Our Company Blog
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.
For more chimney help, call on the staff at Weststar Chimney Sweeps today!
Schedule a chimney sweeping and inspection as part of your spring cleaning!
March is upon us, which means spring is finally here. For homeowners, the arrival of spring means it is time to get started on annual spring cleaning chores. If you have a fireplace or wood stove in your house, that means your chimney should also be included. Weststar Chimney Sweeps is ready to help you with your chimney cleaning chores, and we would like to tell you more about our chimney sweeping process.
Why should I have my chimney cleaned and inspected in the spring?
It makes sense to have your annual sweeping done in the spring because most people schedule their annual chimney inspections in the fall, so you will not have a problem getting the appointment you want. Also, the sooner you have your chimney looked at after the heating season, the better. If there are problems that need repairing, you need to get them repaired quickly so no more costly structural damage occurs. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends homeowners have their chimneys inspected annually, so why not get into the habit of scheduling this appointment in the spring?
What should I expect from a chimney sweeping and inspection from Weststar Chimney Sweeps?
When you schedule a chimney sweeping and inspection with Weststar Chimney Sweeps, one of our licensed and certified technicians will come to your home and begin the inspection and cleaning process. Using modern technology, we use video cameras to allow us to closely examine the interior of your chimney and decide which type of cleaning technique we will need to do, based on the type of creosote build-up in your chimney and what kind of chimney you have. We use a few different chimney sweeping techniques, which include:
Using the typical rotating brushes on long handles, along with a high-powered vacuum with a HEPA filter to keep debris and soot from getting in your home, this technique is effective for getting rid of average creosote deposits; however, if you have any major creosote build-up, as in 3rd stage, you will need a heavier-duty sweeping.
In order to remove hard or glazed creosote deposits, high-speed rotating wire brushes, plastic cables, or specials chains are used to do the sweeping.
Sometimes mechanical cleaning is not enough, and chemicals may have to be used along with the high-speed rotating power tools to get rid of big deposits of glazed creosote.
What happens after the chimney inspection and sweeping is completed?
Once we do your sweeping and inspection, we will assess our findings and determine whether or not you need any repairs done to your chimney. Other than creosote build-up, the most common damage to chimneys seen after winter is water damage from leaks. If left unrepaired, this can lead to further, more costly structural damage. Weststar Chimney Sweeps can handle all of your chimney repair needs, if repair is necessary.
Do not forget your chimney when you are spring cleaning. Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps to make an appointment for your annual chimney sweep and inspection.
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.
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.
At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we are asked why a chimney sweep is considered to be lucky. Many Americans have not heard the legends of the luck of the chimney sweep as they all originated in Europe. In fact, because of these legends, it is considered to be very lucky for the bride and groom in England to see a chimney sweep on their wedding day. If that chimney sweep kisses the bride or shakes the groom’s hand, even more luck is brought to the new marriage. This belief is so popular that English chimney sweeps even rent out their services to appear at weddings to bring luck to the bride and groom’s new life together. Since so many of our customers are curious about these legends, we would like to share the three main stories about why a chimney sweep is considered to be good luck in love and happiness.
The Chimney Sweep who Saved the Life of King William of Britain
The legend of the luck of the chimney sweep began in 1066 in Great Britain. A chimney sweep spotted a runaway carriage heading right for King William of Britain, who was walking quietly down the road. With amazing courage, the chimney sweep rushed to push the wayward carriage out of King William’s path, which saved his life. As a sign of his eternal gratitude towards this lifesaving, brave chimney sweep, King William made a declaration to his people that all chimney sweeps as bringers of good luck. To further show how grateful he was, the king invited the chimney sweep to his daughter’s wedding to bring luck to the bride and groom. Ever since, Europeans believed that chimney sweeps are lucky charms at weddings, which has led to chimney sweep being frequent wedding guests for centuries.
