by Mike O'Mara | Jan 31, 2020 | Animals In Your Chimney
Did you know theft increases throughout the winter months? Burglars know that homes are filled with new and expensive items from Christmas, and the shorter, darker days offer more opportunities to break in under the protective cover of darkness. Not to mention, many families leave town for days on end to visit family members who live far away. All of these factors make it a lot easier for criminals to take what they want and get away with it.
Now, if you think you covered it all when it comes to keeping your home locked up and better protected, we urge you to reconsider. One spot many tend to forget about is the chimney, and this can easily offer a simple way for burglars to enter a home. A homeowner in Arizona almost faced an incident just like this but lucked out when the thief got stuck and needed assistance. But not every break-in has an ending like that!
Most of the time, someone looking to slide their way into your home through the chimney will have little issue doing so, which is why you need to ensure it is adequately covered. That’s where a chimney cap comes in.
What Is A Chimney Cap?
A chimney cap is a device that covers the opening of your flue or chimney. Its main purpose is to prevent rain and excess water from entering your structure, but it serves multiple other purposes, as well. Chimney caps should be sturdy and built from materials that will stand the test of time. All in all, there isn’t a single person in the chimney industry who would recommend operating a chimney without a cap, as they are an affordable way to avoid all kinds of expensive damage.
If you have a chimney cap in place, the ability for a burglar to enter your home through your chimney will diminish significantly. They would have to spend a lot of time trying to remove it, which draws attention from neighbors or anyone passing by the house, and anyone who sees a capped chimney will likely cancel out that option pretty quickly.
Caps Keep Out Other Unwanted Guests, Too!
Now, as we said, caps serve multiple purposes, and you can bet that criminals won’t be the only guests they keep out of your home. They also keep out birds, squirrels, and other woodland critters that might want to set up camp in your flue! When animals are ready to nest and have babies, they look for spots that are strong and sturdy, and that will offer good protection from any bad weather or predators.
Unfortunately, your chimney is an ideal spot for this, which is why you need to have a barrier in place to keep these animals out. If they are given the chance to build a home, you won’t be able to light any fires until they and their nesting materials are removed. By doing so, you would put both your home and the creatures at great risk, and you’ll greatly increase your chance of experiencing smoke back-up and chimney fires.
Along with this, some creatures that are prone to enter chimneys, like the chimney swift, are protected by law and removing them is illegal. This means, you’ll be stuck with the critters until they leave on their own, after which you can finally remove the nesting materials and move forward. But it may be quite a long wait!
All in all, a cap is an affordable and effective way to keep animals out for good. If you are missing a cap or if your current model is damaged and needs replacing, then don’t wait any longer to reach out to our team. We’d be happy to set you up right!
Other Functions Of A Chimney Cap
Believe it or not, your chimney cap can serve even more purposes than the ones we’ve already talked about! We mentioned their excellent ability at keeping out thieves, animals, and excess water, but did you know they can prevent things from getting out of your home, too? You see, many times when fires are lit, stray sparks and embers will go flying up the chimney and land of your flammable roofing materials. If these were to ignite, you’d be facing a disastrous situation in no time!
Chimney caps can stop these stray sparks dead in their tracks, putting them out before they are given the chance to land on your home.
Worried about outside debris working its way in and clogging things up? You can bet that your cap will prevent leaves, twigs, and the like from working their way in, and they even are known to stop downdrafts, which are notorious for affecting the draft and airflow of your system significantly.
When it comes right down to it, there is simply no reason not to have a cap installed right away, and our team has the training to get the job done right. Don’t trust in someone inexperienced and lacking the appropriate credentials. Call on the experienced, CSIA certified sweeps at Weststar Chimney today!
by Mike O'Mara | Aug 28, 2018 | Chimney Leaks
Is a leaky chimney causing you stress? With the holiday season a few months away, you’re likely anxious to resolve any structural issues and water damage as soon as possible. Fortunately, the team here at Weststar Chimney Sweeps has solutions for you. There are several ways to tackle leaky chimney issues, and we have a few solutions to help your chimney be leak free!
