Our Company Blog

Resourceful Uses For Fireplace Ash

If you own a wood burning stove or fireplace, you have probably disposed of buckets and buckets worth of ash throughout the course of time. Most homeowners simply wait for their ash to cool, then throw it out with trash. However, there are a lot of ways you could use this substance a bit more resourcefully. Check out some great ways to utilize your ash pile, so you get the most out of every fire you burn!

Enrich Your Soil

If you are an avid gardener, then put some ash into your soil to amp up your gardening game. Just be careful which plants you add it near. Watch your pH levels, as ash will increase them, and steer clear of adding it to plants that thrive in acidic soil, like berries, fruit trees, rhododendrons, or azaleas. Tomatoes are a great example of a plant that would benefit from the addition of ash, as well as onion, broccoli, and cabbage.

Another gardening tip is to sprinkle ash around the outside of your garden beds to keep nasty pests away. Ash repels snails and slugs, and it helps in keeping out harmful diseases, as well. If you are a green thumb, fireplace ash can work wonders for your plants!

Make Cleaning Easier

Believe or not, ash can help a lot when it comes to cleaning around the house. If your fireplace doors are looking a bit foggy, dip a wet sponge or towel in your ash pile, then scrub away. You could also try the same technique, just with newspaper – it’s known for making your doors sparkle! Try it on your home’s windows, as well, to get off any stubborn dirt or debris.

Ash is also great for polishing silver, and the best part? It’s completely natural! Store bought products typically contain toxins that could cause damage throughout time. Instead, mix a little water in with some ash until a paste forms, then spread it on your silver. After a few minutes, wipe it clean, buff it, and your dishes and silverware will look good as new!

Other Uses

We’ve mentioned a few things you can do with ash, but the list could go on and on! If you are looking for a fun project, try using it to make some soap! Look up tutorials online for a fun way to spend your day or let your kids give it a shot. It also helps to hide paint stains on paving, and even removes pet odor from your furry critter’s coat! Rub in a handful to your dog or cat’s fur next time you give them a bath and get rid of any unpleasant smells with ease.

Always Remove Ash

Remember to clean out your ash on a regular basis to ensure strong fires and a healthy, long-lasting fireplace. A small layer is fine and can be helpful when starting up fires, but anything too thick should be scooped out and disposed of properly.

Learn more about safe ash removal and chimney sweeping today by calling on the certified pros at Lord’s Chimney. We can assist with any and all of your fireplace needs!

Water Damage and Your Chimney

While a faint dripping sound or a little dampness in the firebox after it rains might not seem like a big deal, these seemingly minor issues can cause major problems if left untreated. Because chimneys are constantly exposed to the elements, including rain, ice, and snow, they sometimes deteriorate at a higher rate than the masonry in the rest of a fireplace system. Fortunately, almost all water-related issues are entirely preventable through proper upkeep and maintenance of the chimney structure.

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How is the water getting in?

Although a chimney might seem like a straightforward structure, there are actually many different parts that work together to prevent water from entering the fireplace. Because of this, it is important to have any leaks evaluated by a professional who can determine the exact cause of the water entry. With the latest technology, including closed-circuit cameras, the experts at Lords Chimney can find and repair any leaks.

While chimney leaks may be caused by a number of different issues, below are some of the most common causes of water entry.

Masonry damage: Because both bricks and mortar are naturally porous, they absorb a certain amount of moisture. This absorption, combined with the expanding and contracting caused by changing temperatures, can lead to the accelerated deterioration of a masonry chimney. Left unrepaired, what started out as small cracks may progress to the point of bricks falling off and even damage to the chimney liner itself.

Chimney cap: Because they are not visible without being on the roof, chimney cap damage is often not found until an annual sweep or inspection is performed. In addition to keeping water out of the chimney and fireplace, chimney caps also prevent squirrels, birds, raccoons, and other animals from entering and nesting in the chimney.

Flashing: Flashing is the metal band that protects the gap where your roof and chimney meet. While it is meant to create a watertight seal, it can be damaged by nail holes, falling debris, and exposure to the elements.