The Chimney Sweep who Saved King George II of England
Another legend featuring a courageous chimney sweep that dates back to the 1700’s, King George II was riding his horse in a procession down a street in London when suddenly, an angry dog appeared before the horse, growled and barked fiercely, and scared the horse. Crazed by fear, the horse bucked and jumped uncontrollably and caused King George II to let go of the reins. Only one man was brave enough to come out to help the king by grabbing the horse and calming the animal down. This man was a local chimney sweep, and, by calming down the horse, he saved the king’s life. To show how grateful he was to this chimney sweep, King George II announced that from this day forward all chimney sweeps should be seen as signs of future success and deserved to be treated with the greatest respect. From then on, English chimney sweeps have been considered as bringers of luck, success, and good fortune.
The Chimney Sweep who Fell from the Roof and Fell in Love
An undated legend that originated in Europe tells the tale of a chimney sweep who was working on a roof and fell. Fortunately, according to Good Luck Symbols, his life was spared because his foot got caught in the gutter; however, he was not completely safe as he was hanging upside down. Fortunately for this chimney sweep, a young woman who lived in the house heard this cries for help and looked out of her window to see him dangling in front of it. Immediately becoming determined to save the life of this chimney sweep, she pulled him inside through the window and led him into safety. This young woman was engaged to be married, but once the chimney sweep composed himself inside, the two instantly fell in love at first sight. She ended her engagement and married the chimney sweep and lived happily ever after. This legend of a chimney sweep’s luck in love spread throughout the continent and the globe and continues to this day.
Interested in these legends of the luck of chimney sweeps? Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps to hear our lucky chimney sweeps talk about their experiences with these stories.
Look for the CSIA seal when evaluating a chimney company for hire
Hiring a chimney sweep who has been certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) to perform your annual chimney cleaning and inspecting ensures you have a highly trained and qualified technician doing the job. A CSIA-certified chimney sweep can be entrusted to be certain your chimney is properly cleaned, safe to use, and in excellent working condition. Our chimney sweeps at Weststar Chimney Sweeps have been through the CSIA certification process, which gives them further training, skills, and knowledge in this industry. Our customers often ask us what this certification means, and we would like to answer this by telling you more about the importance of this professional commitment.
What is the CSIA?
A non-profit, educational organization, the CSIA is dedicated to preventing and eliminating of chimney fires, carbon monoxide leaks, and other chimney-related dangers that can result in injuries or death. To achieve this goal, a vast collection of resources is provided to educate the public, chimney and venting system professionals, and fire prevention specialists about the proper maintenance of fireplace, chimney, and venting systems. The CSIA offers the only national certification program in the chimney and venting system industry.
What are the responsibilities and commitments of a CSIA-certified chimney sweep?
When a chimney sweep completes the training for CSIA certification, he or she must uphold specific obligations, which include:
● Practicing CSIA-recommended chimney and venting safety techniques
● Improving skills, extending a knowledge base, and learning new techniques to stay updated on safety standards for the chimney and venting of fireplaces
● Knowing all applicable local building codes concerning chimneys and fully complying with these codes
● Following closely all manufacturers’ installation instructions for chimney and venting products
● Dealing honestly with customers, refraining from unfair and deceptive practices, and informing customers about essential chimney and venting safety procedures
● Behaving professionally and respectfully when performing chimney and venting duties.
What is the process of CSIA certification?
To become certified by the CSIA, one must do the following:
● Attend a one-day intensive review session in person or a one-week review session online
● Pass a one-hour exam based on the 2011 edition of the CSIA publication Successful Chimney Sweeping and the 2013 edition of NFPA 211: Standard for Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel-Burning Appliances from the National Fire Prevention Association
● Pass an open-book 90-minute exam using his/her copy of 2006 International Residential Code, published by the International Code Council
● Agree to pay the Annual Certification Fee
● Sign the CSIA Code of Ethics
What topics are covered in the certification process?
To receive CSIA certification, one must prove proficiency in the following areas:
● Technical aspects of chimney dynamics and construction
● Skilled performances of the best and current techniques in the industry
● Wood-burning physics and the formation of creosote residue, which is one of the leading causes of chimney fires
● Familiarity of and compliance with all applicable codes, regulations, clearances, and standards
● Care and installation of a variety of types of solid fuel appliances
● Requirements by the US Environmental Protection Agency
To hire one of our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps, contact Weststar Chimney Sweeos today to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney sweeping