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Basic Chimney Sweep & Repair Blog

Is Your Chimney Ready for Spring?

With sunshine and warmer temperatures approaching, the home improvement lists are in the works.  When taking notes, you must not forget your chimney’s annual maintenance.  While many household repairs are easy enough to be done yourself, chimney maintenance is different.  If not done correctly your home could experience draft problems or even a chimney fire.  Some repairs can be unsafe if left untouched for a long period of time.  To schedule your appointment with an experienced professional call Basic Chimney Sweep and Repair today!

How often should my chimney be swept?

If you use your fireplace excessively, it may be beneficial for you to have two sweeps annually.  You want to have one closer to burning season so that there is less time for anything to build up inside of the chimney, but you also want to make sure whatever is inside from the burning season is taken care of.  You should make sure that whoever you hire for sweeping is Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified.  Springtime is also a slower time for chimney sweeps so you should have no trouble getting an appointment.

Once the cold weather is gone, it is a good time to call your chimney sweep and get an appointment.

Once the cold weather is gone, it is a good time to call your chimney sweep and get an appointment.

What are some common chimney repairs?

Winter storms and weather can be detrimental to your chimney’s overall structure.  Early spring is the best time to do these repairs because it is starting to warm up outside, but the spring showers have not kicked into full gear.  Flashing and rain caps are two common things that your technician will check when they examine your chimney.

Another repair that will need to be looked into is the how well the chimney is sealed.  After many freezing and thawing of the unit, it will eventually begin to have small cracks for and the caulking may become loose.  After the repairs are finished, you should look into having your chimney waterproofed.  This is especially good for anyone who lives in a wet environment.

What do you do about the animals?

When left unattended your chimney can begin to house the wildlife.  While this may seem cool to your kids, your home will thank you for getting someone to come remove whatever animals may be inside.  To keep both you and the animal safe, this removal should only be done by a professional – we’d be happy to help.  Animals of all sizes often use the home for nesting, but also for storage.  This will not combine well when warm temperatures combine with the animal’s nests.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons To Use a Chimney Cap

Keep It Covered

There are many homeowners who believe that they do not need a chimney cap. Although it may seem like an unnecessary addition or an accessory, there are many reasons that it is beneficial to use a chimney cap. Although the chimney can function without one, having one installed is the only way to prevent a number of common chimney problems.

The most common reason that people decide to get a chimney cap is because they have had an animal infestation in their chimney. If the chimney opening is left exposed, different types of rodents, birds, and small animals may build nests inside of the chimney. This is not only annoying, but it can be dangerous. The animals may clog the chimney and, in some cases, could carry diseases that spread into the home.

Chimney caps protect your chimney from animals, birds and debris. Any obstruction in your chimney compromises both safety and efficiency.

Chimney caps protect your chimney from animals, birds and debris. Any obstruction in your chimney compromises both safety and efficiency.

Another reason to have a chimney cap is to keep natural debris, such as leaves and twigs, from getting into the chimney. Like animal debris, these things can clog the chimney, which is far more dangerous than it may sound. If the chimney is clogged, it will keep smoke and combustible gasses in the home rather than letting them out. This can lead to any number of health risks as well as an increased risk of fire.

In addition to animals and leaves, it is important to keep excess moisture out of the chimney. This may come in the form of water or snow that gets in when there is not a chimney cap in place. Water in the chimney can cause many problems, ranging from mold to the deterioration of the structure itself. These issues can be quite serious but a chimney cap is a simple way to avoid them.

The chimney cap also helps to keep sparks inside of the chimney rather than letting them out. If sparks get out of the chimney, a breeze can quickly cause them to ignite. This will not only start a fire on the roof of the home in question but the fire could actually spread to other rooftops. This means that not only the home without the chimney cap but the entire neighborhood is put in harm’s way.

