If you own a home there is a very good chance that the home has a chimney to help, at least, with the ventilation. Chimney maintenance is something that doesn’t get brought up enough on average but is something that is most definitely worth talking about. If you talk to anyone in roofing or chimney repair they would all agree that an annual inspection is one of the most import parts of keeping your home safe as well as energy-efficient.
An inspection every year is key to picking up on any issues that may be developing. You will always be much better off fixing a small problem at the root before it starts to grow and cause something much worse to happen down the line. So, it is time to start adding an inspection to the annual list of tasks around the house, it could end up making a big difference.
For more information on chimney inspections, and why they are so important, continue reading.
You Can’t See Everything
Depending on your level of expertise in home design, you may, or may not know that most of your chimney is actually hidden in your home. That is why it is so important to get a certified CSIA inspector to take a look, maybe during your annual chimney sweeping. These professionals are trained to look for any irregularities throughout the whole system and not just what is visible above or outside your home.
The average homeowner is not going to be well versed enough to detect chimney maintenance problems on their own, especially if they are at minor levels. Trust in a professional to get in there and find any small problems before they have a chance to become larger ones. It may seem like a bit of an extra cost upfront, but it is well worth it for peace of mind alone.
Preventative Chimney Maintenance
If you were to look at your home like it was a human body, the chimney would undoubtedly be the lungs. So, when looking at it like this it would make sense to get an annual check-up to make sure everything is working properly. Your house needs to breathe to be healthy and happy, and it is up to you to make that a priority. Between power washing and chimney cleaning, every year make sure you get an expert in to make sure your home is breathing properly.
Small Problems, Small Fixes
Unless you are doing some chimney rebuilding or repair you may not think about having yours inspected by a professional. While these types of projects always require some professional care, you should now know that it certainly isn’t the only time they should happen. By getting a CSIA certified inspector every year you will be able to save money on major repairs and keep you and your family safe and comfortable. It is most definitely worth a short inspection every year to make sure your chimney is working properly and not going to give you any surprises.
There comes a time in just about every homeowner’s life that their home will require some form of chimney rebuilding. For centuries chimneys have played a crucial role in providing heat and ventilation for a home. People used the chimney for many different household tasks, including cooking, and it was meant to be practical. In the modern age the chimney has lost its essential quality, but still remains a central feature of a lot of homes. Services like chimney maintenance, chimney sweeping and chimney repair are still going strong, despite chimneys being less common and more for aesthetic value.
These days, if you are thinking of chimney rebuilding when it comes to materials and design you have many more options to choose from. Power washing your old brick chimney every spring may end up being a thing of the past once you see what is on the market now.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at four of the more interesting options in chimney rebuilding.
Change Placement Altogether
A big trend in chimneys right now is to completely relocate them to make them a more visible part of the home. You can have your chimney on the outside wall, maybe the side of the house, and really have it make a bold statement about your home. It will look taller and more prominent without the entire structure hiding it. These types of chimneys are much more suited to homes that to rely on theirs for ventilation or the main heat source.
Copper Is Hot
There is nothing quite like the look of a perfectly shined up piece of copper metal. It has a unique glow that just draws your eyes to it. If you are thinking of chimney rebuilding with a different type of material, copper may just be exactly what you are looking for. It not only looks great but it is a fantastic insulator as well. Chimney cleaning may be a little more work with copper panels, but it will be well worth it.
Nothing Is Straight These Days
Straight is boring in architecture these days, it has been played out for a very long time. With new materials and building techniques, you don’t have to have the basic straight standing brick chimney anymore. Get creative with your chimney rebuilding, have yours leaning to the right or left, or even have it leaning back staring at the sky. The sky is the limit with these types of designs, so have fun with it.
Why Only One?
Since your chimney is playing more of an eye-candy role these days why not pair it up with a partner? A lot of homeowners are defying standard roofing practices and adding a second, or even third chimney just for aesthetic value. You can do some interesting things when adding multiple chimneys. If money is not the biggest concern with your new chimney it is definitely worth considering more than one.
So Many Choices With Chimney Rebuilding
You have an untold amount of choices in roofing and chimneys now, and that can be a bit overwhelming for the average homeowner. Know what your sense of style is, your budget, and what type of functionality you need in a chimney and you will be able to choose a design that is perfect for you.
