We’re nearing the end of what is typically considered “hurricane season” here in the Greater Houston Area, which means your chimney may need some extra care and attention. Here are some of the main things to look for when assessing your potential chimney damage.
1. Missing Caps & Chase Covers
One of the biggest issues we discover after a hurricane is missing caps and chase covers. When those strong winds come in, your cap is often the first thing to go, and it could be multiple houses away by the time we have the chance to look things over!
And if your cap still seems to be intact, don’t let out a sigh of relief just yet. We’ve seen multiple cases where it gets blown off, only to fall right back into its original spot. This gives the appearance of a properly-fitted cap when in reality it’s barely hanging on.
Needless to say, investing in a new cap or chase cover as soon as possible is an absolute must. These keep out rain and downdrafts, and they prevent animal entry, as well. In the end, an affordable cap can be quickly installed by of our team of experts, and it will wind up saving you a lot of time, stress, and hassle over time.
Another indication of severe damage is discoloration throughout your structure. Now, hurricanes typically come in one of two forms – extra windy or extra rainy. If you’ve just experienced one with lots of water, then discoloration is often something you’ll notice in the aftermath.
If you see lots of white, for instance, this is a sign of efflorescence, or lots of green throughout the bricks indicates vegetation growth (a clear sign of standing water). You could also see brown or black patches, which indicates rust, creosote, or built-up soot. In the end, most types of discoloration can be traced back to water damage, so get our certified crew on the job right away if things start to look suspicious.
3. Gaps in Your Brickwork
Excessive wind and rain can easily trigger spalling throughout your system, which weakens your entire structurally significantly. Moisture has a big impact on the strength of your brickwork and mortar, and the more everything crumbles and breaks down, the more vulnerable you will be to gas leaks, fires, and even chimney collapses.
Our experienced crew will get things patched up in no time, and once we’re done we can offer waterproofing products that will help your masonry better withstand water and rainfall.
4. Leaning/Swaying Chimney
One thing we strongly encourage homeowners to do after a bad storm is to walk outside and take a good look at your chimney. Does something look off? If you notice tilting or leaning at all, then you’ll want a solid team of sweeps on the job quickly.
And while you’re looking, watch out for anything else that seems out of the norm. We mentioned discoloration and missing parts, but do you notice rust, cracks in your crown, worn down mortar joints, or anything else awry? Call us in. This is one area where you are always better off being safe than sorry!
Not Sure Where You Stand? Schedule an Inspection or Invest In A Virtual Assessment!
Now, if you’re just not sure what state your chimney is in, the best way to get an accurate assessment is to schedule an inspection. Getting our team out to perform a level 2 inspection will ensure any faults or structural flaws are spotted and addressed as soon as possible.
Or, if you have a busy schedule or you’re just inquiring about some reconstruction or remodeling work, send us a picture! We do virtual assessments, and we typically can give you all of the information you need without even having to come to your house. This saves time and expense on your end, and it can help you make an official decision as to whether or not you want to proceed with any changes or renovations.
You Deserve High-Quality Care
From strange smells to weird noises to worrisome drips, we can put all of your chimney-related worries to rest. The CSIA Certified Sweeps at Lords Chimney are experienced, and we take education seriously, so you can bet we’re always up-to-date on all of the latest techniques, tools, and technologies in the trade.
And remember – the more often you invest in care the better! By having your chimney serviced on a consistent basis, you make sure you get all of the insurance coverage you’re entitled to should a hurricane cause significant damage to your chimney. Regular maintenance offers you a track record that shows what state your chimney was in before the hurricane, so you can prove 100% that the storm was the cause of all your damage.
The rainy season is upon us here in Houston, and as we move into spring, this rainfall will only continue. Because of this, it is imperative that you ensure your chimney and fireplace are protected! Water leaks are all too common in the world of chimneys. Many homeowners fail to realize that this is actually one problem that is easily avoided if the right measures are taken.
The biggest reason homeowners face problems with leaks and water damage is simply a lack of maintenance. If the chimney cap is missing or the chase cover is cracked or rusted, water will easily work its way in. By then, it is too late.
Get the scoop on chimney caps and chase covers below, then rely on our team to help you out with it all. Owner and CSIA Master Chimney Sweep, Lee Roff, is ready and eager to keep all of Houston and its surrounding areas protected. Lords Chimney is definitely the company you want to trust!
The Importance Of Chimney Caps
How vital is a chimney cap to the overall function of your fireplace? Well, without a protective covering over the top of your chimney, it is left completely open and vulnerable to whatever wants to enter. Whether its rain, animals, or outside debris, it has an easy way to access your home. If water enters your flue, it won’t be long before your metal components start to rust, and your masonry will start to crack and crumble, too.
