Our Company Blog
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our professionals can safely remove bird nests to keep your chimney free from hazardous blockages. We can also prevent the birds from returning to live in your chimney in the future.
Weststar Chimney Sweeps provides installation services for a wide variety of chimney products, including chimney caps, crown coats, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.