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Is Your Chimney Ready For Winter Season?

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With winter just around the corner, this is the perfect time to get your chimney inspected to make sure it’s ready for the entire season. It may seem like a simple task, but there are many things that need to be professionally checked.

Cleaning and sweeping the chimney is just the beginning. There are many other things that need to be inspected to make sure your chimney is functional and safe. The Flue has to be checked to make sure it’s not cracked or spalled. Another important thing to check for is Creosote accumulation, which can decrease the diameter of the flue, lowering the flow and causing smoke problems. Creosote is also highly combustible, and could cause a chimney fire.

Bird nests and other things blocking your chimney, are an important thing to check for. If that is the case, then they have to be removed, and a protective damper and cap have to be installed.

This and other elements of your chimney have to be inspected by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep Professional. So don’t let another minutes pass by. Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps, and we’ll help you make sure that your chimney is ready and safe for the whole family to enjoy.

How To Minimize In-Home Smoke Problems

Due to modern homes being built air tight and weather-proofing sealing up the usual air infiltration routes, this is making smoke problems quite a common issue.

A fireplace in use has the tendency to exhausts household air until a negative pressure situation exists. If your home is moderately air tight, the easiest route for makeup air to enter the home is often your unused fireplace chimney.

Eliminate Your Smoke Problem And Potential For Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

While air is drawn down the unused flue, it will pick up smoke that is exiting nearby from a fireplace in use and will deliver the smoke to your living area. The best solution to your smoke problems is to provide makeup air into your house so that the negative pressure problem cease to exists. This will eliminate not only your smoke problem, but also the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning due to carbon monoxide being drawn back down the furnace chimney.

The Care And Maintenance Of A Prefab Chimney


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Factory built, or prefabricated fireplaces, are relative newcomers to the fireplace scene, commonly available only for the last 30 years or so. Unlike traditional site-built masonry fireplaces, most factory built fireplaces are made of metal, and come from the factory as complete units with a firebox, a specific chimney system, and all miscellaneous parts. With proper installation and maintenance, they can give years of service, but there are some special considerations owners of these systems should be aware of:

1) The factory-built fireplace and chimney are a complete system, engineered to work safely and efficiently together. Both units(fireplace and chimney), undergo testing together, then are listed specifically for use with each other. To insure a safe system, you MUST use the exact chimney specified, along with the specified rain cap, flashing package, and all other system components.

2) Most factory built fireplaces are tested and listed as decorative heating appliances and will not withstand the abuse often heaped on their masonry counterparts. Although they are tested to U.L. standards, severe overfiring and chimney fires will often badly damage these units. Regular yearly maintenance, cleaning at generally 1/8″ buildup, and careful monitoring can assure a safe enjoyable system.

3) Many prefab chimneys, especially older units with an imitation brick housing above the roof, seem to be a preferred nesting site for birds in many areas. It is not unusual for chimney sweeps to take literally buckets of nesting material from these chimneys. This nesting can catch fire directly, or it can block critical air passageways between layers of metal chimney pipe, allowing the chimney to overheat. Both scenarios routinely cause house fires. Most after market chimney covers do not correctly address the problem, and can often make the situations worse. A careful screening of all potential nesting areas with the proper sized screening may be in order.

4) Finally, prefab fireplace systems eventually just plain wear out. Models go out of production and manufacturers go out of business. A factory-built unit will reach the end of is useful life when repair of the unit is no longer possible, particularly if the components that are necessary to maintain the listing are no longer available. Keep a close eye on an aging unit, and be prepared to send ole faithful to the great recycling plant in the sky before she fails completely.

$50,000 In Damage Due To Chimney Fire

Prefab Chimney After A Chimney Fire

Prefab Chimney After A Chimney Fire

The Republic newspaper of Columbus Indiana recently reported a tragic fire that was caused by the negligence on the home owner’s behalf. Nobody was hurt, but the damage was costly. Firefighters reported that the fire had been caused by defects to the fireplace and that a regular inspection might have kept this incident from ever occurring.

Sweep And Inspect Your Chimney Every Year

The NFPA 211 recommends that every chimney can be swept and inspected every year as needed to prevent chimney fires. Chimneys can be blocked due to lack of maintenance and Creosote can build up thus becoming a terrible fire hazard.

Keep your family safe by having Weststar Chimney Sweeps come in and do a thorough inspection of your chimney and fireplace to ensure that there are no imperfections that may in some way put not only your home at risk, but your family as well.

Gas Fireplace Damper Clamp

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When you have a vented gas log in your fireplace installed, it’s necessary to have the damper clamp open at all times. Having a damper clamp prevents a situation where gases are not vented out the fireplace. It’s a safety accessory in case the fireplace is turned on and is forgotten opening the damper.

A gas fireplace emulates a real fireplace, without the trouble of getting wood to burn. There are two gas fireplace types: vented and ventless. The vented type have a realistic look but loss most of the heat, instead the ventless one is very efficient because doesn’t need a chimney, losing the fireplace realistic look.

On which ever option you decide, the damper clamp is needed to keep the carbon monoxide out and avoid hazardous situations.