Why Do I Need a Chimney Company?

So, you have a fireplace, but it doesn’t get much use. You use it once or twice a year (maybe on a colder day or around the holidays), but other than that it mainly serves as an attractive focal point in your home. Because of this, it shouldn’t need much professional care or maintenance. …right?

Wrong! In fact, believe it or not, refraining from using your fireplace typically causes it to deteriorate more quickly than if you use it on a regular basis.

lords pickup work truck

Like a washer, dryer, refrigerator, or other appliance, your fireplace needs regular attention, no matter how often it’s used. This especially goes for metal prefabricated fireplaces. Learn more below, and be sure to reach out with any questions! We’d love to do all we can to help you out.

Preventing Damages

Think of your fireplace like a car. If you let a car sit in your driveway for years on end without ever starting it up or taking it on a drive, would you expect it to work perfectly when you eventually try to drive it again? Not likely. Fluids likely will have pooled, your battery will probably be dead, and there’s sure to be weather-related wear and tear.

Water Leak Colors are Key

The same goes for your fireplace. Rust and warpage will occur more than usual during long periods of unuse, along with countless moisture-related damages, such as mold growth, deterioration, decay, stains, and more.

What happens when we experience another freeze or you just feel like starting a cozy fire after these issues have occurred? Like the car that was left abandoned, the system is simply not going to function correctly. In fact, you may experience dangers such as smoke and fume backup, an increased risk of house fire, exposure to harmful gases, and more.

Saving Money Long Term

When we come in to inspect your chimney, we’ll look for things like holes, gaps, signs of animal life, warpage, rust, and more. If we can spot and resolve these issues while they’re still small and manageable, the lifespan of your fireplace could be extended significantly.

We’ll also look for parts that need replacing. Some things, like the chimney cap, are fairly easy and inexpensive to replace if spotted in time. That said, if you ignore a broken cap, your system will be exposed to harmful things (like storms, rain, curious animals, and more) that cause a lot more damage overall.

In the end, purchasing a new chimney cap to ensure your system stays protected is a lot cheaper than investing in a time-consuming and costly rebuild or relining job. And the sooner we can react, the better shape your system will stay in, thus preserving resale value and ensuring you can use it when you need to.

Avoiding Unwanted Visitors

Critters in your fireplace? This means something is wrong up top. Animals should never have easy access to your fireplace, and once they get in they can cause a lot of damage. Along with this, animals that are unable to escape may pass away, leaving you with an even bigger mess on your hands.

Another problem has to do with bird’s nesting materials. If birds set up camp in your chimney (an ideal spot for them), the twigs, leaves, and materials that make up their nests can clog things up and affect airflow. A system that cannot properly vent doesn’t do anyone any good. Be sure to get a sweep in to look things over so you can avoid those uninvited guests – especially this time of year.

Assisting in Insurance Claims

If your chimney was damaged due to a natural disaster like a lightning strike, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood, or something similar, your insurance company should be covering the costs to repair it. Unfortunately, they often look for ways around this.

If you have no records on your fireplace, then your insurance company could easily deny your claim stating that there’s no proof the damage caused was due to the event that had just occurred.

That said, if you have a report from your chimney company showing that at the last yearly inspection your system was just fine, getting that money you need for repairs, restorations, and replacement parts won’t be such a challenge.

Ease the Home-Buying Process

Before buying a home, we strongly advise getting a video inspection. This ensures you don’t get caught with big repairs after you finalize the sale.

Home inspectors will tell you if you should have it cleaned or have something looked into, but there’s no way for them to gauge just how extensive certain damage can be. All too often people sign the papers on their dream home, only to realize later that they’re now responsible for thousands of dollars worth of repairs.

Also, keep in mind that if you bought a house and no one has ever used the fireplace, there’s typically a reason for that. The previous homeowner may have used it once only to have something go wrong and never use it again. And if you see freshly painted brick? There are likely smoke stains underneath.

In the end, getting that level 2 inspection done is always worth the peace of mind you gain in the end.

Give Us a Holler

The big takeaway from all of this? If you want to use your fireplace at all – even once – you need an inspection. Even if the system is brand new or rarely used, an inspection is vital. Professional insight can make all the difference when it comes to how safely and efficiently your system operates down the line.