Cincinnati is known for having some pretty wet weather throughout the calendar year, and there are extra precautions that homeowners need to take to keep their homes safe. Chimney maintenance is crucial for the overall protection of your home, as well as keeping your chimney itself working as efficiently and safely as it can.
Water getting into your home can cause catastrophic damage if there is enough of it, so you need to be prudent in protecting yourself. Waterproofing is a great thing to do for every part of your home, but the chimney is an especially vulnerable area that needs to be protected. The material that most chimneys are made out of is brick and mortar, which are wonderfully sturdy materials, but water will always find a way in if it can. Chimney maintenance really needs to have waterproofing included so you can have peace of mind, as well as protection for your entire home.
Keep reading to learn more about why waterproofing is an important part of your roofing and chimney maintenance.
Chimney Maintenance Is Better Than Repair
Mother nature can be scary and water can absolutely devastate something like a house, so it pays to take precautions. If you think about the amount of damage that water can do, it is prudent to keep maintenance and minor repairs up to date. By spending a little bit of time and money every year on chimney repair you could inadvertently save yourself massive amounts in the future.
Take the time during spring and fall cleaning to focus your attention on your chimney. You may even want to get a professional involved to carry out a thorough chimney cleaning and chimney sweeping. They can also advise on what can be done to waterproof your chimney to prevent any further damage being done in the future. It is in your best interests to keep up with chimney maintenance to avoid a catastrophe down the road.
What If I See Damage?
Unless you are a chimney expert you are going to be best off calling in the professionals. If you see damage to your chimney you need to get on top of it before it starts getting any worse. A small crack in the brick and mortar could quickly turn into something much larger if the wonderful Ohio weather decides to blow in and say hello. A professional will be able to assess exactly what needs to be done to repair anything that is damaged already and also waterproof everything for the future.
When it comes to chimney maintenance it is wise to err on the side of caution. Even if you think the damage looks very minor, don’t ignore it. Make sure you get the right person to check it out to be certain that you are not going to be in for any surprises down the road.
The most important part of chimney maintenance and home maintenance, in general, is keeping up with things that need to be done, like power washing and chimney repair. There is no room for procrastination when it comes to your home and the safety of your family. Water damage can be a major issue for homes and can even be completely devastating. To avoid a complete chimney rebuilding, make sure you properly waterproof both your chimney and your entire home.
Your chimney is a very important part of your home, and when there is something wrong with it, it can lead to some major problems. Cincinnati is known to get a little wet at times and homeowners are most likely familiar with doing chimney repair because of water finding its way into their home. Water leaks can be a major issue in your home and cause a lot of damage, in turn costing you a lot of money. That is why you must be proactive with your chimney maintenance and call a chimney repair expert at the first sign of problems.
There are a number of ways you can tell that water is getting into your home through the chimney and it pays to keep your eyes peeled. A lot of the ways water can get in are due to wear and tear or even poor workmanship in some cases. Cincinnati weather really doesn’t do your chimney any favors either. It is crucial that you pay attention to any signs of water coming in so you can stop any leak before it turns into something much larger.
Keep reading to find out some ways you can spot those leaks before they become a problem.
Damage To Bricks And Mortar
If you are fairly inexperienced with building and doing repairs around the home it is going to be difficult for you to spot very specific problems involving chimney leaks. One thing you can do is get up on your roof, or as close as you can, and check the chimney itself for any sort of cracking or damage. Bricks and mortar do not last forever and can develop cracks over time and if they go unnoticed, they can lead a complete chimney rebuilding.
Damage To The Chimney Crown
Even if you are not experienced in chimney repair, during a chimney sweeping you should take a look at the top of the chimney, called the crown. You want to make sure there are no easily damaged or low-quality materials used in your chimney crown. These days a lot of chimney crowns are made strictly from concrete, which is far superior and more durable than older materials like mortar. However, some companies still use regular mortar for the crown of the chimney as it is cheaper and faster to build.
