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So, you have a fireplace, but it doesn’t get much use. You use it once or twice a year (maybe on a colder day or around the holidays), but other than that it mainly serves as an attractive focal point in your home. Because of this, it shouldn’t need much professional care or maintenance. …right?
Wrong! In fact, believe it or not, refraining from using your fireplace typically causes it to deteriorate more quickly than if you use it on a regular basis.
Like a washer, dryer, refrigerator, or other appliance, your fireplace needs regular attention, no matter how often it’s used. This especially goes for metal prefabricated fireplaces. Learn more below, and be sure to reach out with any questions! We’d love to do all we can to help you out.
Think of your fireplace like a car. If you let a car sit in your driveway for years on end without ever starting it up or taking it on a drive, would you expect it to work perfectly when you eventually try to drive it again? Not likely. Fluids likely will have pooled, your battery will probably be dead, and there’s sure to be weather-related wear and tear.
The same goes for your fireplace. Rust and warpage will occur more than usual during long periods of unuse, along with countless moisture-related damages, such as mold growth, deterioration, decay, stains, and more.
What happens when we experience another freeze or you just feel like starting a cozy fire after these issues have occurred? Like the car that was left abandoned, the system is simply not going to function correctly. In fact, you may experience dangers such as smoke and fume backup, an increased risk of house fire, exposure to harmful gases, and more.
When we come in to inspect your chimney, we’ll look for things like holes, gaps, signs of animal life, warpage, rust, and more. If we can spot and resolve these issues while they’re still small and manageable, the lifespan of your fireplace could be extended significantly.
We’ll also look for parts that need replacing. Some things, like the chimney cap, are fairly easy and inexpensive to replace if spotted in time. That said, if you ignore a broken cap, your system will be exposed to harmful things (like storms, rain, curious animals, and more) that cause a lot more damage overall.
In the end, purchasing a new chimney cap to ensure your system stays protected is a lot cheaper than investing in a time-consuming and costly rebuild or relining job. And the sooner we can react, the better shape your system will stay in, thus preserving resale value and ensuring you can use it when you need to.
Critters in your fireplace? This means something is wrong up top. Animals should never have easy access to your fireplace, and once they get in they can cause a lot of damage. Along with this, animals that are unable to escape may pass away, leaving you with an even bigger mess on your hands.
Another problem has to do with bird’s nesting materials. If birds set up camp in your chimney (an ideal spot for them), the twigs, leaves, and materials that make up their nests can clog things up and affect airflow. A system that cannot properly vent doesn’t do anyone any good. Be sure to get a sweep in to look things over so you can avoid those uninvited guests – especially this time of year.
If your chimney was damaged due to a natural disaster like a lightning strike, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood, or something similar, your insurance company should be covering the costs to repair it. Unfortunately, they often look for ways around this.
If you have no records on your fireplace, then your insurance company could easily deny your claim stating that there’s no proof the damage caused was due to the event that had just occurred.
That said, if you have a report from your chimney company showing that at the last yearly inspection your system was just fine, getting that money you need for repairs, restorations, and replacement parts won’t be such a challenge.
Before buying a home, we strongly advise getting a video inspection. This ensures you don’t get caught with big repairs after you finalize the sale.
Home inspectors will tell you if you should have it cleaned or have something looked into, but there’s no way for them to gauge just how extensive certain damage can be. All too often people sign the papers on their dream home, only to realize later that they’re now responsible for thousands of dollars worth of repairs.
Also, keep in mind that if you bought a house and no one has ever used the fireplace, there’s typically a reason for that. The previous homeowner may have used it once only to have something go wrong and never use it again. And if you see freshly painted brick? There are likely smoke stains underneath.
In the end, getting that level 2 inspection done is always worth the peace of mind you gain in the end.
The big takeaway from all of this? If you want to use your fireplace at all – even once – you need an inspection. Even if the system is brand new or rarely used, an inspection is vital. Professional insight can make all the difference when it comes to how safely and efficiently your system operates down the line.
Anything specific you need covered? Send us a message! We’d be happy to answer any and all of your questions. You can reach out to us through our website, give us a call, or even follow us on Facebook or Youtube. It’s Lords Chimney’s goal to keep you as up to date and informed as possible!
Here at Lords Chimney, it’s not uncommon for customers to ask how much a certain repair or service costs. We get it – you want the job done right, but you also don’t want to overpay for something that really shouldn’t be costing an arm and a leg. Unfortunately this is one question that isn’t always so easily answered.
Think of it this way. If someone were to ask if $20,000 is a good price for a car, would you be able to give them a yes or no answer right off the bat? Of course not. You’d need to know what kind of car it is, how many miles it has, how old it is, what the body looks like, and a whole lot more.
Well, it’s the same with your chimney! There’s not a simple menu of options each with their own specific price point. What you pay for repairs depends on a wide range of factors such as the unit’s health history, its age, its fuel type, the model you have, and the list goes on.
