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Basic Chimney Sweep & Repair Blog

All About Chimney Liners

According to the CSIA, problems in your chimney’s flue can present serious risks to your home and family, because it’s no longer able to perform its primary function: to safely contain and vent the products of combustion to the outside of your home.

Give Basic Chimney Sweep a call to schedule an inspection to determine the current condition of your chimney liner.

Give Basic Chimney Sweep a call to schedule an inspection to determine the current condition of your chimney liner.

By Ronald Caillais on May 18th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on All About Chimney Liners

Keeping Water Out

We at Basic Chimney Sweep use a vapor-permeable waterproofing agent, which allows the chimney to breathe. Water is prevented from entering from the outside while still allowing water that has penetrated along with the vapors produced during usage to escape as well.

We at Basic Chimney Sweep use a vapor-permeable waterproofing agent, which allows your chimney to breathe.

Your chimney is potentially one of the most taken-for-granted parts of your home. You know it’s there but rarely pay it very much attention. It’s one of those things that you expect to be there for you when you need it but may not give it much thought in the meantime. Not very many homeowners give much thought to keeping the chimney’s exterior in tiptop shape; “it’s all just cosmetic,” we think. This thought process isn’t one to be ashamed of, but it is one to be corrected.

Your Chimney’s Inherent Flaw

Chimney materials – brick and mortar – are, by nature, porous. As such, they experience hastened deterioration as a result of prolonged exposure to and contact with water and the elements. The freezing and thawing process—during which time water that has penetrated the various chimney materials freezes and expands—quickly deteriorates the overall construction of your chimney.

Stopping the Dreaded Freeze-Thaw Cycle

One way to limit the impact the freezing and thawing cycle has on your chimney is to prevent as much water as possible from penetrating the materials as possible. Water in your chimney can also cause rust on steel and cast iron parts, ultimately weakening or destroying them over time. The exterior of your chimney is constantly getting battered from the weather. Harsh weather conditions can have a negative effect on your chimney.

Should I Consider Waterproofing?

By waterproofing your chimney, it will repel up to 99.9% of the water that would otherwise penetrate the brick and/or other materials. Waterproofing is a true preventative measure that can add years to your chimney’s life. Because it’s not a requirement, many homeowners de-prioritize it; this is a big mistake! There are many issues that can develop as a result of water being on and getting in to your chimney, and, as such, swift and immediate action should be taken to ensure that you’re not faced with unnecessary and avoidable repairs bills.

Unless you simply want to get rid of your chimney sooner or later, there really is no excuse for not waterproofing it. This one simple thing can help ensure that both the water outside won’t enter your house through the chimney and that you are able to enjoy your fireplace for many years to come. It’s time to look at the condition your chimney’s exterior is in, get it repaired if necessary, and have it coated with a waterproofing product. Contact the certified service professionals at Basic Chimney Sweep & Repair today for more information or to schedule an appointment!

By Ronald Caillais on April 29th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Keeping Water Out

Keeping Your Chimney Operating Year Round

Whether or not the fireplace is in use, the chimney needs to be maintained in good working order year round. There are a number of reasons for this, but they all come down to safety in good air quality. The chimney can provide a continuous air-replacement system or a trap for air that is downright dangerous.

Chimney Maintenance - Baton Rouge LA - Basic Chimney Sweep

Clear the Air

If all is well with a chimney, it draws air from the fireplace up and out, continually pulling ‘new’ air through the system. That helps to remove toxic gases from the home even when generated elsewhere, emitted by a leaky furnace perhaps. It also helps to clear the air of dust particles that otherwise settle back down and aggravate allergies.

In addition, the sooner problems with a chimney are caught, the less expensive they are to correct. Some do not even need to be problems, such as creosote accumulation, which can be completely avoided with regular professional inspections and cleanings. Other relatively inexpensive improvements, like caps and waterproofing for chimneys in good condition, may eliminate costly damage to the flue by rain or birds.

Protect Family and Investment

Neither inadequate drafting nor creosote buildup stops when the last fire is out beneath the chimney. If either exists, it persists, and it either presents the same stale air or it actually gets worse, true for both creosote- and water-caused damage. The importance of well-maintained fireplace systems cannot be stressed enough, since they are essential to home safety whether used or not.

Just as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should not be taken down because the fireplace is not in use, the home’s chimney should not be neglected either. Organizations, like the CSIA, are responsible for the certification of professional sweeps make sure they are qualified to keep every chimney operating safely. All homeowners really need to do is remember to call them and schedule twice-yearly inspections.

By Ronald Caillais on April 4th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Keeping Your Chimney Operating Year Round

Your Chimney and Water Damage

Depending on the type of material it is made from, your chimney may be more susceptible to damage by water than by fire. Certainly true for masonry chimneys, that is counter-intuitive, with no one really thinking about water damaging chimneys. Generally, the worry with chimneys in the minds of homeowners is all about sparks and fires.