Broken Or Missing Chimney Cap
One of the main causes of water leaks that require chimney repair is due to the factory-made cover called the cap. The purpose of these chimney caps is to keep out water and debris. Installing a chimney cap if you don’t already have one or replacing an old, damaged chimney cap may solve the issue. You may not be able to find minor issues yourself and it would be ideal to get a professional in if you have any concerns.
Damage To The Chimney Flash
If you are not aware of what flashing is, it is used in a lot of different building applications to keep water out. Think of it as the sealing between your roofing and the chimney itself that provides protection from the elements. Sometimes this flashing can become damaged by the weather or from power washing and water will start getting through and cause damage in your home.
Keep Your Eyes Open
When it comes to keeping your home safe from water damage, your own two eyes are going to be your biggest ally. Chimney repair and water damage can become very expensive and time-consuming, and a huge headache in general. Keep your eyes peeled and call in a chimney cleaning expert at the first sign of damage or water leaks around your chimney.
If you are a homeowner you know that you have to take care of maintenance in a timely manner to avoid major issues. Just like you will powerwash your driveway to keep it clean, regularly clean your gutters or carry out lawn maintenance, your chimney needs regular attention too. If you have a chimney on your home a chimney cap is a great addition for a number of different reasons. With the different weather in Cincinnati throughout the seasons, it can help protect against mother nature and the damage she can cause. It could end up being the difference between a small inconvenience and a full chimney rebuild.
Along with protection from the elements, properly installed chimney caps can help keep heating costs down by providing more efficiency. The benefits of installing chimney caps far outweigh the initial cost, and as a homeowner, you should be aware of this.
Keep reading to see three of the major reasons why you should look at installing chimney caps.
A Chimney Cap Protects
One of the most important reasons to install a cap is going to be the protection it offers from the elements. In the case of mother nature dumping torrential rain on us, or maybe covering everything with two feet of snow, a cap is going to keep those elements where they should be; outside. In our area one of the biggest concerns is going to be ice build-up in the winter, it can cause cracks and even more serious damage if you are not monitoring it. If you don’t protect your chimney, especially in a place like Cincinnati, chimney repair can end up being expensive.
Keep Critters Outside Where They Belong
A chimney can look like a very inviting place for all kinds of wildlife looking to make a new home. They are dark and offer protection, so it is no wonder Cincinnati chimney sweeps are always finding animals during their work. The easiest way to keep these animals out is by installing a properly fitting chimney cap. It will deter even the most versatile of sneaky critters from entering your home, at least from that direction.
Efficiency Is The New Black
In our ever-greener social climate, energy efficiency is a top priority. Everyone across the globe is looking to save money on energy bills every month as prices keep climbing. Your chimney can be a very easy spot for heat to escape and for cold air to make its way in. Installing a proper chimney cap is going to solve both of these issues simultaneously. It will keep the heat from getting out and block any wind from coming in. Chimney caps are worth the initial cost in energy savings down the line.
A Chimney Cap Protects Your Home And Saves You Money
When you want to protect your home and save money, one of the easiest places to start is your roofing, specifically the chimney. By properly protecting your home with chimney caps, you may spend a little money upfront but you will see savings on your energy bills in the long term. As well as saving you money, chimney caps protect your home from the elements and keeps mother nature and her creatures outside. As a homeowner, it simply makes sense to install chimney caps.
One of the biggest causes of house fires in our country is, unfortunately, one of the most preventable causes too – dryer lint. A lot of homeowners are becoming more aware of this issue, as information is much more readily available these days. Yet it is still causing thousands of fires every year resulting in injuries and even death. In all seriousness, dryer vent cleaning could actually save your life.
There are a number of different ways you can detect that it is time to clean those vents, in Cincinnati, chimney sweeps see these signs all the time. The build-up of lint can cause chimneys to become unsafe if they are not properly maintained.
Continue reading as we highlight five signs that your dryer vents and chimney need to have proper cleaning.
1. Your Dryer Is Not Working Properly
If you have been noticing that your dryer is misbehaving, it may be time to look at doing some dryer vent cleaning. The build-up of lint can cause things to overheat, this causes the machine to shut off, or even worse could get hot enough to burn you or start a fire. If you are noticing small changes with how your dryer is working, this could be a simple fix.
