Hiring The Wrong Chimney Contractors And Other Chimney Mistakes To Avoid

Chimney contractors report that most of the chimney fires and accidents come about due to the mistakes that homeowners make. The most common mistakes include:

Operating a dirty chimney

When you light a fire in your fireplace, creosote buildups. If you allow the creosote to build up for a long time without removing it, it puts your home at the risk of catching fire. Chimney fires are extremely dangerous and if you don’t put them off at the right time, they burn down your entire property.

Some homeowners have the notion that since they haven’t been lighting the fire in their units for a long time, their fireplaces are safe. While the unit might not be having a lot of deposited creosote, birds and animals might have died up there. The critters might also have built nests that block the chimney.

Regardless of whether you have been using your chimney or not, you should make a habit of cleaning it regularly. You can do the cleaning by yourself if you have the skills, but if you have never done it before, let a chimney cleaning professional help you out.

In addition to cleaning, you also should make a habit of hiring a chimney professional to inspect the chimney at least once a year. As rule of thumb, ensure that the contractor you hire is experienced and certified to work in your area.

Being a cheapskate

Some homeowners know that they need to clean and inspect their chimneys but they will hire the cheapest professionals that they come across. You should avoid doing this.

You should note that there is a good reason why the contractors are cheap—they are most likely inexperienced hence will provide you with cheap service.

For you to ensure that your chimney is given the service it deserves and you are safe, you should hire an experienced and certified professional to inspect and clean your fireplace. While the professional will be expensive, the extra cost will be worth it.

Relying on chimney sweeping logs to keep the chimney safe

While creosote sweeping logs have been approved by the chimney safety institute of America for use in the chimney, you shouldn’t rely on them to keep your chimney clean and safe.

While they might aid in getting rid of the creosote, they have been shown to be less effective than chimney sweeps. This means that even if you are using the logs, ensure that you also regularly hire a chimney sweeping professional to inspect your fireplace and clean it. Don’t rely on the logs as you will be putting yourself and your family at great risk.

Ignoring carbon monoxide detectors

If you visit most homes, you will find that they lack carbon monoxide detectors. This is wrong. When you are burning wood or any other fuels, it’s common for carbon monoxide to build up in your home.

Since the gas is odorless, you can easily inhale it to high levels that put your life in danger.

For you and your family to be safe you should install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Installing the pieces isn’t enough—you also need to inspect them regularly to ensure that they are in good condition all the time.

Believing that seasoned wood burns clean

You might have heard a lot about seasoned wood. This is wood that has been air dried for at least six months. While the wood produces more heat and less creosote, it doesn’t mean that it burns clean.

Just like any other wood, it leads to creosote buildup and if you don’t remove it early enough, you will be putting your life and that of your family at risk.

Even if you are burning seasoned wood, you should still hire chimney cleaning services Columbia MD professionals at the end of the year to clean the chimney and inspect it for any issues it might be having.

For you to reduce the amount of creosote deposited on the chimney, go for properly seasoned wood. Before making the purchase, check the moisture of the wood. For peace of mind, borrow or buy a moisture meter that will make the process easy.

Chimney Contractors: Common Problems With Old Chimneys And How To Fix Them

When talking about old chimneys, we are talking about chimneys that were constructed in the 1950s. Most of these chimneys are made from bricks, although there are a few made from blocks. Chimney contractors report that these chimneys have a wide range of problems that include:

Lack of lining

Unless you are extremely lucky, your old chimney doesn’t have a lining. This exposes your unit to a wide range of problems. The most common ones being:

Unlined chimneys have bad draft characteristics that causes them to work inefficiently.

The chimneys also leak noxious gases into the living spaces

If you use your chimney for wood burning, the resulting condensation aids in the formation of tar and creosote which as you know is flammable. This puts your home at the risk of fire.

If your chimney isn’t lined, you should ask the contractors to install the lining.

Old bricks and mortar problems

Most of the houses constructed in the 1800s and 1700s have bricks that are in great condition. This is because the bricks were fired in a better way compared to the modern ones.

While this is the case, there are a few chimneys that have bricks that have come off or have cracked. You should work with your contractor and inspect the nature of the bricks.

If you can repair them, go ahead and do it. If the bricks are in an awful shape that you have to replace them, get new bricks fired in a high-quality manner. You also should ensure that the bricks are installed properly.

Shifting ground and old chimney

The ground is always moving. Fortunately, houses are elastic thus allow enough movement and don’t fall. Unfortunately, the stresses can break the bricks over time. When the damage is extensive, the chimney can be too weak to the extent that it puts you and your family at risk.

What you need to do is to inspect the chimney and if the bricks are too damaged, replace them. In some cases, all you need to do is to repair them.

Weather damage

Sun, wind, and rain are usually hard on the masonry work, especially the mortar. Well maintained mortar should last at least 60 years. When the mortar wears out, you may have to rebuild or re-point the chimney.

Re-pointing is the process of grinding out an inch of the old and broken up mortar and putting in new mortar without necessarily removing the bricks. You should note that you don’t have to do this, unless your chimney is too large.

If the chimney is small, you will have an easy time dismantling the chimney and rebuilding it using the same bricks.

Lack of waterproofing

One of the major flaws of old chimneys is that they soak up a lot of water from the rain. This is due to the nature of the bricks used in making them. During the cold seasons of the year, the bricks hold water which puts the house at the risk of freezing.

You can fix this problem by waterproofing the chimney. There are plenty of waterproofing materials on the market that you can go for. These materials don’t block the masonry pores but give you the results you are looking for.

When waterproofing, avoid using silicone as it tends to block the pores. It also has a shorter life due to the UV light breaking down the silicone.

Old or lack of chimney crown

The chimney crown is the cement part on the top of the chimney that prevents the rain from getting into the structure. The crown is greatly affected by the wind, rain, and sun. Is your chimney crown old or isn’t present at all? You should fix it.

If it has cracks in it, you should fix it. In some situations, the crown is in bad shape that you have to replace it. In such a case, you should take it off and relay it.

Lack of clearance to combustibles

Chimney experts rarely cared about clearances to combustibles when they were constructing the chimneys years ago. Due to this, it’s common to see beams laying against the masonry of the chimney. To protect your property and loved ones, you should work with the chimney repair professionals and create more clearance.