Anything specific you need covered? Send us a message! We’d be happy to answer any and all of your questions. You can reach out to us through our website, give us a call, or even follow us on Facebook or Youtube. It’s Lords Chimney’s goal to keep you as up to date and informed as possible!

What Should Chimney Repairs Cost?

Here at Lords Chimney, it’s not uncommon for customers to ask how much a certain repair or service costs. We get it – you want the job done right, but you also don’t want to overpay for something that really shouldn’t be costing an arm and a leg. Unfortunately this is one question that isn’t always so easily answered.

Think of it this way. If someone were to ask if $20,000 is a good price for a car, would you be able to give them a yes or no answer right off the bat? Of course not. You’d need to know what kind of car it is, how many miles it has, how old it is, what the body looks like, and a whole lot more.

Well, it’s the same with your chimney! There’s not a simple menu of options each with their own specific price point. What you pay for repairs depends on a wide range of factors such as the unit’s health history, its age, its fuel type, the model you have, and the list goes on.

We understand that this type of answer can feel frustrating, especially when you have no idea if you’re paying too much or too little. If you go with the cheapest option and the repairs aren’t up to par, that’s never good, but you don’t want to be cheated out of money just because there aren’t clear guidelines.

The best thing you can do when navigating this process is to turn to a reputable sweep. Learn more about how to find a chimney company you can trust by reading below, and please feel free to rely on us for any questions down the road. Lords Chimney can help with it all!

Chimney Crown Repair - Before

Is the Company You Hire Reputable?

One thing to assess when getting estimates for a repair is whether or not that company is actually qualified for the job. It’s an unfortunate fact that a lot of chimney companies out there will tell you that you’re in need of repairs when you’re not or give an exceptionally pricey estimate just to get that extra money in their pocket.

Another thing to note is that chimney sweeps don’t need licensing and they aren’t required to be certified. If a tech claims to be qualified and trained, do your research to ensure they actually have received formal education. Most of the organizations that certify sweeps (like the CSIA, for example) will have a tool on their website that lets you search to find certified sweeps in your area.

Other things to consider: Do they actually have a storefront or are they working out of their home? Do they have insurance (most will say they do whether this is true or not)? Is the sweep coming to your home actually certified? It’s common for a company to certify a couple of team members, then claim themselves as a certified company. But that doesn’t mean the person working on your chimney has had any formal training.

In the end, the crew at Lords Chimney wants people throughout Houston and its surrounding areas to have only positive experiences within this industry. If you’re unsure about an estimate you’ve received, please reach out and let us take a look! We’ll happily refer you to that company if they have made an accurate assessment and are known for doing a good job.

Be Wary of Online Search Results

In today’s world, doing some quick research online is easier than ever. Online search engines have made our lives easier in a lot of ways, but there are some things that Google just can’t assess like a qualified professional can. And just because you find answers to your questions doesn’t mean those answers are accurate.

Take chimney parts, for example. If you know your damper is broken, then you could easily search “chimney dampers” and get hundreds of results. It may seem like the cheapest one should be fine for you, which may leave you wondering why a chimney tech is charging you more. Well, the damper you’re looking at may be the completely wrong fit or model for your particular setup, meaning what you can quickly order online won’t end up working for your system at all.

Again, it takes the eyes of a knowledgeable and trained professional to actually know where your structure stands, and no amount of online searching is going to give you that accurate and in-depth analysis you’re hoping for.

Your Safety is Always the Priority

All in all, safety should always be the priority – even above the price tag. If an estimate seems especially low, you probably shouldn’t trust it, and likewise with a very high estimate. You deserve to pay a fair price for exceptional work to ensure you and your family can use your fireplace as safely and as comfortably as possible year after year.

So, don’t hesitate to talk with the experienced crew at Lords Chimney today. We’re dedicated to staying as educated and up to date as possible, and if you book an inspection with us we’ll always send a CSIA-certified sweep to perform the assessment. On top of all that, we’re experienced, professional, and have a strong reputation for being fair and honest.

Reach Out Today

The time is now to ensure your chimney is in the best shape possible. Give us a call right away or reach us online or to book an appointment. We look forward to speaking with you soon!

What is HeatShield® & How Does it Work?

There’s no denying the importance of having a well-functioning chimney liner. Chimney liners are known for protecting your home and masonry, as well as increasing fireplace efficiency – without them you’d be experiencing gas leaks, poor air flow, and even house fires. Needless to say, a well-fitted and properly installed liner is vital if you own a fireplace.

