Our Company Blog

Signs Your Chimney Needs Professional Attention

Weststar Chimney Sweeps is your local source for chimney services!

Weststar Chimney Sweeps is your local source for chimney services!

When you own a home with a fireplace and a chimney system, you know that regular maintenance can help with keeping any potential problems under control. However, it is very common for repair issues to appear over the years. Sometimes you will know when your fireplace and chimney need repairing, and other times the signs that your chimney needs professional attention will be more subtle. Weststar Chimney Sweeps would like to tell you more about three different signs that can let you know that your chimney is in need of repairing and how we can fix these problems.

UNPLEASANT ODORS

If you happen to notice bad smells in your home coming from the fireplace, you most likely have a problem with chimney draft. Your chimney may not be producing enough draft to pull out the exhaust gasses from within, which causes that air to enter your home. Your flue could be too large for your heating appliance, or you could simply be having issues with how the wind is affecting your chimney draft. If the flue size is the issue, Weststar Chimney Sweeps can install a new stainless steel flue that exactly matches your heating appliance, which will improve both the draft and its performance. We can also install a draft-improving chimney cap on top of your chimney to help your chimney draft issues. This type of cap has vents on the sides that direct the wind to create a driving pressure at the top of the chimney. This driving pressure helps to pull out that smelly air so that it leaves your home instead of entering it through the fireplace.

LOOSE BRICKS

Whenever you notice any loose or missing bricks from the exterior of your chimney, you are seeing a sign of water penetration damage. As the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)  says, water is the biggest enemy of a masonry chimney because of the damage it can do. Water can get into your bricks and mortar and erode these masonry materials until they get to the point of cracking and breaking apart. If type of water leak damage is not repaired, it can worsen to the point of the entire chimney structure collapsing. This is a hazardous situation that you definitely want to avoid, so contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps as soon as you notice any water damage so that we can make repairs and protect your chimney from further water leaks.

SMOKE FILLING ROOM

Trying to start a fire only to have a huge cloud of black smoke come back into the room? Most likely, your flue is blocked which is causing the smoke to come back into the house as it cannot exit out of the chimney. You could have debris from nesting materials from birds or animals, leaves, and soot forming a blockage. Sometimes, loose bricks have fallen into the chimney to block the exit. Fortunately, our CSIA-certified chimney technicians at Weststar Chimney Sweeps are experts at removing chimney blockages. We can clean out your chimney to have it working smoothly again.

Notice any of these problems? Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps to schedule a chimney inspection so that we can make any necessary repairs.

Did You Know We Serve Chula Vista?

While Weststar Chimney Sweeps is well known for doing chimney business throughout San Diego since 1999, we also serve other areas, including Chula Vista, the second largest city in San Diego County. We are proud to offer a number of our fireplace and chimney services to the residents of Chula Vista, and we would like to tell you a bit more about which services we do provide to this area.

We Serve Chula Vista CA - Weststar Chimney Sweeps

Visual Chimney Inspections

Recommended annually by the National Fire Protection Association and other national fire safety organization, a chimney inspection is one of the best ways you can prevent a devastating chimney fire. Our certified inspectors will look for flue blockages, large deposits of creosote, and any other damage that could make your chimney unsafe to use.

Professional Chimney Sweeping

Also recommended to do once a year by national fire safety organizations, a professional chimney sweeping by our certified sweeps ensures your chimney is properly cleaned to keep your system in its best working order.

Chimney Repairs

Our certified masons can help you with repairing chimney crowns, resurfacing and repairing damaged flue liners, taking care of chimney leaks, repairing damaged flashing, and waterproofing your chimney to prevent water penetration.

Bird and Beehive Removal

Our professionals can safely remove both beehives and bird nests to keep your chimney free from hazardous blockages. We can also prevent the birds and the bees from returning to live in your chimney in the future.

Chimney Installations

Weststar Chimney Sweeps provides installation services for a wide variety of chimney products, including gas log sets, chimney caps, chase covers, crown coats, cap dampers and damper locks, prefab panel replacement, hearth screen replacement, and heat reflectors.

Smoke Stain Removal

Using detergents and solvents designed to remove and dissolve stubborn smoke stains without abrading or discoloring the masonry work, our technicians can safely remove any unsightly smoke stains for you. We also use the Paint N Peel Masonry Stain Remover to clean your fireplace.

Dryer Vent Cleaning

The best way to prevent a clothes dryer fire, a professional dryer vent cleaning by our certified technicians will also save you money on your utility bills.

If you live in Chula Vista, contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps to schedule an appointment with us for any of these services you may need.

