Our Company Blog

Are Leaning Chimneys A Cause For Worry?

Now and then, we get calls wondering about whether or not a leaning chimney is something to be concerned about. The short answer? Yes! A leaning chimney can lead to some serious damages to your home and put your family in danger, should a collapse eventually occur.

You could also see pest infestation if the chimney starts separating from the house, and you’re at a higher risk of inhaling hazardous toxins that may work their way through any cracks that have started to form.

On top of that, the tilting may have to do with your home’s foundation issues. This is something you’ll definitely want to get checked out, too! It’s obviously a serious problem, and one that should be addressed as soon as possible.

Why Is My Chimney Leaning?

So, what are the causes of a tilting or leaning chimney? Well, one of your issues may be exposure to excess moisture. Moisture and masonry don’t make a good pair at all!  What happens when water gets absorbed into your brickwork? Unfortunately – decay, deterioration, and more start to occur. In addition, your entire system weakens quickly over time. All this extra damage and pressure can easily cause your structure to tilt.

Another problem you may have is an unstable foundation. Undersized footings, deterioration, and poor soil are just a few of the many foundation problems that may be causing your chimney to lean. Having a professional chimney sweep come in and check things over is your best bet for resolving the issue! They can assess the situation and guide you to the most appropriate ways to move forward.

Can It Be Fixed?

It is possible to fix a leaning chimney without an entire restoration or reconstruction job. However, first you need to get your damage looked into! Yearly chimney and fireplace inspections are recommended by the CSIA and they can make all the difference when it comes to repairing something, without a major remodel.

For a chimney inspection in the San Diego area, call on the experts at Weststar Chimney Sweeps! Our trained and CSIA-certified technicians are standing by, reading to help you out at the first sign of trouble. If you fear your chimney is suffering, there’s no time to lose!

Have You Considered Waterproofing?

Have you invested in repairs and are now ready to keep your chimney and brickwork safe from water damage down the line? If so, invest in our waterproofing services. We use top of the line products that protect your masonry, while allowing it the ability to breathe out necessary gases and vapors. It’s the perfect solution for anyone looking to ensure their chimney stands the test of time. Give us a call today to learn more about waterproofing, and be sure to ask us about our long list of other services, too!

We can’t wait to serve you soon. Pick up the phone now!

Is Your Damper Doing Its’ Job?

Your fireplace damper is a vital piece in your chimney’s construction. It ensures proper ventilation while your fire is running, and keeps cold air from entering your home. Unfortunately, these devices can break down and there a number of reasons why it may not be working efficiently.

If you notice drafting and air flow issues in your fireplace, keep reading to educate yourself on the more typical damper problems that homeowners typically face. Call in a certified chimney expert to check things over and perform any necessary repairs that may be needed.

Watch Out For Build-Up

One of the more common issues that people face is built-up soot and debris blocking their damper. This would keep your damper from opening and closing properly and may prevent it from opening at all! If your damper can’t open, smoke will back up into your home, exposing you and loved ones to harmful toxins. Excess smoke backing up into your living room means something is wrong… if you think your damper needs some cleaning, contact us right away.

Another issue may have to do with your damper valve. If this is dirty, it will not function appropriately and your damper will not be able to do its job effectively. Let us check things over and we can set you up right.

Broken Damper

Another possibility is that your damper is broken. In this case, we could help you pick out the appropriate damper for your specific fireplace. We would also ensure that it is installed properly. Improper installation only leads to bigger and more costly issues down the line and choosing the right size and style for your needs is vital in helping the entire appliance run well, as a whole.

Depend On Us

The staff at Weststar Chimney Sweeps are trained and certified to perform a wide range of repairs. We can also clean and inspect your chimney, so you can safely run it all year round. If you are having ventilation issues, let us come take a look at your damper. We can make any necessary repairs or adjustments, as well as clean the chimney with appropriate tools and chemicals.

Our sweeps update their certifications with the CSIA on a regular basis, so we always remain up-to-date on any new advancements or changes in regulations. We pride ourselves on providing the best customer service around, which is why countless homeowners turn to us for any and all of their chimney or fireplace related needs.

Why put it off any longer? Give us a call now, so you can rest easy and enjoy your fireplace to the fullest. We look forward to making your home great!

Be Ready for Fall by Having Your Chimney Inspected This Summer

Be Ready for Fall by Having Your Chimney Inspected This Summer

Many of the national fire safety organizations like the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend that you have your chimney professionally swept and inspected before you light the first fire of the year. In order to be able to enjoy your fireplace when fall arrives, you should schedule your appointment for these chimney maintenance services in the summer. Chimney companies, including Weststar Chimney Sweeps, start getting very busy in September, and if you wait until the fall to schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection, you might have a difficult time finding a convenient date and time for the appointment. Taking care of these tasks in the summer guarantees your fireplace will be ready to use as soon as you wish in the fall. We would like to tell you why a professional chimney sweeping and inspection is so essential.

