Is It Time to Clean Your Chimney?

When you use your fireplace, creosote builds up in your chimney. Creosote contains tar and soot, and it can damage your flue lining. It can also cause a blockage in your chimney, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. On top of that, creosote can become a fire hazard or make your home dirty. For all these reasons, it’s important to clean your chimney on a regular basis. How clean is your chimney? Is it time to have it cleaned by a professional chimney sweep in Atlanta? Here are 3 ways that you can determine whether or not you should have the chimney cleaned.

Visual Inspection

While wearing safety goggles over your eyes and a dust mask over your face, get on top of your roof. Use a flashlight to look down your chimney. Do you see any black soot along the sides of your chimney? If so, it might be time to schedule a cleaning.

Scrape the Soot

Wearing the same safety goggles and dust mask, look up your chimney from inside of your home. Use a tool to scrape the sides of your chimney. If you find more than 1/4-inch of soot on the sides of your chimney, it’s time to call in the professionals.

Professional Inspection

If you don’t have the right tools on hand or don’t want to get on your roof, don’t fret. You can contact the professionals to help you. Have a professional inspect your chimney. They can determine whether the chimney needs to be cleaned, and they can check for any signs of damage. Then, you can have your chimney cleaned and repaired.

If you haven’t had your chimney cleaned out in a while, it would be a good idea to inspect it. Scheduling a cleaning with the Atlanta Chimney Doctor can be a great way to keep your chimney up to snuff. We can help you remove the creosote, so you don’t have to worry about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, fires, and other hazards.

4 Causes of a Cracked Chimney Crown

One of the most common questions that clients ask about involves how to repair a chimney crown in Marietta. The chimney crown is located at the top of your chimney. It works to keep water from seeping into your chimney. If it gets a crack in it, it won’t be able to do its job, and water will end up in your chimney. To prevent this from happening, you need to get cracks filled as soon as possible or repair the crown right away. So what causes cracks in your chimney crown? Here are 4 culprits that you should know about.

Improper Installation

It’s hard to tell if your chimney crown was installed correctly, but improper installation can play a huge role in how well it will withstand the other culprits of cracks. It should be made of quality material that will hold up for as long as possible. If your crown wasn’t installed correctly, you should replace it with a crown that is made of quality material and make sure that it’s firmly sealed to your chimney with a sticking agent and a waterproofed seal.

Structural Problems

Loose bricks, a shift in the chimney structure, and other issues can cause cracks in your chimney crown. When this happens, they create spaces that allow moisture to get inside of the chimney crown. The increased moisture leads to greater cracks in your chimney crown, which will continue to allow more water to seep into your chimney. It’s important to check your chimney crown on a regular basis, so you can identify any structural changes that can affect your chimney. When you notice them, you can repair the structural damages to make sure that the chimney crown isn’t affected.


Weather Conditions

Rain, wind, and snow can affect your chimney crown, too. Wind can wear down your chimney crown as it beats against your home, and the rain and snow will send moisture into the small cracks and enlarge them along the way. One of the biggest issues involving the weather is the changes in temperature. Heat and cold can work to break down the chimney crown as it expands and shrinks with the weather.

Seismic Activity

Even minor seismic activity can cause small cracks in your chimney crown. Then, the other culprits can cause the crack to grow over time. If your area experienced any seismic activity, you should have your chimney crown examined for any cracks. Small ones can be filled in, so they won’t continue to grow and cause more issues for you.

There really isn’t much that you can do to prevent cracks from forming in your chimney crown. You can’t control the weather. You can’t prevent seismic activity, and you never know when other structural issues will occur. What you can do, however, is pay attention to your chimney crown and take care of the cracks as soon as they happen. Experts such as ours at Atlanta Chimney Doctor, LLC, can come to your home to check things out. If your chimney crown has any cracks, we can help repair them so you won’t have to worry about the damage that is occurring to your chimney crown or the chimney itself.

 

How to Keep Your Chimney as Clean as Possible

Regular chimney cleanings are important for several reasons, the most important being the health and safety of you and your family. A clean chimney is less prone to internal fires caused when soot and creosote build up in the flue. Regular cleanings and inspections can keep creosote from building up and help troubleshoot potential problems with your chimney. Here are a few tips to help keep your chimney as clean as possible.

Do It Yourself

If you’re not afraid of heights or getting your hands dirty, you can clean your own chimney. You will need a wire chimney brush that fits the size and shape of your chimney. If you are using a weighted brush and cleaning from the top down, you will need a length of rope longer than the height of your chimney and an extension ladder. You will want to seal your fireplace with plastic tarping and masking tape to prevent soot and debris from ruining the inside of your home.

If you are cleaning from the bottom up, you will need enough piping to reach the entire length of your flue. Lay a tarp down inside the bottom of the flue and on surrounding carpet and furnishings. It is also imperative that you wear protective gear like gloves, goggles, and a mask.

