Chimney Crowns and caps are an important functional component of your home. They stop rain water from pooling and soaking into your home’s structural components. Without properly functioning chimney crowns, your home and finances will be in big trouble. We’ve found that leaky chimney crowns caused by rust, wear and tear, and weather damage can lead to serious problems for home owners. We’ve also found leaky chimney crowns can be prevented by consistently checking them. You should have your crowns and caps checked by a trained chimney sweep every time that you have your chimney cleaned, which is at least once a year.
Stopped up and leaky gutters is another way that water can work its way into your home. If you are unsure of how to properly check your home’s gutters for leaks, we recommend using the following sequence:
Remove Debris from Your Gutters
Gutters can be clogged by tree branches, leaves, and/or dirt. Before testing you gutters for leaks, you must remove any and all of the above mentioned elements so that testing can be done properly. It’s neither the easiest nor cleanest jobs, but it most be done. Use a ladder to access the top of your gutters. Cover your hands with yard gloves, and scoop all debris until the gutters are clear.
Use a Garden Hose to Run Water Through Your Gutters
This is best done with two people. Ideally, you want to bring the garden hose up the ladder while the water is not running. The garden hose should be placed in the gutter and your helper should turn it on. You or your helper should hold the hose in place while the other inspects the gutters and the house’s perimeter for any leaking water. Notes should be taken to ensure you know exactly where any and all leaks are.
Repeat the Process
Once you’re done one section of gutters, move on to the next. Repeat this process until all sections of your gutters are checked. When finished, you should have a comprehensive list of all leaks and their locations.
Take Action if You Have a Leak
Having a leak isn’t really a big deal. Not fixing it is. First, try to patch it with roofing cement or a metal/aluminum (*this is determined by what your gutters are made of) patch kit. Most leaks can be easily fixed in this manner. If a patch doesn’t work because too much is damaged, it’s time to replace the gutter. Replacement can be done in part or entirety. This depends on how much of the gutter is actually damaged. For a partial replacement, simply cut the damaged gutter and replace it with a new one of appropriate size and length. For a total replacement, simply remove the gutter and replace it with a new one of appropriate size and length. Make sure that the gutter is working properly by checking it as described above.
If for any reason you aren’t comfortable with doing any of the above-mentioned tasks, you can always contact an experienced chimney sweep and gutter service company to do them for you. Checking your gutters and chimney might cost you some time and money, but it’s definitely worth it.
It is that time of year again in Cincinnati where you are trying to stay warm and it is time to fill the flues with smoke in your Cincinnati chimney. It is nice to have a fireplace, but you need to be a responsible homeowner if you have one and msintsin your Cincinnati chimney. In this short guide, you will be informed of the top five tips for fireplace and chimney maintenance this winter.
1. Inspect the flue
The most important tip when maintain your chimney and fireplace in the winter is to inspect and clean your flue. Just like regular maintenance to the house with power washing and painting, checking the flue is imperative. The flue along with the firebox takes the brunt of the heat and damage from a burning fire. It can crack and become hot causing the potential for a fire. Make sure to check the flue before each use or at least monthly for damage.
2. Remove the ash during chimney maintenance
Another important task to complete when maintaining your Cincinnati chimney is to remove the ash in the firebox. Just like the HVAC system, this does not have to be performed after each use, but should be done regularly. You do want to clean it out at regular intervals though as too much ash will cause your fire to burn too quickly and burn out. If you do not have enough ash, you will have problems building and maintaining a fire. A delicate balance is needed and depends on how much you use your fireplace.
3. Clean the fireplace doors and hearth
A wood burning fireplace can build up a lot of soot in all areas of the fireplace including the firebox, masonry, glass doors, and hearth. When performing your Cincinnati chimney maintenance, it is critical to remove the soot from these areas. The buildup can vary, but usually, about every four to six weeks is the timeline for cleaning these items. By doing so, you have a better view of the fireplace, which gives you a more cozy environment in which to snuggle up with a good book.
4. Remove debris near the chimney
Winter in Cincinnati brings about cold and snow, but there are still some leaves that have not fallen. Make sure when performing monthly chimney maintenance to check the outside of your home, including the gutters, to verify there are no twigs, leaves, or other debris on your roofing surface or near the chimney. This dry debris could fall into the chimney and cause a fire. In addition, check for chimney repairs of the masonry on the outside of the home to make sure it is intact and safe.
