At Lords Chimney, we hold and maintain CSIA certifications because they help us better serve you! The Chimney Safety Institute of America is a non-profit organization striving to educate sweeps and serve the public. We are proud to associate with them with every passing year.
Check out some reasons why we and countless other chimney companies throughout the country trust the CSIA!
High Ethical Standards
One reason we take such pride in holding CSIA credentials is due to their strict code of ethics. The founders of the CSIA feel it’s important to ensure homeowners can trust their sweeps to act professionally and be honest. In order for a sweep to complete their CSIA training, they must agree to use what they’ve learned to bring fair and helpful services to the areas that they serve.
The CSIA also wants homeowners to hold their sweeps accountable! If you hired a certified sweep, but feel that they are either lying about their certifications or that they aren’t living up to CSIA standards, report the sweep to the organization right away. Thanks to the CSIA’s commitment to the public, they’ll ensure corrective action is taken, so that you don’t have to face these issues again down the line.
A Mission For Safety
Another great aspect of the CSIA is it’s desire to promote education and fire safety in homes everywhere. It’s not just about keeping sweeps informed and up-to-date on fireplace knowledge… they want homeowners to be aware of these facts, too! The more a person knows about their fireplace, the less likely they are to experience a big disaster, such as a fire or gas leak. And the CSIA aims to avoid accidents like these at all costs.
Knowing more about your fireplace and chimney will also ensure that you don’t get scammed down the road. If you hired a sweep, and things just don’t seem to be adding up, the CSIA wants to make sure you’re not paying more services you may not need. By staying informed, you’ll be able to spot a scam artist from a mile away!
Standing The Test Of Time
The CSIA is also known for their longevity. This is an organization that has truly stood the test of time, and they continue being successful with every year that passes. They continuously search for ways to improve. In addition, they never fail to provide techs with new technology and techniques for better serving the public.
Since 1983, the CSIA has maintained its ethical standpoints and mission to keep homes throughout the country safer. When it comes to fireplace maintenance, they really know their stuff! And there’s a reason why they haven’t lost momentum in all these years. They never fail to receive support, and they are publicly promoted in various forms of popular media on a regular basis. When you hire a CSIA certified, you can bet that you’re in good hands!
In the hustle and bustle of our day to day lives, it can be easy to let minor home maintenance go by the wayside. No matter how frequently or infrequently your use your fireplace, however, it is important to have it swept and inspected at least once per year. Because of this, many customers find it easiest to forward schedule their future chimney sweeping appointments.
What is forward scheduling?
Forward scheduling is as easy as setting your next appointment at the time of your current appointment. While most of us are used to doing this for annual physicals or dental checkups, it can also be done for your chimney services! Forward scheduling your chimney sweeping allows you to pick the date and time for you next services and “set it and forget it!”
Advantages of forward scheduling your chimney services
Although it may seem odd to schedule chimney maintenance six months – or more – in advance, there are a number of advantages to forward scheduling your sweeping appointment.
Pick the most convenient appointment time. Scheduling several months in advance gives you the advance when choosing days and times for appointments. With schedules that are typically wide open, you can find the day and time that best work with your schedule instead of being at the mercy of the next available opening.
Make the appointment when it’s fresh in your mind. In the weeks and months after your chimney has been swept, scheduling your next appointment can become an afterthought. By forward scheduling, you can set up your next appointment at the time of your current sweeping, guaranteeing important annual maintenance will be done year after year.
Less stress and worry. Once your appointment has been schedule for the next year you can sit back, relax, and rest assured that your fireplace maintenance will be taken care of.
Benefits of annual chimney sweeping and maintenance
Regular yearly chimney sweepings and inspections are the best way to keep your fireplace and chimney burning safely and efficiently. Chimney sweepings remove soot, ash, debris, blockages, and the harmful and flammable byproduct of combustion creosote from the flue. Sweepings also help you get the most out of your fireplace by extending its lifespan. Likewise, chimney inspections can be used to help evaluate efficiency, look for signs of damage or deterioration, and uncover the cause of long-term chimney problems such as draft issues or leaks.
