Our Company Blog

We Were At The San Diego County Fair

If there is one thing we care about it, it’s providing our customers with the knowledge they need to maintain a safer home. That’s why we like to take full advantage of any opportunity to spread some fireplace and chimney facts! The San Diego County Fair is one of our favorite spots to visit. With over 1.5 million in attendance, there are tons of ways to promote fireplace and chimney safety!

This year was no different. We met tons of great families and homeowners who were unaware of how important regular maintenance was for their chimney, dryer vent, and masonry. We would like to thank everyone who stopped to talk to us, as well as all of our loyal customers throughout the area! Without all of you, we wouldn’t be able to spread this important knowledge year after year.

If you’re ready to hear more about these topics, read below! Then contact us today to see what we can do for you.

Why Chimney Maintenance Is Important

By investing in annual inspections and sweepings for your chimney, you gain added peace of mind regarding the safety of your home. For one thing, clearing out creosote on a regular basis significantly decreases your chance of chimney fires! Creosote builds up more and more with every fire you burn, and it is a very flammable substance. The more you have, the riskier things get. And chimney fires can cause a lot of damage, threatening the integrity of your entire structure.

Another reason why regular inspections are important is so that sweeps can identify and address any necessary repairs before more frequent burning periods begin. If you have cracks, holes, clogs, or any other type of wear and tear, you face a lot more potential hazards, such as fires, smoke back-up, or toxins entering the home.

There’s no time to lose if your system needs a check-up. Call us today!

Why Dryer Vent Maintenance Is Important

Another thing we like to emphasize is the importance of dryer vent maintenance. Although many do not realize it, dryer vents are the cause of thousands of house fires every year. If the venting system gets clogged, your appliance will likely overheat, and any stray sparks could easily cause built-up lint to start on fire with ease.

On top of this, clogged vents cause harmful gases to back up into your home and affect the health of loved ones. These fumes need to properly escape outside and, without a clear pathway, the only place for them to go is back into your home. Prevent this from happening by calling in our experts! We are trained to address any of your dryer vent needs.

Why Wait?

One thing’s for sure… you’ll want to get this maintenance done before the holiday season begins! Ensure your fireplace is ready to go by calling in our techs today. We can’t wait to visit your home and ensure you are good to go!

What Is Creosote Deglazing?

What Is Creosote Deglazing?

One of the biggest reasons why you need to have your chimney professionally swept every year is to have all of the creosote that has accumulated on the walls of your chimney removed. A natural compound that develops during the combustion process of burning wood, creosote is so flammable that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has named it as a leading cause of chimney fires. Usually, a professional chimney sweeping will remove all of the creosote from your chimney, but sometimes the creosote can build up so badly that it turns into a glaze that coats the chimney walls that cannot be removed by a typical chimney sweeping. Weststar Chimney Sweeps knows what to do in this type of situation to get all of that glazed creosote out of the chimney. We would like to tell you more about our creosote deglazing services.

What exactly is creosote deglazing?Creosote Deglazing For Your Chimney - San Diego CA - Weststar Chimney Sweeps, Inc.-w800-h800

A detailed mechanical cleaning, creosote deglazing is the process we use to remove creosote that has become baked onto your chimney walls. Weststar Chimney Sweeps uses special tools, including a high-speed half-inch drill and a 24-inch wizard whip, to break down the rock-solid glazed creosote and remove it from your chimney. Standard chimney sweeping tools are not powerful enough to do this task correctly.

How did the creosote become glazed in my chimney?

Creosote buildup happens in three stages. In the first stage, the creosote has a fluffy and velvety texture, and in the second stage, it becomes flaky and crumbly. When creosote reaches the third stage, it turns into a shiny, black glaze that coats the inner chimney walls. Although creosote is a natural and expected residue of burning wood, the third stage of creosote usually occurs due to user practices, especially burning unseasoned wood. When you burn wood that has not been allowed to dry sufficiently, the fire burns at a lower temperature because it is spending a lot of energy drying out the moisture in the wood. A cooler fire can accelerate the development of creosote, which can lead to creosote glazing. Another user error that allows creosote to glaze is not opening the damper completely during a fire, as this allows the fire to smolder. Installation errors can also encourage the development of glazed creosote. Newer fireplace inserts are typically much smaller than masonry chimneys and need professional installation to work properly. Weststar Chimney Sweeps can install a stainless steel chimney liner to provide a correctly sized flue for your insert. This will prevent the drafting problems that can lead to glazed creosote on your chimney walls.
Make sure your chimney is ready to use this fall. Contact  us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to schedule your appointment for your annual chimney sweeping and inspection today.

