Chimney Care Company's Blog

What is Spalling?

There are so many unusual terms associated with chimney care and chimney repair and if you’re not in the business, it can be really confusing. What’s the difference between a chimney crown and aspalling chimney cap? What is flashing and why is it so important? Why does your chimney need to be lined? What is efflorescence? Have you ever heard the term spalling? Well, it is important to know what is going on with your chimney and fireplace system, but when it comes right down to it, you can hire an actual chimney company to come in and take care of all these things for you. In fact, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that you have an inspection and sweeping on an annual basis. If you live in or around Cincinnati and you’re looking for a company that is best equipped to take care of all your chimney needs, give Chimney Care Co. a call today.

Spalling

If you take a look at your chimney and notice that there’s a lot of little white specks laying around on the ground, you probably have a condition called spalling. This means that there is a problem with your bricks. Bricks are porous, and if water gets under the surface, it can cause the surface to pop, flake, or peel off. This causes a weakening of the brick, and can cause an overall instability in the structure of the chimney. Obviously, this is a condition that you want to avoid. It can also cause bricks to crack and chip. Because the chimney’s job is to keep dangerous chemicals in smoke out of the house, these cracks and chips can cause major damage or even health issues for your family members and pets.

What To Do

If we discover spalling when we come in for your inspection, we’ll probably recommend that we do some brick replacement. This involves removing the damaged bricks, clearing out the opening to get out the dirt and dust, and then reapplying new, fresh mortar to the new brick and replacing it in the opening. Although this process seems uncomplicated, it is actually best left to the qualified professionals at Chimney Care Co. We have the experience and the expertise to do the job right, and we can make sure that the new mortar matches the existing mortar and that your chimney looks as good as new. Your chimney will be strong and secure and able to perform its function in no time.

Hire CSIA Certified Pros

It’s important to know that the professionals that you are hiring are properly certified and trained. The top certification in the industry is from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), and this is one of the certifications we have. We are also members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild, National Fire Protection Association, and the Hearth, Patio & Barbeque Association. All of these associations offer top-notch education and training opportunities, so you know we can do any repair your chimney needs. Give us a call soon and we’ll have your chimney in great working order before autumn hits!

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!

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

We Use HomeSaver Chimney Relining Systems

We Use HomeSaver Chimney Relining Systems - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care CompanyDuring these summer months our chimneys are one of the last things on our minds, as thoughts are consumed more with maintaining the garden than what is going on with our chimney. Most people don’t think often about the maintenance of not only their chimney, but also the inside lining that does so much to keep us safe. A masonry chimney, which is what most chimneys are considered to be, can be composed of brick, stone, and mortar. The inside of this structure is an inner level called the flue lining aka a chimney lining. This liner can be made of ceramic, clay, or metal, and does a lot of jobs:

  • Protection: Lining the inner walls of the chimney means that they are safe from deterioration caused by heat, gases, and other byproducts emitted by the fire. Heat not contained in a liner has been proven to catch fire to the woodwork of a house in about 3.5 hours ().
  • Longer Lifespan: Keeping the walls protected means a more stable, healthy life for the chimney with much less erosion over time. Gases released when burning a fire in your fireplace are extremely acidic, and can eat away at unprotected mortar, leaving your home open to exposure to carbon monoxide and other dangerous gases.
  • Venting Efficiency: With the correctly sized chimney lining, all of the above benefits are a given. Without the proper measurements, creosote and carbon monoxide can build up and won’t allow the same excretion of gas out of the house.

While clay or ceramic liners have been the traditional routes in the past, we have implemented use of the HomeSaver Relining System to take over when the clay liner fails to work properly due to deterioration or it never having been installed in the first place. It is a stainless steel, flexible pipe that is incredibly durable and strong, to the point that it takes 288 pounds of pressure to crush it! By far the best in the business, it can handle more than two times as much pressure as the competitors.

With a lifetime warranty that can be passed along to your home’s other owners in the future, it is a great choice for all homeowners that want to keep their chimney safe and enjoyable for many years to come. Be sure to give us a call for your annual chimney inspection and sweeping, as well as inquire about installing the HomeSaver Chimney Relining System in your home. Make appointments at Chimney Care Company.

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

The Importance of the Chimney Chase Cover

chimney_chase_cover_chimney_care_company_cincinnati_ohChase covers fit over the top, outer opening of your chimney. These covers are designed to keep precipitation, debris and animals out of your chimney and are custom made to fit your specific application; it’s similar to the lid on a shoebox. Buying a chase cover is extremely important and absolutely necessary to the life and maintenance of your chimney and your home. Because of its job function, a chase cover is more than an option; it’s a necessity!

Material Options for Every Budget… 

Everyone loves knowing that they have options. For those of you in the market for a new chase cover, you’ve got options, too. Chase cover materials run the gamut and can accommodate all budgets: galvanized steel, aluminum, copper and stainless steel. Galvanized steel covers are the least expensive; unfortunately, they rust quickly and need to be replaced within a few years. Aluminum covers don’t have the same rusting issues as their galvanized counterparts, however they’re not typically used for this function simply because the metal is too soft.

Copper is, by far, the highest quality choice and is accompanied by the largest price tag as well; if you’re in the market for that type of look (and can afford the additional cost associated with it), you can’t go wrong with copper. Stainless steel is the strongest of the four materials. It costs a bit more up front than galvanized steel, however, the mere fact that it won’t rust and should never need to be replaced again more than makes up for the increased initial investment.

Never Trust the Rust…

Many homeowners do not notice that their chase cover has begun to rust. This is because it’s all the way up on top of the chimney, which isn’t exactly the easiest place to see. Sometimes it’s easier to spot a rusted chase cover after it has rained. This is due to the fact that when the water runs off of the chimney cap and down the sides of your chimney, it carries the rust down the sides with it, leaving stains and discoloration.

It is your responsibility as a homeowner to have this problem repaired as quickly as possible to prevent more significant damage from occurring to the chimney system. If rust damage isn’t repaired, the middle of the cover may begin to sink in, which will lead to an accumulation of water, leaves, and other debris. This buildup puts more stress on your already damaged cover and could cause it to cave in completely, thereby exposing the inner workings of your chimney system to the elements.

If you’re in the market for a chase cover for your chimney — either as a replacement for a damaged cover or as an enhancement for your chimney — contact the professionals at Chimney Care Company. Our professional technicians will inspect your entire chimney system and, if necessary, will properly fit a chase cover to your chimney’s exact dimensions to ensure that it is properly sealed from the elements. Your home is an investment, and we want to help you protect it. No matter what your chimney or vent needs, contact us today. We look forward to serving you!

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