We Install Chimney Caps
A big reason for excess water throughout their fireplace and chimney is the absence of a chimney cap. If you don’t have a cap or if your current cap is broken, professional assistance is necessary for preventing leaks in the future. Chimney caps cover the flue opening, so water cannot get into your chimney to destroy your liner and the rest of your system. They’re also great for keeping out birds and excess debris. If you’re ready to ensure a good-looking and better-functioning chimney cap, call in our experts now!
We Repair Chimney Crowns
The chimney crown is located at the top of your system, and it extends past the edge of the chimney. It works to divert water away from the masonry. When it comes to protecting the absorbent brickwork, the chimney crown plays a key role! Unfortunately, crowns tend to break down over time, especially if they are not properly constructed. It’s very important to get a professional crew to repair your chimney crown! Some crowns need simple repair work, while others require an entire rebuild. We’re happy to help.
We Provide Top-Of-The-Line Waterproofing Services
Once we’ve completed any repair and reconstruction work, we strongly suggest you to invest in our waterproofing services. Some homeowners turn to store-bought paints and sealers, but they can actually wind up doing more damage in the long run.
It’s vital that your chimney can still breathe out vapors while hosting this protective coat, and many waterproofing options don’t allow for this. They tend to block moisture from entering, but any water already in the masonry can’t escape. This will cause your structure to suffer. We use sealers that are completely vapor permeable, so you won’t be left with a damaged structure. Call on our team at 619-338-8116 now!
by Mike O'Mara | Aug 18, 2017 | Chimney Maintenance
There are lots of reasons to have a chimney cap professionally installed today, and there’s only one company to trust for all of your chimney-related needs. Learn more about chimney caps below, then give Weststar Chimney Sweeps a call today!
Preventing Water Damage
If you know anything about water and brick, then you know they don’t go well together! There are lots of things you want to protect your masonry from and excess moisture is high up on that list. If water gets access to your chimney, you’ll soon be facing mold, rot, rust, stains, decay, clogs, deterioration, and that’s only the beginning! Over time, your system will break down, and the life of your chimney will be cut short.
This is the first of many reasons why chimney caps are so important. They cover the top of your chimney, so that water can’t get in and destroy the lining. The more access water has to your system, the worse off you’ll be, so get a cap installed today, and stay protected!
Keeping Animals Out
Another huge benefit of owning a chimney cap is their ability to keep birds and other critters out. Raccoons and similar animals can easily climb into an uncapped chimney and set up camp. The strong brick and warm cave-like atmosphere make it an ideal spot for building nests and raising young. This leads to clogs, bad odors, and lots of deterioration.
Also, you’ll soon discover that, while animals can easily enter, getting back out can prove to be challenging. Not everything that comes in will be able to get back out and, when they eventually pass away, the smell will stink up your home in a hurry. Not to mention, maggots and other insects will find their way to your chimney before you know it! You don’t need that headache – get that cap installed now.
On top of these amazing benefits, there’s more that a chimney cap will do for you! If you’ve built fires, you know that sparks can quickly fly away and get out of hand. A chimney cap will stop these stray flames dead in their tracks, so you won’t have to stress about roofing materials or adjacent woodwork catching on fire.
Chimney caps also help prevent unwanted drafts from sweeping down your flue or chimney. Not only do these make your home uncomfortable, but they can bring in some nasty odors with them. And if you’ve got a fire going, say hello to a smoke-filled living room! None of this is remotely ideal, which is why we want you to depend on us today.
For more information, give us a call at 619-338-8116. We look forward to speaking with you soon!
by Mike O'Mara | Apr 21, 2017 | Animals In Your Chimney
Chimneys are strong, sturdy, and warm. This is why many animals view them as an ideal spot to rest, store foods, or build nests. Unfortunately, once these critters enter, they are not easy to get rid of. Not to mention, attempting to do so is sometimes against the law! Certain species of birds cannot be removed from your chimney until they are through nesting there. Consequently, this puts your chimney out of use for quite some time!
Learning how to avoid animal entry is important for keeping your chimney in good health. It also protects the well-being of friends and family. In addition, it will ensure all of the woodland creatures around your home stay safe, as well!
Dangers Of Animal Invasion
So, what harm can animals do to your chimney? Let’s take a look.