We understand that this type of answer can feel frustrating, especially when you have no idea if you’re paying too much or too little. If you go with the cheapest option and the repairs aren’t up to par, that’s never good, but you don’t want to be cheated out of money just because there aren’t clear guidelines.
The best thing you can do when navigating this process is to turn to a reputable sweep. Learn more about how to find a chimney company you can trust by reading below, and please feel free to rely on us for any questions down the road. Lords Chimney can help with it all!
One thing to assess when getting estimates for a repair is whether or not that company is actually qualified for the job. It’s an unfortunate fact that a lot of chimney companies out there will tell you that you’re in need of repairs when you’re not or give an exceptionally pricey estimate just to get that extra money in their pocket.
Another thing to note is that chimney sweeps don’t need licensing and they aren’t required to be certified. If a tech claims to be qualified and trained, do your research to ensure they actually have received formal education. Most of the organizations that certify sweeps (like the CSIA, for example) will have a tool on their website that lets you search to find certified sweeps in your area.
Other things to consider: Do they actually have a storefront or are they working out of their home? Do they have insurance (most will say they do whether this is true or not)? Is the sweep coming to your home actually certified? It’s common for a company to certify a couple of team members, then claim themselves as a certified company. But that doesn’t mean the person working on your chimney has had any formal training.
In the end, the crew at Lords Chimney wants people throughout Houston and its surrounding areas to have only positive experiences within this industry. If you’re unsure about an estimate you’ve received, please reach out and let us take a look! We’ll happily refer you to that company if they have made an accurate assessment and are known for doing a good job.
In today’s world, doing some quick research online is easier than ever. Online search engines have made our lives easier in a lot of ways, but there are some things that Google just can’t assess like a qualified professional can. And just because you find answers to your questions doesn’t mean those answers are accurate.
Take chimney parts, for example. If you know your damper is broken, then you could easily search “chimney dampers” and get hundreds of results. It may seem like the cheapest one should be fine for you, which may leave you wondering why a chimney tech is charging you more. Well, the damper you’re looking at may be the completely wrong fit or model for your particular setup, meaning what you can quickly order online won’t end up working for your system at all.
Again, it takes the eyes of a knowledgeable and trained professional to actually know where your structure stands, and no amount of online searching is going to give you that accurate and in-depth analysis you’re hoping for.
All in all, safety should always be the priority – even above the price tag. If an estimate seems especially low, you probably shouldn’t trust it, and likewise with a very high estimate. You deserve to pay a fair price for exceptional work to ensure you and your family can use your fireplace as safely and as comfortably as possible year after year.
So, don’t hesitate to talk with the experienced crew at Lords Chimney today. We’re dedicated to staying as educated and up to date as possible, and if you book an inspection with us we’ll always send a CSIA-certified sweep to perform the assessment. On top of all that, we’re experienced, professional, and have a strong reputation for being fair and honest.
The time is now to ensure your chimney is in the best shape possible. Give us a call right away or reach us online or to book an appointment. We look forward to speaking with you soon!
There’s no denying the importance of having a well-functioning chimney liner. Chimney liners are known for protecting your home and masonry, as well as increasing fireplace efficiency – without them you’d be experiencing gas leaks, poor air flow, and even house fires. Needless to say, a well-fitted and properly installed liner is vital if you own a fireplace.
If you’ve been given the news that your liner is no longer safe for use, you may be feeling concerned about time restraints, labor costs, and the price of the new liner itself. Fortunately for many, there is a more affordable and seamless option out there – HeatShield®.
The best way to know for sure if HeatShield® is an option for you is to have our CSIA-certified sweeps come out to perform an inspection. In these cases, a level 2 inspection will be needed, which means we’ll use our camera equipment to get an accurate and in-depth look at it all.
HeatShield® can pretty much be done on any brick and mortar chimney that is fitted with terra cotta flue tiles and isn’t gas tight. As long as your chimney isn’t completely destroyed (and is up to code as far as sizing, height, etc.), you should be able to fix it rather than invest in an entirely new system.
Whether you’re dealing with inefficiency or are concerned about potential damage after a chimney fire, lightning strike, flood, or other natural disaster, there’s a good chance we’ll be able to help you out, so don’t hesitate to reach out!
So, let’s say you’ve been told this option will work for you, but you’re still wanting to know what to expect. Well, there are actually two methods we can use to ensure your liner is gas tight from here on out – Joint Repair or the Resurfacing Application. Here’s what to expect from both:
And again, we’ll send up our cameras for a closer look, so you can see the end results – we’re certain you won’t be disappointed!
What else is there to know about HeatShield®? Here are a few more things that reemphasize how reliable and sound this method is:
If you know you need professional relining services, then you’re now aware of some options we can offer you. But how do you figure out if relining or repair work is needed in the first place? Well one of the more obvious clues is if your fireplace just isn’t working right.
Holes throughout your structure will cause a lot of inefficiency and affect draft and airflow significantly. Smoke will work its way into your home, you’ll notice condensation issues, and your fires won’t burn as strongly.