Get an Upgrade

If your chimney is older than 1992, chances are it is not EPA-certified. New stoves and fireplace inserts that are agency-approved burn more efficiently, which means you will be using less fuel. They also generate less soot and are easier to clean. Some states offer tax incentives for energy efficient upgrades.

It is also a good idea to upgrade your fuel source. Wood that burns hotter generates less soot. Experts recommend that you only use wood that has been “seasoned” or dried for at least a year. Maple, birch, ash, and oak are recommended hardwoods that burn at higher temperatures and will generate less soot.

Call the Professionals

Cleaning your chimney is a dirty job. One wrong move and you will have soot all over your living room! Don’t sweat the details and let the pros handle your yearly cleaning and inspection. If you are looking for a professionally certified chimney sweep in Atlanta, GA, the Atlanta Chimney Doctor can take care of all your chimney concerns.

How Often Should You Get Your Chimney Swept and Why?

We at Atlanta Chimney Doctor, LLC, know that a fireplace is an inexpensive and easy alternative to a space heater or heating system. The fire can supply warmth to one room or the entire house. However, the regular use of your fireplace can, over time, create a number of issues that could prove detrimental to your home if left untreated. It is important to know how and why you should get a chimney sweep in Atlanta, GA, or your area.

Creosote

Creosote buildup is one of the most common fireplace-related problems. When wood burns, it releases gases that intermingle with the cool air inside the vent. This forms a black and sticky residue that lines the walls inside the chimney. Increasing accumulation of this substance can narrow the vent passage, which can lead to trapped fumes spilling into your home, corrosion of the inner walls, or even spontaneously set your flue on fire.

Animal Nests

Birds, bats, and other animals have been known to make nests around the mouth of or inside the flue, finding it perfect for their young to thrive because it’s isolated from predators and its warmth is ideal during the colder months. The nests prevent the proper flow of gasses out of the flue and the animals nesting there could be carriers of dangerous diseases.

Misaligned and Deteriorating Flue Liners

It wasn’t an uncommon practice in the original construction of fireplaces to incorrectly align the flue liners. Builders would also disregard sealing the liners with the proper refractory mortar, instead using the mortar required to lay brick, block, or stone. The two kinds of mortar aren’t interchangeable as standard mortar has no refractory properties and cannot tolerate the chemical properties inside the flue. Standard mortar deteriorates and can leave dangerous openings between the liners.

The National Safety Standard

According to the National Fire Protection Association, an inspection of all fireplaces, chimneys, and vents should be conducted at least once a year and, if the results show any of the problems listed above, a routine cleaning would follow. It’s advised by the Chimney Safety Institute of America that open masonry fireplaces should be cleaned when 1/8″ of soot has built up along the insides. For factory-built fireplaces, cleaning should occur whenever evidence of creosote is present since a considerable amount could ignite a flue fire that may spread into your home.

 

Three Reasons for a Leaky Chimney

Chimney leaks can be a huge pain to deal with, especially if they have caused water damage in your home or in the chimney itself. But one of the biggest issues with a chimney leak is determining where the chimney leak is coming from—chimney leaks can come from just about anywhere. Here are just a few reasons that we think your chimney could be leaking and a few easy solutions from Atlanta Chimney Doctor.

Cracks

Chimneys are highly likely to be damaged, especially considering their location on the very top of the home. So, with any poor weather like hail, snow, sleet, or rain, your chimney is at risk for being damaged, especially if it is an older chimney and hasn’t been refurbished in a while. There can be cracks on the exterior of the chimney, in the interior of the chimney, and even on top of the chimney. One of the easiest ways to see if your chimney is leaking in Marietta, GA, is to call us for a chimney inspection. We can take care of any problems that you may have and determine whether or not you need any type of refurbishment to your chimney.

No Chimney Cover

One of the biggest problems we find with a leaky chimney is that there isn’t a chimney cover. Without a chimney cover, your home is extremely vulnerable to water, pests, and even birds. A cover is more than vital and can definitely be the cause of a leak in your chimney. With many different options for chimney covers, you can find the perfect one for your chimney and for your home.

Cracked Chimney Crown

Another problem that can be easily solved is by checking the top of the chimney, as this is the most vulnerable area to water damage and cracking. A chimney crown is the “cement surface at the top of the chimney, which functions to keep rain out” according to ctsweep.com. With the freezing and thawing of wintertime, cement can easily crack. Repeated freezing can make any crack worse, which would make it even more difficult to fix when it comes time to do so. Luckily, we can provide sealants for your chimney crown in order to keep cracks from forming and can protect the crown from damage in the future.

Faulty Flashing

Flashing is “the metal part of the chimney, which is meant to form a waterproof seal between roof and chimney,” and is the leading cause of chimney leaks. One of the reason this is such a leading cause of leaking is because it is very difficult to install and even more difficult to create a waterproof seal. The worst part about these types of leaks is that the leak will go into the house, rather than staying centered around the chimney.

 

There are many other ways for a chimney to leak, so be sure to call the Atlanta Chimney Doctor for an easy and quick inspection of your chimney to protect against current and future leaks.