by Mike O'Mara | Jun 30, 2016 | Chimney Sweeping
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.
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.
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.
by Mike O'Mara | May 10, 2016 | Chimney Sweeping
Taking care of your chimney’s annual maintenance tasks is essential for the safety and efficiency of your fireplace and chimney system. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and other national fire safety organizations all strongly recommend to have your chimney professionally swept and inspected at least once a year and, preferably, before you light your first fire in the fall. This means that a large majority of homeowners wait until the fall to schedule their appointments with chimney sweeps, and this includes homeowners in the San Diego area. Weststar Chimney Sweeps has a very busy and packed calendar during the months of September through December. For this reason, it can be beneficial to schedule your appointment for these important annual chimney maintenance services with us in the off-season. We would like to tell you more about the advantages of scheduling your professional chimney sweeping and inspection in the spring and summer.
Easier time getting your appointment on a date that is convenient for you
When our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps visit your home to perform your annual chimney maintenance services, someone needs to be there while we are working. If you have a busy schedule, you will probably need to make your appointment on a specific date that is convenient for you to be at home. Waiting until the fall may just end up frustrating you as our packed calendar makes it challenging to schedule your appointment on the date you need. You may have to wait several weeks to arrange a time that works for us both. Scheduling your chimney sweeping and inspection in the spring is a breeze because you can easily find the appointment time that works for you.
No waiting to light your first fire
When you have your chimney professionally swept and inspected in the spring, your chimney will be ready to use in the fall. Since it can be so challenging to schedule an appointment that is convenient for you in the fall, you may even have to wait until after Thanksgiving to have your chimney serviced, which could put a dent in your holiday traditions. Weststar Chimney Sweeps knows one of the main reasons it is so essential to have your chimney swept before your first fire
. According to the CSIA, creosote is the main cause of chimney fires because it is extremely flammable. We will be sure to remove every bit of this natural compound to reduce your risk of a chimney fire.
Take care of repairs in a timely manner.
Dangers could be lurking inside your chimney, and you would never know about these risks without a professional chimney inspection. Weststar Chimney Sweeps carefully examines your chimney to look for any damage that needs to be repaired for your chimney to work safely. If you have your chimney inspected in the spring, you will have plenty of time to have these essential repairs performed before the fall.
Avoid the fall rush! Contact
Weststar Chimney Sweeps to schedule a spring chimney sweeping and inspection today.
by Mike O'Mara | Mar 6, 2015 | Chimney Inspections, Chimney Maintenance, Chimney Sweeping
Schedule a chimney sweeping and inspection as part of your spring cleaning!
March is upon us, which means spring is finally here. For homeowners, the arrival of spring means it is time to get started on annual spring cleaning chores. If you have a fireplace or wood stove in your house, that means your chimney should also be included. Weststar Chimney Sweeps is ready to help you with your chimney cleaning chores, and we would like to tell you more about our chimney sweeping process.
Why should I have my chimney cleaned and inspected in the spring?
It makes sense to have your annual sweeping done in the spring because most people schedule their annual chimney inspections in the fall, so you will not have a problem getting the appointment you want. Also, the sooner you have your chimney looked at after the heating season, the better. If there are problems that need repairing, you need to get them repaired quickly so no more costly structural damage occurs. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends homeowners have their chimneys inspected annually, so why not get into the habit of scheduling this appointment in the spring?
What should I expect from a chimney sweeping and inspection from Weststar Chimney Sweeps?
When you schedule a chimney sweeping and inspection with Weststar Chimney Sweeps, one of our licensed and certified technicians will come to your home and begin the inspection and cleaning process. Using modern technology, we use video cameras to allow us to closely examine the interior of your chimney and decide which type of cleaning technique we will need to do, based on the type of creosote build-up in your chimney and what kind of chimney you have. We use a few different chimney sweeping techniques, which include:
Using the typical rotating brushes on long handles, along with a high-powered vacuum with a HEPA filter to keep debris and soot from getting in your home, this technique is effective for getting rid of average creosote deposits; however, if you have any major creosote build-up, as in 3rd stage, you will need a heavier-duty sweeping.
In order to remove hard or glazed creosote deposits, high-speed rotating wire brushes, plastic cables, or specials chains are used to do the sweeping.
Sometimes mechanical cleaning is not enough, and chemicals may have to be used along with the high-speed rotating power tools to get rid of big deposits of glazed creosote.
What happens after the chimney inspection and sweeping is completed?
Once we do your sweeping and inspection, we will assess our findings and determine whether or not you need any repairs done to your chimney. Other than creosote build-up, the most common damage to chimneys seen after winter is water damage from leaks. If left unrepaired, this can lead to further, more costly structural damage. Weststar Chimney Sweeps can handle all of your chimney repair needs, if repair is necessary.