One of the most practical reasons for getting a chimney cap is that it prevents a draft. Without a chimney cap, cold air can come in from outside, especially when the fireplace is not in use. This forces the home’s heating system to work harder. As a result, the homeowners spend more money than necessary on energy each year, which is bad for both the budget and the environment.

A chimney cap may seem like an accessory but it actually serves many important functions for the home. It can help prevent any number of situations that can result in health and safety hazards as well as increased risk of fire. It is a small and simple piece that can make it easier for everyone to enjoy a fireplace safely.

My Fireplace Stinks!

What Is That Odor Coming from My Chimney?

Anyone who uses his or her chimney on a regular basis has most likely noticed an odor coming from it at one time or another. In order to know what to do about the problem, it is necessary to know exactly what is causing the problem. There are many different factors that may lead to smells coming from the chimney. Most of them can be easily fixed with some basic chimney maintenance.

A certified sweep can help you identify the cause of the odor and suggest ways to address the problem. Call Basic Chimney today to schedule an appointment.

A certified sweep can help you identify the cause of the odor and suggest ways to address the problem. Call Basic Chimney today to schedule an appointment.

If a chimney is not properly protected, it becomes the perfect place for birds and rodents to set up their homes. Once they have set up camp, there is any number of ways that odors can find their way into the home. Animal waste will eventually accumulate in the chimney as well as their fur and debris from their nests. A simple way to fix this problem is to install a chimney cap that will block animals from entering the chimney in the first place.

Another common cause of chimney odor is the accumulation of water in the chimney. Excess water often gets into the chimney in the way of rainfall or snow. It becomes a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, which not only smell unpleasant but can also be quite dangerous. Just as animals can be kept out with a chimney cap, this simple structure is a great way to keep excess water from entering the chimney and starting trouble.

When someone burns wood or coal that has been treated in their fireplace, it leaves behind creosote, a combination of chemicals. There are many side effects to a build up of creosote. For example, anyone who is exposed to it is at risk for skin and eye irritation as well as respiratory illness. However, creosote also leaves behind an unpleasant smell, which will eventually enter the home.

Of course, it is important for homeowners to keep in mind that some odor coming out of the chimney is perfectly normal. Whenever there are treated materials burning, there is going to be some ash and soot left behind. This is not something to be concerned about unless it is causing a disturbance in the home. If the smell becomes overwhelming or is irritating family members with allergies, it should be addressed immediately.

The best way to handle chimney odor and to avoid it completely is to have the chimney professionally cleaned at least once a year. This can be done at the start of fireplace season or at the end, it doesn’t matter — as long as it gets done. A professional chimney sweep will have the tools and skills to completely clean the chimney while, at the same time, checking for evidence of any problems that may occur in the near future.

Chimney odor is a perfectly normal part of using a fireplace and chimney. However, there are some instances in which the odor becomes overwhelming and needs to be taken care of by a professional. This may be caused by the accumulation of creosote, excess water, or even by animals that have set up their homes in the chimney. Some of these situations not only cause an unpleasant smell but also put the family at other risks, such as house fire or illness. Here at Basic Chimney, we have your safety and comfort in mind with everything we do.

Upkeep for Your Pre-Fab Fireplace

The Basics of Maintaining Your Prefabricated Fireplace.

A prefabricated fireplace is a great option for someone who does not have a masonry fireplace included in the structure of their home. However, some homeowners do not realize that these structures require just as much attention and maintenance as their counterparts. In order to safely enjoy a prefabricated fireplace, it is absolutely necessary to follow a few important guidelines for maintenance.

When purchasing a prefabricated fireplace, it will be necessary to also purchase a chimney and a cap. What people must keep in mind is that the manufacturers create all three of these pieces to be used together. It is absolutely necessary to only use the chimney and cap that are intended to go with the particular fireplace. Mixing and matching will affect not only the efficiency but also the safety of the entire system and should be avoided at all times.