2. Notice A Burning Smell? Time For Some Dryer Vent Cleaning!
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you smell something burning in your laundry room, or you are having chimney repairs done or you are power washing your home’s exterior and the workers notice a smell, you need to take action. Regardless of who and where you smell it, burning is never a good sign. This could be due to excessive heat build-up in your vents and you need to keep a careful eye on them.
3. Your Clothes Are Still Damp
Damp clothes another example of what can happen when there is not enough airflow through your air vents. If your clothes are coming out of the dry cycle still wet, that means not enough hot air is making its way through the system. This not only will cost you money, if you don’t deal with the lint build-up it can cause some major problems. A fire caused by the lint build-up could inflict enough damage that you need a chimney rebuild, new roofing or it could even destroy your home.
4. The Dry Cycle Is Taking Too Long
Another issue like the above example, your clothes are getting dry but it seems to be running for a longer period of time. This could be the start of severe air vent blockage and should get taken care of before it gets too out of hand. You have the opportunity to prevent a more serious issue, so take it.
5. Lint Build-Up Is Visible
The most visible sign you can notice that would lead you to require dryer vent cleaning is seeing lint build-up on things other than the trap. Check all the hoses and vents to see if there is excess lint around. You may notice the vent flap has trouble staying shut as well, this needs to be cleaned out before it causes a problem.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
If you notice any of these common issues around your dryer and its ventilation system, take the time to look into them properly. Something as simple as doing some annual cleaning and maintenance could prevent something much worse in the future.
Now that fall is over, we need to start thinking about the winter season here in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Once the winter hits, the temperatures drop, and we need to start using the chimney. Chimney maintenance and chimney cleaning are essential tasks for homeowners that have fireplaces in their homes. In this short guide, you will be informed of the top five considerations when choosing a chimney sweep for your home.
- Hire a professional
The number one consideration when choosing a chimney sweep is to use a professional. Do not attempt to clean your own chimney if you have never done so before. Do not hire a neighbor or a friend of a friend, as you do not know if they have the education, experience, insurance, or even a roofer who have never performed a chimney sweep before. Make sure you go with a respectable person or company that has years of experience under their belt!
- Education & experience
Another consideration when choosing a chimney sweep is to take the knowledge and expertise of the chimney sweep into account. If they are brand new and have never performed a chimney sweep, your home may not be the best one for them to learn on! On the other hand, if the individual has years of experience and is certified in their profession, you want to snatch them up as they will do a great job getting your home ready for fall!
When hiring a professional of any kind, you want to verify if they have insurance. The reason this is important is that of liability. If the chimney sweep is on your roof performing necessary chimney maintenance and chimney cleaning and they fall off your roof and do not have insurance, you could be liable for their injuries because they fell off your roof. If you do not have the knowledge or the time to complete chimney cleaning on your own, it may be wise to seek help from a professional handyman or vent cleaning company. Just like with HVAC maintenance, roofing fixes, power washing, cleaning of the gutters, simple remodeling, and exterior painting, make sure to investigate the company thoroughly to determine if they are respectable, accountable and insured before hiring them to perform any work for you!
- Online reviews
Another consideration to take into account when choosing a chimney sweep is to look at online reviews. Sites like Angie’s List, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau are all places you can study to make sure the individual you select is acting in good faith and is responsible for their tasks. It will state in the reviews if the person you are considering is highly rated or if you should pass on their services.
- Price comparisons
The last consideration you need to take into account when choosing a chimney sweep is the cost of the individual you plan on using. There can be large price differences between chimney sweeps based on experience as well as location. You want to make sure you are getting the best value you can, and the best way to accomplish this is complete price comparisons between area professionals.
As you can see, there are multiple things to look at when hiring a chimney sweep. You want to ensure you have chimney maintenance and chimney cleaning performed every year to keep your home in good condition and to have heat when it is needed. If you follow our advice on the top five considerations when choosing a chimney sweep, you will have the warmest and cleanest chimney in all of Cincinnati!
Your chimney is one of the most substantial parts of your home. It can withstand natural disasters and high winds. It is definitely built to last as it literally has fire in a portion of it all winter long.
