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Lords Chimney - Chimney Sweep and Fireplace Vent Service
Lords Chimney - Chimney Sweep and Fireplace Vent Service

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7 Common Questions About Chimney Sweepings & Inspections

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.

1) When should I start thinking about getting my fireplace swept and inspected in Houston?

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 betternew-year-chimney-sweeping-houston-tx-lords-chimney 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.

2) Do you need to get an inspection done every year, no matter what?

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!

3) In terms of getting inspections done, is it just about how much you burn or is it also about heavy rain, hurricanes, and other major weather events?

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.

4) Most people know what sweeping a chimney sweeping consists of, but they don’t know what an inspection entails. Can you explain?

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!

5) Are there any sure fire signs that you have waited too long to get a chimney swept?

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.

6) What’s the difference between using a creosote sweeping log and getting a professional chimney sweeping completed?

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.

7) How do I know I have hired the right chimney sweep for the job?

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.

The Importance Of Certifications

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 CSIAImportance of Certifications Image - Houston TX - Lords Chimney

What Is The CSIA

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.

The Process To Be Certified

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 NFINFI certified badge

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!

Certified Chimney Professionalscertified chimney professional

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.

The Lords Chimney Crew Is Certified With Them All

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!

We’re Also Members Of The NCSG

Member of the NCSG

Member of the NCSG

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!

Call Today To Make An Appointment

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.

5 Tips For Preventing House Fires

It is an unfortunate fact that thousands of house fires occur every single year in the United States. These disasters leads to countless injuries, multiple deaths, and millions of dollars worth of damage.fire That being said, many of these were entirely preventable, meaning you can take steps towards preventing them from occurring in your home.

Ready to learn more? Read below. Then, count on the team at Lords Chimney to handle your fireplace, chimney, and venting maintenance, ensuring you stay as safe as possible in the years ahead.

Schedule A Dryer Vent Cleaning

If your dryer vents are clogged up and filled with debris, it won’t be long before things overheat. As you can imagine, when the high temperatures produced by the appliance combine with your flammable lint, a fire could easily ignite. An annual cleaning will ensure your system stays free of lint build up, and it should guarantee a better functioning appliance, too. It’s a win-win!

Be Vigilant

Leaving things like candles and fireplace fires unattended can increase your risk of fire significantly. It is also important to keep flammable items away from these things. We know how tempting it can be to decorate your mantle or place candles throughout your holiday decor, but these items can easily catch on fire before you even realize anything is wrong.

This is also goes for your cooking habits! Don’t leave pots, pans, or boiling water on a heated stove unless you are there to keep an eye on it. It only takes a second for something to go awry.

Invest In Smoke Detectors & Fire Extinguishers

Sometimes a fire will start, but can be stopped immediately with the appropriate preventative measures. Smoke detectors are known for preventing countless fires and for keeping homeowners and their families safer, as well. Along with this, a fire extinguisher can make a huge difference when it comes to preventing further damage. Invest in yours today!

Keep An Eye On Cords & Wiring

Frayed cords and wiring should always be repaired or replaced right away to decrease the chance of a fire starting. Also, never hide them under rugs, curtains, or furniture, as the heat from the electricity produced can cause harm, as well.

Invest In Annual Chimney Inspections

An annual chimney inspection is CSIA recommended, and it can make a big difference when it comes to operating a safer and more efficient fireplace. If you live in Houston or any of its surrounding areas, the team here at Lords Chimney can help you out! When you call us in, we can check for any flammable obstructions, such as birds nests or twigs, and we can look for excess creosote, too, which is known for triggering chimney fires.

Chimney inspections also allow us to spot chimney damages that could be putting your home at risk. Ready to get yours scheduled? Call our certified crew in today.

Trust In HeatShield To Restore Your Liner

Is your chimney liner in bad shape? Often times, people assume that a faulty liner calls for a full relining job, which can be costly and time consuming. Before jumping into anything, we encourage you to contact our crew, as you might just need some repair work. This would take a lot less of your time, money, and patience! Ask our team of CSIA-certified experts about how we can help you out using HeatShield, a durable product that will keep your chimney standing strong for years to come!

Why Is A Well-Functioning Liner Important?

