Our Company Blog

Make Your Chimney Safer For Santa

Christmas is almost here, and excitement is building more and more with every passing day. We know there are still lots of things to do to prepare for Santa’s arrival. Bake some cookies, buy some carrots for the reindeer, and don’t forget to make sure your chimney is clean and ready! At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we can help ensure your fireplace is as safe as possible for Santa’s arrival. Give us a call, so we can help you today.

Invest In Annual Inspections & Sweepings

If it’s been awhile since you invested in an inspection, now is the time to call us in. The CSIA recommends scheduling at least one inspection per year, and there’s no better time than right before the holidays kick off! Give our certified technicians a hollar right away. We’ll make sure you’re good to go this holiday season!

Chimneys that are used without being inspected face some extra risks. For one thing, creosote needs to be cleaned out from time to time. If it accumulates too much, your chances of a chimney fire increase significantly. Chimney fires damage your structure and leave behind gaps and openings for stray flames to escape. This could eventually lead to toxins entering your home or a house fire. Stay safe – get an inspection of the books today!

Our sweeps will also check for any clogs or blockages. It’s not unusual for animals to set up camp when your fireplace isn’t in use. If any critters, nesting materials, twigs, or other debris is clogging things up, air will not circulate properly through your system. Consequently, you risk exposure to carbon monoxide (as well as smoke and other toxins). Carbon monoxide can lead to serious illness, and it is basically impossible to notice without a detector. Don’t take any chances! Have our staff check things over.

Steps You Can Take

If you’re wondering which steps you, as a homeowner, can take to maintain a safer fireplace, check out these tips!

First of all, make sure that only properly seasoned wood gets burned in your fireplace. That means no trash, paper plates, napkins, wrapping paper, or anything similar. You’ll also want to avoid fresh wood, as it contains a lot of moisture. Fresh wood uses up a lot of energy to burn through, leaving you with more smoke and less heat. It also encourages the accumulation of creosote which, as noted above, isn’t good at all! Make things easier and safer by using seasoned wood from the start.

It’s also important to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. These will be your first warning signs of trouble, and they have saved countless lives over the decades. Along with this, practice fire safety in your home, and keep young children informed on how to stay protected. Plan two escape routes from each room in your home and practice fire drills throughout the year, so that everyone is prepared, no matter what.

At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we want all of our customers to have a safe and happy holiday season. Work with us, and you won’t regret it!

Why Is My Chimney Smoking?

Why Is My Chimney Smoking?

If your chimney is smoking, there are many reasons why this may be occurring. Having smoke back up into your home can be a really frustrating experience, especially when all you want to do is enjoy a cozy fire. If you have issues time and time again, try out some of these methods to ensure all of your smoke goes up the chimney like it is supposed to.

Open Your Damper

Your damper should be opened all the way before starting a fire. Oftentimes, homeowners forget this step, which means the smoke has no way of escaping out the chimney! As your fire burns, you can adjust it accordingly, so that you get the most efficient burn possible.

If the damper is stuck, a good cleaning may be in order. Which leads to another reason as to why your chimney may be smoking…

Check For Build-Up

As creosote and other debris accumulate in your fireplace, blockages will start to form. The smoke will enter your living room if there is not a clean pathway for smoke to escape. If you think a cleaning is necessary, call in a professional to check things over and remove any build-up throughout the chimney. A certified tech will have all of the appropriate tools and chemicals that are necessary for a thorough and complete inspection and sweep.

Inspect Your Fuel

Burning unseasoned wood will produce much smokier fires. You should purchase wood that has been dried for at least six months (but one to two years is ideal). Or, better yet, dry your own wood, so you know you are working with the best possible fuel. Unseasoned wood burns much less efficiently and uses up a lot of energy when burning through the excess moisture. This results in more smoke output.

Check Out Your Chimney Dimensions

Chimney height, flue size, and more can all affect how well your chimney functions. A certified pro will know exactly what dimensions your set up needs to be in order to run efficiently. Schedule an inspection today, so you will know whether or not your chimney is in need of some adjusting.

Adjust Your Windows

Sometimes, all it takes is opening a window or two to help the airflow adjust accordingly. A well-insulated home is good for many reasons, but it does mean your fireplace may struggle. Air needs to circulate through your home to keep a fire running, but if not enough air can work its way back in, your fire will start smoking up the house. Opening a couple windows will help get things flowing normally.

On the opposising side, your home may not be insulated enough! Too much air can also mess up your fireplace. If this is the case for you, ensure that all windows are tightly closed, especially those on the higher levels.

Call Us!

For more chimney help, call on the staff at Weststar Chimney Sweeps today!

Be Ready for Fall by Having Your Chimney Inspected This Summer

Be Ready for Fall by Having Your Chimney Inspected This Summer

Many of the national fire safety organizations like the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend that you have your chimney professionally swept and inspected before you light the first fire of the year. In order to be able to enjoy your fireplace when fall arrives, you should schedule your appointment for these chimney maintenance services in the summer. Chimney companies, including Weststar Chimney Sweeps, start getting very busy in September, and if you wait until the fall to schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection, you might have a difficult time finding a convenient date and time for the appointment. Taking care of these tasks in the summer guarantees your fireplace will be ready to use as soon as you wish in the fall. We would like to tell you why a professional chimney sweeping and inspection is so essential.

 

Chimney Sweeping Chimney Cleaning and Inspection - San Diego CA - Westar

The reason why it is so important to have your chimney swept before lighting the first fire of the fall is to have all of the accumulated creosote deposits removed from the inner walls of the chimney. Creosote forms naturally during the combustion process of burning wood and sticks to the inside of the flue. The problem with creosote is that it is highly flammable and can easily ignite a chimney fire if the internal temperature of the flue gets hot enough. The CSIA names creosote as a leading cause of chimney fires, so after your chimney has been swept by Weststar Chimney Sweeps, your risk of a chimney fire is greatly reduced.