5. Check all the smoke detectors
The last smart tip for maintaining your fireplace and Cincinnati chimney system this winter is to check the smoke detectors in your home. It is crucial to replace batteries in smoke detectors often and to test them monthly. If a fire were to break out when you are sleeping or in the shower, you want to verify the alarm works so you can get yourself and your family out safely.
As you can see, there are multiple tips for maintaining your fireplace and chimney in the winter. When you inspect and clean the fireplace, remove the debris near the stack, and check all the smoke detectors, you are doing your due diligence in keeping your home safe as well as your family. If you follow our advice on the top five fireplace and chimney maintenance tips for winter, you will have the warmest and safest chimney in all of Cincinnati!
It is again the winter season in Cincinnati, Ohio, and that means it is time to kick on the fireplace and utilize the chimney. Before doing so, you want to make sure your chimney is functional and in good working condition. This is a task you want to complete on all your home systems, including the HVAC as well as the gutters. In this short guide, you will be informed of the top four signs you might need chimney repairs.
1. Your chimney is crumbling
If you have had a recent disaster occur in your home, it may have affected your chimney as well as the rest of the house. Besides having to perform remodeling, you may need to have chimney repairs completed to get your fireplace and chimney working again. If you notice any cracking or crumbling to the chimney after a tornado, earthquake, flood, fire, or hurricane, or if the chimney is leaning at all, you need to contact a professional chimney team to evaluate the damage to your structure.
2. Water damage and chimney repairs
Another sign that your chimney may need repairs is if you notice visible water damage. Water damage from leaks can be an insidious and slow process. Your chimney may have a minor leak, or it could be as severe as crumbling brickwork. Just as roofing leaks will cause the painting to peel and mold to grow, leaks in the chimney can cause stains on the masonry or ceiling. Musty smells may emit from the fireplace, or wet ashes may be noticed. These are all signs that you need to call in a professional chimney crew as soon as possible.
3. Your stonework is hot to the touch
Chimney repairs may be required in your home if your brickwork or other masonry materials are warm to the touch. This is usually a sign of a damaged flue liner, but it can also mean other things are not functioning correctly as well. If you notice any pieces of broken clay in the fireplace, this is a sign that your flue liner needs to be replaced. When the flue liner is cracked, damaged, or not functioning correctly, it can cause the gases that are usually swept up and out of the chimney to escape into your home. You and your family members can breathe in this contaminated air and develop respiratory issues from the harmful gases.
4. Your fireplace is at the end of its life
If you have used your chimney and fireplace for many years, it may be coming to the end of its life. One of the hardest working portions of your chimney is the firebox. It takes the brunt of the heat and abuse from the fire and flames. Simple wear and tear may require you to replace the flue or firebox after multiple years of usage. Make sure you are inspecting your firebox monthly and if you notice cracks or damage to the masonry, call in a professional fireplace handyman or a professional chimney team to evaluate the severity of it.
As you can see, there are multiple signs to look for when operating your chimney for the first time this season. Whether you notice water damage, normal wear from use, or any structural damage, you will be well prepared to fix the obstacle and start using your fireplace this winter. If you follow our advice on the top four signs you may need chimney repairs, your Cincinnati home will be cozy and warm from your working fireplace this winter!
With the fall and winter temperatures plummeting in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, you need to make sure the chimney and fireplace are in good working order before turning them on. If you have performed excellent chimney cleaning and chimney maintenance over the year, your stack should start up just fine. If you have lacked in your chimney maintenance, then you may require chimney repair before you can fire up the heat. In this short guide, you will be informed of the top four everyday signs your flue needs chimney repair.
1. A damaged liner
One of the easiest ways to see if you have a damaged liner is if the chimney masonry gets too hot. You can tell as there will be a portion of clay liner that has broken off, laying in the in the fireplace. If you notice this occurring, you need to call a handyman or a professional chimney repair team, as if you delay, your home can become filled with harmful gases. Make sure to have a chimney cleaning performed at least yearly to prevent a cracked liner from occurring.
2. Water penetration
Another telltale sign of damage to your chimney that needs repair is water damage. Just as with leaky roofing, your stack can have a small leak, and it can be quite extensive. A minor leak will consist of a few water droplets to the fireplace, while a massive leak will include masonry that is deteriorating and starting to crumble. You may also notice a musty odor or stains on the bricks surrounding the fireplace. If you see these signs or wet ash, make sure to call a professional chimney team immediately.