Do not forget your chimney when you are spring cleaning. Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps to make an appointment for your annual chimney sweep and inspection.
by Mike O'Mara | Aug 30, 2014 | Chimney Maintenance
The National Fire Protection Association’s standard for chimneys and fireplaces calls for homeowners to have their system inspected and swept each year in order to keep the system as safe as possible. At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we can make maintenance a breeze, and keep your system in top working order.
When you have a fireplace in your home, the most essential maintenance step you can do is hire a professional chimney sweeping company, such as Weststar Chimney Sweeps, to perform an annual cleaning of your chimney. This task ranks high in importance, as annual chimney sweepings prolong the life of your chimney as well as ensure the safety of your fireplace and chimney. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has published The Homeowner’s Guide to Chimneys, Fireplaces, and Woodstoves to provide helpful information for understanding how these heating systems work and how to properly maintain them. We would like to share some facts from this guidebook with you to help you understand why annual chimney sweepings are so important.
Removal of Chimney Deposits
According to the CSIA, there are three types of deposits that build up on chimney walls:
- Soot — Primarily composed of carbon particles and possibly ash remnants, soot can be highly flammable, depending on the concentration of soot and ash. Since ash is not combustible, a higher ash content in soot reduces its flammability.
- Creosote — Naturally formed during the condensation process, creosote is a highly flammable residue of the by-products of incomplete combustion. Varying in its appearance, creosote can be black or brown, hard and shiny, sticky and tar-like, or crusty and flaky. No matter what it looks like, creosote deposits are hazardous as they are one of the main causes of chimney fires.
- Glaze — The most difficult deposit to remove, this shiny, tarry substance creates a large amount of fuel to burn and poses a serious danger of a destructive chimney fire.
Removing these deposits is the major reason for annual chimney sweepings. Preventing chimney fires, eliminating chimney odors, ensuring proper venting to the outdoors, removing blockages that could cause toxic gases like carbon monoxide to enter the home, and stopping deterioration to chimney walls from the acids in these deposits are all accomplished during a professional chimney cleaning by removing buildups of soot, creosote, and glaze.
Discovering Essential Repairs
Another important reason to have your chimney swept once a year: CSIA-certified chimney sweeps, including our staff at Weststar Chimney Sweeps, will look at the exterior of your chimney for loose bricks and mortar and other signs of water penetration damage, examine the condition of your flue liner to check for cracks and deterioration, and monitor the venting system of your chimney to ensure the toxic by-products of combustion are exiting through the chimney. When we find any needed repair work, we can fix it for you. We specialize in crown repair, resurfacing, repairing, or replacing damaged flue liners, water leak repair and prevention, and customized repair or replacement of flashing where your chimney meets the roof.
While an annual chimney cleaning generally is sufficient to keep your fireplace and chimney safely maintained, more frequent chimney sweepings should be scheduled under certain conditions. The number of cleanings needed depends on the amount of time your fireplace is used, the installation of your fireplace, the type of fuel used for your fires, and your burning habits. Our chimney sweeps can tell you if your chimney needs to be cleaned more often than once a year.
If you have not scheduled your annual chimney sweeping yet, contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps today to schedule an appointment. Keeping your family safe from the dangers posed by a dirty chimney is one of the most important tasks on your home maintenance checklist.
by Mike O'Mara | Nov 27, 2013 | Chimney Maintenance, fire safety
Fire Safety and Preparedness at Home
Every year, fires have claimed the lives of over three thousand Americans and have managed to cause injury to around seventeen thousand. A simple flame can turn into a blazing fire, changing a families’ life forever. This can be attributed to many things, including creosote build-up, blockages in your chimney and unsafe burning practices and materials. Always remember, the safest, most efficient burn is one with dry, seasoned firewood. Burning anything else increases risk and creosote buildup.
There are many family fire safety tips that are recommended by numerous fire safety agencies, but here are two of the most important precautionary measures of all – working fire alarms and a plan in case of emergency. Don’t let forgetfulness be the reason your home and family are put in harm’s way.
You put your family and home at risk when you fail to maintain working fire alarms and an escape plan.
Fire alarms are required on each level of the home and in each bedroom. Of course, no matter how many alarms you have, unless your batteries are working, they will not be able to do their job. Experts recommend that you check your batteries each time you “spring ahead” and “fall behind.”
Second, a fire escape plan is a necessity. The National Fire Protection Association provides a model for how to create this essential document for your home. Their website is also chock full of fantastic resources for the entire family. Just as batteries are key for alarms…practice is key for plans. Make sure all members of your family know what to do in case of a fire. Everyone needs to know to stay low to avoid harmful smoke, stop, drop and roll if clothing catches fire and to check doorknobs before exiting. The family also needs to know where to meet outside while waiting for firefighters.
When you cover these two critical bases, you can rest a bit easier knowing that your family is well-prepared. Call today to have your chimneys and fireplaces inspected and swept by the certified professionals of Weststar Chimney. Having been in business in San Diego for more than a decade, we are ready to take one worry off your plate. Don’t forget — the best way to avoid tragedy is to prepare rigorously.