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.

new-year-chimney-sweeping-houston-tx-lords-chimney

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!

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!

Common Questions About Chimney Sweepings & Inspections

If you find yourself wondering about chimney inspections, sweepings, and more, check out some of the more common inquiries we get by reading below.

When Should I Schedule My Chimney Sweep & Inspection in Houston?

two people's feet with cozy socks on them propped up by a fireplaceMost people start thinking about scheduling their inspection right around the time school starts and people start bringing out pumpkin decor. When fall is just around the corner, families start planning for the holidays, and homeowners suddenly realize that they better make sure their fireplaces are in good working order.

Unfortunately, because everyone tends to think the same thing at the same time, we get a lot of appointment requests throughout September, October, and November. That means, as things fill up, repairs and inspections will book out later and later as the year progresses – and if you want a well-working fireplace by Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s much more likely to happen if you get in touch with us on the earlier side.

Long story short: We recommend staying ahead of the curve by scheduling your inspection during late spring or early summer. May, June, and July are all ideal months to get your maintenance booked in a timely manner, and you’ll be more likely to get your appointment on a day and time that’s convenient for you.

What Are the Levels of Chimney Inspections?

There are three different levels of chimney inspection designated by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). A CSIA-certified chimney sweep can help advise you on what level of chimney inspection your home needs.

  • Level I: A level I chimney inspection is the simplest kind of chimney inspection and is all that is needed for most homes that receive regular fireplace and chimney maintenance. During these, the chimney tech will visually inspect all accessible portions of the interior and exterior of the chimney for signs of deterioration or damage.
  • Level II: Level II chimney inspections are used if there has been a major change to the fireplace system, or if you are preparing to sell or purchase a home. This kind of chimney inspection often involves the use of technology such as closed-circuit cameras as well as accessing areas of your home such as attics, basements, or crawl spaces.
  • Level III: A Level III chimney inspection is the most in-depth – and most invasive – type of chimney inspection. For this reason they are only recommended in cases where serious structural damage is suspected, such as after an earthquake, chimney fire, or other natural disaster. During a Level III chimney inspection, portions of the chimney structure may need to be removed in order to better access areas of damage.

Do I Need a Chimney Inspection Every Year?

The National Fire Protection Association Standard (NFPA) 211 says, “chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances.“

Yes – an inspection should be completed every year to ensure optimal functioning. This way if there are small problems (like a small leak, crack, etc.), we can catch them while they are still minor and relatively easy to fix. If you wait until the issues are big and obvious, they will be much more expensive and time-consuming to fix.

Hiring a certified chimney professional is always your best bet and ensures you don’t wind up paying more for the home than you should. And you’ll have all of your bases covered when it comes to insurance, too – well worth it!

All in all, preventative maintenance is always better on your budget, schedule, and stress levels, so don’t hesitate to get that yearly inspection on the books!

What Influences the Need for Inspections? Regular Use or Weather?

The short answer here is… both! If you put your fireplace to lots of use, then you’ll definitely want it checked over for damages and build-up because both of these things can lead to some serious and dangerous issues down the line.

But bad weather will often lead to some major problems, too. Hurricanes, tornadoes, and the like can compromise your structural integrity a great deal, and by documenting your structure both before and after a natural disaster, you ensure your tracks are covered when it comes to getting compensation from your insurance company.

What Are Signs I Need a Chimney Inspection?

Other than experiencing a chimney fire, most signs of creosote build-up aren’t all that obvious. You won’t truly know where you are at until you get an official inspection completed by a team of qualified sweeps.

Do Creosote Sweeping Logs Work?

When it comes to creosote sweeping logs, the name can be a bit deceiving. While they can make the creosote in your chimney easier for the professional to remove, they don’t actually remove the harmful substance.

These products should never replace an actual professional sweeping, and they will not clean your chimney. All in all, they’re not bad for your chimney, but they may not be worth the money you pay for them.

How Can I Pick the Right Chimney Company?

There are a few main things to keep in mind when hiring a sweep.

