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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.

Water in Your Chimney Means Mold

Why Do I Need To Worry About Mold?

Mold has its uses — there’s penicillin, which has proved to be a positive enough thing, then there’s letting you know where north is when you’re lost in the woods, or letting you know that its time (or, well, past time) to toss that leftover lasagna. We’re all pretty aware at this point, though, that mold in your walls, ceilings or chimney can cause some serious dangers to the people in your home — particularly folks who suffer from respiratory conditions. As mold spores spread through the air, inhaling them can cause allergic reactions, sinus problems, congestion and flu-like symptoms (headaches, coughs and throat irritation), even, in rare cases, more serious problems. And unless the mold problem is taken care of, those symptoms can continue. Toxic black mold, or Stachybotrys, is particularly worrisome, and commonly occurs when water gets into building materials.

Water in Your Chimney Means Mold - Baton Rouge LA - Basic ChimneyBasic Chimney techs will find any mold issues that might be hiding in your chimney masonry during your annual chimney inspection. But if mold starts to grow in between inspections, a few things will tip you to its presence.

Telltale Signs Of Mold

Foul odors

Mold has a musty, dusty smell that’s hard to miss. So if you’re noticing a foul odor coming from your fireplace, it’s worth giving Basic Chimney a call — your problem may not be mold, but chimney odors are a consistent indicator of some kind of problem in the system, and we can tell you what that is and recommend the best ways to solve that problem.

Leaks and stains

It’s usually easier to see mold in walls than on chimney masonry, but often enough, moisture issues that are significant enough to cause mold growth in your masonry will carry over to the surrounding drywall. If you notice the signs of a leak around your fireplace or chimney — particularly if you see dark stains — you may have a mold growth problem.

Preventing Mold Growth

The real key to preventing mold growth is the same key to taking good care of your chimney system overall: Do everything you can to keep water out. That means having your chimney inspected every year, to make sure leaks aren’t popping up in any common trouble areas (chimney crown cracks, flashing damage, degraded masonry); having a properly sized and correctly installed chimney cap protecting the flue; and keeping the chimney damper closed when the flue isn’t in use.

Waterproofing sealants can be a great preventative measure, too, helping the masonry itself stand up against rain and other kinds of precipitation.

If you think you might have a chimney mold problem, give Basic Chimney a call – our experienced technicians are here to help!

By Ronald Caillais on October 8th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

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.

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