Our Company Blog

Air Flow and Your Fireplace

The way air flows through your fireplace is a key component in whether or not it runs efficiently. Proper ventilation is vital for both chimney health and the health of people living within the home. If you find yourself facing issues, there are many reasons why your chimney may not be circulating air properly. Check out just some of these reasons below!

Air Flow and Your Fireplace - Houston TX - Lords ChimneyYour Chimney Is Dirty

A dirty chimney is a major cause for bad ventilation. Soot and other substances can accumulate quickly. Also, animals are known for dragging nesting materials and other items into chimneys. All of these things cause blockages which need to be taken care of before any fires are lit.

The consequences of running a dirty fireplace can be detrimental to the health of your chimney, your home, and your loved ones. If the toxins cannot escape, they turn around and enter your home. This means anyone inside is exposed to a variety of harmful gases and nasty fumes. On top of this, creosote and other flammable build-up could easily catch fire. This puts your family in danger and could cost you thousands in repairs.

Your Home Is Too Tight/Loose

The way your home is insulated can have a lot to do with ventilation, as well. While a well-insulated house may seem like a good thing, it can block the outside air from entering. Thus, it hinders your fireplace’s ability to run as efficiently. This affects how well your fires burn, and it could cause a build-up of carbon monoxide within the home too.

Carbon monoxide is odorless and very hard to detect, so be sure to install a detector for it today! Also, if you find that your home is too tight, try opening a window for a temporary fix. Do this until you can ask a certified sweep about a more permanent solution.

If you know your house is not too tight, then it may be too loose. If too much air is escaping your home, the current may overtake the air flow your chimney needs to function appropriately. Try to seal windows as tightly as possible to help maintain a better flow through your chimney.

Practice Safety

As stated above, be certain that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and working before lighting any fires. These devices are simple to set up and could make all the difference in ensuring your family is breathing in clean air. Also, smoke detectors often offer the first warning signs that your home is danger. They are known for saving lives, so get one installed today.

Another step in making your home safe and getting your fireplace ready for regular use is to hire an expert to do a thorough inspection and cleaning. Both of these tasks can have intricate processes and it is vital that the proper tools and chemicals are used to ensure the job is done right.

At Lords Chimney, we offer countless chimney and fireplace services, and we are more than happy to stop by and check things out. Contact us today, so that we can get you in before the holiday season begins!

The Dangers of Chimney Sweeping Logs

When it comes to chimney maintenance, many homeowners are on the lookout for fast and easy fixes. One popular product on the market today that promises to clean your chimney is chimney sweeping logs. For about $20 these products seem like a fast, cheap, and easy alternative to having your chimney swept. However, chimney sweeping logs should never be used as an alternative to a professional chimney cleaning.

How chimney sweeping logs are dangerous

Chimney sweeping logs advertise themselves as an alternative to a professional chimney sweeping. As they burn, the smoke from the logs loosens creosote in the flue; as it loosens, the creosote then falls down and into the firebox where it can be easily removed.

The Dangers of Chimney Sweeping Logs - Houston TX - Lords Chimney

While this may work in theory, it often fails when put into practice. Because most chimneys do not have straight, vertical flues, the loosened creosote often winds up trapped in the bends of the flue. Accumulated creosote can cause a number of problems; first, creosote is extremely flammable. Having accumulated creosote in the bends of the flue increases the risk of chimney fire if any stray sparks and embers were to travel up the flue. Second, large amounts of fallen creosote sitting in the bends of the flue can cause chimney blockages. These types of blockages can impact venting and cause gas and smoke to flow back into your home instead of up the chimney.

Using a chimney sweeping log can also make it more difficult to clean your chimney in the future. The fallen loosen creosote can accumulate in the smoke shelf above the firebox, one of the most difficult to reach and clean areas of the chimney. Because of this, a professional chimney sweeping is often needed to undo the effects of the chimney sweeping log.

Why chimney sweeping logs can’t replace a professional chimney sweep

Chimney sweeping logs might seem like a cheap and easy alternative to a professional chimney sweeping, but they can actually do more harm than good.

“I usually tell people using one of those logs instead of having your chimney cleaned manually is like chewing Dentyne instead of brushing your teeth,” said Allan Bopp of Bald Eagle Enterprises. “It may help a little, but it’s a poor substitute for the real thing.”

Even if they can help to loosen creosote, chimney sweeping logs cannot replace the benefits of having a professional sweep and inspect your chimney. A certified chimney professional is able to identify any signs of chimney damage or deterioration during a cleaning; oftentimes, spotting problems early can help prevent serious damage – as well as expensive repairs.

While chimney sweeping logs work in theory, using one can cause serious problems within your chimney system. Instead, skip the chimney sweeping log altogether and let a professional chimney sweep keep your chimney clean – and your family safe. Contact Lords Chimney today to schedule your next chimney sweeping!

Chimney Cleaning Logs

If you walk down the aisles of your neighborhood big box home improvement store, you are bound to see a wide variety of products designed to help homeowners clean and maintain their fireplaces. While some of these products can be useful, they should not be used to replace regular annual chimney maintenance by a certified chimney sweep.

