Our Company Blog
When our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps from Weststar Chimney Sweeps clean your chimney, we take great care to remove every bit of creosote from its interior walls. However, sometimes it takes more than just a typical chimney sweeping to get rid of this flammable residue. Creosote evolves through three different stages, and when it gets to the third and final stage, it becomes glazed on the walls of your flue. Glazed creosote can be very difficult to remove because it is like a thick shell of chocolate stuck to your chimney walls. It is impossible to remove with our regular chimney sweeping tools, so we will need to give your chimney a professional and detailed mechanical cleaning. Creosote deglazing is very important to keep your chimney safe from dangerous hazards, and we would like to tell you more about this service and why it is so essential.
What exactly is creosote, and why is it so hazardous?
A compound that forms naturally during the combustion process of burning wood, creosote sticks to the inner walls of your chimney and can accumulate into large deposits. If these deposits become large enough, they can block your flue and even ignite a chimney fire if the internal temperature of your flue reaches a high enough point. As the CSIA says, chimney fires can be caused by dirty chimneys. This is why the CSIA and other national fire safety organizations recommend that a chimney should be professionally swept annually.
What causes creosote to become glazed?
Although creosote occurs naturally when you burn wood, there are some precautions you can take to keep it from reaching the glazed state. The most important thing you can do to prevent glazed creosote is to always burn only seasoned wood, or wood that has been dried for at least six months. When you burn freshly-cut, wet wood, your fire burns at a lower temperature because it is too busy trying to burn off all of the excess moisture. This cooler temperature causes more creosote to form and dry at a slower pace. New layers of creosote begin to form over layers that are still wet, which leads to the development of glazed creosote. Another important thing to always do when you use your fireplace is to be sure the damper is completely open, which prevents the fire from smoldering and producing more creosote.
What is a creosote deglazing?
A detailed mechanical cleaning, creosote deglazing involves our trained technicians using a mechanical high-speed, half-inch drill and a 24-inch wizard whip to be able to safely remove the glazed creosote by breaking it down so that it will not damage the interior walls of your chimney.
Have you scheduled your annual chimney sweeping yet this year? Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to arrange a visit from our CSIA-certified sweeps to see if you will also need a creosote deglazing treatment.
When you have an older masonry chimney, you may believe that it is immune from any damage because it is constructed well enough to last for a lifetime. However, a masonry chimney can suffer from both exterior and interior damage. You may have seen a chimney with cracked and missing bricks on its exterior, which is most likely caused by erosion from weather elements. The inside of a masonry chimney can also be damaged, and this type of damage is much harder to see. Most masonry chimneys were built with clay tile flue liners, and these tiles can also crack and even fall from the chimney wall. This can lead to a hazardous situation, including carbon monoxide leaking through the cracks and gaps into your home. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps from Weststar Chimney Sweeps have years of experience of inspecting and repairing clay tile liners. We would like to tell you more about clay tile flue liners and how we can repair them so that your chimney works safely.
How does a clay tile liner work?
When the chimney is being built, masonry workers will stack clay tiles upon each other, and according to Inspect-a-Pedia, refractory cement is placed in the joints in between these tiles to create a continuous smooth walled vent. There should be a space of one half of an inch to one inch in between the flue and the masonry surround because when the flue is heated, the liner expands outward and lengthwise.
How does a clay tile liner become damaged?
The most common reason behind the damage done to clay tile liners is water penetration. This type of damage can be prevented with the installation of a good quality chimney cap, along with a customized flashing system. Chimney fires can also cause a lot of damage to clay tiles. And, of course, these tiles can crack and break apart over the years as normal wear and tear.
How can Weststar Chimney Sweeps repair my clay tile liner?
We are proud to offer chimney relining and restoring services with HeatShield, a specially formulated cerfractory sealant. Our chimney technicians have been trained and approved to use this revolutionary product that allows us to restore and repair clay tile liners in a much easier way than retiling the flue. If your flue is mostly damaged by weakened mortar joints, we can use the HeatShield Joint Repair system, and if your flue has more widespread damage, we can use the HeatShield Resurfacing system. We also can use the HeatShield Sleeve Relining System to restore a clay tile liner that has been damaged significantly. You can trust us to inspect the condition of your liner to know exactly which HeatShield system to use.
If you have seen broken pieces of clay tiles in the bottom of your fireplace, you most likely have a damaged liner. Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to schedule an appointment for an inspection of your clay tile liner. We will be able to show you photos of the damage within the flue and make repair recommendations to make your chimney safe to use again.