If you’ve been given the news that your liner is no longer safe for use, you may be feeling concerned about time restraints, labor costs, and the price of the new liner itself. Fortunately for many, there is a more affordable and seamless option out there – HeatShield®.

Heatshield Resurfacing

Will HeatShield® Work for Me?

The best way to know for sure if HeatShield® is an option for you is to have our CSIA-certified sweeps come out to perform an inspection. In these cases, a level 2 inspection will be needed, which means we’ll use our camera equipment to get an accurate and in-depth look at it all.

HeatShield® can pretty much be done on any brick and mortar chimney that is fitted with terra cotta flue tiles and isn’t gas tight. As long as your chimney isn’t completely destroyed (and is up to code as far as sizing, height, etc.), you should be able to fix it rather than invest in an entirely new system.

Whether you’re dealing with inefficiency or are concerned about potential damage after a chimney fire, lightning strike, flood, or other natural disaster, there’s a good chance we’ll be able to help you out, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

How Does HeatShield® work?

So, let’s say you’ve been told this option will work for you, but you’re still wanting to know what to expect. Well, there are actually two methods we can use to ensure your liner is gas tight from here on out – Joint Repair or the Resurfacing Application. Here’s what to expect from both:

  1. Joint Repair: We’ll start by putting an applicator down into your flue, after which we’ll dump a special mortar-based sealant on top. After that we pull the applicator up and let it fill in all of those gaps and missing mortar joints, so that you’re left with a smooth, tight seal. We’ll end the job with a photo scan, so you can see for yourself how effective this method is!
  2. Resurfacing System: If you’re experiencing cracks or spalling, then HeatShield®’s resurfacing will be the option for you. First, we get all that dust out of your flue, ensuring it is fully primed for the application of our HeatShield® products. Then, we apply a thick, quarter-inch of the mix, allowing your chimney to function efficiently from here on out with a restored, smooth, and totally resurfaced liner.

And again, we’ll send up our cameras for a closer look, so you can see the end results – we’re certain you won’t be disappointed!

More Facts About HeatShield®

What else is there to know about HeatShield®? Here are a few more things that reemphasize how reliable and sound this method is:

  • It comes with a 20-year warranty, so you won’t have to worry about experiencing issues a few years down the line. If it’s peace of mind you’re after, this is definitely one way to get it.
  • It’s environmentally friendly and made from recycled materials.
  • It has been widely tested and consistently proven effective.
  • It can withstand any corrosive gases your fires produce, as well as moisture and temperatures up to 2900°F.
  • The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) rated it a “Super-Duty” refractory mortar.
  • It’s approved for all fuel types.
  • Only carefully selected sweeps are given the opportunity to be HeatSheild® installers – and Lords Chimney has the only ones in the entire Houston area!

How Do I Know if My Liner Needs Work?

If you know you need professional relining services, then you’re now aware of some options we can offer you. But how do you figure out if relining or repair work is needed in the first place? Well one of the more obvious clues is if your fireplace just isn’t working right.

Holes throughout your structure will cause a lot of inefficiency and affect draft and airflow significantly. Smoke will work its way into your home, you’ll notice condensation issues, and your fires won’t burn as strongly.

Smell smoke in your home when lighting fires? This is another sign that your venting system has holes in it. Think of it like a straw that’s cracked or broken. As you attempt to drink your beverage, a lot of the liquid that comes up will simply spill back out through the holes – your chimney works this same way. If you smell smoke it’s because it has worked its way into your home.

But what’s the best way to know if professional care is needed? A level 2 camera inspection. Our high-tech equipment ensures every nook and cranny of your system is observed, so that you know exactly what you need to stay safer and more comfortable as you finish out your burning season.

We’ll look for any cracks, gaps, and damage, but we’ll also note whether or not there are random clean areas amongst your creosote. Essentially, your chimney should either be all clean or all dirty. If it’s mostly dirty with clean patches throughout, then it’s likely you have holes.

Our Award-Winning Team is Here for You

Lords Chimney has been recognized as one of the top chimney sweeps throughout the Houston area, and we’ve received a large number of positive reviews from satisfied customers. We value education, professionalism, and honesty, and we never skimp when it comes to offering exceptional care or top-of-the-line products.

If you’re looking for chimney care that will stand the test of time, then rely on our team today. We’re here for you!

What to Look for if Your Fireplace Isn’t Working

So, you’re all set to put your fireplace to use, but something is off. Whether there’s a slight issue you can’t quite pinpoint or something big and obvious, you’re not getting the experience you’re hoping for and you want to find solutions fast. But where do you start?

Well, here at Lords Chimney, we know that the more educated homeowners are, the safer they’ll be able to operate their appliances. That’s why we’re here to give you the lowdown on what to look out for in both gas-fueled and wood-burning fireplaces and appliances.

Fireplace Troubleshooting

For Your Gas Appliances

When it comes to operating a gas appliance, one thing we urge all of our customers to do is trust their senses. Your nose, for example, is more sensitive than you might think – if something smells off, it’s likely you have some type of gas leak.

Another indicator is burning eyes or even the “feeling” of something being off. In other words, trust your spidey senses! If your stomach is upset, your head hearts, you’re feeling dizzy, or something else along those lines and you have nothing to blame it on, there could be carbon monoxide in your home.

Now, in the case of a carbon monoxide leak, the biggest warning sign is your carbon monoxide detector going off. Don’t have a carbon monoxide detector? Then it’s time to invest in one! It could make all the difference in keeping you and your loved ones safer.

If your detectors do start beeping, it’s important to leave the area immediately and call the appropriate authorities for assistance. Carbon monoxide causes hundreds of deaths every single year, so this is one substance you can never be too careful with.

Another thing to keep in mind when working with gas appliances is to check your batteries. Believe it or not, some homeowners call in a sweep to check on an appliance that’s not working only to discover the batteries were in backwards.

If your carbon monoxide detectors aren’t going off and your batteries look good, but problems are still occurring, it’s time to call us in for an inspection. Most gas appliances are designed to automatically shut down when your safety may be threatened. The unit could be overheating, not venting correctly or maybe the oxygen levels are off.

And in some cases, it’s the safety feature itself that isn’t working. Regardless, the entire system will need to be checked out, so a visit from our team is always a great first step.

For Your Wood-Burning Fireplace

When it comes to a wood-burning fireplace, a common sign that something is off is smoke in your living space. Now, in many cases you’ll actually see the smoke entering, but sometimes you’ll smell it without seeing any in your home. Many love that classic smoke-y smell and think it’s normal, but it actually shouldn’t be present. If you smell smoke at all, something is wrong, and it’s time to call in the experts

What does smoke in your space typically indicate? Well, there are a number of things that cause this. You could have excess creosote build-up, clogs in your flue, incorrect chimney dimensions, poor draft or air flow, a stuck damper, or some type of masonry damage. Fortunately, our team has the tools and training to spot and resolve the issues in no time.

It’s also important to keep an eye on your masonry. If it’s showing any signs of cracking or crumbling, then there’s likely water damage. Ignoring water damage leads to inefficiency and costly repairs, and it can even trigger a house fire, gas leak, or chimney fire if too much damage is done.

We have preventive services that can help, including waterproofing, flashing installation, crown repair, and more.

When Will My Fireplace Need Replacing?

Sometimes repair work simply isn’t an option if the damage is too extensive or if your system is too old. So, how do you know when it’s time to invest in a new unit altogether? Well, our team can help with that, too.

The fact of the matter is that if you know how your chimney is supposed to work, then you’ll know when it’s time for repairs or replacement parts. Lords Chimney can help you gain the necessary knowledge to know when it’s time to hire someone for professional care. We’re happy to keep homeowners as informed and as educated as possible.

One thing is for certain – you don’t want to wait until the system completely fails before investing in care from a certified sweep. This is when major accidents happen, and you could end up putting your home and family at risk.

In the end, it’s important to remember that fireplaces, stoves, inserts, and the like are all appliances that will eventually need to be replaced. Fireplaces are known for their longevity, so it’s easy to forget that. Yet, if you buy a home that’s decades old with the original unit still installed, just know that you might be replacing it sooner than you think.

Basically, when we come to look at your system, anything over 20 years old will get a bid for replacement. This will give you an approximate estimate as far as when a new system will be in order so that you can start planning for it (and saving up).

