Chimney Care Company's Blog

Common Problems for Homeowners with A Chimney

A warm hearth along with the chimney are an asset to any home. They provide ambiance and add to the architecture of a home. However, sometimes chimneys can cause problems for homeowners to feel that the fireplace is a detriment, rather than a blessing. Here are some common problems for homeowners with a chimney.

A Smoking Chimney

A smoking chimney — one that causes the smoke of your fire to invade your home rather than rising up and out of your house — can cause your fireplace to not be functional. If you’re experiencing with this particular issue; there are several causes to blame. Your chimney could either be obstructed by a buildup of creosote and debris, or your flue could be improperly sized for your fireplace. Regardless, if your chimney is smoking, you will need a professional chimney sweep to help discover and resolve the problem.

Chimney Leaks

Chimney leaks can be a major pain, especially if they go unnoticed. A leaking chimney can cause plenty of issues to the structure of your home, which may also question the integrity of your home and put the safety of your household in danger. Any sign of a chimney leak including water in the fireplace, discoloration of the exterior masonry, or water stains on the walls and ceiling around your chimney should prompt an immediate call to your professional chimney sweep.

Deteriorating Masonry

Chimney masonry is built to endure all the elements, but over time it will deteriorate, because of the constant exposure to water and freezing temperatures. The problem with deteriorating masonry is twofold. On one hand, it looks unattractive and can decrease the curb appeal of your home. On the other hand, the deterioration of your chimney’s masonry can compromise the entire chimney structure, causing it to lean, which cause stress on your home’s structure or even a collapse. Deteriorating masonry can be repaired with services like tuckpointing, and it can be prevented with a waterproofing treatment.

Smelly Chimney

Chimneys can fill your home with terrible smells, especially during warm summer months when the warm air in the chimney can cause unpleasant smells. We’re not talking about the mild, pleasant smell of a burning wood fire here. A smelly chimney can influence the entire atmosphere of your home. Whether it’s a barbecue-like smell caused by a buildup of creosote or the smell of decomposition caused by a trapped animal, call in a certified chimney sweep to clean your chimney and eliminate the awful stench. Your sweep will also be sure to evaluate your chimney’s draft while inspecting and cleaning.

Don’t let your chimney be such a pain! If you’re experiencing one of these common chimney problems, give our team of experts a call at Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment! They can evaluate your problem and turn your hearth back to its former glory.

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.

Why We Emphasize Training at the Chimney Care Co.

What do you look for when you’re searching for a new doctor? A dentist? A mechanic? What about a contractor? Trained and knowledgeable professionals of their field are the most desireably candidates. You want to be sure that they have the expertise to deal with your basic needs, as well as any complications that may arise. It should be no different when you search for a chimney sweep. At the Chimney Care Co., we emphasize training so you know your chimney is in good hands.

What Should Your Chimney Sweep Know?

Chimney sweeps have the potential to do real harm when they don’t know what they’re doing. At the most basic level, an inexperienced chimney sweep might not fully clear your chimney from creosote or debris that could cause a chimney fire or carbon monoxide backup. Even worse, they could damage your chimney liner or hearth appliance. An inexperienced or untrained sweep might miss damage or a defect in your hearth system that could put your chimney, or your home, at risk.

First and foremost, your chimney sweep should know how to properly clean your chimney and fireplace or heating stove. He or she also should know how to identify damage or malfunctions. If your chimney sweep is cleaning and inspecting the chimney in a new home, he or she should be trained in code and proper clearance so he or she can verify that your heating appliance are properly installed and safe for use. Finally, if your chimney sweep is servicing your hearth appliance or repairing your chimney, he or she should be trained in maintaining and servicing heating appliances, and in the proper installation and repair of chimneys, fireplaces and heating stoves.

How do you Know if Your Chimney Sweep is Trained?

Chimney sweeps, unlike other professions, don’t require licensing to let people know that they’ve been properly trained in their field. That’s why it’s so important that when you look for a chimney sweep, you look for a chimney sweep that’s certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). To become CSIA certified, chimney sweeps must train and take an exam that demonstrates that they know best practices for cleaning, inspecting, repairing and building chimneys, as well as for installing and servicing hearth appliances. Sweeps also must demonstrate that they understand building codes and clearances pertaining to chimneys and hearth appliances. In addition, chimney sweeps must regularly retake the exam or prove that they’ve undergone additional training to maintain CSIA certification.

At the Chimney Care Co., we take our job seriously. We’re properly clean and service your chimneys and hearth appliances to keep your home safe from fire, water damage or carbon monoxide leakage. We emphasize training so we know our technicians are providing you with the best chimney care. Call to schedule your Chimney Care Co. appointment today!

Is Cost the Most Important Factor in Who I Hire for Chimney Maintenance?