When you have a fireplace in your home, ensuring that it works safely is one of the most important responsibilities you have as a homeowner. Making sure your fireplace and chimney are in good condition can help you fulfill this responsibility. Of course, the most important thing you can do to guarantee your chimney and fireplace work safely and efficiently is to schedule an annual professional chimney sweeping and inspection. Weststar Chimney Sweeps is proud to provide these maintenance services to the residents of the San Diego area, and we only employ chimney sweeps who have been trained and certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Since safety is our top priority, we would like to share with you some other tips on how to be sure your fireplace is safe.
Outside The Home
You need to check to see if there is a chimney cap installed at the top of your chimney as this prevents water leaks, keeps birds and animals out, and other important functions. If getting on your roof is too hazardous, you can use binoculars to get an up-close look at the condition of the cap to check for signs of damage and debris building up on the cap. While you are using the binoculars, check to see if the flashing system looks tight and shows no signs of corrosion damage, and then look to see if the flue liner is visible above the crown. You should also look for cracked or missing bricks from the chimney as well as any leaning or other signs of structural damage. Take a look at the trees near the chimney to see if any limbs are directly above the chimney. If you find any signs of damage or problems, contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to ask us to come by to examine things further.
Inside The Home
Now you can check out your fireplace to see if anything looks like a potential problem or a safety hazard. According to HouseLogic, you will need a flashlight to look at the condition of the damper to be sure it opens, closes, and seals correctly. It is important that your damper works properly to keep air from leaking out the chimney. Then, open the damper completely and shine the flashlight up the chimney to look for any signs of animal invasions like nesting materials. To be sure nothing is blocking your flue, look up the flue, and if you can see sunlight at the top, your flue is clear with no blockage. Your next step is to look at the hearth to inspect the fireplace surround and firebox to be sure there are no cracked or missing masonry materials like bricks and mortar. This type of damage is very serious and can lead to dangerous hazards. The last thing you should look for any signs of moisture inside the firebox because this means you have a chimney leak somewhere in your chimney. As with any outside damage, any interior damage or possible issues deserves professional attention, so you need to call us as soon as possible to avoid any damage becoming worse.Ensuring the safety of your chimney and fireplace is extremely important. If you need professional assistance, contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to ask us to come by to give your chimney an inspection from our CSIA-certified chimney technicians.
Since 1999, Weststar Chimney Sweeps has been providing chimney services to the San Diego area, including El Cajon. Over the years, our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps have cleaned, inspected, and repaired thousands of chimneys across the area. With so many satisfied customers, we have become one of the most trusted chimney companies in this region, and we are very proud to have earned a Five star rating from Yelp and an A+ from the Better Business Bureau. We would like to tell you more about the types of services we offer to residents of El Cajon and other communities in the San Diego area.
To keep your chimney working efficiently and safely, the CSIA, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and other national fire safety groups recommend that you have your chimney professionally swept and inspected at least once every year. These chimney maintenance tasks reduce your risks of experiencing a chimney fire or a carbon monoxide leak. Weststar Chimney Sweeps offers chimney sweeping and inspecting from our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps, and our years of training and experience allow us to do these tasks correctly and thoroughly. We will be sure to remove all of the hazardous deposits of creosote from your chimney to protect you from a dangerous chimney fire. The CSIA has named creosote as the leading cause of chimney fires, which is why its removal is so important. During our chimney inspection, we will also be sure your chimney has no damage that could make it unsafe to use. We look for flue blockages, cracked chimney liners, and other problems when we inspect chimneys.
If you are experiencing problems with your fireplace or other heating appliance, you can count on Weststar Chimney Sweeps to find out what is causing this problem and to repair the problem so that you can use your fireplace without worrying about possible hazards. One of the most devastating chimney problems has to do with water leaks, and we offer several services to repair these leaks and to prevent leaks from occurring. Our waterproofing services can prolong the life of your masonry chimney by protecting it from water penetration. We also specialize in repairing and replacing chimney crowns and resurfacing damaged clay tile chimney liners with HeatShield, but we have the skills and experience to fix any chimney problem you may have.
Along with our chimney services, we also provide professional dryer vent cleaning services that greatly reduce your risk of experiencing a clothes dryer fire. If you live in the El Cajon area, call us at 619-338-8116 or start your appointment here for our superior chimney maintenance and repair services.
