Tag: Chimney Sweep

Tips For Hiring A Qualified Masonry Contractor

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Enlisting a Chimney repair contractor to do repairs on your smokestack done in your home in Knoxville, TN can be overwhelming undertaking. This is on the grounds that many individuals will claim to be Chimney repair contractors when you begin your hunt, yet not every one of them have what it takes and skill to take care of business right.

Why Your Chimney Might Smell Badly This Summer

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Why Your Chimney Might Smell Badly This Summer

If visitors somehow managed to stroll into your home right now, what’s the main thing you think they’d take note of? Maybe the scent radiating from your chimney was what crossed your mind; if so, don’t panic. This is a typical event for some property holders, one that is particularly predominant amid the hotter summer months. The uplifting news is help is close at hand. The experts from Chimney Sweeps West are here to help you.

Why Does My Chimney Smell So Bad?

The appropriate response here is a truly direct one: creosote. If you happened to depended intensely on your chimney this past winter and maybe utilized more wood than you’d at first arranged (some of which would not have been properly prepared), creosote could have buildup on the inward walls of your fireplace’s chimney. These deposits, when joined with the additional water in the air that is noticeable all around this season of year, can emanate a completely disagreeable fragrance. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about whether you’re the main individual who needs to manage this issue, we hope you can discover some comfort in realizing this is a typical occurrence that chimney clients have been managing for quite a long time! It’s part of the long term care that goes into your chimney.

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How Do I Rid My Home of These Smells?

Creosote odors tend to linger. They saturate your smokestack’s permeable stone work and never seem to dissipate. In any case, you can try to treat the issue to help prevent yourself, your family, and your visitors from being driven out by the stench. The professional crew at Chimney Sweeps West can come out, investigate your chimney to guarantee that the main issue is the creosote, and clear out the deposits causing the odor. Having your chimney cleaned every year is a flat out must on the off chance that you intend to make full utilization of your chimney when the climate turns icy!

An Additional Consideration for You

Perhaps you’ve had your fireplace legitimately cleaned and yet have found scents every now and then, you could likewise be having a draft issue. The dominant part of older fireplaces were built with throat-mount dampers. Their metal-on-metal construction is their downfall with regards to keeping the odor inside the fireplace. Since they can’t be completely closed when the chimney is not being used, some scent can be smelled through the opening (regardless of how little it might show up) as outside air is constrained down your smokestack. Since there’s no fire going in the chimney to make an updraft, the air has an easier time moving into your home.

As should be obvious, chimney clients around the globe battle with rancid smokestacks, particularly amid the summer months. The professionals here at Chimney Sweeps West are here to help moderate this issue (and in addition whatever other issues you may have) for you. We urge you to get in touch with us at your soonest accommodation to plan an appointment so you can come back to making the most of your scent free living space.

What’s Causing My Chimney Odor?

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Having a nasty smell coming from your chimney is NOT something you want to wake up to on a warm summer day. Even when you aren’t using it, your chimney can cause your house to smell. The main culprit is usually creosote buildup, but there are a few things to consider when it comes to foul chimney odors.

Different Types of Chimney Odor

Most chimney odor simply smells a bit like smoke. That’s because the smoke leaving your chimney causes buildup of creosote and soot over time. This residue will have a tendency to buildup faster if you use woods in your chimney that don’t burn as well.

To delay creosote buildup in your chimney, it’s always best to stick to well-seasoned hard woods. But even when using the right kinds of firewood, your chimney will still need a cleaning from time to time.

Apart from creosote and soot buildup, however, there are things that can cause your chimney to smell bad. And in some cases it won’t smell like smoke at all.

Cases where your chimney might smell bad for reasons other than creosote buildup include:

  • Mold: This isn’t a problem that should normally be present in chimneys, but if your chimney smells moldy, it might be because you have a roof leak. The wetness of the leak creates the perfect conditions for mold to grow in your chimney. This problem can be fixed by having your roof checked. Only once the leak is fixed, have your chimney cleaned. After all, there’s no use in cleaning your chimney without fixing the underlying problem first.
  • Animals: There are precautions you can take to keep animals out of your chimney. However, homeowners often don’t realize how easily animals try to get into the home through a chimney. Birds also like to make their nests there. If the smell coming from your chimney smells more like animal scats, there’s a good chance you’ve got guests. Unfortunately, animals also get stuck in the chimney occasionally, meaning that if your chimney smells like something died in there, that might very well be the case.
  • Debris: Once again, there are ways to keep leaves and other debris from entering your chimney, but many homeowners don’t know about this. Once again, this can smell moldy, rotten or perhaps even as if an animal died in your chimney.

Those are the main chimney odor problems you can expect that don’t have anything to do with creosote buildup. However, by keeping your chimney safer, even these problems can be eliminated.