Smell smoke in your home when lighting fires? This is another sign that your venting system has holes in it. Think of it like a straw that’s cracked or broken. As you attempt to drink your beverage, a lot of the liquid that comes up will simply spill back out through the holes – your chimney works this same way. If you smell smoke it’s because it has worked its way into your home.
But what’s the best way to know if professional care is needed? A level 2 camera inspection. Our high-tech equipment ensures every nook and cranny of your system is observed, so that you know exactly what you need to stay safer and more comfortable as you finish out your burning season.
We’ll look for any cracks, gaps, and damage, but we’ll also note whether or not there are random clean areas amongst your creosote. Essentially, your chimney should either be all clean or all dirty. If it’s mostly dirty with clean patches throughout, then it’s likely you have holes.
Lords Chimney has been recognized as one of the top chimney sweeps throughout the Houston area, and we’ve received a large number of positive reviews from satisfied customers. We value education, professionalism, and honesty, and we never skimp when it comes to offering exceptional care or top-of-the-line products.
If you’re looking for chimney care that will stand the test of time, then rely on our team today. We’re here for you!
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.
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 better 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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
When hiring a team of sweeps to work on your chimney and fireplace, there are a few important questions you should be asking yourself. For instance, do they receive a lot of positive reviews? Are they insured? How long have they been in business? All of these say a lot about a company, but there is one more question you definitely don’t want to miss: Are they certified?
In the chimney industry, earning certifications is a vital part of bringing customers the best care possible, and it ensures the sweeps don’t miss a thing when it comes to the safety and efficiency of your appliance. Both the CSIA and the NFI play a big part in educating sweeps across the country and, here at Lords Chimney, we’re proud to be associated with both of them.
The CSIA, or Chimney Safety Institute of America, is a nonprofit organization that has been setting the standard for chimney and fireplace education since its start back in 1983. The leaders of the CSIA strive to keep sweeps up-to-date and knowledgeable on everything they need to know about your chimney’s anatomy, and they also strive to keep homeowners educated on the safest ways to operate their fireplace.
Now, becoming certified with the CSIA is no easy feat, which is one reason why hiring a team that has put in the time and effort to do so is always a better bet. It takes hours of studying, training, and test-taking to earn this honor, so you can rest easier knowing the sweeps that have it truly know their stuff.
What’s the process like exactly? Well, technicians will first purchase multiple training materials that must be studied thoroughly. Next, they need to do one of the following: attend a training school, go to a review session in person, or take an online review of these materials. Each option requires a lot of time and dedication! Finally, there is the exam that consists of two parts: a one-hour, 100-question portion and an hour and a half open-book portion.
As you can see, the whole process takes a considerable amount of time, and CSIA certified sweeps are required to renew their certifications every three years, as well. This is done by either taking an exam again or by obtaining a high number of continuing education units. This ensures they are always on top of any new developments, as well as updates on techniques, tools, or technology.
Finally, the CSIA offers the option to become a Certified Dryer Exhaust Technician, which ensure the techs you hire know everything they need to know about thoroughly cleaning out your dryer vents. This reduces the risk of dryer fires significantly, and it keeps your appliance functioning as efficiently as possible.
The NFI is another organization that certifies sweeps. NFI stands for National Fireplace Institute, and it specializes in equipping sweeps to install hearth appliances and venting systems correctly. When it comes to installation services, even small mishaps or mistakes can lead to bringing problems for the homeowners, so getting these techniques down precisely is essential.
Like the CSIA, the NFI is a nonprofit, and it has been offering its services to industry professionals since 1981. NFI professionals must take an in-depth examination before earning their credential, and they must renew it every 3 years by taking a new exam. If there are any new products introduced into the field or any new and improved approaches when it comes to installation strategies, you can bet an NFI certified expert will know about it!
A Certified Chimney Professional certification is another certification sweeps can earn to improve their fireplace knowledge. This achievement is earned by purchasing their specific manual, then taking an examination over the materials. Once you successfully pass the test, you get your certificate.
Passing this exam takes experience, training, and a lot of expert knowledge. If the sweeps you hire have done so, it is clear that they are dedicated individuals who will continuously strive to go above and beyond for their customer base.
If you’ve worked with us before, then you may know our technicians, Lee, Llynn, and Billy. They are all certified with the CSIA, and they have received a number of accomplishments with the other organizations listed above, as well. Well, now we’re proud to add two new certified sweeps, Ivan and Ryan, to our team. When you work with us, you can stress less because we’ve got a great team of qualified technicians on the job!
The National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) doesn’t offer certifications but, by being associated with them, you are given the opportunity to attend conferences, stay up-to-date on industry news, and stay connected with others in the same line of business. This institute is all about promoting success and safety, ensuring homeowners everywhere receive the best care possible. We’re proud to be a part of this distinguished group!
Whether you’re overdue for an inspection, need creosote swept out, are struggling with crumbling brickwork, or something else, we are confident our crew can help you out. We handle leak repairs, relining work, nest removal, troubleshooting, installation work, and a whole lot more. Don’t hesitate to reach out now for the care and attention you deserve.