Even a chimney that is constructed well can develop small issues though. With all the flames and smoke that occurs in a stack on a daily basis, it is critical to maintain your chimney. By doing so, you can catch minor problems before they develop into major issues.
Continue reading to learn some of the most common masonry issues and how you can recognize them quickly in order to get chimney repairs completed before severe damage occurs.
No one wants to notice water dripping down the fireplace or stains on the ceiling or walls. A wet smell can also indicate there is a water leak somewhere in your roofing, chimney, or fireplace. Chimney repairs will be needed if a water leak is involved. Water is difficult because it can be occurring for some time before you may notice the signs of the leakage. The leak itself could be due to improper installation of the chimney cap or flashing where rainwater is coming in through a hole. Make sure to call in a chimney specialist or experienced handyman immediately if you notice a leak or other signs of leaking such as a decrease in the efficiency of the fireplace or new drafts.
Most times, your furnace should not have a smoky smell to it. There should be no smell at all. If you notice a smoky smell or even a smell of mildew, or decay, you need to be alert to potential issues with the interior of the masonry. Your chimney flue may need a good cleaning, especially if it has been a while since your last cleaning. It could also be that chimney repairs are required. You may have a water leak or need a new fireplace liner. Make sure to call a chimney sweep or professional as soon as possible.
Spalling Masonry Indicates Chimney Repairs
Spalling is crumbling of the brick and mortar as well as cracking and flaking. It can be caused by repeated weather as well as the passage of time. It is quite common in masonry, and it can be damaging if it is not repaired quickly. Usually, the brick and mortar need to be replaced with new, stronger mortar that will give your fireplace more durability and robustness. Painting of the new brick and mortar can occur, and no one will be the wiser that you had your masonry replaced.
How does a leaning chimney happen overnight? Well, it does not. Usually, a leaning stack indicates a problem with the foundation that could have been going on for years, but you never noticed. It could have been leaning very subtly and then gotten worse to the point you are noticing the lean. If this is the case, you will also see cracking in the masonry or a large crack between your chimney and your house. This may need chimney repairs, so it is imperative to call a professional in immediately.
Recognizing Masonry Issues In Your Home
A chimney and fireplace is a lovely addition to any home. It is one of the most substantial portions of your house and can add such flair and charm to a home. Chimneys can develop small issues though and need to be frequently maintained. This can be done by looking for chimney leaks, leaning, odors, and spalling and quickly repaired if problems are noted. By calling in a chimney professional, your chimney will be long lasting and will fill your home with much warmth for many years.
Chimneys are a great addition to any house or home. They give off an appeal and make a home feel special. However, they need to be occasionally maintained to prevent a buildup of chemicals and to prevent fires from occurring. This can be done with a thorough cleaning of the chimney.
Since it is summer, it is a great time to have your chimney cleaned, as you will not need it with the hot temperatures of summer. Vents need to be cleaned depending on how often you use your fireplace. For most people who live in Cincinnati, you are using the chimney daily in the winter. With this type of use, it is recommended that you have your chimney cleaned annually at a minimum.
Keep reading to learn more about the importance of chimney cleaning and how often you should be performing this crucial task.
Chimney Cleaning To Increase The Efficiency Of The Fireplace
One of the most critical reasons to have roofing inspections and your chimney cleaned frequently is to improve the efficiency of the flue. When soot accumulates near and around the flue of the stack, there is a drop in ventilation. Ventilation is necessary to remove smoke and carbon monoxide that is produced when wood is burned. Too much accumulation of creosote will prevent the smoke and other chemicals from escaping. Left untouched, smoke will back up into all rooms of your home and can cause severe damage.
Cleaning Assists In The Prevention Of Fires
Just like power washing leads to cleaner homes, chimney cleaning lead to spotless chimneys. This is important because a clean vent offers protection from fire. When wood is burned, not only does it produce smoke, but it also produces creosote, which is a dark, sticky substance that is quite flammable. The more creosote that is created and accumulates on your masonry, the more likely a fire is to break out. This is why it is of the utmost importance to schedule regular and frequent cleanings of your chimney. It is recommended to have your chimney cleaned when there is a residue of 1/8″ of soot accumulation that is visible inside your chimney or flue.
