs of wear, it’s time to address your deteriorating chimney masonry with masonry and brick repair. The chimney masonry experts at the Chimney Care Co. can help! We can restore your chimney with masonry and brick repair; we deal with common repairs, as well as will full-on chimney rebuilds to restore your chimney’s look and function.

Tuckpointing

Stones and bricks can last for decades. Often, the mortar that holds the bricks and stones together breaks down long before the bricks or stones. Crumbling chimney mortar looks unsightly and can degrade the look of your home. Crumbling masonry also opens up the opportunity for water to enter into the chimney. Over time, that water can further degrade the mortar and the masonry. If crumbling chimney mortar is let go for too long, it can even compromise the strength of your chimney structure. Fortunately, there is an easy fix for crumbling chimney mortar: Tuckpointing. Tuckpointing involves removing the old, softened chimney mortar and replacing it with a fresh coat of mortar. This restores the strength of the chimney and freshens its look.

Chimney crown repair

Like chimney mortar, the chimney crown often breaks down before other masonry materials. Chimney crowns will break down especially quickly if the crown was constructed from the wrong type of material, which happens more frequently than it should. Cracks in the chimney crown allow water to enter the top of your chimney. From there, it can damage your chimney flue or even seep into the surrounding layers of your home, causing mold or rot. Rebuilding your chimney crown can help protect your chimney and your home from water damage.

Full or partial chimney rebuilds

If water is allowed to damage chimney masonry for too long, the damage can become so severe that chimney reconstruction is in order. A part or all of your chimney might need to be reconstructed if the bricks, stones, and mortar have cracked and crumbled to form an unsightly and irreparable mess, or if they have degraded to the point that the chimney structure is no longer sound and poses a danger to the home.

Don’t let your damaged chimney masonry go unaddressed; call the chimney masonry experts at the Chimney Care Co.! We can assess your chimney’s masonry to determine what type of repair is needed, and we can repair your chimney’s masonry to restore the look and function of your chimney and to save your home’s curb appeal.

What is the state of your chimney flue?

Your chimney might appear to be in good shape from the outside, but what does it look like on the inside? Your chimney flue — the interiorchimney liner, heatshield, flue image portion of your chimney — does the majority of the work exhausting your fireplace. It deals with extreme heat from your fireplace, moisture from outside and corrosive creosote and soot. All of those things can lead to a breakdown of your chimney flue liner. That’s especially concerning when you consider that it is your chimney flue that protects your home from the smoke, heat, and flames from your fireplace.

Understanding the state of your chimney flue

So how do you know what state your chimney flue is in? That requires an annual sweeping and inspection from a certified chimney professional. During your annual sweeping and inspection, your chimney sweep will look for signs that your chimney flue isn’t in ideal condition. If your chimney flue is cracked, crumbling or corroded, your chimney sweep will recommend a chimney relining to shore up your chimney and keep your home safe from the byproducts of your fireplace. A chimney relining also might be ordered if your chimney suffers from poor drafting caused by a chimney liner that isn’t properly sized for your fireplace or heating stove.

About chimney relining

The good news about chimney relining is that it is a relatively quick and simple process. There are two primary options for relining your chimney:

  • Stainless steel chimney liner. If your existing chimney liner is failing, a stainless steel chimney liner can be inserted to your chimney. This option can be utilized for any type of chimney, but if your chimney currently has a prefabricated chimney liner, this will be the method used for relining your chimney flue.
  • Cement chimney liner. If you have a masonry chimney flue liner, you have a second option for relining your chimney: a cement chimney liner. With this method, a foam plug sized to your chimney is lowered down the chimney on a winch. Next, a specialized cerfractory cement, which is formulated to stand up to the heat, smoke and flames from your fireplace, is poured down your chimney. The specially sized foam plug is then pulled slowly up your chimney flue, smoothing the cement into place. The cement fills any cracks or holes in your chimney, providing you with a safe, air-tight chimney liner.

Want to know the state of your chimney flue? Call the Chimney Care Co.

If you are unsure of the state of your chimney flue, or if you are due for your annual chimney sweeping and inspection, call the Chimney Care Co. Our certified chimney sweeps will clean and inspect the inside of your chimney flue to be sure that it is in good repair and keeping your home safe from smoke, flames, and heat. If a chimney relining is in order, the Chimney Care Co. can reline your chimney with a stainless steel chimney liner, or resurface your chimney with HeatShield cerfractory sealant. Call to schedule your inspection now!

