Chimney Care Company's Blog

Does Your Chimney Liner Need To Be Insulated?

You’re sitting in front of your fire, ready for a romantic evening of getting to spend time with your loved one. Or maybe you’re finally going to be having that family night that you’ve been wanting tochimney liner info have, everyone is going to be home, and you’re looking forward to having a movie night, cozied up in front of a snapping fire. Or perhaps you’ve invited friends over for a game night on the coffee table, with a cheerful fire adding to the ambiance. One thing you’re probably not picturing for the evening is a smoke-filled room, with complaints of scratchy throats and watering eyes. That’s what your chimney flue is for, right? Guiding smoke up and out of the chimney. If there are problems with your flue liner, then you may experience smoke problems that you’re just not wanting.

The Reason for Chimney Liners

Your flue liner, or chimney liner, is an important part of your chimney’s anatomy for three main reasons. First, a correctly sized flue makes your chimney run more efficiently . The flue guides smoke through the chimney and out of the house, but did you know that air that helps with combustion is brought into the house through the flue as well? When this exchange takes place, it makes your chimney run correctly and your fire burn efficiently. A chimney liner that fits correctly will help ensure that this exchange is taking place and that your chimney is running as efficiently as possible.

Your chimney liner also protects the inside portions of your home that are close to your fireplace, keeping these areas from overheating and causing a fire to ignite. The brick and mortar on the inside of the chimney are protected from the chemicals in smoke that wear it away as well. Both of these things will protect your home from a chimney fire that could cause major structural damage.

Insulating Your Chimney Liner

Considering the important purposes that your chimney liner fulfills, you may ask yourself if there’s even more that can be done. There is something, and that’s to insulate your liner. If your chimney is located on an outside wall, insulation added around the liner will help keep the flue gases warmer. Not only this, but it will also stop condensation from forming on the liner, and it can also increase upward speed of the flue gases which also helps to increase the efficiency of your fireplace.

If your home doesn’t have a chimney liner, it’s important to think about adding one. When you call Chimney Care Co., if we notice that you don’t have a liner, we’ll recommend adding one. If you do have a liner and it’s cracked or damaged, we’ll recommend the necessary repair work to get it up to standards. We’ll also recommend insulating your chimney liner, especially if your chimney is on an outer wall. Don’t put off giving Chimney Care Co. a call for even a day longer! We’ll make sure your chimney liner is in excellent condition and will also make sure that everything else is working correctly so that you can have a safe, enjoyable winter of using your fireplace.

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

Why is my chimney leaking?

This time of year, as snow piles on rooftops and chimneys get pelted with rain sleet and snow, many homeowners see concerning puddles of water within their fireboxes, water stains around their chimneys on ceilings and walls or rust forming on fireplace doors, dampers or grates. Seeing signs that your chimney is leaking can be both frustrating and terrifying. Water damage can be expensive to fix, but before you can work toward a repair, first you have to know why the chimney is leaking. Here are a few likely culprits.

What causes chimneys to leak?
What causes chimneys to leak?

Over time, water breaks down your chimney’s masonry, which can lead to chimney leaks. Masonry, including your chimney bricks or stones and the mortar that holds them together, is porous. It absorbs water every time it rains, snows or sleets. When temperatures drop, the water held inside your chimney masonry freezes and expands, which causes the masonry itself to crack or crumble away. The holes and cracks in your masonry can allow water to leak into the chimney itself, where it can cause water damage inside your chimney flue and in your firebox.

Failing or inadequate chimney crown

Every chimney should be topped with a sturdy chimney crown, constructed from high-quality concrete reinforced with rebar. Many chimney crowns are constructed hastily with the same mortar the mason used to build the chimney structure itself. These insufficient chimney crowns break down quickly, forming cracks that allow water to leak down into your chimney’s inner structure. Even well-constructed chimney crowns will break down over time, due to the freeze-thaw cycle, and a chimney crown that isn’t protecting your chimney from water and directing water away from your flue can cause serious water damage to your chimney and your home.

Faulty flashing

Often a “chimney leak” isn’t the chimney at all; it’s the chimney flashing. Flashing surrounds the base of your chimney, where it meets your rooftop. Sometimes flashing isn’t adequately built into the layers of the chimney and roof to form a tight seal, or flashing can crack and corrode over time. Faulty flashing allows water to drain in around the chimney. A chimney leak caused by faulty flashing often causes dark water marks on the ceiling around the chimney, or it can cause paint or wallpaper to pucker and peal. Fault chimney flashing can cause major damage in your home, as it gives water access to your home’s structure, which can lead to warping and rotting.

Missing chimney cap

Your chimney needs a chimney cap, a small metal roof-like structure that prevents water from rolling directly down your chimney flue. Without a chimney cap, water flows freely down your chimney when it precipitates. Water inside your chimney can cause water damage to flue tiles or the masonry within your chimney box, or it can cause your chimney damper, fireplace doors or fireplace grate to rust.

Nothing can be more intimidating to a homeowner than a leaky chimney because leaky chimneys can cause extensive water damage that can be very expensive to repair. If you notice signs of water leaking in, through or around your chimney, don’t wait to have it addressed — Call the Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment today!