It’s worthwhile to mention that keeping your chimney as dry as possible can go a long way in preventing bad odors. Anything from debris to creosote will smell worse if it gets wet.

The best way to fix your chimney odor problems is by first identifying the cause. You can do this by calling a professional chimney sweep to do an inspection. Here at Chimney Sweeps West, we have many years of experience in helping our customers fix and prevent chimney problems, so be sure to call us if you’re in Knoxville and you need help with your chimney.

How to Prevent Chimney Odor

Preventing chimney odor is actually surprisingly easy. One of the first things you can do to prevent bad odors from entering your home through your fireplace is to ensure that your chimney stays clean. You can do this by having you chimney cleaned and inspected once a year, preferably before winter so you know that it’s safe to use before making a fire.

Apart from this, you should do your best to keep debris and animals out of your chimney. Anything that gets into your chimney is not only likely to cause bad chimney odors, it’s also a fire hazard. Debris or bird’s nests in your chimney can light on fire easily, causing a problem that’s way worse than just a foul smell.

To prevent anything from getting into your chimney, you should have a proper chimney cap installed. The chimney cap will prevent some debris from getting into your chimney, but more importantly, it’s meant to keep water out. Keeping water out of your chimney will help so that any creosote buildup that might be present doesn’t get wet. This helps mainly because creosote smells worse when it’s wet. Apart from that, the cap will help keep water out to prevent mold from growing in your chimney.

To keep animals out, you should go for a chimney cap with a net.

What if My Chimney Still Smells?

Your chimney might smell because of drafts coming into your home through the chimney. Ideally, air should actually move out of your home through the chimney rather than entering your home. But sometimes the drafts don’t flow right, causing air to enter your home through the chimney.

Keeping the windows open might help for this problem somewhat. Other than that, having your chimney cleaned regularly can help a lot for this problem too.

If you recently repainted your burning stove, allowing the fireplace to burn for short intervals of time while keeping the windows open can help with chimney odors. Freshly painted or polished burning stoves have a tendency to smell rather bad for a while after being repainted, which might be another cause of foul odors from your fireplace.

Diagnosing Chimney Odors

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With a hotter climate in the forecast, your chimney is most likely one of the last things at the forefront of your thoughts at the present time. In any case, the warmth and dampness of summer can make certain things inside your smokestack discharge strong and unsavory scents, which can wind up inside your home through the chimney.

How to Make the Most of Your Backyard this Summer

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How to Make the Most of Your Backyard this Summer

Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. But having a dingy or vapid backyard will discourage you from spending time outside, even in the best of weather conditions. If you, like most other people, prefer spending your time in spaces that are inspiring to you, a backyard that doesn’t reflect your personality will be an immediate turn-off from getting out and enjoying the summer sun. So why not dedicate this summer to creating a cozy reading spot or family area in your backyard? By improving your space backyard space, you’re almost sure to get more from it.

Backyard Improvement Ideas

When you think of it, you’ll soon notice there’s a nearly endless amount of possibilities of things you can do to make your backyard a better place to relax during your free time. But unfortunately you’ll be somewhat limited in what you can do based on your budget and the size of your backyard. It’s also good to keep your family’s lifestyle in mind when making choices. For instance, there’s no sense in creating a barbecue area if no one in your family enjoys cooking outside.

But short list of improvement you can make to your backyard:

  • Swimming pools: You don’t need to add a big pool to your backyard, but if you believe this is something your family will regularly use, it’s a worthwhile investment.
  • Barbecue area: A barbecue area is a great addition to your backyard if you want to spend more family time outside, or if you want to invite friends over for an al fresco lunch at your place every now and then.
  • Fountain: Adding a fountain won’t give you anything new to do in your backyard, but the sound of running water is very tranquil. This makes a fountain a great choice for blocking out noise, and so it can certainly make your backyard a better place to relax with a book.
  • Bird feeder or bath: A bird feeder or bath is a reasonably cheap project that can help you bring more nature into your backyard.
  • Low maintenance plants: If the problem with your backyard is that your garden is uninspiring, it could be worthwhile to look into some low maintenance garden ideas. Not all flowers and plants require a lot of care, and it’s definitely possible to create a beautiful garden without having to spend all your free time maintaining it.
  • Herb gardens: Herbs are very low maintenance plants that smell wonderful and often look beautiful too – just think of red basil or lavender, for instance. But a herb garden (either potted or on the ground) is a great way to get more out of your backyard if you enjoy cooking.
  • Crushed stone beds: A great way to fill bland areas in your garden without the use of plants is to create garden beds with crushed stone and place a few low maintenance potted plants in certain areas for accents. This creates a kind of Zen feeling that’s tranquil and adds personality without requiring too much from you.
  • Trees: You won’t reap the rewards of this straight away, but if you have a big backyard with no trees in it, planting one or two can make a huge different in the long-run. Just remember to do your research and choose a species that’s suitable to your needs.

