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Magic Sweep Blog

Make Your Chimney Repairs Before Winter

Summer is the best time to schedule your chimney services, because it’s considered the industry’s off-season. This means your favorite chimney sweep companies are more available for routine maintenance like chimney sweeps and inspections. Scheduling chimney sweeps and inspections in the spring and summer allows the chimney sweep time to make necessary repairs before burn season. Understandably, families become busy during the summer months. Consequently, the chimney will get overlooked until the weather begins to change.

Make Your Chimney Repairs Before Winter - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep CorporationCold Weather and Chimney Appointments

To make repairs to your chimney system, your chimney sweep company will require you to discontinue use of the system for at least 24 hours prior to the appointment. If this occurs during cold months, and your wood stove or fireplace is your primary heat source, you will need to temporarily install electric heaters. You may even have to arrange to stay somewhere else. Then, depending on the type of repair or extent of the damage, your chimney system may be out of use for at least a day, maybe more.

Don’t wait to make chimney repairs until cold weather hits! Many homeowners are tempted to put off the repairs until spring to avoid the cost and hassle of the repair. This is not recommended.

Your Damaged Chimney

If your chimney needs to be repaired, the repairs MUST be completed before burn season. It is never a good idea to use your chimney system when there is even minor damage. This is because it can quickly become a dangerous risk.

If you have cracks in your chimney crown, masonry, or chimney cap it may not seem like a big deal. However, even a drop of moisture entering the chimney on a regular basis is enough to rust parts like the damper assembly. The damper can stop working without your knowledge. The fire can rise up the chimney at unsafe temperatures. This ignites the highly flammable creosote on the walls of the flue liner. Because of a small crack that could have been easily sealed by a certified chimney sweep, or a damaged or missing part that could have been easily replaced, you can experience a flue fire. The headache is not worth it. After a flue fire your homeowners insurance will require repairs and inspection before they continue coverage. This adds stress to an already stressful situation.

Water and Your Masonry

Water in the chimney can cause a host of problems for your whole system, especially during winter. The freeze/thaw cycle of even a drop of water in the chimney can cause extensive damage to the masonry. When the chimney cools the water freezes and expands, causing the existing crack to grow larger. When that same water thaws because someone lights a fire in the furnace, the water falls further into the damaged masonry. The cycle persists until the mortar and bricks begin falling from the chimney due to these deep cracks and water penetration.

You can avoid the added risk of burning a fire in a damaged chimney by scheduling your repairs before burning season! There is still time for a Magic Sweep to diagnose and treat your chimney problems. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call Magic Sweep at 757-828-0404 today or schedule an appointment online.

5 Reasons to Have Your Chimney Inspected

We’ve talked many times about the importance of chimney inspections. This infographic shows you those reasons. Don’t let an unmaintained chimney cause severe damage to your home!

5 Reasons for Chimney Inspections - Chesapeake VA

How to Determine the Discoloration of Your Chimney

Located at the top of your chimney, your chimney crown prevents water from rain and melted snow as well as birds and animals from entering your chimney to cause devastating and costly damage. However, because your chimney crown is constructed from mortar, it can suffer from exposure to the elements, especially since the crown sits on the very top of the chimney. When your chimney crown begins to crack, you will need to contact us at Magic Sweep to get it repaired as soon as possible to keep the cracking damage from worsening. Since it can be very difficult to know whether or not your crown is cracking without getting on your roof, signs of discoloration can let you know if there is a potential problem. We would like to share with you a couple of ways to determine the discoloration of your chimney crown.

Chimney Crown Efflorescence - Chesapeake VA

Efflorescence

A crystalline deposit of water-soluble salts, efflorescence is responsible for leaving white stains on masonry materials. If you have noticed white stains at the top of your chimney, it is most likely your chimney crown is also covered by efflorescence. More common in the winter, these deposits can be cleaned off your chimney by brushing a mixture of water and muriatic acid. Efflorescence is often seen as “new building bloom” when it occurs on new construction after the masonry dries; however, if it continues to persist, it is signaling a problem with water penetration and execessive moisture trapped within your masonry chimney. If you have noticed a white film on your chimney, contact us at Magic Sweep so that we can inspect your chimney and make any necessary repairs. The earlier water penetration symptoms are found, the less money you will have to spend on fixing damage to your masonry chimney.

Carbonate Deposits

Appearing as white or gray crusty formations running down your chimney from the top, carbonate deposits, also known as “lime run,” are also indicators that your chimney crown is cracked. What makes these look different from efflorescence is that carbonate deposits will not be crystallized at all. These deposits appear on masonry materials after water trapped within them has been brought to the surface and reacted to the carbon dioxide in the air. Just like efflorescence, carbonate deposits are signs of water leaking into your masonry chimney and should be treated immediately.

Rust

Any sort of rust stain should be seen as a symptom of a damaged chimney cap. Your chimney cap sits on top of the crown and covers the flue opening. As one of the least expensive ways to prevent water leaks of your chimney, you should call Magic Sweep to schedule an inspection of your chimney cap to see if it should be replaced.

Mold

Another sign of water penetration of your chimney, a mold stain will be dark green, blue, or black and can be fuzzy. Since mold can also be harmful to your health, action should be immediately taken to see if mold is also growing on the inside of your chimney.

Notice any discoloration of your chimney crown? Contact us at Magic Sweep to schedule an inspection of this important component of your chimney system.

