Our Company Blog

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.

Removing Birds and Bees from Your Chimney

Essential to the safety of your chimney, bird and bee hive removal services can protect your family from the risks of having a chimney fire. Birds like to hibernate in chimneys, as they see them as a warm and safe place to call home during the colder months. When those birds part from a chimney, they leave all the nesting behind, which can cause a chimney blockage or fire. Bees commonly build hives on chimney walls, and the wax combs of a bee hive can be fire hazards as well. The trained technicians at Weststar Chimney Sweeps provide experienced bird and bee hive removal from chimneys and believe you should understand what this service entails.

If you have bees or birds living in your chimney, call Weststar Chimney Sweeps! We can safely remove their hives or nests, and prevent them from returning in the future.

If you have bees or birds living in your chimney, call Weststar Chimney Sweeps! We can safely remove their hives or nests, and prevent them from returning in the future.


The Dangers of Birds’ Nests

When birds build a nest in a chimney, they tend to choose the top of the chimney as the location. Not only does this pose a problem as a fire hazard, but the nest can also block the chimney’s flue. According to the Chimney Institute of America (CSIA), a chimney blockage can cause the dangerous gas, carbon monoxide, to enter your home and possibly lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Multiple nests can be inside a chimney and can cause major chimney blockage. Another risk of having birds in your chimney is the spread of histoplasmosis, a disease carried by birds that causes blindness in humans.

The Legalities of Removing Nesting Birds

Certain species of birds cannot be removed from a chimney while they are roosting inside because they are protected by federal law, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Chimney swifts, the most common type of protected bird, always nested in hollow trees in the past, but since many of these old trees have been cut down over the years, chimney swifts began building their nests inside chimneys. You should never trust a chimney sweep company that offers to remove nesting chimney swifts. Anyone who knowingly destroys these birds or their nests containing eggs or baby birds can be fined and penalized. You will have to wait until all chimney swifts leave before their nests can be removed.

A Solution to Prevent Birds from Nesting in Your Chimney

To keep birds out of your chimney, a chimney cap with wire meshing or a top-sealing damper needs to be installed properly on top of your chimney. Preventing birds from entering your chimney means you will not have to worry about the hazards birds and their nests can create.


The Problem with Honeycomb

Some people think they can smoke bees out of a chimney by lighting a fire; however, this can pose a problem. Not only are the wax combs a fire hazard, but when the fire heats up the hive, honey begins to melt down chimney walls. The smell of the honey can attract even more bees to invade your chimney.

The Answer to Stopping a Bee Invasion

Just as with birds, a properly-installed chimney cap or top-sealing damper works to keep bees from entering your chimney. At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we will remove any bee hives from your chimney as well as customize a cap or damper on the top of your chimney to prevent more bees from building hives on your chimney walls.

Experiencing an invasion of your chimney by birds or bees? Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps today to schedule an appointment for our CSIA-certified technicians to take care of this problem for you.

The Birds and the Bees: A Chimney’s Perspective

Who would’ve imagined they’d ever read about the birds and the bees in relation to their chimney. The fact of the matter is, these are just two more reasons homeowners must be forever vigilant where chimney maintenance in concerned. Otherwise your chimney could become inundated with bird nests and beehives in no time at all. Your chimney is a very inviting place for birds and bees; your job is to find a way to make it a little less appealing and/or available to them.

If you have bees or birds living in your chimney, call Weststar Chimney Sweeps! We can safely remove their hives or nests, and prevent them from returning in the future.

If you have bees or birds living in your chimney, call Weststar Chimney Sweeps! We can safely remove their hives or nests, and prevent them from returning in the future.

Birds in your chimney?

Migratory birds don’t sound like much of an issue to a lot of homeowners; the problem only comes to light when those homeowners decide that they no longer welcome these feathered guests. It’s not quite as simple as just rolling up the welcome mat and telling them to find somewhere else to nest during their stay.

Chimney swifts are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which prohibits the removal of any migrating bird without a federal permit. In addition to the prohibited removal, these birds always return to the same nesting spots year after year; loosely translated, if you had a nest in your chimney last year, you can expect the same bird family to return this year.

If you decide you no longer want them making themselves at home in your home, preventative measures must be taken soon after the birds make their southerly return flight. The good news is that it is very simple to bird-proof your chimney. This is the purpose of a chimney cap. The key is to have it installed while the birds are living down south, as it is illegal for a chimney sweep to remove the nest, eggs or any migratory birds that have made themselves at home in your chimney.

Bees in your chimney?

Before moving into your chimney, bees will send out scouting parties (approximately ranging in size from 10-100 bees) in search of a new home. Your chimney can be extremely inviting for them. To get rid of bees before they’ve move in, you can simply light a fire.

If the hive in the chimney is established, the last thing you want to do is light a fire. Upon doing so, the bees will simply gather at the top of the chimney for as long as the fire is burning. It is also possible that the heat from the fire will melt honey down the sides of your chimney causing a more permanent honey smell that’ll continue attracting bees for many years to come.

What is the problem with a few birds or bees in your chimney? Those bird nests and beehives can really put your family in danger. They pose real health and fire hazards that need to be addressed. If you are dealing with birds and bees in your chimney, we encourage you to have the CSIA-certified professionals at Weststar Chimney Sweeps conduct a chimney inspection. You can be sure we will keep your chimney, your family and your home safe. Give us a call today!