While there are plenty of other things you could do to improve your backyard, these simple ideas should have you brainstorming some possibilities for your own backyard already.

Your Leisure Area

Most backyard improvements you can make won’t mean much if there’s no space for you to simply sit back and relax while enjoying them. So to get the most out of your backyard, you should definitely have a seating area where you can read a book, enjoy a meal or simply soak in the sunlight from time to time.

Here are some of the things to consider for your own seating area:

  • Deck or patio: Decks look nice and create a very welcoming feeling. A deck or patio is also the perfect place to place any outdoor furniture, like chairs and a table for an outside dining and relaxing area, or pool loungers with side tables to relax with a drink.
  • Seating: Of course you need seating to fully enjoy your backyard, but what many homeowners don’t realize is that it doesn’t have to be expensive garden furniture. You could simply dry stack concrete blocks and place a yoga mat, or a foam camping mattress covered in upholstering material on the stack. To finish this off, you could add some scatter pillows in colors that fit your theme.
  • Shading: If the sun is very harsh in your backyard, it’s always great to add some shading to your leisure area so you can still enjoy the outside without getting burned.

All of these things are good to have if you want your outdoor leisure area to be enjoyable.

Building a Deck or Patio

If you don’t know the first thing about installing a deck or patio, learning to build one will likely take all summer. If you would like to improve your backyard with a deck or patio, but you have no idea how to build it yourself, feel free to call Chimney Sweeps West.

Chimney Sweeps West can help with your installation of a deck or patio; taking away the stress of a project and allowing you to skip right to enjoying the weather, and your backyard, all summer long.

Get Your Chimney Waterproofed

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Like any other part of your home, your chimney needs care every once in a while. Many homeowners don’t give their chimney much thought. They just allow it to deteriorate and accumulate dirt. But eventually this kind of neglect can prove to be a serious health hazard. Your chimney can get damaged in a variety of ways – one of the more common ways being cracks in the chimney. But you should also have your chimney checked for water damage. As water damage can be very harmful to your chimney.

How Can Water Damage Your Chimney?

If your chimney isn’t properly waterproofed, it won’t be safe to use. Water damage can cause a lot of problems with your chimney. That’s because large parts of your chimney are made from materials like steel, which will rust if it’s exposed to water.

If you never have your chimney inspected, now would be a great time to get in touch with a local chimney sweep service. Professional chimney sweeps will be able to check for any water damage in your chimney. If there’s damage, it’s always best to locate the source of the problem and have it fixed. Once you’ve fixed the source of the problem, you can have your chimney fixed without having to worry about your fixed chimney getting damaged again by the same source of water damage.

Water damage to your chimney can cause your damper to rust, as well as potentially causing problems with water penetration in your walls. If that’s the case, you might even see mold grow on your walls near the fireplace, and the wallpaper of paint might lift because of the dampness in the wall.

Mold in your house is terrible for your health, so it’s always best to have any problems fixed that can cause your walls to rot.

Mold and Your Health

Mold is primarily linked to respiratory problems. So if you or one of your loved ones suffer from asthma, or if you tend to have other problems, like coughs, wheezing or a stuffy nose, mold is a likely culprit in your home.

For people who are more allergic to it, mold can also cause skin problems like rashes. Needless to say, the health problems associated with mold in your home is no fun.

To prevent mold from growing in your home, you should have any leaks – like roof leaks or broken pipes fixed as soon as possible. If your chimney is the problem, then you’ll be able to fix the problem by calling a chimney sweep and having your chimney fixed.

It’s important that you have any leaks fixed as soon as possible, as leaving them could cause your walls to get soaked, leading to more water damage than if you had the problem fixed soon after it was discovered. Once you walls, chimney and roof have water damage, the wet parts (or the badly rusted bits) will all have to be replaced. You can’t leave any area of your walls wet and hope that it will dry out, as you’re leaving a potential breeding ground for more mold to grow. And once the mold starts to grow again, it can be very difficult to control.

Things you can do to prevent mold from growing in your home include:

  • Keeping humidity levels low.
  • Thoroughly drying out any areas, like carpets, after they got wet.
  • Properly ventilating areas that are often humid, like the shower and the area above the stove or kettle in your kitchen.

The health problems associated with mold might seem insignificant to you, but mold-related allergies shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your respiratory system is a vital part of your health, and chronic exposure to mold can take its toll on your health.

Apart from this, your house is likely to smell damp and unpleasant if you leave water damaged areas without fixing them promptly.

