Chimney Care and Safety
If not properly cared for, your chimney can pose a serious safety hazard to you and all the occupants of your home. Get in touch with the professionals at Magic Chimney Sweeps and we'll ensure that your chimney is as safe as it should be. Call
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Chimney and Venting System
When we talk about chimneys, most people relate to their fireplace at home. However, it is important to know that your home's primary heating system is likely to have a chimney as well to carry heat, smoke and dangerous gases out of your home. Whether you heat your home, or your fireplace is fueled by gas, oil, wood or pellets, it is important to keep your chimney and ventilating system clean and running efficiently.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America and other fire safety organizations recommend that chimneys and vents are inspected annually and maintained.
“Creosote”- is highly flammable chimney and stovepipe deposits originating as condensed components in smoke (including vapors, tar and soot). Creosote is often initially liquid, but may dry or may change texture because of heat into a flaky or solid glazed form. Dirty chimneys with only a quarter inch of soot contain the highly flammable substance creosote. A hot fire around 1000 degrees can easily ignite into a roaring chimney fire putting your home in serious danger.
Signs That You've Had a Chimney Fire
You may have had a fire in your chimney without ever knowing it occurred. Since a chimney fire can cause fire to your home it is important to have your chimney inspected regularly by a certified chimney sweep. Here are the signs that a professional chimney sweep looks for:
- Puffy or honey combed creosote
- Warped metal of the damper, metal smoke chamber connector pipe or factory built metal chimneys
- Cracked or collapsed flue tiles with large chunks missing
- Discolored or distorted rain cap
- Creosote flakes and pieces found on the ground or roof
- Cracks in the exterior masonry
- Evidence of smoke escaping through mortar joints of masonry or tile liners
If you notice any of these signs and believe that a chimney fire might have occurred, call Magic Chimney Sweeps for a professional evaluation. We will be able to make recommendations about how to bring the system back into compliance with safety standards. Depending upon the situation you may need flue tiles replaced, a new liner system installed or an entire chimney rebuilt. Each situation is unique so give us a call for an accurate diagnosis.
What Is a Chimney Cap and How It Helps?
A chimney cap is an essential tool that prevents chimney fires and costly repairs. Every chimney and fireplace needs protection from damage and every roof needs protection from hot embers and sparks. This is why installing a chimney cap is the perfect solution. What's more, it also forms a barrier to your chimney and keeps unwanted animals and pests away. A cap prevents problems with leaves as well. More chimney damage is caused by the lack of a cap than any other.
Protect Your Chimney From the Elements
- When rain mixes with creosote in the chimney and with ash on the smoke shelf, it turns into a highly corrosive acid. This accumulates and winds up in the mortar joints behind the back firewall, causing the bricks to loosen up. Rain also soaks into the flue, freezes and expands thereby weakening the motor joints. This freeze / thaw cycle can wear the chimney out quickly.
When a woodstove insert has been installed, rain coming down the flue will cause it to rust rapidly, possibly even cracking the stovetop. Rain can even cause a fireplace damper to rust. Rain has also been known to create a nasty smell in the chimney and fireplace. During warmer climates, soot and ash combine with the humidity and rain and the resulting mixture is downright unpleasant.
- It is very common for animals to wander about and find their way into your chimney. Raccoons and bats carry disease and are most prone to finding their way into your chimney. Bird droppings on the smoke shelf will combine with rain and create a nasty stench. There have been several cases where homeowners have found snakes and other wild creatures in their chimney, and it's not a pleasant experience.
Once an animal gets stuck in the chimney, the only way out is through the house. The animal is sure to panic and damages rack up fast. This is why you need to get in touch with our highly experienced professionals who can install a chimney cap and help keep animals out of your chimney.
- Leaves stuck in your chimney can set off a chimney fire and also forms a breeding ground for disease carrying insects. Install a chimney cap and you can keep these pests out.
- A spark arrestor on a chimney cap will help prevent roof fires cause by hot embers and burning paper. These types of fires are common, especially on houses with wood-shingled roofs, and definitely warrant consideration.