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How to Deal With Chimney Draft Problems

How to Deal With Chimney Draft Problems

If your chimney seems to have trouble moving smoke up and out of the chimney, call Weststar Chimney Sweeps

If your chimney seems to have trouble moving smoke up and out of the chimney, call Weststar Chimney Sweeps

How do you know when you are having chimney draft problems? The most obvious sign is when smoke fills the room, but chimney draft issues can also cause problems with igniting a fire in the fireplace. Smoky, unpleasant odors coming from the fireplace when you are not using it can also let you know there is something wrong with the draft in your chimney. Draft is essential to making your chimney work efficiently because it pulls the byproducts of combustion out of your house through the chimney. When the draft is not working properly, your chimney is not functioning as safely as it should be. What causes chimney draft problems? Weststar Chimney Sweeps would like to answer this question by sharing some of the reasons for this issue.


If you have converted your old masonry fireplace into a more efficient heating system by installing a new fireplace insert in it, you may have chimney draft problems if the size of your flue is not properly matched to the insert. In order for draft to work correctly, your chimney needs to be hot, and, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), newer fireplace inserts use most of the heat they produce to heat your home, so the temperature within your chimney is much cooler. Because less heat is directed into your chimney from an insert, the flue must be matched exactly with the insert for it to function safely and properly. Not only does your chimney need draft to pull smoke and toxic gases from your house, but it also needs draft for the combustion process to be completed. Incomplete combustion can lead to a very hazardous situation: the production of carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas. Even worse, the carbon monoxide can easily be forced back into your living space when the chimney draft is not working correctly. To avoid this problem, you should always have a fireplace insert professionally installed. Our CSIA-certified chimney technicians at Weststar Chimney Sweeps can construct a new flue from a stainless steel chimney liner that will match the size of your new insert.


If your flue is blocked by animal or bird nests, fallen bricks, leaves, or other debris, the blockage can interfere with the chimney draft. Air cannot sufficiently get through the blockage. Your flue can even become blocked by the buildup of soot and creosote, and it does not take much to reduce the diameter of the flue enough to cause chimney draft problems. Weststar Chimney Sweeps can inspect your chimney for blockages and remove the debris that is causing this issue. We will even check the mesh siding of your chimney cap to be sure it is not clogged as well.


You may have weatherized your home by sealing up the windows and doors to keep heated and cooled air from escaping the house. Although this saves you money on your utility bills, your home could be sealed up too tightly, which creates negative pressure. Clothes dryers and exhaust fans can also cause negative pressurization. When your home is affected by negative pressure, it battles against the chimney draft and even pull smoke back down from the chimney. To solve draft problems caused by negative pressure, you can simply open a window in the room. Weststar Chimney Sweeps can also fix this problem by installing tight-fitting glass fireplace doors and effective gasketing.

Have you been dealing with smoky rooms and unpleasant odors from your fireplace? Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to find out how we can help you solve your chimney draft problems.

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.

Special Discounts for Signups at the San Diego County Fair

We offer the lowest discount of the year at the San Diego County Fair!

We offer the lowest discount of the year at the San Diego County Fair!

Once again, Weststar Chimney Sweeps will be hosting a booth at the San Diego County Fair. Residents of San Diego look forward to this fair every year as it kicks off the summer with fun events and attractions for the whole family. Opening on Friday, June 5th, the fair will run until July 5th at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. When you stop by our booth to make an appointment for our chimney, fireplace, and dryer vent services, you can take advantage of our special fair discounts! These special fair prices are the lowest of the year so don’t miss out! We would like to tell you a bit more about what you can expect from this year’s San Diego County Fair.

“It All Started at a Fair”

The 2015 theme of the San Diego County Fair celebrates the traditions of World’s Fairs, expositions that have been going on since 1851. The theme exhibit features information about structures that were built for a World’s Fair, fair food, inventions that debuted at World’s Fairs, and the Panama-California Exposition, which took place exactly 100 years ago at historic Balboa Park.

New Attractions

As San Diego is becoming the center for commercially crafted distilled spirits, the San Diego County Fair is proud to start a new tradition, Distilled: San Diego Spirit and Cocktail Competition and Festival. You can enjoy samples of award-winning distilled spirits and cocktails and watch bartender competitions as well. To celebrate Hispanic culture, the San Diego County Fair is adding the Fiesta Village to our Family Funville area. You will find entertainment for the whole family, hand-crafted goods for sale, and food stands offering the best Hispanic cuisine in the area. The fair will also celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander cultures with the new Asian Festival, which features music, dance, and martial arts competitions. If you are looking for the best in local San Diego cuisine, you will not want to miss the Farm to Table Dinner, which pairs foods from local farms with the best of local beer and wine.

Family Funville

For San Diego families with young children, the Family Funville area of the San Diego County Fair offers rides, exhibits, and other attractions geared towards kids. Your children can participate in games and contests, like sack races, horseshoe tosses, and even a watermelon seed spitting contest. Do your children like music? If so, you will want them to experience the Funville and Fiesta stages which will be filled with songs and dance performances from various local community groups.

For more information about the San Diego County Fair, contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps. We will be happy to tell you more about our booth and our special fair pricing deals!

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!