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Lords Chimney - Chimney Sweep and Fireplace Vent Service
Lords Chimney - Chimney Sweep and Fireplace Vent Service

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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?

Most 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 betternew-year-chimney-sweeping-houston-tx-lords-chimney 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.

How Parging Can Save You Money

Homeowners are always striving to make sure that their homes are in the best shape. This not only includes the way they function, but also the way they look. Chimneys are one part that always seems to get the unappealing visual effects, but now there are ways to fix that. Parging is a mixture that will give your masonry wall a fresh look. To learn more call the technicians at Lords Chimney today!

cracked-masonry-parging-houston-tx-lords-chimney

What is parging?

Parging can be used on almost any indoor or outdoor structure made of concrete, brick, or stone. The mix contains water, lime, and a blend of cement and can be made at your home. However, it is important that every ingredient is measured properly, so if you prefer you can buy a pack at the hardware store and just add water. It is also important to make sure that you are adding just the right amount of water. Mix with too much water can crack, but mix that is short on water may not stick.

Parging is the trick to cover anything that you may not want people to see such as cracks, holes, or water damage, all without costing a fortune. Parging is also sometimes used for sealing off small air leaks, which can overtime improve your electric bill. If you are buying a property you should make sure that none of these errors have been previously covered by parging without being properly fixed. This could cost you more money later if something were to go wrong.

How do you apply parging?

You can apply parging on your own, however it is always recommended that you have a professional do your chimney work. You will need a masonry trowel to apply the mix so you can be sure to get thin layers and reduce the chance of it being too heavy. Also, make sure the walls you are coating are wet so that the mix sticks properly. Parging can be applied to have a smooth look, or a textured look. To get the smooth look keep your trowel wet and apply a second coat after the first has time to dry completely. If you would like, parging can be painted to match other walls.

Basics of a Chimney Inspection

Chimney Inspections and What They Cover

It is highly recommended that homeowners have their chimneys inspected on an annual basis. Having a professional come in to look at the chimney is the best way to spot any potential hazards before they endanger the household. Before finding an inspector to do the job, it is important to understand exactly what should be included in an annual inspection.

One of the first things that a chimney inspector will look at is the structural integrity of the chimney itself. Over time, a chimney can become damaged or weak, especially if there is excessive exposure to rain and snow. They will make sure that the actual structure is still strong and does not pose any risks to the rest of the home.

Although it may seem that you could tell if there was a problem with your chimney, a certified sweep is trained to notice things you wouldn't. Catching small issues can save lots of money in the long run and decrease any safety risks.

Although it may seem that you could tell if there was a problem with your chimney, a certified sweep is trained to notice things you wouldn’t. Catching small issues can save lots of money in the long run and decrease any safety risks.

In addition to looking over the general structure of the chimney, the inspector will look at the individual parts. This will include an inspection of the flue liner and damper, among other important elements. They will be able to tell the homeowner whether any individual parts of their chimney require maintenance or repair. Remember, it is necessary for all parts of the chimney to be in good working condition in order for it to function safely.

A chimney inspector will be able to tell whether there is a buildup of creosote in the chimney. Creosote is the substance left behind after treated wood and coal have been used for making a fire in the fireplace. It can pose a number of different risks, including internal illness and irritations to the skin and eyes. It is also highly flammable, so a home with a buildup of the material is at a greater risk for a chimney fire than those who have it inspected and cleaned.

During a chimney inspection, there may also be evidence of material clogging the chimney. In many cases, this is the result of animals that have made their home in the flue. A clogged chimney is a serious problem because it prevents smoke and gas from exiting the home the way they are supposed to. As a result, a chimney fire could ignite or the family inside of the home could become ill when they are exposed to the gasses.

It takes specialized training and experience to properly and thoroughly inspect a chimney. The Chimney Safety Institute of America is the organization that trains and certifies all qualified chimney technicians. It is necessary to only use a CSIA certified inspector in order to get the most reliable results. The CSIA website offers a useful tool to help find a qualified technician in the area.

To some homeowners, a chimney inspection just seems like an extra chore and an unnecessary expense. However, an annual inspection is the only way to make sure that the chimney is in good working condition and not putting the home — or your family at risk. Be sure to use a chimney inspector who has been trained and certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America in order to get the best results.