Water: Love It or Leave It

Water, however, is often the original source of the explosive chimney fire of which responsible homeowners are rightfully worried. Allowed to seep in, it expands and contracts with the freezes and thaws of changing seasons. It does not sound that bad; it sounds almost poetic. However, it seriously threatens the integrity of chimneys.

Chimney & Water Damage - Baton Rouge LA - Basic Chimney

That perfectly natural characteristic of water stretches and shrinks the material it is in, further deteriorating your chimney’s mortar. Water also, perfectly naturally, rots wood and erodes even rock, in a process that can probably be made to sound enchanting. Look around a canyon, however, to fully grasp what water can do to brick with the simple passage of time.

Let the River Flow Somewhere Else

It is not a pretty sight when it is your chimney that is crumbling, and a river in your fireplace is not exactly the interior decorating you had in mind. Leaks are usually a pretty clear sign that a roof-top canyon is developing, but hopefully homeowners do not let things go that far these days. Protecting chimneys from water damage is as easy as scheduling a certified sweep to get up there and see how they are doing.

It is a good idea, by the way, to do this in spring, when chimney sweeps are easier to schedule and before the rains come. If repairs or replacements are necessary, you have plenty of time to finish the job before a chimney in good condition becomes even more critical. Fire is definitely dangerous and mandates routine chimney inspections; but when it comes to chimneys, it is important not to play with water either.

By Ronald Caillais on February 27th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Your Chimney and Water Damage

Why is Chimney Cleaning Important?

Your chimney is something that is going to need attention and effort to keep it clean. If you just bought the home, you may not be used to having one. Regardless, it is an important part of chimney ownership. Also, regular maintenance is going to prolong the usage of the appliance. No one wants to have to spend large amounts of money on chimney repairs, so when you think about the cost of a chimney inspection, remember that it is much more expensive to have to repair it down the road.

Besides the need to keep the chimney functioning properly, you also want to keep it working safely. Excessive buildup of creosote, as well as debris, can create a dangerous situation that just might result in a chimney fire. Since creosote is so flammable, you have to remember that any kind of buildup is dangerous. Also, leaves, branches, and animal nests are also likely to cause a fire. All it will take is one burning ember to climb up the chimney, and ignite whatever the obstruction is.

Another reason for regular chimney cleaning is the potential for odor problems. Chimneys that are not maintained become chimney that stink. All of that buildup, whatever the buildup might be, will inevitably cause the appliance to send foul odors down into your home. Honestly, who wants to deal with that? Just give us a call, and we will perform a chimney inspection and cleaning that will make your chimney start working the way it is supposed to.

It is important to remember that it is not a good idea to try an inspection yourself. Unless you have a trained eye, and the right equipment, you may not correctly spot the trouble areas that could be lurking. Give us a call, and we will thoroughly inspect your chimney. You will then be able to rest safely, knowing that your chimney appliance is working safely and efficiently.

By Ronald Caillais on July 27th, 2012 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Why is Chimney Cleaning Important?

What Causes Chimney Fires?

Fireplaces and chimneys play a very important role in our homes. This has been true for as long as fires have been around. Their efficiency in providing heat is undeniable. Also, people enjoy them because they give off natural heat and can be beautiful to look at and enjoy as well. Some homes use their wood burning fireplaces often, despite the fact that electric and gas units tend to be more convenient. With any fireplace, you and your family and friends are able to sit in front of a fire, and enjoy each others company in a warm, comfortable place. You just can’t do that with a HVAC unit. In fact, when there is central heating only, the family tends to go off to their own private spaces instead of coming together. In essence, fires not only bring warmth to the family, but also brings the family closer together.

Despite these wonderful aspects to having a fireplace, there are some important things to keep in mind. Chimney fires are a real danger. One of the main reasons a chimney can catch on fire is the lack of proper maintenance. If each and every homeowner with a chimney would observe the proper ways to maintain a chimney, then this becomes a much smaller risk. To do this, all you need to do is call a certified professional sweep so the recommended yearly maintenance is performed correctly. If you wait, the situation can be worse than you ever expected.

Other causes of chimney fire are the presence of foreign objects inside the chimney. This is not a rare situation considering that even squirrels can sometimes get trapped in the chimney. A chimney technician or sweep should check the inside of the chimney appliance, and remove any obstructions from it.

Keeping obstructions out of the appliance can be prevented by using bird screens, which is a very simple and inexpensive procedure. Also preventable is increasing build up of creosote and soot that can form over a season of burning. Using improperly seasoned firewood is one of the quickest ways to add to your chances of having a chimney fire. So use properly seasoned wood and cut down on the risk of fire. It will also save you money because the wood will burn slower and more efficiently.

By Ronald Caillais on June 26th, 2012 | Tagged with: Tags: , | Comments Off on What Causes Chimney Fires?
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