Call on a certified pro like those found at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to sweep your chimney
You may have seen chimney cleaning logs that claim to remove and reduce the accumulation of creosote in your chimney when you burn one of these logs in your fireplace or stove. You may even have thought that this could take the place of your annual professional chimney sweeping. However, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Weststar Chimney Sweeps agrees with the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) that using chimney cleaning logs is not a substitute for the job our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps will do when they perform this yearly maintenance task on your chimney. We would like to tell you more about this product and why you should never rely on it as a way to properly and safely clean your chimney.
What are chimney cleaning logs?
A chimney cleaning log is a chemical product that does actually remove a portion of accumulated creosote from both masonry and metal chimneys. It does this through catalytic action that takes place when the log is burned in a fireplace or wood stove.
Why are chimney cleaning logs not a substitute for a professional chimney sweeping?
For one reason, a professional chimney sweeping from Weststar Chimney Sweeps will guarantee that every bit of accumulated creosote will be removed safely from your chimney. When you burn a chimney cleaning log, deposits of creosote will flake off and could either possibly cause a chimney fire by igniting after falling off or end up on the smoke shelf, where it creates another potential fire hazard.
Another reason is that a professional chimney sweeping includes much more than just creosote removal. Your chimney will be inspected to look for possible damage and potential problems. Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps will also check for flue blockages and can take away birds’ or animals’ nests, leaves, and other debris that are blocking the exit of your chimney. This reduces the risk of a very hazardous situation: carbon monoxide leaks.
Should I use chimney cleaning logs in between my annual chimney sweepings?
The CSIA recommends that this type of chemical product should only be used under the supervision of a qualified chimney professional. Sometimes, layers of creosote can be so thick that chemical chimney cleaners must be used to change the chemical composition of creosote from hard or tacky to brittle or powdery in order to completely remove all of the creosote buildup. Our sweeps have been trained to use these chemical cleaners and know how to use them safely.
Have you scheduled your annual professional chimney sweeping yet? Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to make an appointment to have your chimney properly cleaned.
Weststar Chimney Sweeps is your local source for chimney services!
When you own a home with a fireplace and a chimney system, you know that regular maintenance can help with keeping any potential problems under control. However, it is very common for repair issues to appear over the years. Sometimes you will know when your fireplace and chimney need repairing, and other times the signs that your chimney needs professional attention will be more subtle. Weststar Chimney Sweeps would like to tell you more about three different signs that can let you know that your chimney is in need of repairing and how we can fix these problems.
If you happen to notice bad smells in your home coming from the fireplace, you most likely have a problem with chimney draft. Your chimney may not be producing enough draft to pull out the exhaust gasses from within, which causes that air to enter your home. Your flue could be too large for your heating appliance, or you could simply be having issues with how the wind is affecting your chimney draft. If the flue size is the issue, Weststar Chimney Sweeps can install a new stainless steel flue that exactly matches your heating appliance, which will improve both the draft and its performance. We can also install a draft-improving chimney cap on top of your chimney to help your chimney draft issues. This type of cap has vents on the sides that direct the wind to create a driving pressure at the top of the chimney. This driving pressure helps to pull out that smelly air so that it leaves your home instead of entering it through the fireplace.
Whenever you notice any loose or missing bricks from the exterior of your chimney, you are seeing a sign of water penetration damage. As the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) says, water is the biggest enemy of a masonry chimney because of the damage it can do. Water can get into your bricks and mortar and erode these masonry materials until they get to the point of cracking and breaking apart. If type of water leak damage is not repaired, it can worsen to the point of the entire chimney structure collapsing. This is a hazardous situation that you definitely want to avoid, so contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps as soon as you notice any water damage so that we can make repairs and protect your chimney from further water leaks.
SMOKE FILLING ROOM
Trying to start a fire only to have a huge cloud of black smoke come back into the room? Most likely, your flue is blocked which is causing the smoke to come back into the house as it cannot exit out of the chimney. You could have debris from nesting materials from birds or animals, leaves, and soot forming a blockage. Sometimes, loose bricks have fallen into the chimney to block the exit. Fortunately, our CSIA-certified chimney technicians at Weststar Chimney Sweeps are experts at removing chimney blockages. We can clean out your chimney to have it working smoothly again.
Notice any of these problems? Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to schedule a chimney inspection so that we can make any necessary repairs.