Water will also break down your liner which leaves you vulnerable to gas leaks and house fires. Using a damaged system is really dangerous, but many fail to realize that they are even experiencing issues. This is why investing in regular inspections are so important!
Chimney caps also work hard to keep out birds and curious woodland critters. One common animal that loves to set up camp in chimneys is the chimney swift. These birds nest on vertical surfaces, and the warmth and protection your chimney offers is ideal. Unfortunately, their numbers are in decline, which is why they are now protected by law. What does that mean for you? Well, it means you’re stuck with them until they leave on their own. In fact, trying to remove them will land you with some hefty fines.
Avoid Chimney Swifts
Like most other birds, these will eventually migrate away from their nest, but don’t think your troubles are over then! They’re known to come back to their same nesting grounds when they return. Fortunately, we have a solution – a chimney cap. With one of these affordable devices in place, you won’t have to worry about any animals entering.
Raccoons, squirrels, and other creatures are also known to work their way into your chimney. In fact, we’ve seen raccoons have babies on the smoke shelf. If your damper gets left open, they could find their way into your home! All in all, getting these animals out and getting your chimney opening sealed up is vital for keeping your chimney, home, and family safer! Now is the time to get your cap installed, so don’t hesitate to reach out to our crew today.
All About Chase Covers
Chase covers, or chase tops, cover the opening of prefabricated units. These models have grown in popularity over the years since they are easier and cheaper to install. They also don’t require the commitment of actually building a permanent fixture in your home. Unfortunately, the flues on the units have been proven to attract even more birds than those of masonry chimneys.
Because of this, they need a protective covering, and that’s where your chase cover comes in. Nesting materials can clog things up in a hurry, causing draft and airflow issues. As nests are made of flammable materials, this also creates a fire hazard for your home. The smartest, safest, and most cost-effective route to take is to have a chase cover installed before any of these issues start to occur.
Unfortunately, a lot of these prefabricated models come with a chase cover that is made of weaker materials, which means it will rust and corrode before you know it. An ideal cover will be designed with a slight slope, ensuring water does not pool on top, and they should be made from strong products, such as galvanized metal, so you won’t need to worry about it breaking down any time soon. Ready for us to helpt? Reach out now – we’re more than happy to help.
We Are Dedicated To Our Customers
We go above and beyond to ensure our customer base is satisfied, and we are certain there is no better team than ours to trust throughout the Houston area. Our award-winning sweeps are certified with the CSIA and the NFI, and we’re members of the NSCG, too. We always use the high-quality tools and products we know you deserve, and you can trust that we never cut corners or take shortcuts.
The protection you’re looking for is a phone call away. Get in touch with us now!
So, you have chimney swifts in your chimney. The next questions may be, do they belong there and is it a big deal if they stick around? Chimney swifts may think your chimney is the perfect spot to set up camp, but the truth is that using a chimney that has chimney swifts and their nesting materials inside of it is unsafe for both you and the creatures themselves.
At Lords Chimney, we come across this issue from time to time, and we feel that it’s an important subject for our customers to understand. Learn more about these animals below, then keep reading to discover the best ways to keep them out of your chimney for good. Our expert team is ready to help you out!
What Is A Chimney Swift?
A chimney swift is a small bird that is known for its ability to stay in flight for extremely long periods of time. They’re typically darker in color with rounded heads, long and curved wings, and short beaks, tails, and necks. They eat all types of airborne insects and, as far as nesting and building homes, they favor steep, sheltered areas like hollow trees, caves, garages, air vents, and – you guessed it – chimneys.
Another thing to note about chimney swifts is that their population is in decline, which is why they are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This means, once they settle in your chimney to raise young, there’s not a lot you can do about it. In fact, purposefully hurting these birds or removing a nest that may contain eggs or young could land you with some fines and/or penalties!
So, what can be done once a family of chimney swifts moves in? The truth is – nothing. All that is left to do at this point is wait until they migrate back down south, so you can remove their nesting materials and make your fireplace safer for regular use again. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for the birds to come back to the same spot again year after year, so it’s important to take action now to ensure they can’t get into your chimney next spring.
Taking Preventative Action
One thing that can be done to keep chimney swifts, as well as other woodland critters, out of your chimney for good is to have a chimney cap installed. Chimney caps cover your flue opening, so that animals cannot enter your chimney to build nests and raise young. This benefits both you and the animals! Your home will be a lot safer and more comfortable, and the animals won’t get stuck with no way out again.