Chimney Cleaning Logs Are No Substitute for a Chimney Sweeping

Chimney Cleaning Logs Are No Substitute for a Chimney Sweeping

Call on a certified pro like those found at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to sweep your chimney

Call on a certified pro like those found at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to sweep your chimney

You may have seen chimney cleaning logs that claim to remove and reduce the accumulation of creosote in your chimney when you burn one of these logs in your fireplace or stove. You may even have thought that this could take the place of your annual professional chimney sweeping. However, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Weststar Chimney Sweeps agrees with the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) that using chimney cleaning logs is not a substitute for the job our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps will do when they perform this yearly maintenance task on your chimney. We would like to tell you more about this product and why you should never rely on it as a way to properly and safely clean your chimney.

What are chimney cleaning logs?

A chimney cleaning log is a chemical product that does actually remove a portion of accumulated creosote from both masonry and metal chimneys. It does this through catalytic action that takes place when the log is burned in a fireplace or wood stove.

Why are chimney cleaning logs not a substitute for a professional chimney sweeping?

For one reason, a professional chimney sweeping from Weststar Chimney Sweeps will guarantee that every bit of accumulated creosote will be removed safely from your chimney. When you burn a chimney cleaning log, deposits of creosote will flake off and could either possibly cause a chimney fire by igniting after falling off or end up on the smoke shelf, where it creates another potential fire hazard.

Another reason is that a professional chimney sweeping includes much more than just creosote removal. Your chimney will be inspected to look for possible damage and potential problems. Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps will also check for flue blockages and can take away birds’ or animals’ nests, leaves, and other debris that are blocking the exit of your chimney. This reduces the risk of a very hazardous situation: carbon monoxide leaks.

Should I use chimney cleaning logs in between my annual chimney sweepings?

The CSIA recommends that this type of chemical product should only be used under the supervision of a qualified chimney professional. Sometimes, layers of creosote can be so thick that chemical chimney cleaners must be used to change the chemical composition of creosote from hard or tacky to brittle or powdery in order to completely remove all of the creosote buildup. Our sweeps have been trained to use these chemical cleaners and know how to use them safely.

Have you scheduled your annual professional chimney sweeping yet? Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to make an appointment to have your chimney properly cleaned.

We Can Remove Smoke Stains with Paint N Peel Fireplace Cleaner

We at Weststar Chimney Sweeps want to not only be sure your fireplace and chimney work safely and properly, but we also want your fireplace to look the best it can. If you have noticed that the bricks or stones around and inside your fireplace look dark and smudgy, it is most likely time to clean those bricks and stones. Of course, you could use elbow grease and scrub off the smoke stains, but we have an easier way to clean your masonry fireplace that will leave those bricks and stones looking brand new. We would like to tell you more about this revolutionary product, Paint N Peel Fireplace Cleaner, we use to remove smoke stains.

smoke-stain-paint-n-peel-san-deigo-ca-weststar-chimney

What is Paint N Peel Fireplace Cleaner?

A water-based cleaning poultice, Paint N Peel Fireplace Cleaner easily removes unattractive smoke, soot, dirt, and creosote stains from masonry fireplace fronts and hearths. Environmentally-friendly, this cleaner leaves behind no noxious odors and can be used indoors and outdoors.

How does Paint N Peel work?

Using our special tools, our chimney sweeps will paint on a thick coating of the poultice and allow it to dry for six to twelve hours. During its drying process, the layer becomes a tough, elastic topcoat on your fireplace surfaces. Once it has thoroughly dried, our sweeps will then peel away the layer to reveal clean bricks and stones.

To what surfaces can Paint N Peel Fireplace Cleaner be safely applied?

This product has been formulated to use on textured and smooth bricks, granite, marble, slate, limestone, concrete, and tile. Of course, Weststar Chimney Sweeps will be sure Paint N Peel can be safely used on your fireplace before we apply it.

Can I use Paint N Peel Fireplace Cleaner myself?

While you can apply this remarkable fireplace cleaner on your own, Weststar Chimney Sweeps recommends you hire professional chimney sweeps to do this job to guarantee the Paint N Peel Fireplace Cleaner is correctly used. We have lots of experience cleaning fireplace fronts and hearths with this cleaner and know exactly what to do. We know which areas will need a thicker coating with more time to dry. And, although this formula is non-toxic, it is always a good idea to let professionals handle any chemical cleaner or solvent. We will also be sure to protect all surrounding carpet, wood, fabric, metal, and painted surfaces from drips or spills that could stain these materials. We will also dust the areas of your fireplace before applying Paint N Peel to ensure the best possible results.

Interested in getting your fireplace front and hearth cleaned with Paint N Peel Fireplace Cleaner? Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps to schedule an appointment for our sweeps to make your fireplace look new again.

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!