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Creosote: What Is It & Why Is It Dangerous?

Do you enjoy sitting by a nice, crackling fire with your family in the evenings? Wood-burning fireplaces are a great and popular addition to any home, but it is important to invest in regular upkeep to ensure things run well year after year. One thing homeowners need to be wary of is creosote accumulation.

Creosote is what forms in your chimney as you use your fireplace. As the fires burn, various fumes and particles escape up through the chimney, causing condensation to form along the brickwork on their way out. This then turns into creosote, which sticks to your interior walls and can be dangerous in larger quantities.

Creosote- Why It's Dangerous

Creosote & Chimney Fires

Now, there are a few different types of creosote you can have in your chimney, but no matter which type it is, it is flammable. If the creosote inside of your chimney or flue ignites, it could easily trigger a chimney fire, which is detrimental to the health and stability of your structure. In no time, your masonry will be run down and you won’t be getting the warmth you deserve from your system.

Chimney fires are known for causing brickwork to crack and crumble, and eventually this type of damage can lead to a settlement or collapse. Your chimney simply isn’t built to withstand those high temperatures, and the materials that make it up suffer immensely because of it.

Unfortunately, a chimney collapse isn’t the only thing to be concerned about when it comes to chimney fires. As cracks, holes, and other openings form throughout your system, gas and flames could easily escape into your home. Stray flames could quickly lead to a house fire, and if poisonous fumes, like carbon monoxide, enter the space your family will face some serious health risks.

If you have experienced a chimney fire, you should not put your system to use until a certified team of experts has had the opportunity to fix everything up. Just keep in mind that chimney fires are not always loud, obvious events. In fact, quite often they are unnoticed by anyone, meaning the homeowners won’t have even realized one occurred. This is why annual chimney inspections are such a necessity.

Set Up An Inspection With Us Today

If you are concerned about the health of your chimney, set up a time for our CSIA certified experts to come and help you out. The team at Weststar Chimney Sweeps is trained to perform a thorough chimney inspection, guaranteed to uncover any issues that may be putting your system at risk.

Give us a call now, so we can set you up right for the rest of winter. All fireplace owners should invest in at least one inspection per year, so if you have yet to get yours in, then now is the time. A simple and affordable service like this could save you from some costly repair work down the line! Get in touch with us today to get started.

We Do Fireplace Stain Removal

A great-looking fireplace can bring immense joy, comfort, and warmth to a household, especially throughout the holiday season, and at Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we want to help you keep your chimney and fireplace in the best shape possible. Our team of experts has the tools and expertise necessary for setting you up with the fireplace of your dreams, and we can keep it well-maintained for you throughout the years, so you don’t have to worry about a thing!

One thing we specialize in is stain removal. If smoke and debris are causing the front of your fireplace to look drab and unrefined, count on our team to get you back to where you need to be.

Addressing Draft Issues

First things first, you’ll want to ensure that, once your fireplace is restored, you won’t be facing the same problems again down the line. If smoke is damaging the aesthetic of your fireplace, then it’s important to address any smoking or drafting issues you may be experiencing. Let us fix you up before we apply our stain removal products, so that you can rest easy knowing your fireplace will look great for years to come!

A great way to start is by doing an inspection. By taking a thorough look at your fireplace and chimney, we can locate the source of any potential problems, then offer you the best possible solutions possible for solving them. Our CSIA certified team knows their stuff, and we are certain we’ll get your fireplace running normally again in no time!

There are more than a few reasons why your chimney may be pouring smoke into your living space, including structural problems, creosote accumulation, or issues with the damper. A smoky home isn’t only inconvenient… it’s dangerous, too! With the holidays well behind us, now is the perfect time to let us look things over. Give us a call today to set up your appointment!

Using Paint “N” Peel In Your Home

Once your chimney is repaired, restored, and swept, we’ll begin the stain removal process. We will tape off the area, apply our products to the masonry, then all we need to do is wait! Once it dries (in about 6-12 hours), we’ll peel it off and reveal a cleaner, more polished-looking fireplace. You’ll be shocked at the end results!

The great part about this product is that it works on most surfaces, so whether you have brick, stonework, marble, concrete, slate, or something else, we’re certain we can offer you exactly what you are looking for.

Springtime Is The Time To Call!

We know fireplace usage goes up in the fall and winter, so why not schedule your annual maintenance now? We’re less busy, so we’ll be able to easily fit you in at a time that works well for you and, when fall rolls back around, you’ll be all set and ready to go. Give us a call today, and we’ll help you out soon!

Hearth Activities For The Family

Hearth Activities For The Family

Do you own a fireplace? Then it is time to take advantage of the opportunity and create some long-lasting memories to look back on. If you are looking for ways to gather everyone together this holiday season, then read below for some creative fireplace activities that everyone is sure to enjoy.