Staying Safe Next Winter

Let’s face it, you don’t want to think about winter yet. It feels like things are only just starting to heat up, so why worry about the winter? There’s still a lot of time before then.

Fact is, springtime is great for getting your chimney inspected before winter this year. That’s because it’s the ideal season to do all kinds of outdoor maintenance tasks. The temperature isn’t too extreme, which often helps for certain parts of the maintenance work.

Getting your chimney inspected in spring also allows a lot of time before winter, so if there are still problems after your chimney is fixed, there will be time to get your chimney ready before winter.

Remember to use a chimney cap to avoid water damage through your chimney. Chimney caps are also great for preventing birds from making nests in your chimney. This is very important because the nests can actually catch fire whenever you use your chimney, and this can lead to a chimney fire.

Apart from this, you should have your chimney inspected annually to see that it’s still ready for each coming winter. Chimney inspections from professional sweeps aren’t cheap, but your chimney has a very important role to play in keeping your house safe. Without the proper care, it’s better to refrain from using your chimney, as you can never be too safe when working with any area in your house that uses fire.

Why Spring is the Best Time to Get Your Chimney Repaired

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Finally, things are heating up again! Now that the weather is improving, it’s a great time to think about maintenance tasks that need to be done before things start cooling down nearing the end of the year once more. Your fireplace worked hard all winter long, so one of the maintenance tasks on your spring to-do list should definitely be a chimney inspection. Because of the lovely weather conditions in spring, it’s one of the best times to get an exterior chimney inspection.

The Best Time to Sweep Your Chimney?

In all honesty, there isn’t one single time of year that’s best for getting your chimney cleaned and inspected, but some seasons are better than others. Regardless of what time of the year it is, however, you should always have your chimney inspected as soon as possible if:

  • Your chimney hasn’t been inspected in more than a year. Annual inspections are recommended, as it’s best to have your chimney inspected after every winter to insure it’s still in good shape.
  • You just moved into a new house. When you just moved into a new place, there’s no way to tell for sure whether or not the previous home owners took well care of their fireplace and chimney.
  • You notice any potential problems. If you notice smoke leaking into your house when you use your fireplace, or if your chimney seems to have cracks, it’s time to have it checked out.

To be safe, you should have carbon monoxide sensors installed in your house. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that happens to be reasonably similar to carbon dioxide in chemical structure. But while carbon dioxide is naturally abundant in the atmosphere, breathing in carbon monoxide can be fatal.

This is because your red blood cells have to ability to chemically bond with oxygen (O), carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). But while bonding with oxygen and carbon dioxide helps your red blood cells transport oxygen throughout your body, bonding with carbon monoxide actually does the opposite. When your red blood cells bond with carbon monoxide, you effectively suffocate, as your body will no longer be getting the oxygen it needs.

Here’s the catch, though. It won’t feel like you’re suffocating. The primary symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning through inhalation are simply feeling light headed, dizzy, or tired. People who die of carbon monoxide poisoning often just fall asleep to never wake up again.

If you often feel more light headed or tired when you’re in the same room as your fireplace, your fireplace might be leaking CO into your home. The best way to know for certain that your fireplace is safe is to install CO sensors, because humans can’t smell, see or detect CO without the proper technology to do so. But having your chimney inspected, cleaned and repaired regularly should significantly reduce the risk of CO leaking into your house through the fireplace.

Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of the dangers of CO poisoning, making it a silent killer.

The Best Season for Chimney Inspections

As stated above, when it comes to chimney inspections, it’s always better to play on the safe side. That said, for practical reasons, some seasons tend to be better for chimney inspections than others.

Spring and summer are perfect for chimney inspections. During these warm seasons, it’s easier to fix any problems that a professional chimney sweep might identify.

For instance, your chimney might be getting water damage from a roof leak. Before you can have your chimney fixed, you should have your roof repaired to avoid future water damage to your chimney. However, winter (or any particularly cold time of the year) isn’t the ideal time to work on your roof.

If you wait till winter for a chimney inspection, you might learn that your chimney isn’t safe to use, but that the work required to fix it should preferably wait till spring.

This will mean that you’ll have to go through winter without using your fireplace, which will probably a bit chilly. Winter is generally less pleasant than springtime and summertime, so not even having the opportunity to snuggle up in front of your fireplace with hot chocolate or a book seems rather dreadful.

But when it comes to the safety of your chimney, you can’t really take any chances. Using your fireplace when your chimney unsafe can literally cause you to burn down your house. While you can try other heating alternatives, you can’t replace your house once it’s burned down, so be sure to be safe rather than sorry. If your chimney is unfit, don’t use your fireplace before your haven’t fixed it.

