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Posts Categorized / Chimney Cleaning

  • May 01 / 2018
  • Comments Off on How to Tell if Your Chimney Needs a Rebuild
Chimney Cleaning, Masonry

How to Tell if Your Chimney Needs a Rebuild

Are your bricks spalling? Adapting a white sheen? Is water trickling through open spaces that shouldn’t be there?

If you’re experiencing any or all of these ‘symptoms’ with your chimney, it may be time for a complete rebuild. While it may be tempting to try to patch the problem with an easier short-term solution, you’ll do yourself a great disservice in the long run by cutting corners.

What Are the Symptoms?

  • In the case of spalling, water damage causes the bricks to deteriorate and can fall loose from the masonry, putting anyone or anything below it in danger of being hit by falling debris. Patching problem areas will only temporarily hold pieces in place.
  • With efflorescence (also known as “white bricks”), the natural minerals of the bricks come to the surface, leaving a salt-heavy sheen that can make the bricks appear white. Though you can typically eliminate (or at least reduce) this whiteness with a soap-based cleaning solution, the very presence of it indicates water damage that will need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
  • If you’re seeing debris falling into your fireplace, you may have shaling flue tiles. This is the result of water making its way into the gap between your flue lining and your chimney. It causes the tiles to erode and break off, eventually landing in your fireplace. It’s another sign that a re-build is in your near future.
  • The first line of defense to protecting your chimney is the crown at the top, so if you find evidence of a damaged crown, complete with cracks or holes, you’ll probably soon notice issues on the body of your chimney too. Crown damage is typically a result of weather (heat/cold expansion and contraction) and natural wear and tear over time.

The Long-Term Fix

The good news is that a complete chimney rebuild will solve these issues for years to come—you just need to utilize tried-and-true building methods vs. the latest trends. Unfortunately, masonry is a dying art. In the world we live in today, instant gratification often takes precedence over fine craftsmanship, which leads to construction shortcuts. The practice of masonry does take longer than newer techniques, but the benefits far outweigh the wait.

For example, though the upfront costs of building with masonry may be more expensive than alternate methods, in the long run you’ll save money because of your lower utility bills. Concrete block, combined with thermal mass insulation systems, stays warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, reducing the consumption of electricity.

Aside from energy conservation, you’ll save money on insurance too. Because masonry provides a better barrier to pests, it’s more resistant to extreme weather and offers higher levels of security. This means leading insurance providers offer homeowner policy discounts up to 15% for homes that have it.

But the monetary benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. With a traditional masonry-built chimney, you’ll enjoy a quieter living environment because the materials used naturally block out noise. Furthermore, those materials are non-combustible so they’re fire-resistant.

Environmentally, masonry-built chimneys utilize ‘green’ products, which adhere to government guidelines for maintaining sustainable ecological practices. They also offer protection from mold and fungus since there is no wood used in the builds. Without wood, there is an absence of rot, so those suffering from allergies or asthma will find greater relief.

Add all of this together with the undeniable aesthetic value that a chimney built with masonry offers and the choice seems pretty simple, doesn’t it?

 

Our team at Powers Chimney and Masonry would be honored to help with your upcoming chimney rebuild. Give us a call at 360.691.9828 or send us a message to arrange for an estimate.

 

  • Mar 05 / 2018
  • Comments Off on Chimney Fire Prevention How To Prevent Chimney Fire
Chimney Cleaning, chimney fire

Chimney Fire Prevention How To Prevent Chimney Fire

 

The most frequent reason why fires occur in chimneys, is the lack of cleanliness of the duct through which the smoke and other waste produced in the combustion rise, these create a sticky and odorous layer on the walls of the ducts. , which is also highly flammable.

If the hygiene of our chimney is not good enough, the circumstance that favors the start of a fire may occur.

Start and development of a chimney fire

No chimney fire originates and develops in the same place and way, because it influences aspects such as construction, length, travel, joints, obstructions, or type of creosote of the chimney.

In any case, the fire is usually initiated by a violent initial deflagration, accompanied by a characteristic sound and pressure waves, which can lead to deterioration of the flue pipe.

Subsequently, the fire will move along the entire conduit, burning the deposited creosote, generating a great pressure inside and a blowtorch effect at its exit with characteristic sound – roar

Defects caused by fire and pressure waves can be considerable. However, there are cases in which the fire occurs in a slow manner and with hardly any signs that indicate that a fire is occurring inside the chimney.

How to prevent Chimney Fire

Cleaning

Chimneys that are lit regularly must be conditioned and cleaned thoroughly, fundamentally, the chimney draft. It is important to remove the creosote (resin) adhered to the walls of the duct, since this is what ignites and causes the flames inside the duct.

Start the fire

The use of dry wood is recommended. Dry wood burning produces less creosote than wet wood. Likewise, woods of species such as oak or holm oak are preferable, which are harder and have a higher calorific value because they produce less creosote than softwoods such as poplar or fir. On the other hand, the use of high combustion products is discouraged until it is in perfect condition, and do not use gasoline or products that accelerate combustion to ignite the fire.