Hearth Activities For The Family Image - San Diego CA - Weststar Chimney SweepsRoast Chestnuts

If you have never roasted chestnuts before, then this winter is a good time to start! Once you do it, it is sure to turn into a tradition that your friends and family members will request for years to come. You simply rinse them, slice an “X” into them (so they do not burst when roasting), then toss them into the roasting pan.

You will want to cook them for around 20 – 30 minutes, moving them around every five minutes or so. Once done, peel them while they are still warm to ensure easy access to the nut. And there you have it! A night of fun and delicious snacking, all thanks to the fireplace.

Share Stories

As the year nears the end, it is a great time to reflect on what everyone has accomplished throughout it. Look back on your favorite memories and proudest moments, and take turns recounting various tales. Maybe someone will recall something that you had completely forgotten about! This is an activity that is sure to be enjoyed by everyone.

You could even take advantage of the setting by telling ghost stories! If you feel up to it and your family is into the idea, see if you can set a spooky mood this holiday season.

Play Games

What better spot to whip out some board games than in front of a cozy fire? Spend an evening (or two or three) playing some games that have been collecting dust in the closet. You are sure to get tons of laughs and everyone will appreciate the extra bonding time.

Discuss The Future

While reflection is great, so is looking forward. New Year’s will be here soon, so think up some resolutions you could set for 2017 and discuss them with the group. This way, you can all encourage each other when January comes around, working as a team to meet your various goals.

You could also discuss potential vacation ideas to see where everyone would most like to go, once things warm up. Wherever the discussion goes, you will definitely find yourself engaged in some great conversation.

At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we want you to enjoy your fireplace to the fullest! Please turn to us for all your chimney and fireplace needs, so you can have a safer and fun-filled holiday season.

Call us now for to schedule an inspection or visit our website to browse our various products and services. We look forward to helping you out, so you can start off 2017 right. Thanks for choosing us!

The Benefits of Spring Chimney Sweepings and Inspections

The Benefits of Spring Chimney Sweepings and Inspections

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.The Benefits of Spring Chimney Sweepings and Inspections - San Diego CA - Weststar Chimney Sweeps

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.
Are Birds Nesting in Your Chimney? We Can Help!

Are Birds Nesting in Your Chimney? We Can Help!

Some people love the sounds of birds chirping in the spring; however, when you hear the sounds of birds coming from your chimney, you may feel the opposite emotion to love! Not many people enjoy listening to bird noises inside their homes, but if a family of birds have nested within your chimney, you will have to get used to it for a few months until they leave on their own to fly to their winter home. Since some birds like chimney swifts are protected by federal law under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it is illegal to remove nesting birds, according to Chimneys.com. When they do leave, they will leave their nests behind, which can be hazardous. Weststar Chimney Sweeps has 17 years of experience with dealing with birds in chimneys across the San Diego area, and we are proud to offer nest removal services. We can also give you some advice on sharing your home with a family of birds if one has nested in your chimney, and we can prevent these birds from coming back next year to move back into your home.

Why do birds nest in chimneys? What kinds of problems do they cause?Are Birds Nesting in Your Chimney We Can Help! - San Diego CA - Weststar Chimney Sweeps

Birds like to take up residence in chimneys because so many trees have been cut down for development and construction reasons, and chimneys are the next best thing to trees for the shelter needed to build a nest. Not only can birds make loud and obnoxious noises at times, but they carry diseases, like histoplasmosis, which causes blindness. They also may become trapped and even die inside your chimney, which can be an unfortunate and smelly situation. Learning to live in a home with a family of birds for a few months can be difficult, but once your family is used to the birds, it really is not as bad as it seems at first. One of the biggest problems birds cause inside your chimney actually happens after they leave. When they fly away to their winter home, their nests will be left behind, and the nesting materials can lead to a couple of hazardous situations. The straw, leaves, sticks, and other debris used to build the nests are all very flammable and create the risk of a chimney fire. The nesting materials also block the flue, which forces the toxic gases from combustion, including carbon monoxide, back into your home. Weststar Chimney Sweeps can remove every bit of the nests that remain in your chimney once the birds have left and prevent these hazardous situations from occurring.

How can Weststar Chimney Sweeps prevent birds from getting back into my chimney next year?

Many birds will return to where they last nested, so if you have or have had a family of birds living in your chimney, you will definitely want to take action to keep them from coming back to share your home again. We recommend having a good-quality chimney cap professionally installed at the top of your chimney to prevent their return next year. You will need a cap that is equipped with mesh metal sides to keep them from entering the chimney when they come back to try to nest again. We are proud to offer a wide variety of these types of chimney caps and can help you select one for us to install on your chimney. The chimney cap will also keep water from rain from leaking into your chimney — it is an important part of your chimney!

Protect your chimney from birds getting inside to nest. Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps if you are dealing with birds in your chimney as we can help.