Prevention Of Carbon Monoxide
When a fire is started and burned, it is not just wood and smoke that you have to be cognizant of. You also need to be aware of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of fire. It is an unscented chemical that can be very harmful and destructive to humans and pets if too much exposure occurs. Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea, headache, dizziness, and fatigue. It is imperative to have proper ventilation in your home and to have chimney cleaning and yearly inspections of your fireplace to check for carbon monoxide exposure.
If you have a chimney that you infrequently use, it is essential for you to maintain and perform chimney cleaning. Not to prevent fires or carbon monoxide, but to prevent pests that can make your chimney their home. Wildlife such as squirrels, birds, and raccoons can find a way in your chimney and make it a cozy spot to live in. If they can get in the fireplace, they most likely can get into the rest of your home as well. A routine inspection and evaluation will allow you to see any critters that should not be there. By doing this annually, you will be able to catch any intruders before they make a nest or start storing food in your chimney.
How Often Should I Have My Chimney Cleaned And Inspected?
Chimneys need to be cleaned based on the amount of use. If you only turn it on once or twice a year, you could go a few years without cleaning, but if you use your chimney in the winter like most individuals in Ohio, you need to have it inspected, cleaned and maintained yearly. This will prevent carbon monoxide build up as well as fire prevention. You will also increase the efficiency of the flue with a chimney cleaning. Lastly, you can remove any pests such as squirrels or birds that have made your chimney their home. Make sure to call a chimney sweep or experienced local handyman to have your fireplace cleaned and inspected today.
There are more elements to your chimney system than most homeowners realise and each one plays a crucial role in ensuring your chimney system is functioning properly. While for the most part, the primary role of your chimney is to allow smoke from your fireplace to safely leave your home, it’s important to ensure nothing comes back in.
Chimney caps are a critical component of your chimney system and are the one element that protects your entire chimney system. With a properly installed and functioning chimney cap in place, you can be sure that your fireplace will function correctly and safely.
Keep reading to find out exactly what a chimney cap is and why you need one for your chimney system.
What are Chimney Caps?
Chimney caps are located at the very top of your chimney that cover sand protects the opening on top. Chimney caps are installed above the opening of the chimney to allow smoke to pass between the top of the flue and the cap itself. There are many different styles, shapes, finishes and sizes used depending on the aesthetic and exterior painting job on your home but they all serve the same basic functions.
Why Do You Need a Chimney Cap?
A chimney cap is essential in keeping your fireplace running smoothly and safely. Essentially, it acts as a barrier to protect the top of the flue, allowing smoke to exit from your chimney while keeping birds, animals, debris and water out. Chimney caps also help to keep sparks and embers off your roof to prevent potential fire problems. Let’s take a look at four of the main reasons a chimney cap is important.
Prevent Animals From Entering
Birds, squirrels, racoons and other animals often seek out chimney systems to protect themselves from predators and from the weather. Having animals camped out in your chimney system can cause blockages, allows an entryway for wildlife into your home and can be unnerving for adults and children alike. However, with a chimney cap installed, you can easily avoid this problem.
Keep Debris Out
If you don’t utilize chimney caps, your chimney is highly susceptible to blockages from debris entering the flue. Not only can this cause damage to the flue liner but leaves, twigs, branches and other debris can block up your chimney and prevent proper ventilation.
Avoid Issues With Moisture
Although the outer elements of your chimney system are built to withstand elements such as rain, hail, ice and snow, your fireplace inside is not. In order to keep moisture out, a chimney cap should be installed or you could end up with expensive repair work to your fireplace that could cost you a lot in handyman bills.
Protect Your Roof From Fire
When your fireplace is in use, sparks and embers can often travel up the flue. Without a chimney cap to get in their way, they can find their way onto your roofing, into your gutters or even land on your garden and be the cause of a fire. This is something that all homeowners want to avoid and a chimney caps are a simple way to do so.
A Chimney Cap is Essential in Keeping Your Home Protected
Your chimney is a potential entry point for wildlife, debris and moisture to get into your home. Installing a chimney cap is crucial in keeping your chimney system free of blockages, keeping fire risk at a minimum and ensuring your home and your family are always kept safe.