  • The first is whether or not they’re trained (and trained correctly). A surefire to know this is by checking for proper certifications and memberships from organizations like the CSIA, the NFI, and the NCSG.
  • You’ll also want to make sure they use an actual camera to look your system over, have a physical office that you can check in with if issues arise, and hold all necessary insurance and liability policies.
  • Take some time and check out online reviews. What customers are saying, and how the company responds to these comments – both good and bad – says a lot.

Do I Need a Chimney Inspection Before Moving?

If you are moving out of a house with a chimney, moving into one with a chimney, or both, scheduling a level 2 inspection is necessary before any final decisions are made. This more in-depth look into your chimney will ensure all parts are working properly, and that no extra repairs are needed before the buying or selling process begins.

We want to help all of your major life transactions go as smoothly as possible. Invest in an inspection from us and get the guidance and reassurance you deserve!

What Can I Expect When I Hire Lords Chimney?

When it comes to providing you with quality service, the staff at Lords Chimney goes above and beyond – and we check all the boxes.

  • We implement all of the proper footwear and coverings, so that your home stays clean and damage-free throughout our entire inspection process.
  • We will use top of the line equipment to search every nook and cranny and, should you need a cleaning, we’ll get that covered, too!
  • Don’t worry about a mess. We’ll clean up everything, so your home will look just as good as it did before our arrival.
  • Should we note any necessary repairs, we will offer sound advice as far as proceeding forward.

All in all, here at Lord’s Chimney, we believe communication is a key component in quality customer service, which is why you get an actual picture or video of the technician that is coming to your home, along with their certifications.

Call or Book Online Today

You can bet that we’ve got everything necessary to provide you with the highest level of care, so don’t hesitate to reach out now.

Call or book online today.

Nest Removal & Your Chimney

Are birds and other animals building nests in your chimney? This may seem harmless, but it can actually put your system and loved ones at risk. However, if you investing in sweepings, cleanings, and nest removal services, it can help maintain and keep your chimney and fireplace clean and safe. At Lords Chimney, you can count on our team to get the job done right.

The Threats Of Debris In Your Flue

squirrel If nesting or any kind gets lodged inside of your flue or chimney, you could face serious dangers when it comes time to light a fire. First of all, these materials are fire hazards. If they ignite, you could find yourself facing a chimney fire. These events can also cause extensive damage throughout your structure, which will require time-consuming and costly repair work before you can light a fire again.

Excess build up can also clog up your system, meaning smoke and poisonous gases could easily work their way into your home. If smoke does not successfully exit your chimney, you will have a smoke-filled living space. This can cause your furniture, curtains, and carpet to stink. It can also lead to carbon monoxide exposure, which can be deadly. The risk of illness, house fires, and even death increase dramatically when you have clogs and obstructions in your chimney. So why put your family and home at risk? Call our team of experts today to put your mind at ease.

How Can We Help?

At Lords Chimney, we would love to help keep your home and chimney as safe as possible. Along with nest removal, we can remove animals too. Be sure to consult with us first though. Some species, like the chimney swift, are protected by law and cannot be removed. In these cases, you will need to wait until they leave on their own, then we can come and remove their nests. We also recommend preventative measures to keep animals out of your chimney such as a chimney cap. Chimney caps are known for their ability to keep out water, but they can also keep out animals and excess debris, as well.

Finally, you should consider investing in your annual sweeping this spring or summer. Our CSIA certified technicians are qualified to remove creosote, nests, and other debris that could be hindering your fireplace’s performance. Once we have swept your system, you will be able to rest easy knowing your system and family is safe. Call on our team today, so you are all set and ready to go when cooler fall temperatures come back around!

Smoke In Your Living Space? Common Chimney Draft Problems & How To Resolve Them

Uh-oh. Is smoke stinking up your living room? If you and your family members come face-to-face with smoke back-up every time you try to run your fireplace, then there is something likely prohibiting proper draft and air flow. This is uncomfortable and can pose some health risks, as well. Along with this, poor drafting can increase the likelihood of experiencing carbon monoxide exposure. All in all, it’s an issue that needs to be resolved before kicking off your next burning period.

Let us help you out, so you don’t have to stress this upcoming holiday season. The CSIA certified team at Lords Chimney can troubleshoot your chimney woes and get you back to where you need to be in a hurry. Give us a call today!

