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!

7 Common Questions About Chimney Sweepings & Inspections

This is the time of year when people start thinking about putting their fireplace to more frequent use, so it’s not uncommon for us to get a lot of questions and phone calls regarding proper fireplace care and maintenance. If you find yourself wondering about inspections, sweepings, and more, check out some of the more common inquiries we get by reading below.

1) When should I start thinking about getting my fireplace swept and inspected in Houston?

sweep with tool sweeping chimneyMost people start thinking about scheduling their inspection right around this time of year. Fall is just around the corner, families start planning for the holidays, and homeowners suddenly realize that they better make sure their appliances 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.

Needless to say, if you need work done, you will want to reach out as soon as you can! 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 right away.

Then, next year, make sure to stay 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.

2) Do you need to get an inspection done every year, no matter what?

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.

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!

3) In terms of getting inspections done, is it just about how much you burn or is it also about heavy rain, hurricanes, and other major weather events?

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.

4) Most people know what sweeping a chimney sweeping consists of, but they don’t know what an inspection entails. Can you explain?

While a sweeping entails actually removing creosote out of the chimney with the use of brushes and vacuums, an inspection is what comes before that. Basically, we send cameras up your flue to check for any signs of cracking, deterioration, water damage, and more.

In the end, inspections are more about preventing more damages from occurring later on. We will also be able to tell what has happened to your system in the past (for instance, if it experienced a lightning strike or storm damage), which is especially good to know if you are buying a home. Home inspectors will quickly shine a flashlight in the appliance, then make a fast assumption on where you’re at. They aren’t actually required to look over a good portion of the chimney, which is a bit unsettling!

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

5) Are there any sure fire signs that you have waited too long to get a chimney swept?

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.

6) What’s the difference between using a creosote sweeping log and getting a professional chimney sweeping completed?

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.

7) How do I know I have hired the right chimney sweep for the job?

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. And keep in mind that some businesses will certify one sweep, claim the status, then fail to indicate that other team members (likely the ones coming to your home) are, in fact, not certified.

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.

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. 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.

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!

Ready To Enjoy Your Fireplace During The Holidays? Schedule Today!

Anyone with a fireplace knows how much they enhance the atmosphere of any holiday gathering. A fireplace adds something special to any room. It also enhances the cheerful and festive mood that every homeowner seeks throughout the holiday season!

That being said, it’s important to take the proper precautions to ensure your appliance runs safer and more efficiently all season long. That’s why it’s vital to get your annual inspection on the books now, before your start throwing get-together’s and inviting guests over. Call the staff at Lords Chimney today, and we’ll get an appointment set up right away!

Running A Safer Fireplace

If you’re lighting fires in your home, you want to ensure your fireplace system is functioning as safely as possible. Keeping guests and family members safe is always the top priority, so your chimney needs to be in tip top shape throughout your entire burning season! By investing in annual inspections, you ascertain that no necessary repairs and/or sweepings are needed before you start lighting fires. And neglecting this regular maintenance could land you in some serious trouble!

One issue that may occur is the build up of creosote. Creosote forms as fires burn in your wood-burning fireplace, and it’s a highly flammable substance. Since it’s prone to catching fire, you want to make sure it doesn’t accumulate. Otherwise, you may be dealing with a chimney fire before you know it!

Chimney fires not only weaken the entire structure of your chimney. They make it unsafe for everyday use, too! Gaps will quickly form, leaving your home and roof vulnerable to stray flames. The worst part is, many of these fires occur unnoticed. You could be using your fireplace, without even realizing you’re at risk! It’s not worth putting off this important maintenance – call us in today.

Ensuring Efficiency

Besides making sure that everything is running safely, annual inspections help enhance the efficiency of your appliance overall. You wouldn’t want to run a fireplace that is only providing minimal heat output, would you? That’s not cost effective at all, and it makes for a frustrating evening! All parts need to be in good condition in order for everything to work together cohesively. Call us in, and we’ll make sure you’re good to go!

Avoiding Expensive Repairs

Repairs that go unaddressed will only get worse over time and, if things weaken too much, your chimney may settle or collapse. Cracks, holes, and other issues in your chimney’s structure need to be addressed as soon as possible to avoid further (and more costly) issues down the line. Inspect in affordable maintenance now to bypass expensive repairs down the line!

Along with this, repairs take time and, with the busy season underway, we want to make sure we have the time and manpower to address every one of our customers’ issues. Call us at Lords Chimney today, so we can be sure to get any other required services done before your next holiday party or event. We can’t wait to help you out soon!