Where to Find a Chimney Sweep?

Don’t neglect having your chimney inspected by a professional. While you can attempt to clean your own chimney, professional chimney sweeps are specially trained and know what to look for during inspections. So while there’s nothing wrong with cleaning your own chimney on a regular basis (assuming you know how to), you should still have it inspected annually by a chimney professional.

Chimney inspections are important, but unfortunately there are fake chimney sweeps who try to scam people. Most often, these people will require large upfront payments, but they’ll never even come back to look at your chimney.

Ask your chimney sweep about any special training they have. Many chimney sweeps are registered with the Chimney Safety Institute of America, or other official organizations that regulate chimney safety in the US.

But as long as the company sweeping your chimney is a real business, you probably won’t be scammed, so avoid hiring a chimney sweep who doesn’t work for a business that seems real. An online presence, or brick and mortar location both indicate that you’re working with real professionals.

Not sure where to find chimney sweeps in Knoxville, TN? Feel free to book an inspection with Chimney Sweeps West.

Spring Clean Your Chimney

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Now that things are warming up a little, it’s time to take a look around your house. There are probably quite a few maintenance chores you put off during the winter. One area that you should pay special attention to is your chimney and fireplace. Your chimney probably worked hard throughout the winter, so you should check that it didn’t sustain any damage.

Why Have Your Chimney Inspected?

The good news is that your chimney is probably in an okay condition. If you were still using your fireplace all throughout the cold months without any problems, chances are your chimney isn’t badly damaged.

So why have your chimney inspected if it’s still okay?

For starters, a chimney inspection includes a chimney cleaning. If you’ve been regularly using your fireplace, there’s a good chance that your chimney is full of soot and other buildup. Apart from that, having your chimney cleaned will help the professional chimney sweep to clearly see what’s going on. If there are any cracks that formed in your chimney due to overheating, for instance, you can have them fixed before they have any time to spread further.

Even if your chimney is still in tiptop shape, it needs to be cleaned regularly to keep your fireplace safe. A dirty chimney will leak more smoke and harmful gases into your home than one that’s been properly cleaned. So if you found that you had a problem with smoke leaking into your house this winter, it’s definitely time to have your chimney swept.

When to Clean Your Chimney?

You can call a professional to sweep your chimney any time of year. There isn’t a specific time of year when you can’t have your chimney swept.

That said, when exactly you have your chimney inspected might depend on a couple of things. If you have your chimney inspected once a year, then obviously you’ll always have it inspected more or less at the same time each year. If you don’t regularly clean your chimney, the best time to call a professional is any time before using it again.

If you normally clean your chimney yourself, you should still have it inspected from time to time just to make sure it’s in good shape. Don’t assume your chimney is safe to use just because you cleaned it. Unless you aren’t a professional chimney sweep, there’s a good chance you might have left some dirt. And even if you got all the dirt, you might not know how to spot and fix cracks.

Who Can Inspect Your Chimney?

As mentioned before, it’s always best to have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a qualified chimney professional. But how will you know who to trust?

Your safety depends on finding a chimney sweep that knows what they’re doing. In the same way you wouldn’t have your car services by just any mechanic, or you wouldn’t have anyone tamper with your home’s electric connections, you shouldn’t trust anyone with your chimney.

Before allowing someone to work on your chimney, ask about what certifications they have when it comes to the work they do. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) offers a certification program for chimney sweeps. Ideally your chimney sweep should be certified with the CSIA, or a similar organization.

While the work chimney sweeps do is vitally important to your health and safety, there’s no standard requirement someone must fulfill to work as a chimney sweep. This means that anyone could sell themselves as a chimney sweep, even if they know nothing more about chimneys than you do!

That’s why the CSIA and similar organizations have set out to standardize the industry. These organizations recognize the importance of having a well-maintained chimney when it comes to fire safety.

Keep in mind that the best chimney sweeps won’t necessarily be cheap. But don’t be fooled into hiring someone who isn’t a professional just because they’re cheaper. Often times, the cheapest sweeps won’t even clean your chimney. Unfortunately there are many chimney sweep scams out there, where a sweep will require you to pay for an inspection upfront only to disappear without a trace.

So when choosing a chimney sweep, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure that the professional you’re hiring has a real business. A business address, professional work uniforms and an online presence all indicate that you’re working with a real company.
  • As mentioned, ask about any special qualifications or experience in the field before hiring someone.
  • If you’re new in an area and you have any friends with chimneys, ask them who they use for chimney sweeps. It could save you a lot of headache.
  • Be careful about anyone who requires you to pay a large amount of money upfront, even if they haven’t so much as looked at your chimney.
  • Don’t hire someone if you feel uneasy about them. If everything looks right and your gut says no, trust your instincts. Your safety isn’t something you should risk for anyone.
  • If you’ve been using the same professional for many years and you’re satisfied, avoid using someone else in the future only to chase a bargain.

