Do I Need a Professional for Fireplace Repairs? Or Can I DIY?

Owning a home can be a dream come true, but it definitely comes with a hefty price tag. Between the mortgage, property taxes, and insurance, it’s no surprise many homeowners explore do-it-yourself (DIY) solutions for repairs and maintenance. 

Before you grab your toolbox, though, let’s talk about chimney and fireplace repair – and when a DIY approach can be a safe bet versus when it’s best to call in a licensed professional.

Why Fireplaces Need Specialized (Professional) Attention

At first glance, you might think your fireplace is just a cozy spot to relax on a chilly night. After all, you build a fire and the smoke goes up the chimney. Doesn’t sound too complicated, right? But if you take a closer look, you’ll actually find that your chimney and fireplace are a complex system that requires special attention to function safely and efficiently.

Within that system, numerous components work together to prevent smoke inhalation, chimney fires, and even structural damage to your home. This includes the firebox, flue, chimney cap, chimney crown, and damper…just to name a few. 

On top of helping your system function safely and efficiently, a certified chimney technician’s regular maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your fireplace and chimney. By catching minor issues early on, you can prevent them from turning into expensive repairs down the road. Let us help you keep your home safe and warm for years to come! Call or book online today.

When To Call a Professional for Fireplace Repairs

original infographic stating when to call a professional for fireplace repairs

Let’s be honest – tackling home improvement projects can be incredibly satisfying. I mean, who doesn’t love crossing something off that never-ending to-do list…all while saving a buck or two in the process? But when it comes to fireplace repairs, it’s important to know when to call in the experts. Here are some indicators that your fireplace needs a chimney technician:

  • Visible Damage: Cracks in the firebox, chimney liner, or clay flue tiles can compromise safety and allow smoke or gases to leak. A certified professional can assess the severity of the damage and recommend repairs or replacements.
  • Deteriorated Mortar: Crumbling or missing mortar joints between the bricks weaken the entire structure. Professionals can use a technique called tuckpointing in order to restore the structural integrity and improve the overall appearance of your fireplace and chimney. 
  • Water Damage: Signs like rust, stains, or a white, powdery substance known as efflorescence can indicate leaks. Having a professional come in to properly diagnose the source of the leak and make repairs will prevent further damage. 
  • Poor Draft: A weak draft that forces smoke back into your home can be caused by a blockage or other airflow issue. Having someone to come inspect your flue is a good place to start!
  • Smoky Smell: The only thing worse than smelling smoke while the fire is burning is to smell smoke even after the fire is out. This red flag could be caused by a multitude of things ranging from creosote buildup to a damaged flue liner.
  • Difficulty Starting or Maintaining a Fire: If your fireplace struggles to ignite or keep a fire going, there could be issues with airflow, creosote buildup, or a broken or malfunctioning damper. Let a professional help get your fireplace burning optimally.
  • Gas Fireplace Concerns: Gas fireplaces always require specific expertise. After all, natural gas is a flammable substance, and any issues with the gas line, burner components, or ignition system can pose a serious safety hazard. So if you have concerns about your gas fireplace not igniting, emitting unusual odors, or displaying abnormal flame patterns, call someone that is trained in gas fireplace repair. 
  • Annual Maintenance: Even if your fireplace seems functional, scheduling an inspection and sweep once a year is highly recommended. During these appointments, a certified chimney technician will identify any potential problems early on to ensure a safe and cozy fireplace all season long. 

Benefits of Hiring a Professional at Lords Chimney

When it comes to your fireplace and the safety of your home, peace of mind is priceless. At Lord’s Chimney, our team of certified sweeps and technicians understand the importance of a safe and efficient fireplace. That’s why we offer comprehensive solutions to meet all of your fireplace concerns. We want you to feel confident turning to us every time a need arises. 

All of our technicians are highly trained and experienced in diagnosing and repairing all types of fireplace and chimney issues. Whether you’re experiencing a minor chimney leak or need help troubleshooting issues with your gas fireplace, we would be happy to help.

Give Lord’s Chimney a call today at 346-250-4453 or request an appointment on our website. 

Prepare Your Chimney for Hurricane Season: A Guide

As residents of Houston, TX, we’re no strangers to the havoc that hurricanes can wreak on our homes and communities. When we know one is coming, we know to focus on securing windows, doors, and outdoor furniture, as well as ensure any emergency supplies are readily accessible. Unfortunately, one aspect that’s often overlooked is the chimney.