Most responsible homeowners shop around before making a decision on home purchases and service contractors. Choosing a chimney sweep to perform cleaning, inspection, and maintenance of your fireplace and chimney should be no different. But many homeowners don’t know much about chimney maintenance, which can make differentiating between chimney sweeps difficult. So how do you choose which chimney sweep to trust with keeping your fireplace and chimney operating safely and efficiently?

What To Look For in a Chimney SweepIs Cost the Most Important Factor Image - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care Co

When you’re searching for a chimney sweep, the easy way to make the decision would seem to be choosing the sweep who offers you the lowest quote. But price doesn’t tell you what you need to know about your chimney sweep. Anyone who can purchase the equipment can sell their services as a chimney sweep. That doesn’t mean they are fully qualified to clean and maintain your fireplace and chimney to keep your home and family safe. That’s why the single most important thing to look for in your chimney sweep is a certification by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

CSIA certifies that your chimney sweep has taken the necessary training courses and passed exams to certify they know the best practices and codes involved in cleaning, maintaining, installing and constructing fireplaces and chimneys. CSIA-certified chimney sweeps also are bound to a professional code of ethics so you know they’ll treat you fairly and follow the guidelines for maintaining your fireplace and chimney. Sweeps have to regularly renew their certification, so you also can be sure that your sweep is up-to-date on their skills and industry developments.

Questions to Ask Potential Chimney Sweeps

Beyond verifying your sweep’s credentials with the CSIA, there are some additional questions you should be asking when choosing your chimney sweep. Those questions include:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Can you provide current references from customers?
  • Do you have unresolved complaints filed against you?
  • Do you carry liability insurance?
  • What do your standard chimney sweepings and inspections involve?

The chimney sweep you hire should be able to quickly and easily provide satisfactory answers to these questions. They should have a solid business reputation and references, no complaints against them and should carry liability insurance. They should be able to describe the different levels of chimney inspections offered, and their definitions should fit with CSIA standards. When answering these questions, your sweep should be happy to talk about their experience and their services. Any reluctance to answer questions should immediately trigger a red flag.

Who Can You Trust?

If you’re searching in the greater Cincinnati area, call the Chimney Care Co.! We are CSIA certified and proud of our upstanding reputation and 30 years of service. When you call the Chimney Care Co., we’ll be able to answer all of your questions, so you can be confident that our chimney and fireplace services will keep you fireplace and chimney operating safely and efficiently.

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

Benefits to Maintaining Your Fireplace

Pretty much every homeowner with a fireplace or hearth appliance knows that the industry standards call for having their chimneys swept and inspected at least once per year. Your annual sweeping and inspection ensure that your chimney is clean and your fireplace is prepared for safe operation, reducing your risk of a home fire. Going beyond safety, however, there are other benefits to maintaining your fireplace.

Keep your fireplace operating efficiently. Benefits to Maintaining Your Fireplace Image - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care Co

A poorly maintained fireplace, fireplace insert or heating stove won’t operate as efficiently as it could. Rust and dust can block blowers, fans and pilot lights. By properly maintaining your fireplace, you can increase its efficiency and lower your home energy bills.

Reduce smoke in your home.

If creosote or other debris is blocking your chimney, it’s going to have an impact on the way smoke travels up and out of your home. A dirty chimney can negatively impact your chimney’s draft, forcing smoke back into your home. By keeping your chimney cleaned and well-maintained, you will reduce the amount of smoke that enters your home.

Avoid unpleasant odors.

Dirty chimneys can be horribly smelly. Moisture mixing with creosote can smell like hot asphalt. Natural debris in your chimney can smell like rotten compost. Trapped animals or left-behind animal droppings can smell even worse. By keeping your chimney cleaned and maintained, you can avoid unpleasant odors filling your home by way of your chimney.

Keep your hearth looking attractive.

In most homes with fireplaces, the hearth serves as an anchor point. It’s often located in a central living space and placed to serve as a focal point. So naturally, a beautiful, well-maintained fireplace can add to the décor and ambiance of your home, while a poorly maintained, dirty or damaged fireplace can drag down the appearance of your home. Keeping your fireplace maintained can help you maintain your hearth as a beautiful, beneficial feature in your home.

Extend the lifespan of your hearth appliance.

Just like any hearth appliance or home structure, regular maintenance keeps it working well and can expand its lifespan. For a hearth appliance, regular maintenance ensures that all of the working components are in good repair so that the appliance will run properly. Regular cleaning clears away dust, debris, soot and creosote that can degrade both the working and static components of the chimney and fireplace systems. When you maintain your fireplace, you ensure that your that your hearth appliance will last as long as possible.

Good fireplace and chimney maintenance begin with an annual sweeping and inspection. If your fireplace and chimney are overdue for their regular maintenance, call the Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment today! We’ll help you maintain your fireplace and chimney so you can realize all of the benefits of a well-maintained hearth system.

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