Our Company Blog

Is Your Fireplace Safe?

When you have a fireplace in your home, ensuring that it works safely is one of the most important responsibilities you have as a homeowner. Making sure your fireplace and chimney are in good condition can help you fulfill this responsibility. Of course, the most important thing you can do to guarantee your chimney and fireplace work safely and efficiently is to schedule an annual professional chimney sweeping and inspection. Weststar Chimney Sweeps is proud to provide these maintenance services to the residents of the San Diego area, and we only employ chimney sweeps who have been trained and certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Since safety is our top priority, we would like to share with you some other tips on how to be sure your fireplace is safe.

Outside The Homemasonry fireplace - san diego CA - weststar chimney sweeps

You need to check to see if there is a chimney cap installed at the top of your chimney as this prevents water leaks, keeps birds and animals out, and other important functions. If getting on your roof is too hazardous, you can use binoculars to get an up-close look at the condition of the cap to check for signs of damage and debris building up on the cap. While you are using the binoculars, check to see if the flashing system looks tight and shows no signs of corrosion damage, and then look to see if the flue liner is visible above the crown. You should also look for cracked or missing bricks from the chimney as well as any leaning or other signs of structural damage. Take a look at the trees near the chimney to see if any limbs are directly above the chimney. If you find any signs of damage or problems, contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to ask us to come by to examine things further.

Inside The Home

Now you can check out your fireplace to see if anything looks like a potential problem or a safety hazard. According to HouseLogic, you will need a flashlight to look at the condition of the damper to be sure it opens, closes, and seals correctly. It is important that your damper works properly to keep air from leaking out the chimney. Then, open the damper completely and shine the flashlight up the chimney to look for any signs of animal invasions like nesting materials. To be sure nothing is blocking your flue, look up the flue, and if you can see sunlight at the top, your flue is clear with no blockage. Your next step is to look at the hearth to inspect the fireplace surround and firebox to be sure there are no cracked or missing masonry materials like bricks and mortar. This type of damage is very serious and can lead to dangerous hazards. The last thing you should look for any signs of moisture inside the firebox because this means you have a chimney leak somewhere in your chimney. As with any outside damage, any interior damage or possible issues deserves professional attention, so you need to call us as soon as possible to avoid any damage becoming worse.Ensuring the safety of your chimney and fireplace is extremely important. If you need professional assistance, contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to ask us to come by to give your chimney an inspection from our CSIA-certified chimney technicians.

By Mike O'Mara on March 1st, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Selling Your Home? Get a Level 2 Chimney Inspection

Selling Your Home? Get a Level 2 Chimney Inspection - San Diego CA - Weststar ChimneyOur staff at Weststar Chimney Sweeps has told you about the importance of having your chimney professionally inspected once a year to ensure your fireplace and chimney system functions properly and safely. Most likely, your annual chimney inspection will be a Level 1 inspection, which is the most basic level of the three levels of chimney inspections. However, when you are selling your home, you should request a Level 2 inspection when making your appointment. You will be able to provide prospective buyers more detailed information about the fireplace and chimney system, which can assure these buyers that everything is working correctly. Our chimney sweeps have all been certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and were trained on the three different levels of inspections that were established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in its code NFPA 211, the Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel Burning Appliances. We can help you prepare to sell your home by providing you with the highest level of professional chimney inspection needed.

What are the differences between a Level 1 and a Level 2 chimney inspection?

When the CSIA-certified chimney technicians from Weststar Chimney Sweeps arrive at your home to perform a basic Level 1 chimney inspection, they will check out every accessible part of your chimney system, including the firebox, the flue, the chimney cap, and the chimney crown. Our chimney sweeps will be looking for problems, such as cracks and gaps, blockages, creosote accumulations, and rusted parts, that could cause your fireplace and chimney system to be unsafe or inefficient. All of this is included in a Level 2 sales transaction chimney inspection, along with an inspection of the chimney in the attic, basement, and crawl space. Proper clearances from combustible materials will also be addressed by our chimney sweeps in a Level 2 chimney inspection.

When would I need a Level 3 chimney inspection?

If our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps discover a potential hazard that needs a closer examination, we will then recommend a Level 3 chimney inspection. In this level, our sweeps will take a more in-depth look at the less accessible areas of your chimney, and this may require the removal of doors, drywall, and even parts of the chimney itself and the use of specialized tools and equipment. While it may seem destructive to have a Level 3 chimney inspection, remember that safety is the top priority. No one wants to buy a home with an unsafe fireplace and chimney system, so in order to solve safety issues and hazards, a Level 3 chimney inspection may be needed. If you’ve ever had a chimney fire before, a level 3 chimney inspection will also be required to pinpoint the exact cause of the fire.

If you are considering selling your home, call our Weststar Chimney Sweeps office at 619-338-8116 to schedule an appointment for a Level 2 chimney inspection.

By Mike O'Mara on June 24th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment