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Our Company Blog
by Mike O'Mara | Mar 29, 2019 | Chimney Sweeping
Chimney sweeping has evolved a lot over time and some of the histories behind its origins are quite shocking. Looking to dive deeper into the roots of this field and discover how it has changed as time went on? Well, the team here at Weststar Chimney Sweeps can tell you all about it! Check out some facts below, then count on us for any present-day chimney needs. We would love to hear from you soon.
Children As Sweeps
Nowadays, when you call in a sweep to work in your home, you will get a professional adult who will tackle the ins and outs of your chimney with care and precision. Unfortunately, this was not always the case. Back in 1666, the Great Fire of London occurred, opening people’s eyes to the importance of having a clean chimney.
Back then, sweeps did not have the tools and technology that we use today, so small children were forced to crawl up the flue and access all of the soot and creosote that would get lodged in people’s chimneys. This led to a long and sad history of child chimney sweeps. These children were typically either orphaned or came from poverty-stricken families, and they were given little to nothing for their efforts.
Child chimney sweeps faced a lot of illnesses and many experienced painful cancers due to the high exposure to soot, ash, and smoke. In fact, it was rare for them to live past middle age. There are also stories of young boys becoming stuck in the chimney and later dying as a result.
Eventually, in the late 1800s, laws were passed forbidding this type of child labor, and it was not long after that when Joseph Glass invented the chimney brush, versions of which are still used in the industry today.
Modern-day chimney sweeping is safer, cleaner, and more high-tech. We utilize advanced tools, techniques, and technologies to ensure both our sweeps and our customers stay as safe and as educated as possible. Thanks to places like the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Chimney Sweep Guild, sweeps can stay on top of it all, receiving the training and certifications they need to serve their customers well.
Here at Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we care about staying informed and up-to-date on any and all of the latest advancements in the trade, and we always put the needs of our customers first. If you want to work with a team that values honesty, integrity, and respect, then we are it.
Ready to keep your home safer and chimney free from harmful creosote? Call in our team for an inspection. We will take a look around and determine what services you need to live more comfortably with every passing day. Set up an appointment today!
by Mike O'Mara | Oct 26, 2018 | Chimney Sweeping
Do you have your fall inspection on the books? Or maybe you’ve scheduled some repairs or sweepings with our team at Weststar Chimney Sweeps? No matter what we’re coming in for, preparing your fireplace and chimney for us is always appreciated, and it makes our lives a whole lot easier and safer.
Guarantee a smoother appointment by following our tips. We’re eager to help out our customer base this fall and winter, and these guidelines help us do our job to get you up and running again in no time! With the holidays approaching, there is no time to lose.
Before we arrive, please remove all ash from your firebox and discontinue use of the appliance 24 hours before the appointment. These steps reduce the risk of any of our sweeps getting burned and guarantee we will be working with a system that has completely cooled.
We also ask that you clear the area surrounding the fireplace. Any valuables and/or breakable items within 6 feet should be pushed back further or moved to different area until the job is complete. This step will keep your possessions safer and cleaner, and it helps us complete the job in a smooth and efficient fashion, as we won’t have various items to work around.
Do You Have Pets?
Another thing to keep in mind is to ensure pets are safely kept away, so we don’t risk letting them outside accidentally. We may need to move in and out of your house throughout the process to get equipment, and it’s all too easy for curious dogs or cats to escape as our team is entering and exiting.
Keep your critters safe and sound by putting them in another area of the home while our team is at work.
Take Our Advice Seriously
Hearing bad news regarding the health or construction of your chimney isn’t always easy to take in, but ignoring suggestions for sweepings or repair work should never be an option. Sweepings are done when excess creosote has taken over, and they decrease your likelihood of experiencing a dangerous chimney fire significantly.
Repair work is essential, too, as cracks, clogs, crumbling, and broken down parts can hinder performance and put your home and family at risk. Your chances of experiencing a chimney or house fire will increase, as well as the possibility of carbon monoxide exposure. All of these are very dangerous situations that can cause death, injury, and illness – not something you want to mess around with!
We’re ready and eager to help you out, so please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. Make this burning season your safest and most enjoyable one yet… Depend on Weststar Chimney Sweeps for it all!
by Mike O'Mara | Aug 4, 2017 | Chimney Maintenance
[Updated for 2019]
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.
Why We Love The San Diego County Fair
As stated previously, the San Diego County Fair gives us the opportunity to meet and educate our community on the importance and necessity of having your chimney and fireplace systems looked at by ceritified professionals. Often times we meet first-time customers that have never had their chimney swept before!
Apart from gaining new knowledge of a major home appliance, fair goers also get a hefty discount! Not only do we bring awareness to homeowners and fill our books at a time when we typically slow down due to weather, but customers also get the best price for a certified professional to look over their system. And our excellent service is constant whether you book with us during the fair at a discounted rate or in the middle of the busy season!
Wondering what we discuss with people attending the fair? 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.
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!
by Mike O'Mara | Jul 9, 2016 | Chimney Sweeping
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?
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.
by Mike O'Mara | Oct 28, 2015 | Chimney Maintenance, Chimney Sweeping, fire safety
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.