What should be clear, is that taking good care of your chimney is as important for practicing good fire safety as being safe while using your fireplace is.

Are you located in Knoxville? If so, feel free to call us! Here at Chimney Sweeps West are ready to help. With multiple standard levels of inspection, our professional team will help ensure your chimney is ready to go through another winter safely.

Best Way to Waterproof a Chimney

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Asking what’s the most ideal approach to waterproof a chimney or what are the best waterproofing items are both sufficiently justifiable inquiries, but on the other hand they’re excessively wide for a basic answer. The most ideal approach to waterproof what sort of chimney? Is it accurate to say that we are waterproofing a vertical wall or the breast of the brickwork? There are brick, concrete block, stucco and stone chimneys and there are diverse contemplations for every one of them – meaning you may utilize distinctive items on various sorts of fireplaces. We should peel this back like an onion.

Picking the Right Waterproofing Product

Before getting started, please understand that the less a waterproofing product costs, the less likely it is to do you any good. One noteworthy brand costs close to nothing yet endures a fairly short measure of time since it separates in with UV exposure (daylight.)

You need an item that utilizes poly siloxanes or silanes. Fundamentally, that implies that it doesn’t utilize solids to obstruct pores of the stone work, rather it sets up an electrostatic charge that outside water can’t overcome. In the meantime, if the brick work has caught dampness in it the day you choose to waterproof (and it might) the head weight of the water inside will have the capacity to defeat the electrostatic charge and escape. At the end of the day, water can’t get in, yet it could get out if need be. The good stuff costs more – not restrictively more – but rather it is gracious along these lines, so justified, despite all the trouble.

Sealing Brick Chimney

Since around 99% of the general population perusing this have brick chimneys, we should begin there (I will address non-brick fireplaces later). One of the focal issues concerning waterproofing is the porosity of the material being waterproofed. This bodes well: you don’t need to waterproof steel or vinyl since water doesn’t infiltrate them in any case. While bricks are by and large less permeable than numerous different materials (like an cinder block) unique sorts of bricks fluctuate in porosity themselves.

This clarification is to set the phase for understanding that occasionally you need to waterproof a fireplace more than once. This makes sense: however we don’t prefer to let it be known, the truth of the matter is that occasionally experts misconstrue how much waterproofing a fireplace needs and end up returning when they get a complaint. We beyond any doubt don’t like that way, nor do we like individuals being disappointed with our work, however where waterproofing is concerned, it is by all accounts an unavoidable truth. Lesson of that story is 1) request that your waterproofer go over it twice only for good measure (regardless of the possibility that it costs more) and 2) don’t be too tough on your person in the event that you need to get back to him. I thank you on behalf of all the guys who ever get caught in that squeeze! And please look below for special information concerning re-applications.

A last thing before moving onto more specific data: If you have spalling brick, i.e. the faces of the brick are flying off, don’t try to waterproof the chimney; it’s past the point of no return. Rather kick yourself for not having done it ten years back and have the brick structure reconstructed. At that point waterproof it so it doesn’t occur once more.

How is chimney waterproofing applied?

Waterproofing is applied with a sprayer. On the vertical walls, i.e. the greater part of the chimney, waterproofing ought to be applied from base to the top in light of the fact that as the waterproofing material leaves the sprayer it keeps running down the fireplace and gets assimilated into the stack underneath the region being taking a shot at. It kind of sums to doing it twice. Clearly, the top needs additional consideration or it’d just get one pass. After you complete around 10 minutes’ worth, do it again just to ensure the entire structure gets a decent dousing.

Extraordinary contemplations ought to be given to breast walls, re-application, the crown, the flashing region and the mortar joints. The breast wall is the place a chimney doesn’t go straight down to the ground, rather circumvents something (quite often a fireplace.) They aren’t typically by and large flat zones, a 30°-60° edge is really normal. These zones ought to get diverse treatment.

Sealing the Chimney Breast

Since the chimney breast has a more extreme introduction to rain and especially snow, it needs more layers of waterproofing. Most waterproofing utilized nowadays is water-based material. This is for two or three reasons: one is that water-based materials cost less than dissolvable based materials. They are more secure to ship, store and utilize and they are splendidly sufficient to the errand. The exception to the advantages is on non-vertical surfaces.

One way to deal with a non-vertical surface is to waterproof it over and over and over. Another is to use a solvent-based material, still with polysiloxanes, because it soaks deeper into the substrate. For a chimney with a breast below, opt for the more expensive solvent-based waterproofing.

