Our Company Blog

Extend the Life of Your Chimney

Chimney systems are comprised of many parts that rely upon one another to operate at peak efficiency.  A problem with one part of the system can cause another part of the system to have to work harder to pick up the slack, thereby causing that overworked component to wear out at a much quicker rate.  This can quickly become a vicious cycle if the initial problem isn’t addressed in a timely manner.  The moral of the story here is quite simple: repair minor problems early on to prevent them from becoming major problems down the road.  Keep reading to get a better understanding of ways you can help to extend the life of your chimney.

Put a Cap on your Chimney

Installing a properly-sized chimney cap is one way to be proactive in protecting your chimney.

Installing a properly-sized chimney cap is one way to be proactive in protecting your chimney.

A chimney cap is designed to cover your chimney’s opening in order to keep water, birds and other wildlife, leaves, twigs and other debris from getting into your chimney.  Water is diverted away from the center and off the sides of your chimney.  Mesh screening on the side blocks birds, other wildlife, leaves, twigs and other debris from getting in.  Purchasing a chimney cap and having it installed by a certified chimney professional is a choice you won’t regret!

New Chimney Flashing will help Prevent Leaks

Chimneys are notorious for leaking; the source of these leaks is almost always the flashing.  It keeps water out of the chimney and protects your flue and roof.  Flashings are made from a variety of materials (e.g., aluminum, copper, galvanized steel, and/or tin).  You should have new chimney flashing installed if any of the following issues exist:

  • Your flashing is missing.
  • Your flashing is rusted through.
  • Your flashing is falling off.
  • Your flashing is completely covered with roofing tar (this is a common short-term fix that’s sure to be hiding bigger problems).

Many homeowners also opt to have new flashing installed when having a new shingle-roof installed.

Crumbling Mortar is a Definite Warning Sign

The mortar used in your chimney’s construction is exposed to various elements on the outside and heat and chemical compounds from your firebox on the inside; all of these things speed up the weathering process.  Because of this, it’s common for mortar to crumble and fall away sooner or later, which leaves open areas between the bricks.  This only makes a bad problem worse, giving rise to more issues.  During chimney repointing, the process for repairing your damaged mortar, a chimney professional will remove the damaged, old and loose mortar from the joints between the bricks and replaces it with new mortar.  It can’t be stressed enough that only a skilled professional should perform this work, as it requires an experienced hand.

Flue Liners

Problems in your chimney’s flue can present serious risks to your home and family, because it’s no longer able to perform its primary function: safely containing and venting the products of combustion to the outside of your home.  If your current liner has deteriorated, it’s recommended that you either have a new one installed or have your current liner repaired.  There are several different relining options available to you, depending on both the type of flue liner you currently have and the overall condition of your flue.  Because of the nature of the job completed by your chimney’s liner, it’s a critical part.  Every chimney must have a working liner!

Your chimney system is comprised of numerous parts, all of which are inspected by a chimney professional during your yearly chimney inspection and sweeping.  To prevent major chimney system repairs, it is of paramount importance to make minor repairs as soon as problems arise.  Some parts are in the line of fire more than others and are adversely affected by the heat, while other parts are exposed to the elements, thereby causing them to wear out faster.  Contact the team at Weststar Chimney Sweeps with any and all of your chimney service related questions.  We want you to have all of the information you need!

Chimney Checklist for Spring

Spring: A Fresh Start for Your Chimney

You’ve done an excellent job in taking good care of your chimney during winter, but no matter how cautious you’ve been, there might still be things that happen inside the chimney that are just beyond your control. Winter might have left some damages behind that need to be inspected and fixed and have to be attended to right away. Our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweeps from Weststar Chimney Sweeps would like to put your mind at ease.

Chimney cleanings and inspections are not DIY projects. Let the certified professionals put your fears to rest.

Chimney cleanings and inspections are not DIY projects. Let the certified professionals put your fears to rest.

Parts & Systems

There are certain parts of the chimney which are vital in directing the smoke out the right way; parts like the:

  • Flue
  • Flue liner
  • Damper
  • Smoke Chamber

These parts help create draft inside the chimney. However, these are also the parts that are most prone to creosote buildup or other obstructions making it harder for smoke to go out. This opens doors to a lot of problems that will not only cost thousands in repairs, but may even cost you something more valuable—your health or even your life.

What to do

To prevent objects from entering the chimney, it’s best to have a chimney cap installed so that the inside of your chimney is protected from all the dangers that the outside world can bring. Some examples are animals, debris, spider webs and leaves.

Then there is water. This is one of the things chimneys hate the most because it destroys it—the performance and the structure. It can cause the brick walls to deteriorate. This problem can be prevented by waterproofing the chimney and repairing the flashing. We also make it a point to include the chimney crown in the inspection and repairs because when it is cracked, this can also be another entry point for water. These measures will help prolong the life of your chimney.

Even if you don’t use your chimney during spring, it’s best to keep animals and water out. Remember, it’s not just to prepare for the next winter season, we want to make sure that your chimney continues to be efficient for many years to come. Let us help keep your heating system in tip-top shape.

6 Questions for Your Sweep

Here are some common questions to ask your sweep…this can help you as a homeowner, make better choices when it comes to your chimney maintenance.

Making good decisions means being informed. Here are some basic questions to ask your sweep.

Making good decisions means being informed. Here are some basic questions to ask your sweep.

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.