Chimney Care Company's Blog

Now is the Perfect Time to Reline Your Chimney!

What sort of shape is your chimney liner in? Within your chimney system, the chimney liner is responsible for the brunt of the work. It keeps your home safe from the heat and smoke that travels up the chimney. It also ensures that air draws effectively through your fireplace and chimney. A failure of the chimney flue can jeopardize the function of your fireplace and put your home at risk. So if your chimney liner isn’t doing its job properly, now is the perfect time to reline your chimney!

The Importance of Your Chimney Liner

If your chimney liner isn’t in great shape, your chimney simply won’t function. A chimney liner that isn’t functioning can make your fireplace unpleasant to use or even put your home in danger. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, your chimney liner serves three main purposes:

• Protecting the building structure from the heat of the fireplace. A chimney structure on its own can’t contain the heat that travels up the chimney from the fireplace. The chimney liner serves to contain the heat from the fireplace so the extreme temperatures that travel up your chimney can’t damage or ignite the surrounding building structure.

• Protecting the chimney structure from fire byproducts. The soot and creosote that result from a burning fireplace are highly corrosive. If allowed to come into contact with the chimney structures, these byproducts would corrode and degrade the chimney structure over time. In addition, the chimney liner acts as a layer of protection for the chimney structure.

• Creating a proper draft for your fireplace. The size and height of your chimney liner matters. The flue that the liner creates is what determines how well your fireplace will draw in air for combustion and send smoke up the chimney. If your chimney liner isn’t the right size for your fireplace, the fire will burn less efficiently, and smoke will also find its way back into your home.

Relining Your Chimney

If your chimney liner isn’t functioning properly, your chimney will need to be relined to keep your home safe or improve the function of your chimney. Common problems include developed cracks or holes due to age and improperly sized liners for your hearth appliance. There are two primary ways for relining chimneys:

• Stainless steel chimney liners. One of the fastest ways to reline a chimney is with a stainless steel chimney liner. To reline the chimney, insert and secure into place a stainless steel liner that’s the right size for your chimney.

• Cerfractory sealant. For masonry chimney liners, a specialized cerfractor cement can be poured down into the chimney then smoothed into place with a specialized plug. As it’s smoothed down, the cement reseals the chimney liner, filling in any cracks, gaps or holes that have degraded the function of the liner.

If your chimney needs to be relined, spring is the perfect time to do it, and Chimney Care Co. help! By relining your chimney now, you can take advantage of lighter chimney service schedules to schedule your chimney service at your convenience. You also know that your chimney will be ready to keep your home safe and your fireplace drafting properly next fall. Call to schedule your appointment today!

By Jeff Keefer | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

How to Know if You Have a Leaky Chimney

Does Your Chimney Have a Leak?Spring rains, along with melting snow and ice, can lead to problems with your chimney — namely, chimney leaks. After a winter’s worth of freezing temperatures, high moisture, and high winds, your chimney can become weakened in a variety of ways that allow water to leak into your home through your chimney. If chimney leaks aren’t addressed quickly, they can lead to serious and expensive problems with your fireplace, your chimney, or even your home structure. To head off chimney leaks before they cause major problems, you should be looking out for the signs of a chimney leak this spring.

Water or rust in your firebox

After a major snow melt or heavy rain, you should take the time to inspect your firebox. Look for signs of moisture or puddles in the bottom of the firebox to be sure that water isn’t coming down the chimney flue. Also, keep your eye out for rust. Even if you don’t see water coming in through the chimney, check all of the metal chimney components, such as the fire grate, fireplace doors, and damper, for rust or warping that could indicate that water is seeping in through the chimney. Chunks of chimney tile at the bottom of the firebox also can indicate that a leak is damaging the interior of your chimney.

Water damage to interior walls or ceilings

When your walls and ceiling start to warp or stain, it’s obvious that water is getting into your home, but it can be difficult to pinpoint the damage. Many people fail to check the chimney for leaks, but the chimney is often to blame. Dark stains, peeling wallpaper, and wavy wallboard on the walls and ceilings near your chimney can indicate that water is leaking in and around the base of your chimney, or even through the chimney walls.

