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What Is a Damper Lock and Why Should I Have One?

Not sure what a damper is or what it does? Weststar Chimney Sweeps is here to help.

Not sure what a damper is or what it does? Weststar Chimney Sweeps is here to help.

At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we are often asked by our customers to explain damper locks and why they are necessary. These questions typically come from those who have just had a home inspected for real estate purposes and have been told by the home inspector that they need to install damper locks to be compliant with the California Uniform Building Code. We know exactly how to keep you under compliance with this code, and our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney technicians can install damper locks in your chimney system. We would like to tell you more about damper locks to inform you of this important and necessary safety component.

What exactly is a damper lock?

Also known as a damper clamp or a damper stop, a damper lock is a small C-clamp or steel beam clamp that serves to keep the damper in a fully open position.

Why do I need a damper lock?

According to the California Uniform Building Code, damper locks are required to be equipped on dampers for systems that vent any type of gas appliance. Whenever you burn a fire in your gas appliance, the damper must be locked open for safety reasons. This can prevent carbon monoxide from being forced back into your home. If the damper is closed, this poisonous gas has no way to exit out of the chimney. Without carbon monoxide detector alarms installed in your home, you and your family could easily become seriously ill from carbon monoxide poisoning as this toxic gas is odorless and tasteless.

Why are damper locks only required for gas appliances?

If you forget to open your damper when you are burning wood, the problem becomes obvious when the room quickly fills with smoke after lighting the fire. As we mentioned earlier, there are no obvious signs for not opening the damper during a gas-fueled fire. This is why the California Uniform Building Code has required that the damper be locked in a fully-open position. You will be protected from the dangers of carbon monoxide if you forget to open the damper or if your gas appliance is turned on accidentally.

How can I prevent heat loss from my home when the damper must be locked fully open?

To help keep the heated air from your gas fire inside your home, Weststar Chimney Sweeps can install glass doors in front of your fireplace. However, you should keep in mind that if you have a prefabricated or factory built fireplace, glass doors may not be an option for safety reasons.

Have more questions about damper locks? Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps so that we can help you be compliant to this important state building code.

By Mike O'Mara on August 31st, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , | Leave a Comment

We Can Remove Unsightly Smoke Stains from Your Fireplace

You most likely already know that our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps at Weststar Chimney Sweeps can thoroughly clean the inside of your chimney by removing all of the accumulated creosote deposits to make it safe to use without being a risky fire hazard. However, did you know that we can also clean your fireplace by removing any unsightly smoke stains from its bricks and mortar? Smoke stains can be incredibly difficult to remove from masonry materials, but you can count on Weststar Chimney Sweeps to completely remove these unattractive spots to make your fireplace look brand new again. We would like to tell you more about our smoke stain removal services.

Why are there smoke stains on my chimney?

According to Chimneys.com, smoke stains can appear around the opening of a fireplace because of improper usage or from a smoking problem. Weststar Chimney Sweeps can help you with both of these issues. Our chimney sweeps can read your operating manual with you to explain to you exactly how you should be using your fireplace. We can also investigate any smoking problems your fireplace may be having and address this issue to keep smoke from making any more unsightly stains.

Why is it so difficult to remove smoke stains from bricks and mortar?

Masonry materials are porous and absorb stains, which can make the stains close to impossible to remove. If you attempt to get rid of these stains yourself by power washing, you can severely damage the mortar, especially if you have an older or historic chimney. For these reasons, it is best to leave this difficult task to a professional chimney company like Weststar Chimney Sweeps.

How does Weststar Chimney Sweeps remove smoke stains from my fireplace?Fireplace Smoke Stains Weststar Chimneys

Using specially formulated detergents and solvents, Weststar Chimney Sweeps can dissolve and remove stubborn smoke stains without damaging or discoloring the masonry materials. These solvents contain alkali detergents and trichloroethylene, which serve as reactors to the deposits that cause these smoke stains to help break the deposits down to be removed. Our chimney sweeps have both training and experience in using these chemical cleaners, so you can trust us to do this job safely. We will inspect your stains first to determine how long the cleaning process will take. For truly stubborn smoke stains, we can apply a cleaning poultice that must set for 48 hours before removing.

Want to get rid of the unsightly smoke stains from your fireplace? Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps to schedule a visit for our chimney sweeps to inspect and remove these stains.

By Mike O'Mara on August 9th, 2015 | Tagged with: | Leave a Comment