“A chimney inspection is like an annual dental check-up,” says Chimney Safety Institute of America Director of Education Ashley Eldridge. “It’s preventative maintenance that helps minimize potential hazards.”
With family, friends, jobs, kids, school, and more, it can be easy to forget to schedule your annual chimney sweeping. By forward scheduling your future appointments you can rest assured your chimney will be professionally maintained year after year. For more information on forward scheduling or to schedule your next chimney sweeping, contact Lords Chimney today.
Whether it’s a musty or moldy smell, a soft drip-drip sound coming from the chimney, or a puddle of water at the bottom of the firebox, a leaky chimney is a problem that cannot be ignored. Left unrepaired, even minor chimney leaks can create major damage throughout your fireplace system.
Thankfully, leaky chimneys don’t have to be a chronic problem. Identifying the source of the water entry and fixing your leaky chimney as soon as possible can prevent serious water damage to your fireplace system or home.
What causes chimney leaks?
Chimneys are built to stand strong against the elements; however, there are still a number of points where water can work its way into the chimney system. The following are some of the most common causes of chimney leaks.
Chimney cap: The chimney cap protects the top of the chimney and keeps moisture, animals, and debris from falling into the chimney. A damaged chimney cap can allow water into the flue, causing damage throughout the fireplace and chimney structure.
Chimney crown: Often confused with the chimney cap, the chimney crown is a mortar slab that seals the top of the chimney. Chimney crowns should have small overhangs as well as be built with slightly sloped edges to prevent water from pooling on the top. Chimney crowns can deteriorate over time due to prolonged exposure to the elements; this creates cracks that allow moisture into the chimney.
Flashing: Flashing is the watertight metal strips that seals the joint between the chimney and the roof. Over time, flashing can lose its seal due to overexposure to the elements; flashing can also be damaged by storms or animals.
Masonry damage: Without regular maintenance, bricks and mortar can begin to deteriorate over time. The freeze thaw process – which causes water in bricks to freeze and expand – is the most common cause of water damage to masonry.
Fixing a leaky chimney
When it comes to fixing a leaky chimney, the most important step is to find and repair the cause of the chimney leak. Repairing the water damage without first removing the cause of the chimney leak will only lead to recurrent water problems. By uncovering the root cause of the chimney leak, you can rest assured that the water damage will not return once the necessary repairs have been made.
For chimneys with damaged masonry, tuckpointing may be used to repair or replace damaged bricks and mortar. During the tuckpointing process, small areas of damaged masonry are carefully removed before the new bricks and mortar are put in; this can help strengthen the chimney structure and help avoid the costs of rebuilding the entire chimney.
Another great way to prevent chimney leaks and water damage is by having your chimney waterproofed. Professionally waterproofing a chimney can seal and protect the masonry from water damage while still allowing the bricks to retain their semi-porous nature.
If you have a leaky chimney, trust the experts at Lords Chimney to repair it. Contact us today to schedule an appointment so we can help resolve your chimney leaks!
When stains appear on the sides of a chimney, many homeowners falsely assume it is a natural part of an aging chimney. Unfortunately, chimney discoloration is often more than just a simple eyesore. Chimney stains and discoloration may indicate the presence of damage or other problems. The following are five of the most common kinds – and causes – of chimney discoloration.
Black stains on interior masonry are caused by soot buildup. Soot staining is often the sign of a chimney that has not been properly cleaned or maintained. Likewise, soot stains can also be caused by burning the wrong materials, such as green wood or paper and cardboard.
While soot stains are relatively common on older masonry chimneys, gas fireplaces should never have soot stains. Soot stains, especially those around the top of the chimney, indicate that there is a problem with the gas fireplace and the fuel is not burning correctly; soot staining on gas fireplaces can sometimes indicate a carbon monoxide leak.