Chimneys are especially vulnerable during severe weather conditions – and neglecting them could lead to significant damage. The good news is that there are things you can do to prepare your chimney for hurricane season. And if you have any questions along the way? The Lords Chimney team is here to help. Call or book online today.

✓ Get Your Chimney Inspection Booked

Regular chimney inspection services are essential year-round, but become particularly crucial before hurricane season. Hire a professional chimney company, like us, to inspect your chimney for any signs of damage or deterioration.

We can check for loose bricks, cracks in the mortar, damaged flue liners, and anything else that might make your chimney more vulnerable. Then, we’ll ensure you have everything you need to stay as protected as possible.

a distant view of a hurricane, a white swirl in a dark blue ocean

Another big perk of booking this maintenance now? If you book an inspection right before a hurricane – or other big storm – hits, it increases the likelihood of getting insurance coverage for any hurricane-related damages. You’ll have proof that, before the storm, the chimney was in good condition…and that any damage was in fact a result of the hurricane.

✓ Invest in a Quality Chimney Cap

The chimney cap plays a crucial role in protecting your chimney from moisture, debris, and wildlife intrusion. Before hurricane season, inspect the chimney cap for any signs of damage or deterioration. Ensure that it’s securely attached to the chimney structure and that the mesh screen is intact to prevent debris buildup. When we come to perform your inspection, we’ll make sure to ensure all looks well, or recommend a suitable replacement, if needed.

You might also consider investing in a high-quality, hurricane-rated chimney cap designed to withstand strong winds and heavy rain. Properly securing the chimney cap will help safeguard your chimney and prevent costly repairs, so be sure to rely on a crew expert to install your new cap.

✓ Make Sure Your Chimney Flashing Is Secure

Flashing is the metal that guards the area where your roof and chimney meet up. Ensuring that the flashing around your chimney is secure before a hurricane is essential for several reasons:

a broken tree that has half fallen onto the roof of a house
  • Preventing Water Intrusion: Flashing is installed to create a watertight seal between the chimney and the roof. If the flashing is loose or damaged, it can allow water to seep into your home during heavy rainfall associated with hurricanes.
  • Minimizing Structural Damage: Loose or damaged flashing can compromise the structural integrity of your chimney and roof. During a hurricane, strong winds can exert significant force on your home’s exterior, including the chimney.
  • Preventing Chimney Leak Damage: In addition to protecting your roof, secure flashing helps prevent chimney leaks. If water is allowed to penetrate the area around the chimney due to loose or damaged flashing, it can seep into the chimney structure and cause damage to the masonry, flue liner, and surrounding materials.
  • Preserving Energy Efficiency: Properly installed and secure flashing also contributes to the energy efficiency of your home. During a hurricane, strong winds can create drafts and air leaks around the chimney if the flashing is not adequately sealed.

✓ Clear Surrounding Debris

During hurricane season, outdoor debris can become airborne projectiles, posing a threat to your chimney and home. Take the time to clear any branches, leaves, or other debris from around your chimney to minimize the risk of damage. Trim overhanging branches that could potentially fall onto the chimney during a storm. Additionally, secure any loose outdoor furniture or equipment that could be swept up by high winds and cause damage to your chimney or roof.

Is Chimney Hurricane Damage Covered By Insurance?

Whether chimney hurricane damage is covered by insurance depends on the specific policy you have and the extent of the damage. In general, most homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for damage caused by hurricanes, including damage to your chimney, as long as it is considered a covered peril.

Review your homeowners insurance policy to understand what types of perils are covered, and remember that, even if chimney damage is covered under your policy, there may be limits to the coverage amount and deductibles that apply.

a person on a laptop with a plant next to it and a paper with an umbrella and the word "insurance" on it

In addition, some homeowners insurance policies may have exclusions for certain types of damage or circumstances. For example, if the damage to your chimney is determined to be the result of neglect or lack of maintenance rather than the direct impact of the hurricane, it may not be covered. Similarly, if your chimney was already in poor condition prior to the hurricane, insurance coverage could be denied. (This is why booking those pre-disaster inspections is such a must!)

Note: If your chimney sustains damage during a hurricane, document the damage thoroughly by taking photographs and keeping records of any repairs or estimates. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim and follow their instructions for the claims process. Be prepared to provide evidence of the damage and cooperate with any inspections or assessments required by your insurer.

Prepare for the Worst With Lords Chimney

Preparing your chimney for hurricane season is a vital aspect of home maintenance here in the Houston, TX area. By taking proactive steps to inspect, reinforce, and secure your chimney, you can minimize the risk of damage and ensure your family’s safety during severe weather events.