Clogs & Build UpFire wood burn in a fireplace

Sometimes a homeowner experiences draft and air floe issues because their chimney is simply too dirty. Creosote may have built up or perhaps birds or other critters have dragged in sticks and other nesting materials. Or it could just be that bad weather has blown in a lot of outside debris. No matter the case, a sweeping is necessary.

If clogs are the problem, then we can have your drafting issues resolved in no time. A thorough and in-depth cleaning will ensure anything blocking the smoke’s pathway out of your chimney is cleared out. Once we’re done, you can enjoy countless cozy fires evening after evening. Sound idyllic after a long day? Then, get in touch with us right away!

Damages & Poor Construction

In other cases, poor air flow is caused by some type of damage within the system. If you’re facing leaks or if there is cracking and crumbling throughout the structure, your chimney simply won’t be able to vent as efficiently.

Along with this, improper construction plays a large role in your chimney’s ability to guide out necessary vapors. Your system may have been built incorrectly to begin with, in which case, we would need to set up a time to do some reconstruction work. Whether your chimney is too tall, too short, too small, or too big, we can find the right solution for you, so you don’t have to deal with these problems ever again.

Do You Need A New Damper?

Sometimes drafting issues are due to something complicated like structural damage or an incorrect firebox size, but other times it’s as simple as replacing your damper! Having our team come in and inspect your entire system is always the best bet when dealing with draft and air flow issues, and it helps homeowners avoid jumping the gun and investing in big repair jobs when a simple replacement part was all that was needed.

Let us install a top-sealing damper for your system as soon as possible. These newer models work more efficiently than throat dampers, and they’ll provide you with the tight seal you’re looking for to keep out any cooler temps that may come our way.

No matter what, Lords Chimney is here to help. Work with the best and schedule an appointment with our team now.

Preparing For Winter & The Holiday Season

As the cool weather approaches, it’s wise to ensure you home is ready for potentially harsh weather conditions. Winter in Texas is fairly mild, but this doesn’t mean we don’t get storms and cold days, so it’s always best to be prepared. Investing in extra insulation, stocking up on supplies and weatherstripping are all good practices to implement as temperatures start to drop.

Don’t forget to ensure your fireplace and chimney are ready too. On cold nights, lighting a fire and relaxing with family is wonderful, and there’s no doubt that a crackling flame sets the perfect aesthetic for any holiday gathering. Call the experienced and certified team at Lords Chimney now, to ensure you’re ready to tackle fall and winter this year. We’re eager to help you!

Schedule An Inspection

Preparing For Winter & The Holiday Season - Houston TX - Lords ChimneyAn inspection is always recommended before the beginning of each burning season. The CSIA recommends scheduling at least one inspection per year to ensure your chimney system is ready to operate. This is a simple step to help keep your appliance functioning more efficiently and to keep your family safe.

Invest In Necessary Repairs & Preventative Maintenance

Once we’ve assessed your chimney, we’ll be able to offer advice on the best solutions to necessary repairs, cleanings, and regular maintenance. If cracks or crumbling have developed in your structure, it’s vital to have these issues addressed immediately to prevent further damage. This type of deterioration could easily lead to bigger problems, and it could put you and your loved ones at risk of experiencing chimney fires, house fires, gas leaks, and more.

You’ll also want address all water damage to your masonry chimney. If bad weather occur, an unprotected masonry chimney can face all kinds of issues. Your brickwork is very absorbent, meaning moisture easily soak in and start to cause decay and deterioration. Water could easily enter your chimney to trigger clogs, leaks, and other damage.

We offer all types of repair and reconstruction work, along with an array of other solutions to protect your chimney. This include chimney waterproofing, chimney cap installation, flashing repair, and more. Once we’re through, you’ll be able to enjoy a safer and more comfortable holiday season next to your fireplace. It’s worth the investment to protect your home and family, so call our crew today!

Don’t Skimp On Maintenance Down The Line

Guarantee your chimney and fireplace is in great shape by counting on our team. No matter the weather, we can help you! Get in touch with us now – we’re ready to serve you!