As with any fireplace, it is necessary to keep a prefabricated fireplace clean in order to have it function properly. Be sure to remove any excess material left in the fireplace, but you will need to leave about one eighth of an inch on the bottom for proper insulation. It is best to double-check the cleanliness of the fireplace before starting a fire and then to clean it thoroughly after putting the fire out.

A properly fitted chimney cap keeps debris, birds and animals from your chimney.

Some people think that their prefabricated fireplace is not vulnerable to the same type of problems as a masonry fireplace. However, this is not the case and it is important to provide some of the same maintenance. For example, birds are just as likely to make their nests in a prefabricated chimney as they are in a masonry one. Be on the lookout for these issues and resolve them as quickly as possible.

In general, it is necessary to monitor normal wear and tear on a prefabricated fireplace a bit more closely than a masonry option. Since they are made out of materials that are not quite as durable as, for example, brick, they will not stand up to as much stress. In order to make sure it is functioning properly at all times, inspect the fireplace regularly and call a professional immediately if there are any unexplained changes.

Although a prefabricated fireplace differs structurally from a masonry fireplace, many of the same safety and maintenance rules apply. For example, it is important to only burn properly dried wood and to not put any foreign material into the fireplace. It is also important to make sure the chimney is clear of obstructions to avoid smoke in the home. Failure to follow these simple rules can cause serious safety hazards.

A prefabricated fireplace is a great option for anyone who does not have a fireplace attached to their home. In order to use it safely, it is important to remember that many of the same safety and maintenance rules apply to a masonry fireplace. In fact, they require a bit more attention because they are not built to withstand the same normal wear and tear as masonry fireplaces. Be sure to only use them with the appropriately compatible pieces, such as the chimney and cap. Keep the fireplace clean at all times and keep in mind that it can have the same issues as other fireplaces, such as dangerous obstructions in the chimney.

Do You Think Critters are Living in Your Chimney?

How Would You Know?

 Having animals in your chimney is one of the most complicated and frustrating situations for a homeowner. Not only can animals cause damage to the chimney, but they can also carry diseases and pests that put the entire family at risk. If someone suspects that animals have set up a home in their chimney, they need to take immediate steps to remove them.

Squirrel Like Chimneys - Baton Rouge LA - Basic Chimney Sweep & Repair

Squirrel Like Chimneys – Baton Rouge LA – Basic Chimney Sweep & Repair

It is possible that you could have animals in your chimney and not even realize it. One of the most common signs is an unpleasant smell coming from the chimney. This could be caused by a number of things but is most often attributed to animal nests and waste sitting in the chimney over a period of time. Another sure sign that there are animals in the chimney is an scratching or banging sound coming from the fireplace. It isn’t a ghost…it is likely a critter who has made himself comfortable in your heating system.

If someone suspects that an animal lives in their chimney, they should resist the urge to try to get it out themselves. This really isn’t a DIY job for a couple of reasons. There is a good chance that the animal is carrying a disease or pests such as ticks. If the animal has a disease such as rabies, there is a strong possibility that they will attack whoever tries to remove them. Although this job should be handled immediately, it is best to wait until a chimney sweep that is trained to deal with these issues can take care of it. The certified sweep is trained to safely remove birds and animals and to dispose of them if they have died.

Once the animals have been removed from the chimney, it is important to prevent this problem from ever occurring again. The best way to do this is by having a chimney cap installed. This is a simple device that is exactly what it sounds like and prevents any future animals from making their way into the chimney. It is an inexpensive and effective solution to a serious problem.

If there is a strange sound or smell coming from the fireplace, there is a good chance that animals are living in the chimney. If this does prove to be the case, it is important to allow a trained chimney sweep to take care of the situation. Once they have been evicted, it is important to install a chimney cap that will prevent them from returning. This is the best way to ensure safe and efficient heating from your chimney.

Please call us at 828-243-0098 to schedule an appointment today. All Major Credit Cards Accepted.
National Chimney Sweeps Guild Chimney Safety Institute of America