3. Damage to the structure
If you notice any type of damage to the chimney or fireplace after a storm has rolled through the area, you are looking at structural damage to the chimney. Repairs and possibly a new chimney installation may be needed. Make sure to check other outdoor structures of your home for damage such as the HVAC system, the gutters, and make sure the exterior painting has not been affected. If you notice the chimney is crooked or leaning after a major storm, a fire, an earthquake, or a tornado, make sure to call your local professional chimney crew to have the structure evaluated.
4. Wear and tear – Chimney maintenance
The last common sign to look for to determine if your chimney needs to be repaired is normal old age. Chimneys do a lot of work with hot temperatures and flames. They are efficient but can wear out over time and based on the amount of utilization of the fireplace. Make it a habit to clean out the ash and check your firebox monthly to inspect it for cracks.
As you can see, there are multiple issues to watch for to make sure your chimney is in proper working order. Make sure to have appropriate chimney cleaning as well as chimney maintenance performed at regular intervals. If you follow our advice on the top four common signs your chimney needs chimney repair, you will have the warmest home in all of Ohio!
Winter has arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio, and that means frigid temperatures and dreary weather. It also means it is time for chimney cleaning and chimney maintenance. How well do you know your chimney network? In this short guide, you will be informed of the top five structures of your chimney system.
The flue is also known as the chimney itself. It is the opening where the smoke and gas is vented to the outside from your indoor fireplace, wood stove, or furnace. If a chimney repair needs to be made, it can be on the flue, which is also known as a masonry chimney. The pipe needs a chimney cleaning at least yearly and possibly more depending on how often you use your fireplace.
The flue liner lines the chimney or flue. It is a critical component of the chimney system as it creates a smooth surface so the fire within the chimney cannot spread. It keeps the ventilation going up and out of the home instead of blowing the harmful smoke and gases into your living room. The liner also has excellent strength so the fire from the fireplace cannot weaken the structures around the flue liner causing a collapse or explosion inside of the home. All stoves should have a flue liner that has regular chimney maintenance performed on it yearly.
The chimney cap is another essential structure within the chimney itself. Just like the gutters are crucial to roofing, so is the chimney cap to the flue. The chimney cap keeps the dreary and cold weather from blasting inside the chimney and causing damage to your system. It blocks the flue opening so animals and other critters cannot come inside causing a fire or a blockage within the flue. It also keeps any loose particles, sparks, or flames inside the flue, so the particles do not catch your roof or your neighbor’s homes on fire.
The damper is another crucial part of your chimney system. It is useful as it allows you to close the flue during the spring and summer when you are not using the fireplace or furnace. It can also help when lighting a fire in the fireplace and it helps you control the girth of the fire and flames. The damper is vulnerable to moisture though, and if water has entered your flue, the damper is most likely rusted and not working correctly. A local handyman or professional chimney sweep can repair or replace a damper that is not working properly.
The last crucial component of the chimney system is the firebox. It is similar to your HVAC system as it does all the work and gets no love. The firebox is just as it sounds; it is the area where the fire is burning and where it is contained. It needs to be built to fire code, as it is imperative that your home is protected from a fire in the fireplace.
As you can see, there is a lot to a chimney. It is essential to keep up with your chimney cleaning and chimney maintenance throughout the season. Whether the flue, flue liner, chimney cap, damper, or firebox needs to be maintained or replaced, knowing how your chimney and surrounding structures operate is vital to being a homeowner. If you keep abreast of the top five structures of your chimney system, and perform regular chimney cleaning, you will have the best functioning chimney in all of Cincinnati!
If you live in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, then you know how important it is to have heat in the long, cold winter. One way to stay warm this winter is with a fireplace. Although, having a fireplace does mean chimney cleaning and chimney maintenance. If you don’t have a chimney liner then you can also be at risk of other problems with your chimney. In this short guide, you will be informed when you should replace your fireplace liner.
- Older fireplaces
If you have an older fireplace and do not remember ever changing out the liner, it is most likely time to do so. Usually, a chimney sweep will inform you if you need a new liner if they have seen a buildup of residue from burning wood or any cracks to the liner. Chimney repairs can be costly and may not completely fix the problem, so if your chimney sweep has advised replacing the liner, you should heed his or her warning.