The great thing about chimney caps is that they provide plenty of other benefits, as well. They ensure excess moisture stays out of your chimney and help prevent downdrafts, so you’re not stuck with a smokey living space night after night. They’ll also stop sparks from escaping the chimney, so they don’t risk landing on your flammable roofing materials. Achieving peace of mind has never been easier!
Chimneys are complex structures, and it takes time and training to learn about their various parts. Chimney professionals that are CSIA trained and certified (like the staff at Lords Chimney) know all of the ins and outs of every system they come across. That’s why hiring these certified technicians for an inspection every single year is so important! You can then rest easy, knowing you won’t come across any surprises during your next burning season.
That being said, it is wise to learn some of the more basic parts of your chimney This is so you can diagnose common issues that may eventually occur. Learn more about these parts below. Do you fear you need repairs? Call on Lords Chimney right away, so that your chimney will get fixed up right and stand strong for years to come!
There are two common types of dampers: throat dampers and top sealing dampers. In general, dampers are used to keep out some nasty elements and unwanted critters from entering your home through your chimney. They also are able to open, so that smoke and other toxins can easily escape when you go to light a fire.
Generally, top sealing dampers are more recommended for modern fireplace systems. Throat dampers can do an effective job, but often become rusted and fail to properly function. Top sealing dampers block off your chimney with a rubber seal. In addition, they are installed at the top of the flue. This is so that animals and other debris won’t be able to settle in your chimney when it’s not in use.
Chimney caps also serve a really important function. They block downdrafts, keep out animals, and help to eliminate water exposure/damage. They also prevent debris from entering and clogging up your flue. Chimney caps even keep sparks from escaping the chimney and landing on your roof or adjacent woodwork.
The best part is, they’re inexpensive and quick to install – invest in yours today!
A liner is what seals the inner lining of your chimney. Your fireplace can produce some pretty strong flames and intense heat. Unfortunately, both of which can put a lot of wear and tear on your chimney – and fast! Without a liner, mortar will melt, bricks will crack, and your entire lining will become a lot more vulnerable overall. Not to mention, flames will have easier access to the rest of your home, which puts your family at risk.
Chimney liners are completely necessary and running your fireplace without one will do a lot of harm. Not to mention, cost you a lot in damages down the line. Don’t add any more stress to your holiday seasons. Call in a professional, so you know that everything is good to go before you light up your first fire!
Give Us A Call
At Lords Chimney, we’re here to help you out. Give us call now before the busy fall season hits!
Operating a chimney without a chimney cap can trigger countless issues for your chimney and fireplace. If you are missing a chimney cap or if your chimney cap is broken, then the time to get a new one installed is now!
How To Choose
There are a few factors to take into account when picking out your new chimney cap.
Consider the following
Size: Ensuring that your cap is the appropriate size for your chimney is vital in ensuring it does its job properly. At Lords Chimney we can help you find the perfect cap for your needs!
Fireplace Type: Whether or not you have a prefabricated fireplace makes an enormous difference as far as what type of cap you need installed. We can help you find a cap that works for your specific type of fireplace.
Style: Looking for something to showcase your personal style or taste? We can customize a cap to fit it with any décor! We want you to be able to showcase your home, so it gains the attention it deserves. Call us now for more details and to learn what we can do for you.
Benefits of Chimney Caps
Choosing to go without a chimney cap causes lots of problems. Check just some of the many benefits you gain by having yours installed right away.
Moisture Control: Moisture and masonry? Not a good combination. Too much water exposure can mean bad news for your chimney over time. The brickwork will wear down, water damage will occur in your home, and mold and mildew could accumulate. Save yourself tons of hassle and repairs costs down the line by investing in a sturdy cap today.
Keeps Animals Away: Pesky woodland critters and birds love to nest in chimneys. If an animal enters and does not make it out, you’ll be faced with nasty odors and pest accumulation.
Prevent Fires: A chimney cap will stop any stray sparks or embers from escaping onto your roof and potentially creating a house fire. Keep your home protected by investing in a chimney cap today!
Ensure Good Air Flow: When leaves, twigs, and other materials get into your chimney, they can cause blockages that lead to smoke back-up and poor air circulation. On top of this, a home without a cap invites downdrafts, which also causes a lot of problems with air flow. Keep everything consistent and say good-bye to debris build up now – give a call and we can help.
Any more questions? No problem! The staff at Lords Chimney is standing by, ready to help you out with any and all of your chimney and fireplace needs. Check out our long list of services below, then give us a call today! You won’t regret choosing us!