Get Your Chimney Swept and Inspected Now to Beat the Fall Rush

Magic Sweep knows that your fireplace is the last thing our customers are thinking about in the summer; however, fall will be here before you know it. National fire safety organizations like the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) strongly recommend that people have their chimneys professionally cleaned and inspected before lighting their first fire every year. Our staff wants you and your family to be safely prepared for cooler weather, and we suggest that you go ahead and schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection in the summer so that your fireplace will be ready for that first fire. When you put off making this appointment, you may end up waiting longer than you would like to get your chimney cleaned. Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps have their busiest schedules of the year from September to December, and it can be difficult to schedule a convenient time for your chimney maintenance services. We would like to tell you more about what you can expect from a professional chimney sweeping and inspection from Magic Sweep.

Early Bird Gets the Chimney Sweep - Chesapeake VA

Chimney Sweeping

Magic Sweep promises that our certified chimney sweeps will leave your home as clean or even cleaner than when we came in after we sweep and inspect your chimney. Before we start cleaning your chimney, we will place drop cloths over your floor and your furniture to protect them from getting dirty. To keep all of the soot and dust from the sweeping process contained, we use a state-of-the-art vacuum system equipped with a HEPA filter. Our sweeps use special hand tools and brushes to scrub and scrape your firebox clean and then continue the cleaning by sweeping the flue from the roof with brushes and scrapers on poles to remove creosote deposits, soot, and debris from the walls of the flue. We will then clean up all of the soot and debris that fell from your chimney, clean the inside of your fireplace, and vacuum away any remaining dust and debris.

Chimney Inspection

To ensure your fireplace and chimney system works properly and safely, an annual chimney inspection is recommended by the CSIA and NFPA. Our chimney professionals at Magic Sweep are experienced in providing all three levels of chimney inspections. We follow every guideline set by the NFPA in these levels and will perform the necessary level of inspection for your particular situation. The most common level, Level 1, is a basic visual examination of your chimney and venting system to look for any damage or deterioration that could cause operational or safety problems. If you are buying or selling a home or have updated your heating appliance, you will need the more detailed Level 2 inspection. If your chimney has experienced a fire, a Level 3 inspection is necessary to guarantee the system is safe to use. You can trust our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps to give you the level of chimney inspection that you need.

Beat the fall rush! Contact Magic Sweep to schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection to be sure your fireplace and chimney functions safely and correctly.

Why a Spring Chimney Inspection Is So Important

We know it may be hard to believe with the recent big winter storms, but spring is on its way! Spring is the best time to contact Magic Sweep for a chimney sweeping and inspection for several reasons. The first reason is that the least busiest time of year for us, so you will not have to wait for weeks for an open appointment. Another reason is that your chimney is in need of attention as well after working all winter to keep you warm. Lastly, cold winter weather can cause a lot of damage to a chimney, and you may have crucial repair work that needs to be addressed. We would like to share with you some suggestions on what you can do this spring to ensure your chimney works safely and properly.

Spring Chimney Inspection - Chesapeake VA

Make a post-winter appointment for your annual chimney sweep and inspection.

As recommended by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), your fireplace and chimney should be swept and inspected every year for proper maintenance. It is essential to be sure your chimney is functioning correctly with proper ventilation. You want it to be free of debris blockages and dangerous creosote build-up. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps at Magic Sweep will thoroughly clean your fireplace and chimney, from top to bottom, as well as carefully examine the exterior and interior of your chimney to check for any fire hazards. Scheduling an inspection with our technicians allows us to check for damages and needed repair work, which can include:

  • Chimney Relining – If we find any damage to your flue liner during your chimney inspection, spring is the perfect time to have your chimney relined. Our CSIA-certified technicians at Magic Sweep have much expertise in both repairing damaged flue liners and replacing liners that are beyond repair. A functioning flue liner is essential for safety reasons because it protects your chimney walls from smoke and toxic gases, which prevents chimney fires from starting. Your chimney either has a clay or a metal liner. A clay liner can crack, and when this happens, carbon monoxide can leak into your house, causing serious health issues. Aluminum liners can rust and corrode, or even be damaged by animals. We can repair and replace your old clay flue liner with HeatShield or by the cast-in-place method; however, if your clay liner is beyond repair, we recommend a newer stainless steel flue liner as it is durable and comes with a lifetime warranty when professionally installed.
  • Damper or Chimney Cap Replacement – The CSIA has said that the efficiency of these two parts of your chimney is crucial to saving energy and money, as well as keeping water leaks out during the spring and summer months. If your damper is stuck open, it is the same thing as leaving a window in your house open. Cold air escapes, bugs get in, the rain pours into your house, etc. If the damper is stuck closed, you cannot start a fire because your flue is closed-off and unable to filter smoke and gases. Similarly, your chimney cap fitting correctly on the top of your chimney is very important because not only does it also keep rain out of your chimney, but it prevents stray animals from setting up home there.
  • Water Leak Repairs – Freezing temperatures can cause the bricks and mortar of your chimney to crack and become loose, which causes water to penetrate your chimney. Magic Sweep can identify and repair areas allowing water to leak into your chimney and home, and we can apply several preventive measures to keep the water out of your chimney.

If you would like to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney sweep and inspection, with our CSIA-certified sweeps, contact Magic Sweep today. We are happy to help you with any chimney needs you have.