An extraordinary note about re-applications. On the off chance that one needs to re-apply waterproofing after the water-based material has officially dried, dissolvable based waterproofing ought to be utilized. This is not regular learning, even among the exchange. Regardless of whether re-applying the following day or after ten years, utilize dissolvable based waterproofing. Try not to be frightened that if in the wake of perusing this article you know more than the general population you contract to carry out the occupation; the vast majority don’t have the foggiest idea about this. Just persistently demand getting what you request.

Sealing a Chimney Crown

The chimney crown is a level surface and it’s made of cement or mortar. It shouldn’t be made of mortar, however there’s a decent shot that it is at any rate. In view of what you’ve quite recently perused about waterproofing the chimney bosom, you’d sensibly feel that you’d simply utilize a dissolvable based waterproofing material there. In any case, that is not really: a crown requires more than common waterproofing.

The crown is fairly permeable. In case you’re fortunate the crown will be made of cement and will have been worked in a way that makes the top very smooth and non-permeable. In any case, by and large, crowns are genuinely permeable and have more introduction to rain and snow than all the rest of the chimney, and accordingly more problems (e.g. leaks) that the rest of the chimney as well.

There are coatings made particularly for crowns (the two noteworthy brands are Weather Tight and Saver Systems and both are by and large accessible to the exchange just.) Regardless of the brand being utilized, crown prep is critical. All the greenery and earth must be wire-brushed away. The crown ought to be wetted down before the material is connected. Crown coatings connected to dry surfaces don’t build up the fundamental security you’re searching for. Extensive breaks ought to be caulked with high sap filler before the crown coat is connected.

A note on flat surfaces which are not chimney crowns, for example, carports and so on. Siloxanes are not the best decision here in light of the fact that garages are made of cement. A comparative material (silane) is fitting so as to get legitimate holding with the substrate. It isn’t so much that chimney waterproofing material won’t work; it’s quite recently that silanes will last longer in this case.

The flashing area needs special attention. Traditional flashing, which 99.9% of all of us have, is not actually so great. I’m sure traditional in-the-mortar-joint-flashing was a huge improvement over whatever was before it a hundred years ago, but don’t imagine it keeps water out the way you wish it did.

There are spectacular blazing items which, as I would like to think, are tragically underused. Streak Seal and Flash Tight are high-pitch coatings particularly for this reason. To waterproof the blazing truly well, request one of these items. Your breadth might possibly even hear what you’re saying, yet don’t hold that against him. For this situation you’ll be teaching him. As I stated, they are still undervalued items now.

Now the big one: the mortar. Since most spilling happens at the joints, you need to be extra certain you splash them well with the waterproofing. You ought to realize that when in doubt mortar joints are regularly not also fortified as you may think they seem to be, and there are in reality little breaks in the mortar (more often than not obvious however.) The joints themselves have distinctive properties on various chimneys relying on whether mortar concrete or Portland bond was utilized, also the molecule size of the sand utilized and the pH of the water that was blended to make the mortar.

To what extent does chimney waterproofing last?

Before moving on, let me answer another FAQ. The question is how long does chimney waterproofing last? Answer is, as a general statement, probably about 20 years for most people. If you have the wind blowing sand at your chimney a lot, perhaps in the desert or by the sea, the brick surface can wear away, but most people don’t have that. There are guarantees, generally about 10 years. When those guarantees were instituted they were basically guesses from studies done in wind tunnels and freeze-thaw cycles. After a lot of years of observation, 20 years seems to be a generally good answer. Having it redone every 10-15 years is reasonable maintenance.

What is the distinction amongst beading and repulsing water?

A related subject: there’s a contrast amongst “beading” and repulsing water. Directly in the wake of anything is waterproofed, there is an extremely fulfilling impact called beading. This is the place you see dots of water simply sitting at first glance, sort of like seeing water sitting on oil. As perfect as it is to see, at impact is transitory. I don’t know why, yet the reality remains that waterproofing stays compelling for some, numerous years past the beading impact is no more.

How to waterproof stone chimneys

Finally, there are stone chimneys. Depending upon what kind of stone, the surface may be quite dense or quite porous. Regardless, stone usually doesn’t waterproof well with chimney waterproofing materials. The reason is that siloxanes and silanes bond to silica, and stones may or may not be silica. If they are, it’ll work, and if they aren’t, it won’t. Faux stone on the other hand is made with Portland cement, and you can waterproof it.

A Final Cautionary Word

Let me finish with a fun (in retrospect) cautionary tale. Be careful where you spray your waterproofing material. We once had an employee get cute and draw a smiley face on one of our customer’s driveway. It dried right up, no problem. But, when it rained the smiley face showed up just great. We wound up waterproofing that whole driveway just to keep it from smiling in the rain. Put down cloths on the roof so you don’t get it on the shingles. Never get it on the windows (you’ll mess them up permanently.) And of course, be real careful not to get it on the driveway.