How to prevent water damage

The best way to protect your home, chimney, and fireplace against water damage is to take the proactive steps to prevent it. One of the most beneficial and long-lasting repairs a homeowner can have done is to have a waterproofing solution applied to their masonry. These specially designed compounds are intended to still allow harmful gasses out without letting moisture in.

An annual chimney cleaning and inspection is another way to prevent small, easily-fixable problems from turning into costly repairs. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.”

By spotting a problem early, it can be repaired before it causes major damage to the chimney structure or home. The expert technicians at Lords Chimney are highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals who have been trained to identify the source of a leak as well as to repair it. Call them today to schedule an appointment to discover the root cause of your leaky chimney or to ensure that water damage never happens.

3 Ways Negligence Ruins Your Chimney

Many serious problems can arise just because you fail give your chimney the care it requires. Don't neglect you chimney!

Many serious chimney-related problems arise due to negligence. Give your chimney the care it deserves.

A fireplace and chimney are creature comforts for many homeowners. Unfortunately, not every homeowner takes chimney maintenance as seriously as they should. Your chimney requires special care and attention to ensure it remains clear of debris and functions properly. Without an annual inspection, your fireplace and/or chimney can quickly become dangerous—even deadly.

Is a little creosote buildup really that bad?

In short, yes. According to the NFPA, the second leading cause of house fires is heating equipment; fireplaces, chimneys and wood stoves cause two-thirds of those house fires. Most of the afore-mentioned fires are the result of creosote. Sadly, most are preventable with regular inspections and maintenance.

If allowed to accumulate in large enough quantities, creosote can severely limit the flow of deadly combustion gases when you’re burning wood. One of these gases—carbon monoxide (CO)—is responsible for killing more than 200 people each year and sends more than 10,000 to hospital emergency rooms for treatment.

You can prevent your home and everyone in it from being included in these statistics by simply scheduling routine chimney inspections and sweepings to catch dangerous creosote before it has the opportunity to catch you.

So what if my bricks are spalling and the mortar is missing!

The main purpose of a chimney is to vent the products of combustion from your home. That function is crucial. A well-structured chimney and flue are designed to offer protection to your family and home from these deadly combustion byproducts.

It’s not uncommon for a masonry chimney to be in need of repair. If left uncorrected, a few minor issues can quickly become huge problems in no time at all. Broken or spalled bricks and deteriorated mortar joints are definite signs that your chimney may need repair, as they create several hazards—improper venting of combustion gases and potential structural collapse. Both hazards could prove to be fatal.

What harm is a little water going to do?

Failing to waterproof your chimney could lead to a multitude of problems. By waterproofing your chimney, you enable it to repel up to 99.9% of the water that would otherwise penetrate the brick and/or other materials. Waterproofing is a true preventative measure that can add years to your chimney’s life.

Because it’s not a requirement, many homeowners deprioritize it; this is a big mistake! There are many issues that can develop as a result of water being on and getting in to your chimney, and, as such, swift and immediate action should be taken to ensure that you’re not faced with unnecessary and avoidable repairs bills.

Unless you’re just looking for a reason to get rid of your chimney, there really is no excuse for neglecting it. It’s time to have an experienced technician evaluate the condition of your fireplace and chimney, get them repaired if necessary, and have your chimney coated with a waterproofing product. If you live in the greater Houston area and are looking for a pleasant service experience and the knowledge that your job was done correctly, give Lords Chimney a call at 281-497-4000, or click here to request an appointment online! We look forward to showing you a level of professionalism and quality that you haven’t seen in a service provider!

Creosote in a Nutshell

We know you care about keeping your family safe. One way to keep your family safe while at home is to minimize the likelihood of a deadly chimney fire. One way to minimize this risk is to make sure you do not allow creosote to accumulate.

Creosote is no laughing matter. The professionals at Lords Chimney can provide you with a wealth of information and service to give you that added peace of mind!

Creosote is no laughing matter. The professionals at Lords Chimney can provide you with a wealth of information and service to give you that added peace of mind!