Enlist the help of our qualified chimney professionals for inspection and maintenance tasks, and stay informed about emergency procedures in case of evacuation. With proper preparation and care, your chimney can weather the storm and continue to provide warmth and comfort for years to come. Ready to get started? Call or schedule online with us now.

Is Your Fireplace Not Giving Enough Heat?

After the holidays and the excitement of a new year settles down, the rest of the winter can feel a bit like a marathon…even here in Houston! However, the chillier weather is good for one thing: unwinding in front of the fireplace with a hot beverage in hand. …but what happens when your fireplace no longer warms the room like it used to? Is it now relegated to be but a decorative relic forever – beautiful and eye-catching, but functionally useless?

Fortunately, this is not the case. In fact, there are quite a few ways to bring back the heat you’ve been missing.

Read on to learn more about how you can boost your fireplace’s efficiency and heat production? Have specific questions that can’t wait? Lords Chimney is here to help. Reach us online by filling out this appointment request form, or give us a call at 855-504-0005.

What Are the Most Common Reasons a Fireplace Isn’t Giving Enough Heat?

That’s a great question – and a pretty crucial one to determine your best approach moving forward. In general, fireplaces and chimney systems can be relatively finicky, and because so much of how and why they operate happens out of sight, it can be tough to determine the cause of a heat production issue. For example, the problem might be in the quality of fuel you’re using, or it could be something with your appliance/structure itself. 

That being said, here are some of the most common reasons why a fireplace is not heating well:

  • There could be a significant buildup of creosote or other debris creating a blockage that makes it much harder for the combustion fumes to escape
  • You might be using unseasoned wood or other materials not intended to be burned in a fireplace
  • Your damper might be faulty and is inhibiting proper airflow
  • The logs could have been stacked incorrectly 
  • Your flue liner might have tears or holes

And while these might be some of the more common reasons your fireplace is not performing the way you’d like or how it once did, they are not the only. It’s important to get in touch with a professional to come and troubleshoot your issues as soon as you notice them. Operating an appliance that is behaving strangely or differently than normal could leave you at risk for numerous dangers, like carbon monoxide exposure or chimney fires.

What Are Some Simple Ways To Improve My Fireplace’s Efficiency?

Ah, yes…the fun part! Just because your fireplace might not be heating the way you’d like right now does not mean you have to bid it farewell. Quite the opposite, actually! An inefficient fireplace might be a nuisance at first, but it can also be a great excuse to re-think your space and what you’re looking to get out of your hearth. While there are some simple things you can try, if all else fails, think of this irritation as a new opportunity to increase the heat and the vibes in your living space. 

Here are some tips that you can try to increase your fireplace’s heat output:

  • Ensure your damper is open and you have adequate airflow. With the pace at which life moves these days, in some ways it’s a wonder that more people don’t forget to check their damper before lighting a fire. This piece of your system is vital in ensuring that the airflow is balanced between the outdoors and the inside of your home.
  • Only burn properly seasoned wood…and make sure it is stacked properly too. Did you know both the “what” and the “how” of the wood you burn matters a great deal in the quality, efficiency, and overall performance of combustion? Not only do you need to make sure you’re only ever using adequately dried (seasoned) timber, but you also should take care to stack your logs from biggest at the bottom to the smallest at the top, so the fire burns accordingly.
  • Have a glass covering or doors installed. A double-whammy! Adding a glass piece to the front of your fireplace (usually available as doors) is an excellent way to both increase the heat production and radiant warmth, while adding a stunning look to the room too.
  • Switch up your fuel type. If you’re currently using wood as a fuel source, perhaps it’s time to consider converting to gas. While it’ll never be able to replace wood in terms of overall ambience, gas is known to be more efficient in heat production. Plus, it’s a lot easier to operate and maintain.
  • Upgrade to an insert. Along similar lines, if you’re interested in really changing things up, while still keeping most of the integrity from your original design, you could look into upgrading to an insert. Available in a handful of different fuel types, inserts are one of the best ways to breathe new life into a tired, old, and drafty fireplace.
original infographic stating 5 tips to improve fireplace heat output

For Excellent Hearth Care in the Greater Houston Area, Trust Lords Chimney

While the tips above certainly give you some things to try and a lot to think about when it comes to an inefficient fireplace, nothing replaces a professional eye’s once-over. The single most important thing you can do for your fireplace system is to stay on top of those preventative maintenance services like chimney sweepings and inspections. When performed on a regular, annual basis, these tasks can help keep you informed, as well as troubleshoot any potential problematic areas before they become an issue.

