Author: Mark Linville

Tips to Summer Home Maintenance

The mid year months have arrived. To benefit as much as possible from your late spring and facilitate the weight of home support and repair, here are 10 hints to keeping your home fit as a fiddle.

Heater and Air Conditioner Maintenance – With the change of the season, you should change your air channel and consider getting a tune-up for summer. There is nothing more terrible at that point going into the mid year months and having the A/C go out. Have it looked at now and to spare you bother later.

Smoke Detector – Make beyond any doubt you test your smoke and carbon monoxide finder and change the battery. In the event that your identifier is more seasoned than 10 years, it’s an ideal opportunity to supplant it.

Chimney Cleaning – Although you won’t be utilizing your chimney again until the fall, now is the ideal time to get it cleared and cleaned. This season of year is less occupied for the smokestack clear organizations, so you can complete it and have it prepared to pass when the leaves begin to fall.

Roof Fans – Mostly likely you’re roof fans have been icon over the winter months or it’s a great opportunity to invert the course. Pause for a moment and examine the fan, clean up the cutting edges and ensure they are adjusted.

Cleaning Gutters and Downspouts – While the climate is pleasant and warm, now would be an incredible time to get out your drains and downspouts. It’s suggest that canals get got out once every year and twice per year if there are a considerable measure of overhanging trees.

Outside Caulking – Take the opportunity to completely review the caulking around your windows and entryways. Bugs and ants are pulled in to the kitchen territory, by adding crisp caulking to the entryways and windows, this will help keep those little gatecrashers.

Power Washing – Your siding, walkways and decks require a decent scour this season of year. Consider weight washing them for unrivaled appearance and additionally keeping up them for ideal utilize.

Pool Maintenance – Depending where you live, your pool presumably hasn’t been utilized since a year ago. Scour the dividers of the pool and also leveling out the water and include the important chemicals. Cleaning your pool takes time, however the advantages of swimming all late spring will be well justified, despite all the trouble.

Outside Paint Touch-up – Now is an ideal opportunity to go outside and touch-up the outside paint. On the off chance that you don’t have the paint shading for your touch-up, take a photo and go to your paint store to have them coordinate the photograph. Or, on the other hand in some cases, the paint store may convey a rep that can coordinate the paint for you.

Need help getting your summer projects done? Call us here at Chimney Sweeps West, we can help you with more than just your chimney.

Deck vs. Patio: Which is Perfect for Your Abode?

Picking between introducing a deck or a patio includes a reasonable number of functional, stylish, and individual contemplations. Keeping in mind the end goal to start settling on the choice between a deck, a patio, or both, how about we initially take a gander at the functional contrasts between the two.

While a yard much of the time alludes to an open air space that is set straightforwardly on the ground, decks are frequently lifted off of the ground by bolsters and can be various levels or raised to suit departure from a first or second story level. Porches can be attached to the house or separate from the home contingent upon inclination, yard size, and utilization, however they quite often require a level surface to keep development costs more sensible.

Decks then again can be all the more effortlessly intended to suit uneven scenes with higher backings and in addition distinctive levels and stairs, however they are generally associated with the home. While patios don’t by and large require licenses and reviews, decks, which are connected to the home, dependably require these perspectives.


Patios frequently have solid bases, yet a few mortgage holders utilize stone, tile, pavers, block, or different materials to make the establishment. While these materials are strong and impervious to the components, settling of the ground underneath them can cause uneven focuses in the surface that must be redressed every once in a while. For the most part, support is low, and with materials like locking pavers, the incidental substitution of individual pavers is refined decently effectively.

Since they are dependably at ground level, porches don’t require a rail unless there is an unexpected drop-off straightforwardly neighboring their limit. Decks are either made of wood, vinyl, or wood composite materials, however the backings are frequently made of pressure treated timber with solid footings.

The distinctive decking materials will have diverse levels of sturdiness and upkeep needs. Wood decks should be intermittently resealed while composite decks require less maintaining. The cost contrasts between the two are more about whether you will be paying more after some time in upkeep (wood deck) or a greater amount of an in advance cost with low up keep and for the most part longer life (composite).