Discoloration on the exterior of the chimney

Staining on the outside of the chimney also can be a sign that your chimney is taking on water. If your chimney masonry shows black, white, or green staining, it’s an indication that the chimney masonry is absorbing and holding water. Rust stains down the side of a masonry or manufactured chimney can indicate that the chimney’s metal cap or chase cover is rusting away, which could allow water into your chimney.

Deterioration of the chimney masonry

After a winter of freezing and thawing temperatures, chimney masonry can begin to break down and let water into the chimney structure and your home. To keep your chimney and your home safe from water damage due to a leaking chimney, the exterior chimney structure should be examined each spring for crumbling mortar and cracked or deteriorating bricks or stone. Any signs of weakness should be inspected by a professional to ensure that water isn’t making its way into the chimney through cracks or holes in the chimney walls.

A leaky chimney is a serious issue that needs to be addressed before it jeopardizes the structure of your chimney or the structure of your home. Take the time this spring to look for the signs of a leaking chimney. If you notice signs that your chimney is leaking, be sure to call the Chimney Care Co. to have your chimney inspected by a professional before the problem gets worse.

How to Operate Your Chimney Damper

Improper use of your chimney damper can cause a lot of frustration. If the chimney damper isn’t open before you light a fire, it can cause smoke to come pouring back into your home. A damper that isn’t fully open can hinder your fire’s ability to burn. A damper that’s left open and forgotten can fill your home with cold drafts and send warm air flowing up the chimney, making your home uncomfortable. Enjoying your fireplace begins with the proper operation of your chimney damper.

When to Open and Close Your Chimney Damper

First and foremost, know when to open and close your chimney damper. Obviously, open the chimney damper  before you light a fire, or you will fill your home with smoke. After fully extinguishing the fire, you should close the damper as soon as possible. Open chimney dampers allow warm air to leave your home through the chimney, which can have a significant impact on your home heating bills. You also should know how to use your individual chimney damper. Most chimney dampers simply need to be opened and closed; however, some chimney dampers can be partially opened to control the airflow to and the intensity of your fire.

How to Operate Your Chimney Damper

Chimney damper operation varies from fireplace to fireplace, as there are a few different types of chimney damper mechanisms. Some common chimney damper mechanisms include:

• Levers. Levers are probably the simplest chimney damper mechanisms to operate. The levers are typically located at the top of the chimney box. They open and close the damper when pushed back and pulled forward.

• Rotary. As the name implies, a rotary-controlled damper opens and closes based on the twisting of the damper handle.

• Double ratchet pivot. The double ratchet pivot requires two motions to open and close the damper. The damper handle is pushed upward to disengage the control, then the handle is pushed or pulled to open or close the damper.

• Poker damper. The tip of your fireplace damper opens and closes a poker damper. The poker tip is placed into the control slot, and a rapid upward push opens the damper.

• Chain for a throat damper. There are usually two chains; one for opening the damper and one for closing the damper. Pull the chain for the motion you’re looking for to operate the damper.

• Chain for a top-sealing damper. A chain inside the firebox operates top-sealing dampers. When the damper is closed, the chain is pulled in and placed on a hook to keep the damper closed. Releasing the chain from the hook allows the damper to open.

Chimney dampers are simple mechanisms, but they have a major impact on the function of your fireplace! Chimney dampers are often the first part of a fireplace and chimney system to fail. If you need help with your chimney damper, call the Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment today!

By Jeff Keefer | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

How to Know if Your Dryer Vent Needs Repaired

Clothing dryer technology is simple; a heating element warms the air and blows it into the rotating drum of the dryer. When your clothing dryer isn’t working properly, there are few components that could be to blame for the malfunction. Often, problems with clothing dryers are traceable back to the clothing dryer vents. That’s why you should know the signs that your clothing dryer vent requires repairs.