 

Chimney Inspection

When the CSIA-certified chimney sweeps from Weststar Chimney Sweeps inspect your chimney, they will be looking for any damage or other problems that could cause your chimney to be unsafe to use. If any debris such as fallen bricks, leaves, or sticks is blocking the flue, it will be removed to reduce your risk of a chimney fire and a carbon monoxide leak. The condition of your chimney liner will be examined, and our sweeps will take a look at the exterior of your chimney to see if there are any damaged or missing bricks and mortar joints. If we find damage that needs to be repaired for your chimney to work safely, we will provide you with pictures of the damage, along with a written estimate of the repairs needed.
Beat the fall rush! Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to schedule your appointment for our professional chimney sweeping and inspection services today.

Proudly Serving El Cajon

Proudly Serving El Cajon

Since 1999, Weststar Chimney Sweeps has been providing chimney services to the San Diego area, including El Cajon. Over the years, our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps have cleaned, inspected, and repaired thousands of chimneys across the area. With so many satisfied customers, we have become one of the most trusted chimney companies in this region, and we are very proud to have earned a Five star rating from Yelp and an A+ from the Better Business Bureau. We would like to tell you more about the types of services we offer to residents of El Cajon and other communities in the San Diego area.

CHIMNEY MAINTENANCEDamaged chimney - El Cajon CA - Weststar Chimney Sweeps

To keep your chimney working efficiently and safely, the CSIA, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and other national fire safety groups recommend that you have your chimney professionally swept and inspected at least once every year. These chimney maintenance tasks reduce your risks of experiencing a chimney fire or a carbon monoxide leak. Weststar Chimney Sweeps offers chimney sweeping and inspecting from our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps, and our years of training and experience allow us to do these tasks correctly and thoroughly. We will be sure to remove all of the hazardous deposits of creosote from your chimney to protect you from a dangerous chimney fire. The CSIA has named creosote as the leading cause of chimney fires, which is why its removal is so important. During our chimney inspection, we will also be sure your chimney has no damage that could make it unsafe to use. We look for flue blockages, cracked chimney liners, and other problems when we inspect chimneys.

CHIMNEY REPAIR

If you are experiencing problems with your fireplace or other heating appliance, you can count on Weststar Chimney Sweeps to find out what is causing this problem and to repair the problem so that you can use your fireplace without worrying about possible hazards. One of the most devastating chimney problems has to do with water leaks, and we offer several services to repair these leaks and to prevent leaks from occurring. Our waterproofing services can prolong the life of your masonry chimney by protecting it from water penetration. We also specialize in repairing and replacing chimney crowns and resurfacing damaged clay tile chimney liners with HeatShield, but we have the skills and experience to fix any chimney problem you may have.

Along with our chimney services, we also provide professional dryer vent cleaning services that greatly reduce your risk of experiencing a clothes dryer fire. If you live in the El Cajon area, call us at 619-338-8116 or start your appointment here for our superior chimney maintenance and repair services.

Leaking Chimney FAQ

Leaking Chimney FAQ

Here in the San Diego area, talk of the coming El Nino is a very hot topic. Since this weather event will bring more rain to our area, it is very important to be sure your chimney is in good condition. Even a small chimney leak can lead to major problems when heavy rains are in the forecast. At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we take chimney leaks seriously for good reasons. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) claims that water is the biggest enemy of masonry chimneys because of the amount of damage it can do. Water penetration can deteriorate your chimney so badly that it could be in danger of collapsing. This is why it is essential to ensure your chimney has no leaks before the arrival of El Nino. We would like to tell you more about the signs and causes of chimney leaks as well as a preventive service we provide to keep water from leaking into your chimney.

What are the signs of a chimney leak?Leaking Chimney FAQ - Weststar Chimney Sweeps - San Diego CA

Sure signs of chimney leaks include peeling wallpaper, stains on the walls and ceilings, and dampness near your fireplace. You might even notice water standing in the bottom of your fireplace or stove. You can also see signs of chimney leaks on the exterior of your chimney. Cracked, broken, and missing bricks and pieces of mortar are the result of the damage of water penetration of your chimney. You may also notice rusting on your chimney cap or chase cover, and this also means water is leaking into your chimney.

What are the reasons behind chimney leaks?

Different things can cause chimney leaks. Most commonly, Weststar Chimney Sweeps finds chimney leaks that are caused by missing or damaged chimney caps. Cracked chimney crowns also lead to water penetration of a chimney. We have also found chimney leaks caused by damaged flashing systems and deteriorated bricks and mortar on the chimney structure. All of these problems can be solved by our CSIA-certified chimney technicians. We can install a new chimney cap to keep water, birds, and animals out of the chimney or repair cracks in chimney crowns. We can also repair damaged flashing and repoint bricks and mortar to replace the missing masonry materials.

How can Weststar Chimney Sweeps protect my chimney from water leaks?

We offer waterproofing services that can keep water from being absorbed into the bricks and mortar of your chimney. Using a formula that is 100% vapor permeable, we apply a layer of this formula to your entire chimney. Since this formula is vapor permeable, vapors and gases can still pass through the bricks and mortar and not become trapped within where they could cause even more damage. Waterproofing your chimney is an excellent way to prolong its life and to prevent water leaks from causing damage.

Ensure your chimney is in good condition before the arrival of El Nino. Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to schedule a chimney inspection, especially if you have noticed the signs of water leaks.