The CSIA promotes three main functions of your chimney liner, and trust us, they make a big difference in how safely and efficiently your appliance functions! First of all, it guards the rest of your home from the high temperatures your fireplace produces. Without a properly working liner in place, it’s only a matter of hours before adjacent woodwork could catch on fire, putting your home and family at serious risk.

Secondly, a chimney liner will protect your masonry, keeping it in better health for years to come. If damages are present, the heat will wear down your brickwork and mortar, eating away at your chimney until it’s no longer safe for use. This also opens pathways for harmful fumes, like carbon monoxide, to enter the home and affect the health of you and loved ones.

Finally, when your liner is fitted appropriately, it ensures your fireplace and chimney function as efficiently as possible. It keeps your air flow in check and helps prevent creosote from accumulating at a more rapid pace, ensuring everything runs properly.

We Have Two HeatShield Methods

We provide our customers with two different methods for HeatShield chimney liner repair, so we can offer the best option based upon your specific needs. Our technicians will use a camera to thoroughly inspect your system, so we know exactly what the problem is and how to address it. We’ll even be able to show you what we see, so you’re in the loop throughout the entire process!

If your system needs gaps, cracks, and holes repaired, we can use specially designed tools to fill them up, leaving you with a smooth and seamless surface at the end of it all. After this is complete, we’ll re-inspect your system to ensure we didn’t miss a thing! Now, that’s satisfaction guaranteed.

Other times, the entire chimney liner needs resurfacing. In these cases, we’ll prime the liner by removing any dust, then we’ll apply HeatShield to the entire system. The entire surface of your liner will be good as new, and we’ll verify no damages are present with a video scan. There’s no better way to feel peace of mind!

Not Gonna Cut It – I Need Relining Work!

If repairs aren’t gonna do the trick, then relining it is. We can reline your system with a stainless steel liner, so you know you’ll have years of protection and stress-free enjoyment of your fireplace.

No matter what the issue is, let our team take a look. We’ll find the right solutions for your unique circumstances, so you’ll be up and running again in no time! Trust in our crew today.

How To Fix A Smelly Fireplace

Have you been noticing some bad smells coming in from your fireplace? This is obviously less than ideal, but fortunately there are solutions out there to get your home smelling fresh and good again. Check out some options below, then give us a call so we can figure out the issue and resolve it together. The team at Lords Chimney is ready to serve you!

Schedule That Sweeping

The CSIA recommends scheduling an inspection at least once per year to ensure your chimney is functioning properly, often times, these inspections can lead to the discovery of excess creosote. If you have yet to get your inspection done for the year, give us a call now so that we can check things over! Creosote buildup can cause significant odors to sweep through your home, and if we detect an issue, we can get a sweeping scheduled so you don’t have to suffer any longer.

A good sweeping ensures your fireplace and chimney stay cleaner and safer for regular use, so why not give us a call right away? Rest easier this spring and summer knowing you’re good to go!

Do You Have A Top Sealing Damper?

If you don’t have a top sealing damper, then now may be the time to have yours installed. While throat dampers have done a good job for homeowners over the years, there’s simply no denying that a top sealing option works wonders for keeping your home free from outside air and improving its energy efficiency. And, as you can imagine, they are great for keeping the stink out!

So, how do they work? Well, they are installed at the top of your chimney and work with your chimney cap to keep out downdrafts, water, animals, and excess debris. They also come with a rubber seal, so outdoor air will stay outside where it belongs, and your air conditioning and heat won’t have the opportunity to escape. They’re easy to use, extremely efficient, and they’ll keep those bad odors away, for sure!

Avoid Water Issues

Excess moisture and water in your chimney can trigger some big issues and bad smells, so taking the proper precautions and investing in preventative maintenance beforehand may help eliminate bad odors. There are lots of things we can do to keep water away for good. Replacing your chimney cap, fixing your flashing, rebuilding your crown, tuckpointing, and waterproofing are all effective services that stop moisture from entering your chimney system.

Let us look things over to see what you may need. Our CSIA-trained and -certified experts will be able spot any issues and resolve them before they get worse, giving you the peace of mind you deserve when operating your fireplace. What are you waiting for? Give us a call now at 281-497-4000!