Dryer vent cleaning and repairs

How is your clothing dryer performing? If you notice that it’s not drying loads of laundry as quickly as it used to, or if you notice that it seems to be working extra hard to keep up with your wet laundry, you might be due for dryer vent cleaning or repair. Here is what you need to know about having your dryer vents cleaned or repaired.

Why you need to have your dryer vents cleaned regularly

Golden Retriever dog doing laundry at homeMany homeowners don’t realize that they should have their clothing dryer vents cleaned and inspected at least once per year to reduce their risk of a dangerous home fire. When you run your clothing dryer, lint is generated. While much of the lint gets caught in the removable lint trap you know to clean regularly, other bits of lint bypass the lint trap. This moist lint is very sticky. First, it will stick to the walls of your clothing dryer vents, and then it will stick to itself. Over time, the lint will build up until it restricts airflow to your dryer. At that point, your clothes dryer can overheat and catch fire. To prevent this, you should be scheduling an annual dryer vent cleaning and inspection.

What professional dryer vent cleaning entails

The only way to ensure that your dryer vents are free from dangerous clogs of lint or debris is with a professional dryer vent cleaning. Professional vent cleaners utilize specialized brushes and vacuums to completely remove any lint or debris from your vents. Professional dryer vent cleaners use high-powered rotating brushes that scrub the sides of your dryer vents cleaned. Then, they apply high-powered vacuums to the end of the dryer vent to fully and cleanly suck any lint or debris out of the dryer vent, without allowing any of the mess to enter your home.

How to tell if you need to have your clothing dryer vents repaired

Sometimes poor clothing dryer performance isn’t a result of a buildup of lint; it’s the result of a damaged dryer vent that’s preventing your dryer from venting properly. That’s another reason a professional dryer vent cleaning also is crucial: A professional dryer vent cleaning also should include a professional dryer vent inspection. During a professional dryer vent inspection, your technician will check all of your vent’s connections, look for damage and evaluate whether your dryer vents are adequately sized and adequate materials.

If your dryer isn’t performing properly, the only way to improve its performance and save your home from a potential fire hazard is with a professional dryer vent cleaning and inspection. The cleaning should help to restore the function of your dryer, and if there is damage to the vent, your inspection will spot it. If you are ready to improve the function of your dryer, call Chimney Care Co. to schedule your dryer vent cleaning today!

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Reasons to Invest in a Chimney Cap

One of the best places to invest in your chimney happens to sit on top, likely out of sight and out of mind. If you’re looking to protect your home and your chimney from serious and costly damage, you should invest in a chimney cap. Here’s why.

Protect your chimney from water damageRoof and chimney

The No. 1 reason to invest in a chimney cap for your home is to protect your chimney and fireplace from water damage. Without a chimney cap in place, rain, sleet and snow all fall freely into your chimney. Water in your chimney can weaken chimney liners. It can cause cracks in masonry chimney liners and rust in metal ones. Water coming in through your chimney also can rust and damage your damper, fireplace doors, and fireplace grate. Water can damage your firebox’s masonry or metal components, as well. An investment in a chimney cap can save you from having to invest in repairing water damage to your fireplace and chimney.

Keep birds and animals out

An open chimney serves as an invitation to birds and animals seeking warmth and shelter from the elements. At a minimum, a cap-free chimney can result in a bird or bat flapping noisily around your chimney or finding its way into your home. On a more serious note, birds or animals can build nests in the chimney that block the chimney’s flue and pose fire hazards. Or, the animal itself can find its way into your home to cause damage and threaten you, your family or your pets. A chimney cap secured with a cage surround can prevent animals from entering your chimney and causing damage or other problems.

Block downdrafts

Sudden gusts of wind through your chimney can chill your home or cause ashes and embers to come bursting out of your fireplace. A chimney cap blocks downdrafts from chilling your home, forcing smoke from your fireplace back into your home or causing a spray of embers from your fireplace.

Stop debris from entering the chimney

When the wind blows, it’s not just drafts that can find their way into your chimney. Leaves, branches, and other debris can blow into your chimney. Once inside, the debris in your chimney can cause blockages that can combust and cause a fire hazard, or that can prevent smoke and carbon monoxide from exiting your home safely through your chimney. A chimney cap with a wire surround can block debris from entering your chimney.

If your chimney cap is missing or damaged, or it’s not made from a durable material like stainless steel or copper, it’s time to protect your chimney, your fireplace, and your home by investing in a chimney cap. Call the Chimney Care Co. to learn about your chimney cap options today!

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