Does Your Chimney Need a New Chase Top?

One of the greatest benefits of a prefabricated chimney system, particularly a gas-burning one, is the low maintenance factor. Often, homeowners forget that their easy-to-use prefabricated hearths require some regular care, and often the care these systems need is a new chimney chase cover. Neglecting your chase top can lead to serious problems for your chimney and your home. But what is a chimney chase top and how does it protect your chimney system? How do you know if your chimney requires a new chimney chase cover?

Your chimney chase top serves as a lid to your chimney system. It encloses the very top of your chimney, leaving room for individual flues to exit your home while providing a seal for the chimney. It keeps water, debris and animals from entering your home’s prefabricated chimney. If your chimney chase top is in decaying and in need of replacement, it can allow water, animals, and debris to enter your chimney, where they can cause serious damage over time. If your chimney chase top needs to be replaced, your chimney sweep should alert you during your annual chimney sweeping and inspection. Your chimney also might be sending you some signs that your chase cover needs to be replaced, such as:

Rust Stains

Most chimney chase covers are made of metal, or more specifically, steel. The first sign of breakdown for these metal chimney chase covers is usually rust. You might be able to spot rust forming on your chimney chase cover, or you might notice brownish-orange streaks or rust streaming down the sides of your chimney from the chase cover. While the rust itself isn’t a danger, rust means your chimney chase cover is breaking down. Eventually, your rusting chimney chase cover will form holes that can let water or animals access your chimney and cause damage.

Water Entering Your Home

Water enters your chimney through holes and cracks in the chase cover. You might notice water pooling on your fireplace floor, rust forming on your fireplace doors or grates, or water spots forming on your walls or ceiling. Address signs of water entering your home immediately, as they can cause major damage to your chimney and your home’s infrastructure.

Water Pooling on the Chase Cover

Some chase covers have been improperly constructed and for that reason alone need to be replaced. An improperly constructed chimney chase cover doesn’t do its job of diverting water away from the chimneys opening. Instead, it can allow water to flow back into your chimney flue or pool on top of the chase cover.

If you think you need a chimney chase cover replacement, don’t wait to call! A damaged or deteriorating chimney chase cover can lead to severe water damage. This can obviously cost you serious time and money in repairs in the future. If you need a new chimney chase cover, call the Chimney Care Co. to schedule your appointment today!

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

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

The Value of CSIA Certified Technicians

When you’re searching for someone to clean, inspect and service your chimney or fireplace, there is one thing you should be on the lookout for: Certification by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). This certification lets you know that you are hiring a trained chimney professional who will follow industry best practices when taking care of your chimney and fireplace.

The Value of CSIA Certified Technicians - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care CompanyAbout the CSIA

The CSIA is an industry leader in education when it comes to fireplaces, heating stoves, venting and chimneys. It was founded in 1983 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to training chimney industry professionals to properly care for chimneys, vents and heating appliances. Also, to educate the public on safe fireplace and heating stove operation. The CSIA provides industry standard certifications for chimney professionals in the United States.

What CSIA certification means:

To obtain CSIA certification, chimney professionals have to undergo education courses. They also sit through an exam on caring for fireplaces, heating stoves, vented appliances and chimneys. You can be confident that your CSIA-certified chimney sweep has been trained in the science of fire burning and creosote formation.

This fire science includes:

  • The correct techniques for cleaning, inspecting and repairing chimneys.
  • Building and installation of chimneys and fireplaces.
  • The laws and industry standards regarding chimney, vent and fireplace construction and installation.
  • EPA requirements dealing with fireplaces and heating stoves.

How chimney sweeps become CSIA certified:

To achieve their CSIA certification, chimney sweeps must attend a CSIA review, or attend the CSIA’s National Chimney Sweep Training School. This is a six-day training course that gives sweeps hands-on chimney care experience. After completing a review or training school, sweeps must sit through a one-hour exam on successful chimney sweeping. In addition, they must learn the National Fire Protection Association’s chimney code. Also, take a 90-minute open-book exam on the International Residential Code. To maintain their CSIA certification, sweeps must sit through the exams every three years or must undergo continuing education courses.

The CSIA Code of Ethics:

On top of their education and exams, chimney sweeps must swear to the CSIA’s code of ethics to obtain their certification. The code of ethics maintains that the sweep will adhere to what they have learned through their CSIA training.


  • They will educate themselves on and follow local codes that apply to fireplaces, heating stoves and chimneys.
  • That they will abide by all manufacturers’ instructions as they install, maintain and repair home-heating appliances and chimneys.
  • That they will treat their customers professionally.
  • They will educate their customers on the safe operation and maintenance of their heating appliances and chimneys.

The Chimney Care Co. and the CSIA:

At The Chimney Care Co., we understand the role we play in keeping your fireplace, chimney, your home and your family safe. We know how important it is that our technicians are knowledgeable about what they do. That’s why we are proud to be CSIA-certified sweeps! If you are in need of a chimney professional, call The Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment today! With our CSIA certification, you can be confident that you are getting educated professionals that will treat you, your chimney and your home with respect.

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