HeatShield Is a Great Option for Relining Your Chimney

Do you live in an older home with a masonry chimney? If so, it probably has a clay tile flue liner. Clay tiles have been used to line chimney flues since the beginning of the 20th century, and there are excellent reasons why. These tiles can withstand extremely high temperatures, and they hold up well against the corrosive byproducts of combustion that pass through the flue on their way out of the chimney. Once installed, clay liners will stay in good shape up to 50 years. However, when the clay tiles become cracked and chipped over time, it can be costly to repair them or to replace the liner as it is a very difficult and time-consuming task. When the HeatShield Chimney Repair and Resurfacing System was developed around 20 years ago in Europe, repairing and relining a clay tile liner became so much easier and less costly. At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, our technicians are experienced with using HeatShield, and our customers who have had their clay flue liners repaired or replaced with this product have all been very satisfied. We would like to tell you more about HeatShield and what it can do for your clay tile-lined chimney.

HeatShield Chimney Relining - San Diego CA

What exactly is HeatShield?

Made from a specially formulated “Cerfractory” sealant material, HeatShield can restore the integrity of your chimney’s flue to vent out toxic gases from your home. Eliminating the dangers in your flue caused by cracks, gaps, and spalling, HeatShield will make your chimney as safe and as efficient as it originally was when first built. Depending on the condition of your clay tile liner, the Joint Repair system or the Resurfacing System will be used.

What does the Joint Repair system do?

If our chimney inspectors at Weststar Chimney Sweeps only find mortar joints in your clay tile liner that are deficient, we will use the Joint Repair system. First we will make a custom-made foam applicator blade to fit your chimney. Once this tool has been inserted into your chimney and positioned below each gap or void, we will then add the HeatShield Cerfractory Flue Sealant mixture. Each void and gap will be filled, and when we pull out the foam applicator blade, it will smooth the filled gaps and voids as it comes out of your chimney. Then we scan the repair with a special video camera to be sure the repairs have been done correctly.

What does the Resurfacing System do?

If your chimney liner has a flue that is spalled, but is also structurally still sound, we will use the Resurfacing System. We will pull a custom-fit foam applicator from the bottom of the flue up through top by way of a wench attached to the top of the chimney. We then prime and clean your old liner with a “tie coat” material, which is applied to the flue walls by pulling the plug upwards with the winch. After this coat dries, we then apply the HeatShield mixture with the foam plug in the same way we applied the primer. This method is called “slip casting” or “slip cast extrusion.” After this is applied, we will look at the scanned video to be sure your entire chimney is sealed and smoke-tight.

Have more questions about HeatShield? Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps to talk to our staff to see if HeatShield is right for your clay tile chimney liner.

Choosing the Best Chimney Cap to Prevent Water Leaks

One of your best defenses against water penetration and animal invasions of your chimney, a chimney cap sits on top of your chimney’s opening. With several different types of chimney caps available, how do you know which cap is the right fit for the flue of your chimney? At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we are experienced with fitting all types of chimney caps, even customized caps, and we know the importance of proper installation. We would like to tell you a bit about the different kinds of chimney caps and what you should know about selecting the right kind for your chimney to prevent damaging water leaks.

chimney-cap-choices-image-san-diego-ca-weststar-chimney

The main thing to consider when deciding which chimney cap is right for your chimney is the shape of your flue. Chimney caps come in different shapes to fit each type of flue. These shapes include:

ROUND FLUES

Whether you have a clay, masonry, or metal flue, you can find a round chimney cap that can either attach the the outside of the flue or slip inside the flue. Round chimney caps are made from an assortment of materials including copper, stainless steel, and galvanized steel. Some round flue liners require chimney caps that must be inserted inside the chimney flue, such as round flexible flue liners and round solid pack flue liners.

SQUARE AND RECTANGULAR FLUES

The most commonly shaped flue, square and rectangular chimney caps can be attached to the flue, or, if you have a chimney crown, there are chimney caps in these sizes that can attach to the crown. Made from the same metals as the round chimney caps, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends you choose a chimney cap constructed from a sturdy, durable, and rust- and corrosion-resistant material to ensure a long-lasting cap. For chimney caps that attach to a chimney crown, you will need to choose from top mounted chimney caps.

OVAL FLUES

Unless you have a custom-shaped oval chimney cap made for you by our technicians at Weststar Chimney Sweeps, you will need to look at rectangular shaped chimney caps that will cover the exterior of your flue.. When you look inside this type of cap, you can see how the corner tabs or interior ledges will accommodate oval flues.

There are other considerations other than preventing water leaks to think about when choosing a chimney cap. These include:

MESH SPARK ARRESTOR

To prevent animals from entering your chimney to take up a new residence and to keep sparks from flying out of your chimney and possibly starting a fire, your chimney cap should be equipped with wire mesh sides. Be sure the mesh openings are between ¾ to ½ inches in size to keep animals out, to contain large pieces of hot debris and ashes, and to allow toxic gases to escape.

COMBINATION OF A CHIMNEY CAP AND DAMPER

You can now find top sealing chimney caps that do double duty as a protective cap and as a damper. Perfect for new home constructions and for older chimneys in need of numerous repairs, the damper is located on the cap. When it is sealed closed, the air loss from your home is reduced by 90%. When the damper is opened, the wire mesh on the chimney cap protects your chimney from invading animals and prevents stray sparks from exiting.

Want to know more about the different types of chimney caps? Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps today to talk to our expert staff about your many options.

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.