Chimney Repairs

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With winter drawing to a close, and the frequency of using your fireplace goes down, it’s time to start thinking about having your chimney inspected for repairs. As with most other things, after prolonged use, there can be minor damage to your chimney. While minor damage might not seem like such a big deal, the reality is that it can lead to bigger problems if left without repairs. That’s why having your chimney inspected regularly can help keep your family safe. Especially after winter, seeing as your chimney could’ve sustained some minor damage during the cold winter months.

Are Chimney Repairs Important?

At Chimney Sweeps West, our work is to help you keep your chimney in good shape, so of course we believe that chimney maintenance is important, but it’s not just because we want you to hire chimney sweeps.

Unfortunately many homeowners might be under the impression that having their chimneys swept and repaired isn’t necessary to keep their families safe, while in reality chimney problems are one of the main causes of fires in residential areas.

A chimney that isn’t working properly can also leak carbon monoxide into your home. Because carbon monoxide is similar to carbon dioxide, you won’t notice when your chimney isn’t channeling the gas out of your home as it should. But even though there won’t be clear warning signs that carbon monoxide is being released into your home, the gas is highly poisonous. Inhaling too much can be fatal.

According to the NFPA, fires caused by heating equipment (that includes your fireplace) were second on the list of most common fire causes in 2016. But even though only 16% of home fires were caused by heating equipment, falling far behind the percentage allocated to fires caused by cooking (which was the main cause of home fires), fires caused by heating equipment were responsible for 19% of the deaths that took place a result of home fires in 2016. Fires caused by cooking were equally likely to result in death, making up for a further 19% of deaths in home fires.

What this means is that, although your chimney is less likely to be the place where a fire starts than your kitchen, chimney fires are more dangerous, leading to death in more cases.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so make sure to have your chimney inspected before you use next winter. Also have a carbon monoxide alarm installed into your home so you’ll have an early warning if there are any toxins leaking into your home from the fireplace.

Having Your Chimney Inspected Is Cheaper Than a Fire

Homeowners who don’t have their chimneys regularly inspected by a qualified professional often end up paying the price in home repairs. Assuming you’re lucky enough that a fire that started in your chimney doesn’t result in loss of life, the effects of such a fire will still be awful.

To have your chimney swept and checked for damage will cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand if your chimney needs a lot of work (such as in cases when the chimney wasn’t built properly to begin with). Fire damage, on the other hand, will almost never cost you less than at least $5000, and that’s if the fire was small.

We’re willing to bet you have some things in your home near the fireplace – like furniture and maybe even a piano – that’s dear to you. These possessions have sentimental value that go well beyond their monetary worth, and they’re the first that you’ll lose in a fire.

Always Practice Fire Safety

So, suppose you’re a responsible homeowner and you have your chimney inspected annually. Do you get to throw out that ugly fire extinguisher? Well, we’d have to caution you against that.

Although having your chimney inspected annually before using it for the winter will certainly lower your risk of a chimney fire, there really aren’t any guarantees in life. Various things can impact the safety of your chimney, including the materials you burn, as some woods burn at a temperature that’s too hot, causing your chimney to crack more easily.

But apart from the fact that your chimney still works with fire – and is therefore a potential risk regardless of what you do – there are also other areas in your house that are high-risk zones where fires can start.

According to the NFPA’s report on home fires (titled Home Structure Fires) approximately 46% of home fires start in the kitchen. These fires often start as a result of forgetfulness, where residents might leave the home to run a quick errand only to come back to a burning house. Faced with this horrific scene, it’s often then when they realize they forgot something on the stove, or in the oven.

To practice good fire safety entails more than just having a fire extinguisher in your home (although that certainly is important). Good fire safety is about all-around mindfulness when it comes to potential fire hazards in your home. So while inspecting your chimney and having it repaired is an integral part of practicing good fire safety, we urge you to be more mindful in other areas as well. After all, there’s no use having your chimney inspected only to lose your house in a kitchen fire.

Talk to Qualified Chimney Professionals

Chimney sweeps aren’t all the same. While some Chimney sweeps undergo proper training, others don’t know much about what they’re doing at all. There’s no use in hiring someone who knows no more about your chimney than you do. In that case, you might just as well have tried to sweep your chimney yourself.

Obviously, your safety should be a deciding factor when hiring a chimney sweep company. You wouldn’t want an unqualified doctor, so why hire someone who doesn’t take your safety seriously to sweep your chimney?

Contact Chimney Sweeps West to have your chimney inspected by our team of highly qualified professionals.