For homeowners with chimneys, there is one other thing that they worry about specifically – creosote. According to our team of experts here at Lords Chimney, more than 70% of the inquiries and concerns we receive from our loyal customers involve creosote in some form or fashion. So what exactly is creosote anyway?

If you look online you’ll see a lot of definitions filled with scientific jargon that would just confuse you a lot more than you may already be. But the definition from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry describes and defines creosote in a simple and uncomplicated way. According to the ATSDR, creosote is basically the chemical byproduct of burning. There are different varieties of creosote. There’s the Wood, Coal Tar Pitch, Coal Tar Pitch Volatiles and Coal Tar. But basically they are all referred to collectively as creosote.

Why should we worry?

Although seemingly harmless during the beginning stages, creosote can quickly become extremely dangerous when left alone. You see, since it is a byproduct of burning, this means that it would constantly be produced whenever there’s burning of any kind in your chimney system. Once it is produced, it sticks to various parts of the fireplace and chimney. If it accumulates further, it becomes this thick volatile layer that is one of the number one culprits of chimney and house fires.

What can we do?

The best thing we can do to prevent things from getting out of hand is to properly maintain your chimney. Schedule regular inspections and cleanings to make sure that creosote build-up never gets a chance to reach threatening levels, which, in turn, would guarantee safety for your home and your family. So what are you waiting for? Pick up a phone and schedule an appointment right now. You can count on us for quality and dependable chimney and fireplace services. Lords Chimney is ready to help!

Extending Your Chimney’s Lifespan

Taking good care of your chimney can lengthen its lifetime and increase its functionality.

Taking good care of your chimney can lengthen its lifetime and increase its functionality.

Many tend to take their fireplace and chimney for granted, believing it should last the lifetime of the home. However, if ignored, chimneys can become unusable if the liners are damaged or if other parts need repairing, and they can even suffer structural damage due to water penetration and collapse. Proper chimney maintenance is essential in keeping your fireplace safe to use, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America. If you practice good maintenance of your chimney, you prolong its life, and Lords Chimney provides all sorts of chimney services to help you take care of your chimney. Your chimney’s lifespan is important, and our CSIA-certified technicians are here with several ways of practicing the best chimney maintenance to extend that lifespan.

schedule an annual chimney sweeping and inspection

As CSIA states, “dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires,” and this is the most important reason you need to schedule a sweeping and inspection of your chimney with Lords Chimney. Our experienced sweepers will remove dangerous fire hazards like animal nesting and creosote build-up and then inspect your chimney thoroughly to see if any repairs need to be done and to look for water penetration damage. Every part of your chimney, from your flue liner to your masonry to your flashing and more, will be visually inspected, prolonging its life as crucial and needed repairs could be discovered.

replace your chimney liner, if needed

If you have cracks in your flue liner, carbon monoxide can enter your home and cause serious health issues for you and your family. If your chimney does not have a liner, as many older chimneys do not, the risk is even worse, and you should definitely contact Lords Chimney about our chimney liner services. Essential for containing chimney fires, protecting your chimney walls from dangerous creosote build-up, and improving its efficiency, an undamaged chimney liner truly adds years to the life of your chimney. We carry and install tough and durable stainless steel liners as well as HeatShield treatments for cracked liners that need resurfacing.

waterproof your chimney

If you have a masonry chimney, the CSIA claims that water is the biggest enemy your chimney has to battle. Our certified technicians at Lords Chimney are trained and experienced experts on resolving chimney leaks. The amount of damage caused by water penetration is enormous, from loose bricks and chipped mortar to a tilted or collapsed chimney structure. To protect your chimney from water leaks, Lords Chimney recommends waterproofing your chimney because keeping water out extends the life of your chimney. Using ChimneySaver, a breathable treatment, exclusively, our technicians will spray this water repellent all over the walls of your chimney, and we only have to use one coating as ChimneySaver contains patented siloxanes small enough to penetrate masonry pores, forming a strong bond with the silica in masonry and concrete. Being breathable, water vapors are able to escape your masonry, keeping freeze-thaw damage, deterioration, and other problems at bay.

Contact Lords Chimney today to talk to our staff about these ways of extending the life of your chimney, as well as to schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection.