Fire Safety & Maintenance

Keeping the focus on safety

Our clients’ safety is important to us, and at Lords Chimney, we want to do everything we can to help you minimize the possibility of fire hazards in or around your chimney system, from regular chimney maintenance to necessary repairs. That also includes helping you develop short-term and long-term fire safety plans that add up to a cleaner and better-performing system.

Maintenance Sets The Stage

peace of mind

This list of smart practices will help you continue using your heating appliance as safely as possible.

Every Time You Use Your Fireplace

Use the right fuel

Wet or green wood results in an increase in creosote in your flue, and more creosote means a bigger chance of creosote ignition. Use kiln-dried or seasoned firewood (or make sure you dry your own wood for at least a year before using it) — that helps you achieve the optimum small, hot fire, creating the lowest levels of creosote. Stay away from burning trash, Christmas trees, cardboard boxes or anything else that isn’t seasoned firewood, too — and never ever try to speed up lighting your fire by using any kind of flammable liquid.

Don’t leave your fire unattended

If you’re burning wood, it takes a while for the fire to thoroughly extinguish. Don’t leave a smoldering fire alone — if sparks or embers get out of the firebox or another problem arises, you need to be there to handle it.

Use a spark screen

Fireplace screens are affordable and useful — placed in front of the fire, they can create a barrier between flames/embers and your living area and the people and pets in it.

Keep things clean

Make sure you clean wood ash regularly, in the right way: Deposit ash in a metal bucket, and allow it to cool completely before disposing of it a safe distance away from your home. Whatever fuel you’re burning, keep the area around your fireplace or stove clean — keep a good distance between the appliance and anything flammable, from furniture and window coverings to decorative items.

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Things You Should Schedule Annually

Chimney sweeping

Creosote will build up as you use your wood fireplace or stove, and it needs to be regularly removed from your flue for both safety and performance reasons. A cleaner flue is a safer and a more efficiently venting flue, and Lords Chimney can help.

Chimney inspections

If something goes wrong in your chimney system, you want to know about it — damaged parts and components can lead to leaks and water damage, dangerous carbon monoxide leaks and fire hazards. So keeping up with your recommended annual chimney inspection is important. 

If a cracked flue liner, third stage creosote or any other issue is limiting your chimney’s safety and efficiency, Lords Chimney can find the problem and suggest and complete the work necessary to fix it.

Don’t Forget About Your Dryer Vents!

We talk a lot about fire safety associated with fireplaces, stoves and chimneys, but your dryer vent needs your attention too. Lint-clogged dryer vents can become a serious fire hazard — according to estimates from the National Fire Protection Association, dryers or washing machines were involved in nearly 17,000 home fires in 2010, and the most prominent cause of those fires was a failure to clean.

As you use your dryer, lint slowly builds up along the ducts, and over time, that build-up can begin to constrict the vent. That blockage allows heat to build up, and since lint is extremely flammable, that heat can cause it to ignite.

Dryer Vent Cleaning - Before

Keeping your dryer vents clean limits that possibility — and Lords Chimney can help with dryer vent cleaning services.

If you have any questions about safer fireplace, stove and chimney practices – or dryer vents – Lords Chimney is always here to help. Just give us a call!

The Importance of Summer Repairs & Maintenance

Summertime repairs and maintenance are an important part of chimney care, but it’s something homeowners tend to neglect or put on the back burner. Why is this? Well, many associate chimney care with fall and winter since that’s when their fireplace is typically put to more frequent use.

Lords Chimney - Before Repairs

Unfortunately, putting things off doesn’t always work out for the best.

What often happens is that once fall and the holiday season hit, everyone gets the idea to book chimney maintenance at the same time. This is why we, along with countless other chimney sweep companies, are at our busiest during the later months of the year – and getting that appointment scheduled at a time that’s both available and compatible with your calendar can be a challenge.

And we may come in for that annual inspection only to discover further repairs or maintenance is needed. We could detect high levels of creosote (which means a sweeping would be in order) or we might notice damaged parts or crumbling throughout the system.

Regardless, further appointments will need to be scheduled, putting you back right where you started – booking a slot in a season that is notoriously busy. And your fireplace shouldn’t be put to use until repairs are addressed.

Once cooler, rainier days come around in fall, we’re certain you’ll want to get those fires lit, so don’t put off the care you require any longer. Not to mention, those holiday gatherings come up quicker than you think! We’d hate to hear of get-togethers without that classic roaring fireplace going strong in the living room.

Call today to book an inspection with our team, so you’re all set and ready to go as soon as you’d like this fall. The CSIA-certified sweeps at Lords Chimney perform level 1, 2 and 3 inspections, ensuring you’re covered no matter what and can enter every season with the peace of mind you deserve.

Common Summertime Repairs

So, what are the more common summertime repairs we perform?

  • Tuckpointing: If your old mortar joints are crumbling, missing, or damaged, then tuckpointing services are in order. This is the process of removing that old mortar and replacing it with new, so your system looks great and is supported. And we’ll coordinate colors and material types to ensure your chimney looks polished and flawless at the end of it all.
  • Flashing Repair: The flashing is the piece of metal that covers the area where the roof and chimney meet up. This area is vulnerable to water leaks due to the roofing materials and chimney materials expanding and contracting at different rates. The flashing ensures none of that extra moisture can creep in, and it keeps both your home and your chimney a lot safer.
  • Crown Restoration: Your chimney crown is what sits on top of your chimney, and it helps to both keep water out of your flue and send water out and away from the sides of your chimney. Your crown is exposed to rain, sun, and curious critters, so it’s not uncommon for it to break down, especially if it wasn’t built from appropriate materials in the first place. We have the expertise needed to get yours in tip-top shape, so it stands strong for the long haul.
  • Chimney Cap Replacement: Your cap covers the flue opening to ensure water can’t simply go right down into your chimney and wreak havoc. Chimney caps also work to keep animals out, block downdrafts, stop outside debris from entering, and can even serve as spark arrestors. A strong, supportive cap is a must for any chimney, so be sure to invest in this affordable, worthwhile investment today Firebox Repairs/Rebuilds: The firebox is the area of your system that hosts the fire. It needs to be able to withstand the heat of your fireplace fires, and over time, even the most well-built firebox will face some wear and tear. Whether your unit is prefab or factory-built, this is one spot you don’t want compromised. Let us take a look soon.
  • Relining Work: There are three big jobs your liner completes – protecting your masonry from acidic fumes and heat, protecting your home from fires, and ensuring your system runs as efficiently as possible. We reline with both stainless steel liners and HeatShield®, ensuring you find the best possible fit for your unique needs.
  • And Don’t Forget a Sweeping!

It’s also not unusual for you to require a chimney sweeping in the summer to remove any harmful creosote that’s built up over the winter months. Creosote is highly flammable and it needs to be regularly removed or your chances of experiencing a chimney fire will increase significantly.

We can also remove animals and any nesting materials, so your system will be free of clogs and unwelcome critters. Then, we’ll cap it tightly to ensure nothing can work its way back in down the line.

Get Started by Reaching Out Today

Get on the right track for fall by investing in summer chimney maintenance now. Our sweeps are ready for your call! Dial 281-497-4000 to book your appointment.

The Importance Of Dryer Vent Cleaning

Have you had your dryer vents cleaned out within the last year? If not, it may be time for some professional maintenance. Many underestimate just how vital these services are, but this is one instance where a little work now will pay off a lot down the line.

There are three big reasons we urge homeowners to invest in this maintenance:

  • Heightened Efficiency: Running cycle after cycle trying to get your clothes finally dry? This lack of efficiency isn’t normal, and it doesn’t necessarily mean your dryer is on its last leg either. It could be that your vents simply need a thorough cleaning. Avoid higher energy bills and a lot of wasted time and energy by getting those vents cleared out by an expert soon.
  • Lower Risk of Carbon Monoxide Exposure: Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is colorless, odorless, and very hard to detect. If you have a gas dryer, clogged vents could lead to this gas entering your home, where it would result in serious illness or even be fatal if not detected in time.
  • Reduced Chance of House Fires: Needless to say, combining an overheated appliance with highly flammable lint isn’t a good idea. The biggest cause of dryer-related fires is clogged up vents. These fires are known for causing hundreds of injuries, thousands of dollars in property damage, and numerous deaths every single year.

At Lords Chimney, we’re qualified to clean out your dryer vents, as well as your booster vent and terminations, ensuring you get everything you need from your appliance. Learn more about this process below, and be sure to turn to us for all of your chimney and fireplace needs as well!

Your Booster Vents & Terminations

Now, most can easily point out their dryer vent when asked, but less is known about booster vents and terminations. That said, these parts are important to address and play a big role in keeping your system running safer and more efficiently.

So, what is a booster vent? It’s a vent that is designed to suck exhaust from dryer vents that are longer in length or have lots of turns and twists. This helps to ensure your dryer is not forced to work nearly as hard as it would normally have to, and it keeps it from performing poorly or breaking down prematurely.

Unfortunately, not many homeowners know much about maintaining these devices (or even know where they are), but they actually need to be cleared out at least once every two to three months to stay in tip-top shape. If not given regular attention, your dryer will be working 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.

In the end, a clogged up booster vent will create a huge fire hazard, and it will decrease the efficiency of your appliance significantly. This is one case where some routine maintenance now is a lot more affordable than buying a new dryer or paying for home restoration work after a fire. Not to mention you’ll avoid energy bills and a higher clothes budget (since all those tumbling cycles are sure to wear down your wardrobe in a hurry).

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!

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 typically located on either the side of your home or on the roof, and every single one of them should have a backdraft damper, so air can effectively escape while animals, debris, and backdrafts are blocked out.

In regards to terminations, we recommend investing in metal options that do not have a screen. These will last longer and are more resistant to the elements. And if you don’t have a screen or mesh, then you won’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. Why? With rooftop options, there is less of a chance of experiencing back pressure, and your dryer’s job will be much easier. They’re a bit more expensive, but they’ll end up saving you money on energy bills, and you won’t have to empty your bank account for a new dryer anytime soon either. In the end, they’re a much smarter investment than their on-the-wall counterparts.

Lords Chimney Is Here To Help

When it comes to getting that high-quality care you deserve, the professionals at Lords Chimney are there for you through it all. We can clean the parts of the venting system that you can’t get to, and we even have special cameras that help us get a closer look ensuring nothing is missed along the way.

Along with this, we have the technology to measure the airflow in the venting system, ensuring your home is safer, and your dryer is working as efficiently as possible.

We can also analyze your venting system, taking into account the angles of the ducts, their lengths, and the number of curves, then use this information to make suggestions for a more efficient system.

If you ask us, it is not worth taking any chances, especially when an affordable, professional cleaning and inspection is just a simple phone call away. Don’t wait – schedule your appointment with our experts today!

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.

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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!