To learn more about how to make your Houston home’s fireplace heat better or for anything else hearth-related schedule an appointment with Lords Chimney. We’re here to make your home as castle-like as possible. Reach us through our website, or by calling 855-504-0005 – we can’t wait to serve you.

Using Your Fireplace During a Power Outage (& Other Tips)

We’ve all heard a spooky story that starts, “It was a dark and stormy night…” That sentence often starts scary stories because darkness can be…well…scary. Darkness creates hazards that we aren’t ready for. 

a lit white candle held up to a fuse box in the darkTo combat the dark, we have created a lot of things that provide us light – even in dark places. Walk into a dark room, flip a switch, and suddenly you can see everything. Even, the average neighborhood provides pedestrians enough light to take walks at night along well-lit sidewalks and streets. Light is everywhere and it provides us safety.

But what happens when the light goes out? Lords Chimney knows that electricity isn’t always a guarantee. Power outages can happen suddenly and without warning, and when they do we find ourselves plunged into a dark world…and that dark and stormy night goes from a scary story to a scary and dangerous situation.

Knowing what to do when the lights go out is important for maintaining the safety of your home and the people living in it. That’s why Lords Chimney wants to provide you with some tips and tricks to staying safe when the power goes out. And if you need chimney sweep and fireplace repair services, don’t hesitate to count on us.

Find New Light Sources

Let’s face it – we all leave things lying around the house sometimes…and when the lights go out those things can be disastrous. It’s hard enough not to step on your kid’s jagged LEGO bricks when you can see. Remove the lights and your floors become a minefield of clothing, toys, your latest online purchase, books, pet beds, throw pillows, and whatever else can trip you up.

Simply put, seemingly innocuous things in the light suddenly become hazards waiting to take your feet out from under you and send you into a wall when it’s dark.

Not all light requires power that comes from the electric grid, however! Quickly get light into your hands and into your living spaces. Lighting a fire in your fireplace or wood stove provides light to your whole living space. It also has the added benefit of providing a little warmth on those chillier southeastern Texas nights.

In addition to a fire, get battery operated flashlights into the hands of anyone who needs to be walking around your home. Even a candle can provide some light in a pinch!

Lords Chimney has a team of technicians that will help you maintain your fireplace, wood stove, and chimney system, so that it’s always ready for such a time as this. Having your system ready to go has so many advantages (even when there are no issues with power to your home), but when the power goes out, the light, warmth, comfort, and safety a fireplace provides makes it one of the most important tools in your belt.

Get Connected

Establishing communication with anyone you can will help you as you navigate what steps you are going to take during the power outage. Talking to your neighbors will help you figure out whether your home is the only one experiencing the problem or if the issue is community wide.

Using your charged up cellular service can provide you with access to outside sources that can help forecast the extent of the problem and even how long it might last. In extreme cases, having access to a radio can allow you to continue to communicate with people, pool resources and information, and give and receive help when needs arise.

Prepare Ahead of Time

The best way to make sure you take the right steps after a power outage is to make sure you are ready before the power outage takes place. While it doesn’t happen often, it isn’t abnormal for the power to go out at times. Having a few things ready for such an occasion will only offer benefits. Here’s what we suggest always having on-hand:

  • someone warming their feet by a fireplace while reading a bookFlashlights & Batteries: As mentioned earlier, flashlights or battery-powered lanterns are essential for providing light during a power outage. Ensure you have enough batteries to keep these devices operational.
  • First Aid Kit: A well-stocked first aid kit is a must-have in any emergency situation. Include basic medical supplies, such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any prescription medications you or your family members may need.
  • Non-Perishable Food & Water: Keep a supply of non-perishable food items, such as canned goods, granola bars, and dried fruits. Additionally, have enough bottled water to last for at least three days. If you have a fireplace, consider stocking up on easy-to-cook meals that can be prepared using its heat.
  • Blankets & Warm Clothing: Without electricity, your home may become colder than usual. Have blankets, sleeping bags, and warm clothing available to help retain body heat and stay comfortable.
  • Portable Phone Chargers: Maintain communication with the outside world by having a portable phone charger. These devices can be powered by batteries, solar energy, or hand-cranking, providing a reliable source of energy for your mobile devices.
  • Entertainment: To stave off boredom during a power outage, especially if it lasts for an extended period of time, have books, board games, or other forms of entertainment on hand. Keeping your mind engaged can help alleviate stress.