Since most decks are hoisted off of the ground to some degree, they are commonly encased with some kind of railing and regularly offer a raised perspective of the property on which they sit. Decks might be worked off of the lower floor of a home, for example, the parlor or kitchen, or they may be added to an upper level room or even on a housetop setting.

Pleasantries and Use

How you expect to utilize your deck or yard is a central point in deciding comforts for either. There are an extensive variety of courtesies that can be added to possibly one with some plan contemplations considered for each.

While it is regular to have fire pits as well as implicit barbecues on a yard, these components can be a piece of a deck configuration also with outline and wellbeing contemplations considered by the expert deck planner and building group. Hot tubs and spas are reasonable amusement for either a deck or a porch.

The same can be said for pools with a deck or porch encompassing it, however outline and material contemplations can influence solace and wellbeing contemplations. In spite of the fact that yards are by and large revealed as far as rooftops, current plans do frequently highlight trellises, pergolas, and gazebos. Decks can likewise highlight these covers.

Life expectancy, Costs, and Other Practical Considerations

At the point when ground planning, seepage, and development techniques are done appropriately and to elevated requirements, decks and porches can have equivalent life expectancies with yards likely having the edge. Contingent upon the atmosphere and upkeep, decks can last somewhere in the range of 15 to 25 years or more with wood decks on the lower end and top notch composites on the upper end.

Porches can last upwards of 20 to 30 years, but at the same time are influenced by atmosphere. Solid patios can split and hurl as the consequence of rehashed solidifying and defrosting, much the same as whatever other poured solid, which may require fixing. While pavers can likewise split the individual spots can be all the more effectively supplanted. Contingent upon the plan, porches can be more affordable than decks, however this relies on upon various elements, for example, materials, estimate, and the civilities among others. Both decks and patios give a decent ROI to mortgage holders regarding added esteem and claim to purchasers.

As should be obvious, the decision between a deck and porch depends on various critical contemplations. Today, numerous property holders pick a blend of both to suit the way they need to engage and utilize their open air space to its fullest. The objective is to have an open air condition that matches the way you need to live and appreciate the outside.

How to Make the Most of Your Backyard this Summer

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.

Issues Damp Chimneys Can Cause in Your Home

There’s nothing like a crackling chimney on a frosty winter night to unite the family and remove the chill. Also, there’s nothing like smokestack issues, which are sadly very normal, to disrupt a life and lead to potentially big damage and expenses down the line. One chimney problem that shows up a lot is dampness. Here’s what you need to know about it.

What are pieces of information that you have a damp chimney?

Signs that you may have (or soon will have) a moisture issue with your chimney include a leaky attic or roof in the general area of the chimney, and/or a flue that has water running down it. Issues like this won’t leave all on their own and must be tended to at the earliest opportunity.

Remember that overabundant dampness in a fireplace doesn’t simply “happen.” There’s an explanation behind it, regardless of the possibility that you’re not mindful of it. A broke fireplace crown, for instance, can let in rain water. This is a genuinely basic event in more established homes worked before the 1980s, yet even more up to date homes are inclined to this issue, especially if the smokestack and chimney framework have gone years without standard, careful examination by professionals prepared in this teach.

Chimneys operated without a secure, properly functioning chimney cap, which is designed to block water from rain and melting snow, also will lead to trouble. Protective flashing around the chimney that’s deteriorated with age is yet another way for moisture to get into the chimney.

Be proactive and settle the issue quick

Since water and dampness are ruinous powers to smokestacks, it’s imperative to distinguish the reason for the issue at the earliest opportunity. You might have the capacity to do this without anyone’s help, or you may require the guide of an expert fireplace clear. In any case, it should be finished. Gotten early, smokestack dampness issues frequently are fixable without unreasonable cost. Permitted to advance, the cost of repair or finish modify can be high.

More imperative than cost of repairing a smokestack is the security of the general population who live in your home. The greater part of house flames originate from issues with chimneys and smokestacks. At the point when a smokestack liner or the blocks and mortar utilized as a part of the stack’s development are bargained, extreme warmth effortlessly can achieve neighboring building materials that are not planned to be fireproof. The outcome isn’t something anybody needs to understanding.

Why Spring is the Best Time to Get Your Chimney Repaired

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.