One such product that our customers regularly ask about are “chimney cleaning logs”. Sold for less than $20 at many home improvement stores, chimney sweeping logs advertise their ability to significantly reduce creosote buildup in the chimney. Because of this, some homeowners purchase and burn these products as their only form of chimney maintenance, patting themselves on the back for saving money on a chimney sweep.

chimney-logs-get-the-facts-houston-tx-lords-chimney

Despite their advertising claims, these logs are no replacement for a professional chimney cleaning. Although they may be able to remove some creosote buildup, there are a number of ways that they are deficient at maintaining the health and safety of your fireplace system.

Why loosening creosote is just part of the job

The primary purpose of a chimney cleaning log is the removal of creosote; the smoke from the log loosens the creosote and causes it to fall down the flue and into the firebox, where it can be safely swept up and removed.

In theory, this is an excellent system. Unfortunately, the reality leaves much to be desired.

Most flues are not a straight vertical line between your firebox and the top of the chimney. Depending on your fireplace’s location, your flue may have one of more curves and bends in it. When this happens, the loosening of creosote by the chimney cleaning log merely causes it to fall and accumulate in the bends of the flue. This may not only block the flue, but can also create a significant fire hazard. Even fireplaces without curved flues may wind up with the majority of the creosote trapped on the smoke shelf, which can be difficult to access and clean without proper training.

A chimney cleaning log is no substitute for a chimney sweep

While a chimney cleaning log may be useful in loosening creosote, it is no substitute for the services performed by a certified chimney sweep.

“I usually tell people using one of those logs instead of having your chimney cleaned manually is like chewing Dentyne instead of brushing your teeth,” said Allan Bopp of Bald Eagle Enterprises. “It may help a little, but it’s a poor substitute for the real thing.”

Likewise, a chimney cleaning log has no way to know or tell you if your chimney is damaged in any way. There are a number of hidden issues such as cracked flue liners, decaying masonry, or damaged chimney caps or crowns that can only be spotted by a sweep during a chimney inspection. Because many of these chimney issues do not affect performance, you may have no idea there is even an existing issue.

Don’t trust the health of your chimney or the safety of your family to a $20 log bought at a big box store. Instead, have an annual chimney sweeping and rest assured that you can safely use your fireplace for the rest of the year. Contact Lord’s Chimney today to schedule an appointment!

Restore Your Masonry with Paint “N” Peel

A fireplace is a beautiful addition to any home. However, if the masonry has become stained by smoke, ash, or soot, it can affect how you feel about and how often you use your fireplace.

While stained masonry does not affect your fireplace’s performance, it can make a big impact on the aesthetics of your home. A stained fireplace can make a home look dirty and uncared for, no matter how clean the rest of the house is. Likewise, staining on your chimney structure can affect the curb appeal of your home.

In the past, the only option to clean masonry was to paint it or spend days scrubbing with powerful cleaners. However, homeowners can now use the Chimney Saver Paint “N” Peel fireplace cleaner to restore the beauty of their original masonry without the use of harsh chemicals.

paint-n-peel-dirty-masonry-image-houston-tx-lords-chimney

What makes Paint “N” Peel different from other products

If your masonry has been damaged by years of smoke, soot, and ash buildup, you may have been told there were few ways to repair it. Likewise, many traditional methods of cleaning bricks are extremely time intensive or damaging.

Many interior cleaners, even those designed specifically for bricks, must be left on for several days or require extensive scrubbing to work. These products are also often made with harsh chemicals that require you to wear protective masks and may leave your home smelling like chemicals for days or weeks after. For exterior brick, using a power washer is one popular way to clean up dirty chimneys; however, the combination of high pressure with moisture can cause long term water damage to the bricks and mortar of the chimney structure.

Unlike these other products, Paint “N” Peel is easy to use, requires no difficult scrubbing, is environmentally friendly, and has no offensive odors.

How Paint “N” Peel works

Your fireplace professional will apply a thick coat of Paint “N” Peel using specially designed brushes. After the product is applied, it will dry for between 6-12 hours. During this time, there is no need to leave your home or avoid the hearth room; because Paint “N” Peel is environmentally friendly and leaves no odors behind, it will not affect the air quality in your home.

When the Paint “N” Peel has completely dried and cured, it will form a thick, non-hazardous film. This film can then be easily peeled away from the brick, taking with it years of staining from ash, smoke, and soot and leaving behind beautifully restored masonry. Because Paint “N” Peel is designed for both interior and exterior use, it can be applied to fireplaces, chimneys, and a variety of other masonry structures.

Spring is the perfect time to have your fireplace or chimney restored using Paint “N” Peel products. Because it can only be used when the temperature is between 45 and 95 degrees, the mild spring weather is an ideal time to use this product.

If you are ready to restore the finish of your interior or exterior masonry, contact Lord’s Chimney today. We are confident that the Paint “N” Peel chimney system can make the bricks in your home beautiful again!

Gas Log Cleaners

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.

gas-log-cleaners-image-houston-tx-lords-chimney

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.

Safety considerations

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!