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A Look at Inspections

What To Expect From A Chimney Inspection

If you’re new to fireplace or stove and chimney ownership, the regular maintenance process may be a little daunting, since there’s a lot to think about, and the words “fire hazard” aren’t exactly soothing. You also may be picturing the soot-covered, ash dust-spewing chimney sweeps from the movies coming into your home with a sack of ratty brushes.

Regular chimney maintenance — particularly your annual chimney inspection — is important, both to ensure that your chimney system performs correctly, and performs as safely as it can. But when you hire the experienced, CSIA-certified technicians at Weststar Chimney Sweeps, it’ll be an easy, comforting and clean process, and we promise you won’t see a single sooty top hat.

We aim to get in with little muss & fuss and give you a detailed look at your chimney.

We aim to get in with little muss & fuss and give you a detailed look at your chimney.

When Weststar Techs Visit For A Chimney Inspection:

First things first: Our techs protect your home. We’ll lay dropcloths all around the work area to ensure that no mess is left.

Before we perform a standard chimney inspection (what’s considered a Level 1 inspection in the National Fire Protection Association’s 211 standard), we’ll sweep the chimney, to make sure creosote and debris is removed and we can get a clear and clean look at the flue and the rest of the system.

Once the chimney is clean, we’ll inspect every accessible part of the interior and exterior, from the firebox up to the chimney cap, looking for damage that could cause leaks or fire hazards. When we’ve completed that process, we’ll have a clear understanding of the state of your system, and you’ll have a report outlining all our findings, including any recommendations for repairs or replacement, so you can make informed decisions about next steps, if they’re necessary.

When A More Thorough Inspection Is Necessary

There are a few instances when a more detailed inspection — or a Level 2 inspection — will be more appropriate. One is when your chimney system has changed (like adding a new appliance or flue liner); another is when a property is being bought or sold. If this is your first chimney inspection, there’s a good chance it’s because you’re about to buy a house, so Level 2 is likely what you should inspect.

The process covers everything included in a basic visual inspection, but adds parts of the chimney that are in basements or crawl spaces and attics, and video scanning, which offers a much more detailed look at the flue. And that detail is really important if you’re about to take on a chimney system as your own — we all want to know exactly what we’re buying when we make a major purchase, and a Level 2 inspection insures that you get the full picture.

If you have any questions about chimney inspections or any other kind of chimney care, Weststar is always here to help — just give us a call!

By Mike O'Mara on October 29th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment

Stinky Fireplace

Your home is a gathering place for your family and friends to come together as one, but what do you do when there is an odor filling the home that you just can not get rid of?   When you realize it is your chimney making this smell, air fresheners and candles will not be enough.  Although some odors are normal, there are others that indicate a serious problem with your draft. That is when you call in the professionals at Weststar Chimney Sweeps.

If your damper is open when you light the fire and you still have odor, it is time to have your chimney cleaned and inspected.

If your damper is open when you light the fire and you still have odor, it is time to have your chimney cleaned and inspected.

The first thing an inspector will ask is when you had your last chimney sweep.  One of the most common causes for chimney odor is the build-up of creosotes inside the chimney.  The resulting smell is usually worse in the summer due to an increased humidity, when it rains, or when the air conditioner is running inside of the home.  An experienced professional can have the job done quickly without any mess inside of your home.  While this will help relieve most of the odors, it will not eliminate all of them.  The longer creosotes sit in the chimney, the deeper they sink into the construction of the chimney.  One way smells are allowed in you home is the air pressure that forces them inside.  When the air pressure is changed the smell will become more or less apparent.  Old parts or damper and exhaust vent closures can cause this as well as new equipment such as a furnace or water heater, or new windows.

There are ways to fix the negative air brought in by your chimney and if one method does not, you may need to do a combination of things.  First, if your fire damper s not in use, you should keep it closed.  Unless there is a problem with the seal, this should solve you problem.  Also, some people recommend having a glass screen installed so that air cannot pass through into the home.  Lastly, if you have other appliances running in the home change their airflow, as they all will be working against each other.  These tips should not only get rid of the odor, but also keep your name clear of the stinky homeowners list.