- Smoke and Toxin Back-Up: One of the most common problems with animals entering a chimney is the formation of clogs. Leaves, mud, twigs, and all types of nesting materials block up your flue, leaving you with some major issues. If the smoke and other toxins created by a fire cannot properly vent, they will simply turn back around enter your home – definitely not ideal! Not to mention, loved ones could easily get sick after inhaling harmful gases.
- Fire Hazards: Another issue is how susceptible these twigs and leaves are to catching fire, putting your entire home at risk. Also, any blockages will cause your entire appliance to run less efficiently, and any malfunctions always increase the risk of something dangerous occurring.
- Bad Odors: All too often, animals find their way into the chimney, but can’t manage to find their way back out. When birds, squirrels, and others like them pass away, they leave behind a pretty foul smell. Your home will stink up fast and you’ll likely find yourself facing pest and maggot infestation, too – yuck!
Install A Chimney Cap Today!
So, how can you stop animals from entering? The easiest solution is to purchase a chimney cap. Chimney caps are placed over-top your flue, so any potential openings are blocked off. On top of this, chimney caps prevent water from entering, serve as spark arrestors, prevent downdrafts, and they stop any flying debris or trash from entering the unit, too!
There’s no reason not to have one installed today. The staff at Weststar Chimney Sweeps can set you up right with a cap that is the perfect fit for your chimney. Our sweeps are CSIA trained and certified, so you can count on us to do the job right!
Fear your cap is damaged? Not a problem! We can take a look, then advise you on the best steps to take moving forward. No matter what, we’ve got your back!
And don’t forget to schedule an annual cleaning and inspection! This way, should any creature or excess debris work its way in, a professional can remove it promptly. We can’t wait to help you out – call today!
by Mike O'Mara | Feb 17, 2014 | Chimney Maintenance, fire safety
Replacing parts of your chimney that are not properly functioning or are outdated can increase its performance and ensure safety.
Serving all of San Diego, California, West Star Chimney Sweeps offers an array of services to our customers. From chimney sweeping to dryer vent cleaning, we do everything we can to keep our customers secure, healthy, and confident in the safety and efficiency of their appliances. One of the things most frequently required of us are chimney part replacements. We often swap.
Why Your Chimney Needs to Be in Good Condition
Before we tell you about the chimney parts we replace most often, we want to tell you why it’s important to keep your chimney and all of its components in great working order. Simply put, a chimney that’s worn out may:
- Become a fire hazard
- Begin to leak and cause water damage
- Become clogged and unable to vent properly
- Vent toxic gases into your home
- Deteriorate beyond repair and require total replacement
West Star Chimney can make sure that your chimney and heating appliance are in great condition so that you don’t have to worry about any of these things happening.
Chimney and Fireplace Parts West Star Chimney Replaces Most Often
Among other replacements, we are often required to replace the following five parts on fireplaces and chimneys around San Diego:
- Chimney Caps: A brick and mortar chimney without a cap is like a house without a roof. Chimney caps play lots of important roles, including keeping water out, keeping birds and bees out, keeping sparks in, and eliminating downdrafts. By keeping the wrong stuff out and the right stuff in, you’ll protect your chimney from accumulating fire hazards (think leaves and limbs, nests, trash, and other debris) and reduce the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning and chimney fire. You’ll also be protecting your chimney, assuring its longer life, and safeguarding your home from expensive water damage.
- Dampers: Chimney dampers are perhaps our favorite chimney part to tell homeowners about. This is because we get to tell them how we’re about to save them money by installing a top-sealing damper atop their chimney. After all, having a chimney without a damper is not unlike leaving a window open year round; just imagine how much you’d spend on extra energy costs if you left a window open all the time. A damper will keep water and debris out of your chimney, but it’s most notable for the fact that the homeowner can open and close it, creating an airtight seal when the heating appliance is not in use.
- Hearth Screens: Whether or not you already have a hearth screen, West Star Chimney is happy to equip your fireplace with one. These screens offer lots of advantages, including peace of mind that if an errant spark flies out of your fireplace it will stay in your fireplace. It will also help keep pets and small children away from your fire and can update the look of your fireplace.
Have questions about caps, dampers, prefab panels, hearth screens, or any other chimney component? Call us at 619-338-8116 or schedule an appointment with us today using our online form.