- If you have a cracked flue
If you have an older fireplace or even if you don’t, liners can get cracked or have other damage. It is more common in older fireplaces because the liners were built using clay or other types of materials rather than stainless steel, which is what the liners are made out of nowadays. If you choose to keep using a cracked chimney liner, the soot can dissolve into the mortar and the joints and cause a potential fire.
- Replace clay liners
If you have a clay liner that is not cracked or damaged, it is still wise to replace it. Over the years, the breakdown of the wood and charcoal into soot can clog the chimney causing a carbon monoxide leak. It is best to replace the liner if you can by purchasing a stainless steel or cast-in-place liner.
- Liner? What liner?!
You are probably not saving a lot of money if you have a fireplace without a chimney liner. Occasionally no liners were installed in the past, but it has been found that liners help the wallet! A stainless steel liner which is the industry standard requires less labor and are available in a variety of sizes to fit your fireplace. A liner will give you higher temperatures in the flue, which is a good thing because it keeps the soot to a minimum and saves on your heating bill.
- Hire a professional
Just as you would call for a professional to perform HVAC maintenance, power washing, roofing fixes, simple remodeling, cleaning of the gutters, or exterior painting, you want to do the same when dealing with chimney cleaning and chimney maintenance. This is especially true if you are not comfortable with the task or run into any obstacles. It is always better to call the professionals than to attempt a task and then regret it. Make sure to call a Cincinnati handyman if you get into a sooty situation!
As you can see, there are multiple reasons you should replace your liner. Chimney cleaning and chimney maintenance are critical to do yearly, as you do not want a carbon monoxide leak or a backup of soot into your home. If you follow our advice on when you should replace your fireplace liner, your Cincinnati home will be cozy warm this winter!
It can get downright cold here in Cincinnati, Ohio, so it is well worth it to have a working chimney to keep you nice and toasty warm. Like everything else, vents need love too and to perform chimney maintenance and chimney cleaning in the frigid winter temperatures would be foolhardy. That is why summer is the perfect time to clean your chimney. In this short guide, you will be informed of the top five reasons that summer is the best time to maintain and clean your chimney.
- No frigid temperatures
The best thing about summer being the perfect time to clean the chimney is that there are no freezing temperatures to contend with. If you were to sweep the chimney in the winter, you would be up on the roof, possibly with snow and ice in your footpath. This can be very dangerous. Make sure to perform chimney cleanings in the summer to avoid both cold temps and dangerous situations.
- More daylight when on the roof
When you sweep your chimney in the summer rather than the winter you have more available sunlight to get the job done. This is particularly useful if you have hired a professional chimney service team as they have more daylight to get your property cleaned as they are booked with chimney cleanings, chimney repairs, and chimney maintenance weeks in advance.
- Extra time if repairs are needed
As with all other repairs and maintenance of your home including roofing fixes, HVAC maintenance, painting, cleaning of the gutters, remodeling, or power washing, you need to set aside extra time in case something goes wrong or an unforeseen situation arises. By having the chimney maintenance performed in the summer, you have a few extra months in case your chimney inspection deems repairs that were not expected.
- You are not currently using your chimney
The best time to inspect, clean, and fix the chimney is when it is not in use. If you have the chimney inspected and cleaned in the winter, there is a possibility that an issue can be discovered which would possibly cause you to lose your heat. Since Cincinnati winters can get frigid, you do not want to be without heat. Make sure to have your chimney inspected and cleaned in the summer to prevent this.
- Avoid odor
With the summer heat comes humidity. Humidity can mix with the soot in your chimney and cause an offensive and unpleasant smell that can enter your home and stink it up. It is best to have your chimney cleaned before the high humidity hits in the Cincinnati area to avoid the odor it can cause.
As you can see, there are multiple reasons to do your chimney cleaning and chimney maintenance in the summer months. Whether it is to avoid odors, add extra time, or avoid the cold, you can bet your chimney will be looking brand-spanking new. If you are not interested in cleaning your own chimney, there are professional services that can perform the task for you. If you follow our advice on the top five reasons that summer is the perfect time to clean your chimney, your smokestack will be burning bright and toasty warm this winter!
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