Our Company Blog

The Basics of Ash Removal

Don’t Let It Accumulate 

Did you know that the ash that is produced after burning combustible materials can still be used in other places? Did you also know that it’s not good to completely remove the ash? Despite the many toxins, there are still components in ash that make it beneficial and useful.

But Wait, There’s More

You don't want to remove ALL of the ash from your fireplace. Leave some about an inch thick.

You don’t want to remove ALL of the ash from your fireplace. Leave some about an inch thick.

Ashes are made after burning combustible materials. They are powder-like and are not something you’d like to smell especially for people with sensitive noses. They are harmful to people but they can still benefit you if you have a garden. There are materials in the ash that can contribute to a healthy growing plant.

The ash should not be taken out completely, especially when you are constantly using your fireplace. This is because it might be difficult to start out a fire once you use it again; more time, more effort, less fire, less heat. An inch thick of ash will suffice. This can help protect the area in your firebox.

But removing ash in the fireplace is still something that needs our attention. It can cause all sorts of health hazards and can eventually end up starting a fire. Our company specializes in keeping your fireplace and chimney at optimal functioning level so it’s important to let us do our job. But in any case, you should also be aware of the things you need to do to successfully remove ash.

Removing the Ash

Get your metal trash bin, metal dust pan and broom ready for sweeping. Make sure that the ash is cool before you attempt to do any cleaning. The reason is to make sure that no hot coals are present. Once cooled, take out the firebox and sweep it and put the ash in the dust pan and into the trash bin. This step-by-step process should be done at least three to four times a week depending on the number of times you use your fireplace.

It’s good to let a CSIA-certified sweep do the cleaning. This is usually done when you have your  inspection and clean-up. We’ve been serving the people of San Diego County for fifteen wonderful years, so feel confident with our certified techs. Feel free to contact us. We are happy to help.

5 Common Chimney Replacements

Replacing parts of your chimney that are not properly functioning or are outdated can increase its performance and ensure safety.

Replacing parts of your chimney that are not properly functioning or are outdated can increase its performance and ensure safety.

Serving all of San Diego, California, West Star Chimney Sweeps offers an array of services to our customers. From chimney sweeping to dryer vent cleaning, we do everything we can to keep our customers secure, healthy, and confident in the safety and efficiency of their appliances. One of the things most frequently required of us are chimney part replacements. We often swap.

Why Your Chimney Needs to Be in Good Condition

Before we tell you about the chimney parts we replace most often, we want to tell you why it’s important to keep your chimney and all of its components in great working order. Simply put, a chimney that’s worn out may:

  • Become a fire hazard
  • Begin to leak and cause water damage
  • Become clogged and unable to vent properly
  • Vent toxic gases into your home
  • Deteriorate beyond repair and require total replacement

West Star Chimney can make sure that your chimney and heating appliance are in great condition so that you don’t have to worry about any of these things happening.

Chimney and Fireplace Parts West Star Chimney Replaces Most Often

Among other replacements, we are often required to replace the following five parts on fireplaces and chimneys around San Diego:

  1. Chimney Caps: A brick and mortar chimney without a cap is like a house without a roof. Chimney caps play lots of important roles, including keeping water out, keeping birds and bees out, keeping sparks in, and eliminating downdrafts. By keeping the wrong stuff out and the right stuff in, you’ll protect your chimney from accumulating fire hazards (think leaves and limbs, nests, trash, and other debris) and reduce the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning and chimney fire. You’ll also be protecting your chimney, assuring its longer life, and safeguarding your home from expensive water damage.
  2. Chase Covers: If yours is a prefabricated, factory-made, or metal chimney, you will need to cover the top of it with what’s known as a chase cover. Chase covers serve the same purposes as chimney caps, as outlined above. The standard steel chase cover that comes with a prefabricated chimney is prone to rust and corrosion, which can lead to waterlogged ceilings and walls as well as mold problems. Luckily, there are lots of beautiful and durable replacement chase covers to choose from, in a variety of finishes.
  3. Dampers: Chimney dampers are perhaps our favorite chimney part to tell homeowners about. This is because we get to tell them how we’re about to save them money by installing a top-sealing damper atop their chimney. After all, having a chimney without a damper is not unlike leaving a window open year round; just imagine how much you’d spend on extra energy costs if you left a window open all the time. A damper will keep water and debris out of your chimney, but it’s most notable for the fact that the homeowner can open and close it, creating an airtight seal when the heating appliance is not in use.
  4. Prefab Panels: Prefabricated refractory panels are what comprise the firebox in your factory-made or prefabricated fireplace. If your panels are beginning to show signs of wear and tear, it’s likely that they need to be replaced with properly sized panels installed by a pro. If your panels have cracks that are the thickness of a nickel or if the panels have been reduced by a quarter inch or more in thickness, then it’s time to have them replaced. We’re happy to do that for you at West Star Chimney.
  5. Hearth Screens: Whether or not you already have a hearth screen, West Star Chimney is happy to equip your fireplace with one. These screens offer lots of advantages, including peace of mind that if an errant spark flies out of your fireplace it will stay in your fireplace. It will also help keep pets and small children away from your fire and can update the look of your fireplace.

Have questions about caps, chase covers, dampers, prefab panels, hearth screens, or any other chimney component? Call us at 619-338-8116 or schedule an appointment with us today using our online form.