Good ventilation

They also offer a good measure of prevention, ventilation in the rooms where the fireplace is located, since the fire consumes oxygen and generates carbon monoxide. Good ventilation improves the draft or natural movement of smoke inside the duct and facilitates the removal of carbon monoxide.

Furniture

It is advisable not to place carpets, furniture or clothes in front of the fireplace, because they can burn due to the heat received by radiation. All combustible materials must be kept more than one meter away from the home.

Unattended shutdowns

It is discouraged to leave the fireplace lit when we go to sleep because it is dangerous in the event of a possible outbreak of fire. It must be turned off when the house is empty.

Fire detector

An excellent preventive measure in those houses that have a chimney, is the installation of a fire detector.

  • Mar 05 / 2018
  • Comments Off on 5 Reasons You Should Install A Chimney Cap
Chimney Cleaning

5 Reasons You Should Install A Chimney Cap

Chimney cap, is more than a decorative element. Protects the interior of the fireplace from rain and other inclement weather, curious animals and damage caused by strong winds.

In addition, the air loss is slowed down through the upper part of the chimney, keeping the atmosphere warmer in winter and cool in summer.

Fireplace tops are typically made of metal, which can receive a beating when exposed to the elements.

Chimney cap protects your home by transferring hot combustion gases to the outside air. For this reason, chimney caps are a measure highly recommended by most professionals.

In this blog post, we are going to cover top 5 reasons why you should install a chimney cap/cover whatever you say if you have not already done so.

Prevention of water damage

As we discussed in a recent blog post, when water enters a chimney and undergoes freeze-thaw cycles it can wreak havoc of your chimney. In addition to compromising the masonry of your chimney, the penetration of water can cause more severe structural damage throughout your home. The cover of a chimney prevents water from entering the chimney and protects your home from damage.

Protection against debris and animals

Your unprotected chimney tends to collect leaves, dirt, and other debris, and it’s pretty common issue. This garbage clogs your fireplace, obstructs the writing of your chimney and could cause a dangerous fire also. A chimney cap prevents the fireplace from becoming, essentially, a giant garbage can.

In addition to waste, it is likely that birds and other animals find their way to an open fireplace. The warm and dark fireplace offers the perfect environment to build a nest. For the safety of these animals and their home, the best option is to install a chimney cap.

Keeping the chimney lining

Chimney Liners

By protecting your chimney from unwanted water and debris, a chimney cap helps preserve the life of your chimney liner. Some elements can seriously deteriorate their coating, particularly a clay lining of your chimney. Your coating is essential for the optimal performance and safety of your chimney. Installing a smoke cap is a much simpler and more cost-effective procedure than repairing or replacing a damaged coating.

Spark Containment

When your chimney is in use on a regular basis, large sparks may appear in your chimneys. If those sparks are hot enough, there is a chance that they can get out of the fireplace and light patches of grass or nearby leaves. A chimney cap or spark arrest or will keep these sparks as they die, protecting you and your neighbors from potential hazards.

Improvement project

A chimney cap helps increase the draft of your house chimney. Without proper wording, the smoke and noxious gases can re-enter your home, creating an unpleasant and dangerous situation. The installation of a chimney cap will improve your draft and ensure the proper functioning of your chimney.

As you can see, installing a chimney cap is a simple but effective measure that is worth taking. A lid preserves and protects the overall life of your useful and necessary chimney. And when it protects your chimney, it protects your home also. If you have any query of installation of chimney cap,   Contact us today to schedule an installation.

  • Oct 30 / 2013
  • Comments Off on Fall Is Here: Is Your Chimney Ready?
Chimney Cleaning

Fall Is Here: Is Your Chimney Ready?

Fall is finally upon us here in the Seattle area, bringing cold temperatures. The low fall temperatures have many homeowners stocking up on firewood as they prepare to build cozy fires in their fireplaces. But is your chimney ready for another season of constant use?

Powers CM_chimney

Schedule Your Annual Chimney Inspection and Cleaning

Chimneys should be inspected once a year for damage that could be potentially dangerous to your home. In addition, chimneys should be cleaned once a year so that sooty buildup from past use does not accumulate enough to become a fire hazard.

Remember that as you use your chimney, smoke residue called creosote builds up on your chimney’s inner surfaces. This residue must be removed by a professional with the tools and the expertise to get the job done right. Another benefit to ensuring your chimney receives routine cleanings is a longer-lasting flue system.

By scheduling your annual cleaning and inspection now, you can ensure that your chimney will be ready for use throughout the cold months, and you can rest assured that it is not a hazard to your home or family.

Trust Powers Chimney & Masonry

Looking for a chimney sweep and masonry professional? Trust Powers Chimney and Masonry. Powers CM is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild and the NFPA. Contact us today for a free estimate or to learn more about our services.

(Photo by artur84 via FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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