Our Company Blog
Whether it’s a musty or moldy smell, a soft drip-drip sound coming from the chimney, or a puddle of water at the bottom of the firebox, a leaky chimney is a problem that cannot be ignored. Left unrepaired, even minor chimney leaks can create major damage throughout your fireplace system.
Thankfully, leaky chimneys don’t have to be a chronic problem. Identifying the source of the water entry and fixing your leaky chimney as soon as possible can prevent serious water damage to your fireplace system or home.
What causes chimney leaks?
Chimneys are built to stand strong against the elements; however, there are still a number of points where water can work its way into the chimney system. The following are some of the most common causes of chimney leaks.
Chimney cap: The chimney cap protects the top of the chimney and keeps moisture, animals, and debris from falling into the chimney. A damaged chimney cap can allow water into the flue, causing damage throughout the fireplace and chimney structure.
Chimney crown: Often confused with the chimney cap, the chimney crown is a mortar slab that seals the top of the chimney. Chimney crowns should have small overhangs as well as be built with slightly sloped edges to prevent water from pooling on the top. Chimney crowns can deteriorate over time due to prolonged exposure to the elements; this creates cracks that allow moisture into the chimney.
Flashing: Flashing is the watertight metal strips that seals the joint between the chimney and the roof. Over time, flashing can lose its seal due to overexposure to the elements; flashing can also be damaged by storms or animals.
Masonry damage: Without regular maintenance, bricks and mortar can begin to deteriorate over time. The freeze thaw process – which causes water in bricks to freeze and expand – is the most common cause of water damage to masonry.
Fixing a leaky chimney
When it comes to fixing a leaky chimney, the most important step is to find and repair the cause of the chimney leak. Repairing the water damage without first removing the cause of the chimney leak will only lead to recurrent water problems. By uncovering the root cause of the chimney leak, you can rest assured that the water damage will not return once the necessary repairs have been made.
For chimneys with damaged masonry, tuckpointing may be used to repair or replace damaged bricks and mortar. During the tuckpointing process, small areas of damaged masonry are carefully removed before the new bricks and mortar are put in; this can help strengthen the chimney structure and help avoid the costs of rebuilding the entire chimney.
Another great way to prevent chimney leaks and water damage is by having your chimney waterproofed. Professionally waterproofing a chimney can seal and protect the masonry from water damage while still allowing the bricks to retain their semi-porous nature.
If you have a leaky chimney, trust the experts at Lords Chimney to repair it. Contact us today to schedule an appointment so we can help resolve your chimney leaks!
When it comes to fireplace and chimney service, installation, and maintenance, finding the right company to work with can be hard to do. With so many businesses to choose from, it can be difficult to determine the seasoned professionals from the seasonal workers.
Although anyone with a brush and a truck might be able to call themselves a chimney sweep, few have earned the Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA, certification. By hiring a certified chimney sweep, you can feel confident that you are working with a highly trained and educated professional.
Are all chimney sweeps certified?
Many homeowners mistakenly believe that all chimney sweeps are created equally. Unfortunately, there are few regulations or restrictions on the industry. Because of this, any handyman with a couple of brushes can call themselves a chimney sweep. Oftentimes, these “chimney sweeps” do little more than push around the ash and soot in your chimney, making more of a mess than actually cleaning the chimney.
In order to get the best service possible for your fireplace and chimney system, it is important to work with a CSIA certified chimney sweep. The CSIA certification is recognized as the gold standard in the industry. Chimney sweeps that hold a CSIA certification have completed extensive education, training, and testing and represent the best in the industry in terms of skill and professionalism.
In order to earn their CSIA certification, chimney sweeps must study and be tested on topics such as:
- Fireplace and chimney safety practices
- Local and national building and fire codes
- Fireplace and chimney building dynamics for wide range of units
- Installation and maintenance practices for fireplaces, inserts, and stoves
- Current EPA standards for fireplaces, inserts, and stoves
CSIA certified chimney sweeps must also stay up to date on current industry practices. Because they must retest every three years in order to maintain their certification, CSIA-certified sweeps have information on the most recent safety and technology developments and best practices in the industry.
Hiring a certified chimney sweep
Because chimney maintenance can directly impact the safety of you and your family, it is important to work with a professional that you trust. Before hiring a chimney sweep, consider asking them the following questions:
- How long has your chimney sweeping company been in business?
- Can you offer current references?
- Do you have unresolved complaints filed with any consumer protection agencies or the Better Business Bureau?
- Does the company or the individual chimney sweep carry business liability insurance policy to protect my home and furnishings against accidents?
- Will the company guarantee that a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep will be on my job site?
Don’t trust your family’s safety to the cheapest company you can find. Instead, hire a CSIA certified chimney sweep to ensure that your chimney’s maintenance and repairs are done correctly – the first time. In the Houston area, contact Lords Chimney to schedule an appointment with our CSIA certified chimney sweeps!