Signs Your Dryer Vent Needs Repairs

Often the first signs that clothing dryer vents aren’t working properly are subtle. For example, each load of clothing will take longer to dry than is normal. You might find that clothes are damp and musty instead of fresh, dry and pleasantly warm. Your dryer might feel unusually hot to the touch when it’s running.  Your laundry room might have a strong burning smell or an overwhelming smell of fabric softener. You also might notice that your lint trap fills up faster than usual, or you might see an accumulation of lint around your vents or dryer.

How to Tell if Your Dryer Vents are to Blame

How can you hone in on the true cause of damaged dryer vents? There’s a simple check that should be able to help you determine if your dryer vents are exhausting air the way they should. When the dryer is in use, pay a visit to your external dryer vent, the vent that allows the air from your dryer to exit your home. The flap covering the dryer vent should be forced open while the dryer is in use. You also can place your hand under the vent to verify that air is blowing outward. If air isn’t exiting through the vent when the dryer is in use, it’s time to take action.

Why a Damaged Dryer Vent Matters

A malfunctioning dryer vent is an inconvenience and a hazard. Faulty dryer vents cause thousands of home fires each year, and they can allow dangerous carbon monoxide to leak back into your home. At the very least, a damaged dryer vent can increase your home energy bills, as it takes more cycles to dry your clothes.

Who to Call if Your Dryer Vent Needs Repairs

If your dryer vents clearly aren’t doing their job — or if you suspect that they need to be repaired — call in the experts from the Chimney Care Co. Their technicians can clean your dryer vents to verify that a clog isn’t to blame for your dryer woes. They’ll also inspect the entire dryer vent to make sure that it is in good repair. Your Chimney Care Co. technician will restore your dryer vent’s function so that your clothing dryer once again will run safely and efficiently.

What is a chimney chase top? Does it need to be replaced?

Homeowners who love to use their fireplaces are usually well versed on the workings and construction from their chimneys on the inside. However, what’s happening with the chimney above the firebox is often a mystery, until they hear that the upper portion of their chimney requires some repair. One common chimney component maintenance issue with prefabricated fireplaces is the chimney chase cover. But what is the chimney chase top? And what kind of maintenance or repair could it need?

What is a chimney chase top?

You probably know that your chimney offers a direct route out of your home. That makes it an easy entryway for water, animals, and debris. A prefabricated chimney is made up of parts of factory-made wood, gas or pellet fireplace. A prefabricated chimney chase cover protects the chimney from the outside elements. Regardless of the outer material of your chimney, the chimney chase cover is a metal topper for the chimney. It’s slopped to divert the flow of water, ice or melting snow. A center opening allows smoke out, while an attached chimney cap prevents water from flowing down the opening.

Does my chimney chase cover need to be replaced?

In a prefabricated chimney system, the chimney chase cover is usually the first element to break down. Water pools on the chase cover, rust forms and holes and cracks develop. Because most contractors default to a galvanized steel chase cover, that breakdown can happen in a matter of years. If your chimney chase cover has developed holes, it should be replaced to prevent water from coming down your chimney or leaking into your home’s structure and causing damage. Aside from examining your chimney chase cover from the roof, signs your chimney chase cover needs to be replaced include:

  • water in your fireplace,
  • a damp smell emanating from the chimney,
  • water leaking down the walls or ceiling around your chimney,
  • and rust streaking down the sides of your chimney outside your home.

Of course, your chimney sweep will inspect your chase cover during your annual sweeping and inspection and let you know if your chase cover is deteriorating.

What are my options for replacing my chimney chase top?

If your chimney chase cover is failing and needs to be replaced, you’ll have a few options. The recommendation most chimney experts will give is to choose a stainless steel chimney chase cover. They are durable and long-lasting. For homeowners who want a durable chimney chase cover that adds style to their home, copper chimney chase covers are another popular choice. If you’ve noticed water coming in through your chimney, or need your cover replaced call Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment today! We can fit your chimney with a durable chimney chase top that will protect your chimney and home from water damage for years to come.

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Chimney Care Company | 413 Wards Corner Road, Loveland, Ohio 45140