 

Chimney Sweeping Chimney Cleaning and Inspection - San Diego CA - Westar

The reason why it is so important to have your chimney swept before lighting the first fire of the fall is to have all of the accumulated creosote deposits removed from the inner walls of the chimney. Creosote forms naturally during the combustion process of burning wood and sticks to the inside of the flue. The problem with creosote is that it is highly flammable and can easily ignite a chimney fire if the internal temperature of the flue gets hot enough. The CSIA names creosote as a leading cause of chimney fires, so after your chimney has been swept by Weststar Chimney Sweeps, your risk of a chimney fire is greatly reduced.

 

Chimney Inspection

When the CSIA-certified chimney sweeps from Weststar Chimney Sweeps inspect your chimney, they will be looking for any damage or other problems that could cause your chimney to be unsafe to use. If any debris such as fallen bricks, leaves, or sticks is blocking the flue, it will be removed to reduce your risk of a chimney fire and a carbon monoxide leak. The condition of your chimney liner will be examined, and our sweeps will take a look at the exterior of your chimney to see if there are any damaged or missing bricks and mortar joints. If we find damage that needs to be repaired for your chimney to work safely, we will provide you with pictures of the damage, along with a written estimate of the repairs needed.
Beat the fall rush! Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to schedule your appointment for our professional chimney sweeping and inspection services today.

Start the Year Off with a Certified Chimney Inspection

Start the Year Off with a Certified Chimney Inspection

In order for your fireplace and chimney to work efficiently and safely, you must take care of a few routine maintenance tasks. Included in these tasks is a chimney inspection performed by a certified chimney professional. Scheduling this service at the start of the year allows you to enjoy your fireplace without worrying about potential problems all year long. Weststar Chimney Sweeps is proud to offer chimney inspection services, and you can trust our chimney technicians to do the best job possible. All of our technicians have been trained and certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) to properly inspect chimneys. We would like to tell you why it is so important to have your chimney professionally inspected once a year.Certified Chimney Inspection - San Diego CA - Weststar Chimney Sweeps

Reduce the Risk of Chimney Fires

One of the things Weststar Chimney Sweeps looks for when inspecting chimneys is the amount of creosote deposits that have accumulated on the inner walls of your chimney. A large amount of creosote can be very dangerous as it is an extremely flammable compound. The CSIA has named creosote as the leading cause of chimney fires because it can easily ignite if the internal temperature of your chimney gets hot enough. Once we know how much creosote is inside your chimney, we can then make the best preparations for removing it by sweeping your chimney.

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps will also check to see if anything like leaves, bricks, or other debris is blocking the flue of your chimney. When your flue is blocked by debris, it can cause the toxic gas carbon monoxide to be forced back into your home. Without a carbon monoxide detector alarm, you could be breathing in carbon monoxide without even knowing it since it is odorless and tasteless. If we do find a blockage, we will remove the debris to make your chimney vent properly and safely.

Prolong the Life of Your Chimney

During our inspection, we will be looking for damage that could cause your chimney to be unsafe to use. Our CSIA-certified sweeps will closely examine the condition of the bricks and mortar of your chimney, as well as its components, including the liner and damper. If we find any type of damage, we will document it and give you photographs of the damage, along with a written inspection report. We can also make recommendations for repairing any damage we find.

Start off the new year by making sure your chimney is in its best condition. Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to schedule an appointment for our certified chimney inspection services.

How Earthquakes Affect Chimneys

California is known for having earthquakes that can damage your chimney

California is known for having earthquakes that can damage your chimney

As residents of California, we are familiar with dealing with earthquakes and the property damage they can cause. Did you know the most common earthquake property damage is chimney collapse? Not only is this true in our state, but also in other areas that suffer earthquakes in this country. The number of chimneys lost every year to earthquake damage is staggering. One reason for this great structural loss is chimneys are often ignored when preparing for earthquakes and the damage they can cause. Weststar Chimney Sweeps would like to tell you more about the effect of earthquakes on chimneys.

How do earthquakes cause a chimney to collapse?

It goes without saying that earthquakes cause the ground to shake resulting in buildings enduring forces to which they are not normally subjected toward. These forces lead to a deterioration of the brickwork and can cause a chimney to collapse. Even minor seismic events can cause this to happen to your chimney, so it’s important to have your chimney routinely checked – especially in seismic hotbeds.

What is the best prevention against chimney collapse during seismic activity?

The chimneys that are most commonly damaged are un-reinforced chimneys, according to InspectAPedia, an online encyclopedia of building and environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, and repair topics.

What are the dangers of a chimney collapse?

No one can predict which way a chimney will collapse. If a chimney were to collapse on the house, it could be deadly. People have even become trapped inside by a collapsed chimney. Even if the chimney does not fall onto the house, it could fall on a neighbor’s home or on someone outside.

What can I do to prepare my un-reinforced chimney for an earthquake?

You can have your chimney braced, but this does not guarantee it will not collapse. You can also remove the masonry and use a metal flue that is surrounded by a wooden box. This box can be covered with brick veneer above the roof line.

What is the best thing I can do to be sure my chimney is sturdy enough to withstand seismic activity?

The best way to ensure your chimney is safe from earthquake damage is to have it inspected every year by Weststar Chimney Sweeps. We have experience in knowing where earthquake damage can occur and exactly what to look for to be certain your chimney is safe during seismic activity.

Have any questions about how earthquakes can affect chimneys? Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps to find out whatever you need to know.

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