Equipped with these things and a ready to use fireplace or wood stove will put you in a great position to wait out the next power outage that comes your way.

Lords Chimney Is Here To Help

At Lords Chimney, our team of experts can help you with any of your home heating appliance needs – from installing a new fireplace or wood stove to cleaning and maintaining your chimney systems. Call us today and allow us to help you make sure your home is ready to provide you with all the light and warmth you will need to make that dark and stormy night not so dark and not so scary. You can also reach out to us online!

NYE Fireplace & Fireside Traditions

Each year the entire globe will turn their attention to the clock as the final day of the year, December 31st winds down and January 1st of the next year kicks off. For one moment everything else seems to take a backseat to the hope that comes with ringing in the New Year.

Around the world there are a vast array of traditions and celebrations that remember the blessings of the past year and make way for a new and – hopefully – better year ahead. And many of these said traditions happen around a warm and cozy fire in the fireplace.

What Are Some New Year’s Eve Fireside Traditions?

Lords Chimney knows how important it is that your fireplace is working the way it should, always providing you, your friends, and your family the warm, cozy, environment that you deserve. This is why we have the most highly trained, knowledgeable, and experienced technicians available for those in the Houston and Beaumont area. The traditions that you create around your fireplace are important to you and your community. That makes them important to us!

Explore some of the fireside traditions people have throughout the world. And if you need an inspection or repair scheduled, reach out to us today!

🔥 Drinking Your Wish in Russia

someone hold a small white piece of paper that is just starting to burnRussia boasts a unique New Year’s Eve tradition involving fire. According to Russian belief, the initial chime of midnight acts as a gateway to new beginnings, presenting individuals with a single chance to entreat the universe for their most cherished wish.

To partake, one must patiently await the stroke of twelve. Once it hits, they write their wish on a small piece of paper, ignite it, and capture resulting ashes in a champagne glass – then, it’s down the hatch before the final second of midnight elapses.

Allegedly, successfully completing this ritual within the allotted time may lead to the fulfillment of the desired wish.

🔥 Cutting Apples in the Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, people try to get a glimpse of what might be in store for them in the new year. It is believed that you can judge how lucky or cursed you will be based on what shape is contained within an apple.

Each New Year’s Eve, family members will slice an apple in half while sitting around their fireplace. If the shape of a star surrounds the core of the apple, you are in for a lucky twelve months ahead. If the shape of a cross appears, however, you may be in for a pretty rough year.

🔥 Wave Jumping in Brazil

Each December 31st in Brazil people from all over the world show up on the beaches to pay homage to Yemoja, the goddess of the sea. Wading into the shallows, these beach goers jump over seven waves as the clock counts down to midnight. Jumping these waves, while bearing gifts, trinkets, and flowers, is believed to appease Yemoja and gain for you her good luck.

Of course, after spending a chilly night in the waves, warming up by the fireplace is a must!

🔥 Hogmanay in Scotland

filled wine glasses by an ice bucket with champagne and other New Year's Eve decorThe most important holiday in Scotland is Hogmanay, which is a celebration of the final day of the year. Coming from ancient Celtic practices and beliefs, this holiday takes to the streets to ring in the New Year. While the celebration is technically in honor of only one day, the city of Edinburgh has extended the festivities into a three day lead up to the New Year – that makes it one of the biggest New Year’s Eve parties in the world. 

Dancing, singing, fire throwing, fireworks, torchlight parades, and bagpipers blasting away through the streets all mark this as a unique and fitting holiday.  Of course, party goers need places to break from the celebration and warm up – which is why many homes keep their fireplaces lit and available to the chilly party goer.

🔥 A New Year’s Kiss in Germany

This tradition has become pretty familiar to many throughout the world. In Germany, it is considered good luck to receive a kiss at the stroke of midnight. A midnight kiss is meant to bring good luck and long lasting love to the couple who participates. And what better place to complete this act than in front of a warm and cozy fireplace?

🔥 The Ball Drop in the United States

Throughout the United States people will gather in homes, sit around the fire, and watch the festivities in New York City. When midnight approaches the countdown begins and a giant ball is dropped in Times Square marking the beginning of a new year.

Lords Chimney Is Here for You

At Lords Chimney, we realize that the most important traditions happen around the warmth and light of your fireplace. That’s why we make sure to provide our customers with the best service available. Call us today to schedule your inspection and cleaning, and let us help make your New Year’s Eve celebration one to remember.