At Lords Chimney Services, we pride ourselves on providing our customers in the Houston area with outstanding chimney and fireplace services. Over the past decade, we have helped our friends and neighbors in Houston make their homes more healthy and safe through fireplace maintenance. Likewise, because we are a local company we understand the unique maintenance issues that are often seen in our area.
We are proud to say that we love the city of Houston! A bustling – and growing – metropolis that is home to a diverse international community, Houston is the largest city in the state as well as the fourth largest city in the nation. The city is recognized as a worldwide leader in the energy industry in both oil and natural gas, and is also the proud home of Johnson Space Center.
Apart from the bustling economy, Houston has plenty to offer both residents and visitors alike. The Houston Theater District is home to six performance halls and nine arts organizations, including permanent opera, ballet, music, and theater companies. The city has a professional team in every league except for the NHL, including the Houston Astros, Texans, Dynamos, and Rockets. In addition, several college and universities such as the University of Houston and Rice University add to the city’s vibrant culture.
About Lords Chimney
Over the last decade, we have proudly built and grown our business in Houston. We offer our customers a number of high quality fireplace, chimney, and dryer vent services and are proud to work in the same neighborhoods and areas that we live.
We provide our customers with a wide range of chimney and fireplace services; we can service and repair everything from the bottom of the firebox to the top of the flue. This includes the sales and installation of a number of high quality fireplace inserts and accessories. In addition, we also clean and install dryer vents.
Why choose us
At Lords Chimney, we are dedicated to providing our friends and neighbors in the Houston area with quality, mess-free services for their chimneys, fireplaces, and dryer vents. There are a number of things that set us apart from our competitors:
- Our certifications: All of our fireplace and chimney services are performed by Chimney Safety Institute of America certified chimney sweeps. With a CSIA certified sweep, you can rest assured that you are getting a highly trained and qualified professional. This also means that our technicians are more than able to uncover the most common causes for chimney issues and answer any questions you may have.
- Our professionalism: We go above and beyond to treat your home with care and respect. This includes placing protective tarps and wearing protective footwear to keep your home clean. Likewise, Lords Chimney is also fully insured – including auto insurance – on the off chance that anything should happen on the job.
- Our integrity: We have made a promise to be upfront and honest with all of our clients. For our customers, this means never doing any work without prior approval and providing you with an accurate estimate beforehand.
If you live in the Houston area, look no further Lords Chimney for all your chimney, fireplace, and dryer vent needs. We love this city and are proud to play a small role in keeping its residents safe. Contact us today to for all of your chimney and heating appliance needs!
Gas fireplaces continue to grow in popularity due to their energy savings, ease of use, and low maintenance. Gas logs are particularly popular due to their ability to recreate the look and feel of a wood burning fire at the push of a button. While there is significantly less work with a gas fireplace compared to a wood burning one, gas fireplaces still need regular cleaning and upkeep.
Although gas logs do not have ashes or soot to remove after each use, they should be regularly cleaned to maintain efficiency and safety. Cleaning a gas log is an easy process, but special care should be taken to ensure that no fireplace parts or pieces are damaged.
Cleaning your gas log
The interior and exterior portions of your gas log fireplace should be cleaned at least twice a year to prevent an excessive buildup of soot or dust. However, only cleaners that are specially designed for gas fireplaces should be used. Other chemical or homemade cleaning agents may have abrasive qualities on the gas, metal, or ceramic parts of the fireplace. In addition, the chemicals in non-fireplace cleaners may react when the fireplace is relit for use. A specialized cleaner can be purchased at many fireplace retailers.
The exterior glass and metal can be wiped down as often as needed using a clean, damp cloth or other specialized cleaner. The burners, control compartments, and ceramic logs can be gently cleaned with a dry cloth or soft bristled paintbrush. A vacuum may also be used, but can should be taken not to shift or move the gas log or its components.
Before attempting to clean your gas logs, make sure that the gas valve has been completely shut off. Likewise, none of the fireplace components should be warm to the touch from recent use, as the heat may react negatively with the cleaners.
Referencing the manufacturer’s manual is another way to ensure that you are safely and correctly cleaning your fireplace logs and other components. The manual should give detailed instructions on how to safely clean the fireplace with minimal risks.
If you believe you have damaged any of the components of your gas log fireplace during cleaning, contact a professional before using the fireplace again. Even shifting a gas log a few inches can impact both performance and safety.
Do I need a chimney sweep?
Many homeowners are surprised to find that they still need their chimney swept after installing a gas log. Gas appliances still produce small amounts of creosote, which can coat the inside of the flue. In addition, high efficiency modern gas fireplaces are also at risk for incomplete combustion and water condensation.
An improperly sized chimney or flue cannot create sufficient drafting for a gas fireplace, leading to incomplete combustion. When this occurs, gasses such as carbon monoxide may linger in the fireplace. Likewise, accumulating water condensation can be corrosive to the flue lining.
Having a regular chimney cleaning and inspection can help protect your family against any emerging chimney or fireplace issues, as well as ensure that your gas fireplace is still running safely and efficiently. If you have questions about how to clean your gas fireplace or need to schedule a chimney inspection, contact Lord’s Chimney today!