If we take a look and realize that you need something new right away, it’s important that you stop using your appliance until a new one is installed. If a new one isn’t in the budget, shut your fireplace down until it is. Your safety and satisfaction depend on it!

Pick Up the Phone & Reach Out Today

Regular maintenance is vital for good chimney health, so if you have yet to schedule your annual inspection then it’s time to reach out to the Lords Chimney team today at 281-497-4000 or you contact us online! We look forward to helping you out soon!

The Importance Of Dryer Vent Cleaning

Are you running your dryer two or three times only to realize your clothes still aren’t getting fully dry? Do you smell a smokey/musty odor when running your dryer? When your dryer turns off does a humming noise come from the appliance? All of these are clear-cut warning signs that your vents, as well as your booster vent and terminations, may need some attention. Here at Lords Chimney, we’re qualified to help with it all.

What Is A Booster Vent?dryer vent in ceiling

Not sure what a booster vent is exactly? If you have a duct system that is long or has lots of turns, then it’s very likely you have a booster vent in place. It is designed to suck exhaust from the dryer vent, thus ensuring your dryer is not forced to work nearly as hard as it would normally have to.

Clearly these devices play a very important role in keeping your appliance functioning as safely and as efficiently as possible, but unfortunately, not many homeowners owners know much about maintaining them. In fact, some hardly notice they’re even there! The truth is that these pieces of equipment actually need to be cleared out at least once every two to three months, and if not given regular attention, they’ll force your dryer to work overtime. There’s also a hose that helps with the pressure system that is prone to fall apart, and if damaged will need replacing right away.

As you can imagine, the harder your dryer works, the fewer years it will last, and you could be looking at some expensive damages down the line, too. Along with this, a clogged up booster vent creates a huge fire hazard! In the end, some routine maintenance now is a lot more affordable than buying a new dryer or paying for home restoration work after a fire. Combine all that with increased energy bills and a higher clothes budget (since all those tumbling cycles are sure to wear down your wardrobe in a hurry), and you’ll be looking at a big dent in your bank account.

It’s a no-brainer – call on our team to check things over today. We’ll ensure you’re set up right in no time!

All About Terminations

Another area we are happy to help you with is terminations. These are the spots where your vents end and the fumes from your dryer then safely escape out of your home. These are located on either the side of your home or the roof, and every single one of them should have a backdraft damper. These ensure air can effectively escape, as well as prevent animals, debris, and backdrafts from getting in.

In regards to terminations, we recommend investing in metal devices that do not have a screen. Metal options simply last longer and stand the test of time against the elements, and if you don’t have a screen or mesh, then you don’t run into scenarios where lint and other things are building up and creating clogs.

Also, if possible, we urge all of our customers to invest in the rooftop terminations over the ones on the sides of your home. Why? Well, these are known for creating no back pressure, which then makes your dryer’s job much easier. In the end, your system will face less stress, which will help it last longer, and it won’t have to run as long to get your clothes dry, which will then have a welcome effect on your energy bills. These devices cost a bit more upfront, but in the end, they’re a much smarter investment than their on-the-wall counterparts.

What Risks Do I Face If Maintenance Is Avoided?

All in all, your vents, terminations, and booster vents need to be cleared out regularly, and investing in professional care is the only way to ensure the job gets done right. Avoiding these services puts your home at serious risk, and we can assure you that you’ll wind up paying a lot more down the line for repair services and replacement parts than you would for a simple and affordable cleaning now.

What could happen if maintenance is avoided? The main concern is dryer fires. Thousands of dryer fires occur across the country every single year, and these result in hundreds of injuries, multiple deaths, and thousands of dollars worth of damage. Needless to say, combining flammable lint with a system that’s overheating doesn’t result in a good scenario.

Another concern is carbon monoxide exposure. Carbon monoxide could easily pour back into your home if your vents are backed up, and this colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas is impossible to detect with basic human senses. This deadly substance is known as a silent killer, and many are hospitalized due to exposure. Avoiding it at all costs is vital!

Investing in professional care is a surefire way to prevent mishaps and dangerous scenarios, and you’ll definitely appreciate the added efficiency you gain. We also urge our customers to invest in both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for their home. These should be placed on every level of the property, as well as outside of all bedroom doors to ensure everyone inside is alerted at the first sign of trouble.

Need professional care? The team at Lords Chimney is ready to be here for you every step of the way. Give us a call today.