Our Company Blog

5 Common Chimney Replacements

Replacing parts of your chimney that are not properly functioning or are outdated can increase its performance and ensure safety.

Replacing parts of your chimney that are not properly functioning or are outdated can increase its performance and ensure safety.

Serving all of San Diego, California, West Star Chimney Sweeps offers an array of services to our customers. From chimney sweeping to dryer vent cleaning, we do everything we can to keep our customers secure, healthy, and confident in the safety and efficiency of their appliances. One of the things most frequently required of us are chimney part replacements. We often swap.

Why Your Chimney Needs to Be in Good Condition

Before we tell you about the chimney parts we replace most often, we want to tell you why it’s important to keep your chimney and all of its components in great working order. Simply put, a chimney that’s worn out may:

  • Become a fire hazard
  • Begin to leak and cause water damage
  • Become clogged and unable to vent properly
  • Vent toxic gases into your home
  • Deteriorate beyond repair and require total replacement

West Star Chimney can make sure that your chimney and heating appliance are in great condition so that you don’t have to worry about any of these things happening.

Chimney and Fireplace Parts West Star Chimney Replaces Most Often

Among other replacements, we are often required to replace the following five parts on fireplaces and chimneys around San Diego:

  1. Chimney Caps: A brick and mortar chimney without a cap is like a house without a roof. Chimney caps play lots of important roles, including keeping water out, keeping birds and bees out, keeping sparks in, and eliminating downdrafts. By keeping the wrong stuff out and the right stuff in, you’ll protect your chimney from accumulating fire hazards (think leaves and limbs, nests, trash, and other debris) and reduce the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning and chimney fire. You’ll also be protecting your chimney, assuring its longer life, and safeguarding your home from expensive water damage.
  2. Chase Covers: If yours is a prefabricated, factory-made, or metal chimney, you will need to cover the top of it with what’s known as a chase cover. Chase covers serve the same purposes as chimney caps, as outlined above. The standard steel chase cover that comes with a prefabricated chimney is prone to rust and corrosion, which can lead to waterlogged ceilings and walls as well as mold problems. Luckily, there are lots of beautiful and durable replacement chase covers to choose from, in a variety of finishes.
  3. Dampers: Chimney dampers are perhaps our favorite chimney part to tell homeowners about. This is because we get to tell them how we’re about to save them money by installing a top-sealing damper atop their chimney. After all, having a chimney without a damper is not unlike leaving a window open year round; just imagine how much you’d spend on extra energy costs if you left a window open all the time. A damper will keep water and debris out of your chimney, but it’s most notable for the fact that the homeowner can open and close it, creating an airtight seal when the heating appliance is not in use.
  4. Prefab Panels: Prefabricated refractory panels are what comprise the firebox in your factory-made or prefabricated fireplace. If your panels are beginning to show signs of wear and tear, it’s likely that they need to be replaced with properly sized panels installed by a pro. If your panels have cracks that are the thickness of a nickel or if the panels have been reduced by a quarter inch or more in thickness, then it’s time to have them replaced. We’re happy to do that for you at West Star Chimney.
  5. Hearth Screens: Whether or not you already have a hearth screen, West Star Chimney is happy to equip your fireplace with one. These screens offer lots of advantages, including peace of mind that if an errant spark flies out of your fireplace it will stay in your fireplace. It will also help keep pets and small children away from your fire and can update the look of your fireplace.

Have questions about caps, chase covers, dampers, prefab panels, hearth screens, or any other chimney component? Call us at 619-338-8116 or schedule an appointment with us today using our online form.

Tips for Avoiding a Chimney Fire

If you don't want this to happen to your beautiful home, you better learn the basics in avoiding chimney fires.

If you don’t want this to happen to your beautiful home, you better learn the basics in avoiding chimney fires.

Over 25,000 chimney fires in the U.S. last year were responsible for over $120 million in property damage. Chimney fires can quickly spread into house fires in a relatively short period of time. No one ever wants to experience a chimney fire, or worse yet a fire in the chimney that spreads to other areas of the home. This is an important issue, and there are things everyone can do to protect themselves and their families from the chances of a chimney fire ever affecting them.

Why Me?

Most chimney fires happen for one simple reason: improper usage and care of wood-burning appliances. The importance of yearly chimney inspections and sweepings cannot be understated, as they are the one true way to minimize the likelihood of a chimney fire sparking in the first place. The fact is that clean chimneys simply don’t catch fire.

What Causes Chimney Fires?

When wood is burnt, the emissions are expelled into the chimney. As these gases rise, they cool down and form creosote — a tar-like substance that sticks to your chimney or chimney liner. Creosote is extremely flammable and can be lit by even a small spark or floating ember from the fire below. The three most common causes of chimney fires are:

  1. Burning wet or unseasoned wood can increase the production of creosote.
  2. Failing to have your chimney swept often enough.
  3. Blockages in your chimney that can restrict air flow.

Knowledge is key to reducing the potential of a chimney fire happening in your home.

What can I do to Prevent a Chimney Fire?

Your first line of defense is always prevention. Make sure you have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in multiple locations within your home. Make sure you only burn dry, seasoned wood. Make sure you get your chimney swept at least once a year (more frequently is you use your fireplace more heavily). Make sure you never burn trash, cardboard or other types of waste, as these are more likely to produce sparks.

Chimney fires are a dangerous and serious problem to have, but the good news is that they are almost entirely preventable. Homeowners must be careful to only burn materials that are ready and meant to be burned. While using the correct fuel is important, a chimney fire can still occur even after taking all of the necessary precautions. This is why annual chimney inspections and sweepings are a critical part of your home maintenance routine. If your chimney is clean, the chances of a chimney fire occurring are slim-to-none. Don’t wait to call to schedule your inspection and cleaning. Our CSIA-certified chimney technicians will help to ensure that you and your family have a safe and happy heating season.