Brown and black staining around the chimney cap or down the sides of the chimney structure is one of the most common kinds of chimney stains. While most homeowners assume this kind of discoloration is simply staining from soot, it is typically caused by excessive creosote buildup in the flue. If a chimney is not regularly swept, creosote can build up to the point where runoff stains the top and sides of the chimney. Because creosote staining is so similar to soot staining, a chimney sweep may be needed to evaluate the difference between the two.
Green or dark green discoloration on a chimney is caused by the growth of mold and algae. This kind of green staining is most commonly seen in areas where water directly flows. Chimneys without a lip on the chimney crown may be particularly susceptible to algae or mold growth as the water travels over the masonry.
Red and brown rust stains are almost exclusively seen with prefabricated or metal chimneys. Because factory build chimneys have metal chase covers, they are prone to rusting. When this occurs, dark brown, red, and orange rust stains will begin to streak down the sides of the chimney chase. If rust staining is noticed, the chimney should be inspected immediately for signs of water damage caused by a chimney leak.
White stains on masonry structures are known as efflorescence. As water in the brick evaporates, it leaves behind mineral salt which then creates powdery white or crystalline discolorations on the masonry of the chimney. Exterior efflorescence is usually harmless and caused by ground or rain water. However, interior efflorescence may indicate the presence of a chimney leak.
Chimney stains do more than just affect your home’s curb appeal; they can also indicate the presence of a serious chimney problem. Schedule an appointment with Lords Chimney today to find out if your chimney discoloration is cosmetic or caused by something more serious.
When it comes to fireplace and chimney service, installation, and maintenance, finding the right company to work with can be hard to do. With so many businesses to choose from, it can be difficult to determine the seasoned professionals from the seasonal workers.
Although anyone with a brush and a truck might be able to call themselves a chimney sweep, few have earned the Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA, certification. By hiring a certified chimney sweep, you can feel confident that you are working with a highly trained and educated professional.
Are all chimney sweeps certified?
Many homeowners mistakenly believe that all chimney sweeps are created equally. Unfortunately, there are few regulations or restrictions on the industry. Because of this, any handyman with a couple of brushes can call themselves a chimney sweep. Oftentimes, these “chimney sweeps” do little more than push around the ash and soot in your chimney, making more of a mess than actually cleaning the chimney.
In order to get the best service possible for your fireplace and chimney system, it is important to work with a CSIA certified chimney sweep. The CSIA certification is recognized as the gold standard in the industry. Chimney sweeps that hold a CSIA certification have completed extensive education, training, and testing and represent the best in the industry in terms of skill and professionalism.
In order to earn their CSIA certification, chimney sweeps must study and be tested on topics such as:
Fireplace and chimney safety practices
Local and national building and fire codes
Fireplace and chimney building dynamics for wide range of units
Installation and maintenance practices for fireplaces, inserts, and stoves
Current EPA standards for fireplaces, inserts, and stoves
CSIA certified chimney sweeps must also stay up to date on current industry practices. Because they must retest every three years in order to maintain their certification, CSIA-certified sweeps have information on the most recent safety and technology developments and best practices in the industry.
Hiring a certified chimney sweep
Because chimney maintenance can directly impact the safety of you and your family, it is important to work with a professional that you trust. Before hiring a chimney sweep, consider asking them the following questions:
How long has your chimney sweeping company been in business?
Can you offer current references?
Do you have unresolved complaints filed with any consumer protection agencies or the Better Business Bureau?
Does the company or the individual chimney sweep carry business liability insurance policy to protect my home and furnishings against accidents?
Will the company guarantee that a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep will be on my job site?
Don’t trust your family’s safety to the cheapest company you can find. Instead, hire a CSIA certified chimney sweep to ensure that your chimney’s maintenance and repairs are done correctly – the first time. In the Houston area, contact Lords Chimney to schedule an appointment with our CSIA certified chimney sweeps!