Our Company Blog
Anyone with a fireplace knows how much they enhance the atmosphere of any holiday gathering. A fireplace adds something special to any room. It also enhances the cheerful and festive mood that every homeowner seeks throughout the holiday season!
That being said, it’s important to take the proper precautions to ensure your appliance runs safer and more efficiently all season long. That’s why it’s vital to get your annual inspection on the books now, before your start throwing get-together’s and inviting guests over. Call the staff at Lords Chimney today, and we’ll get an appointment set up right away!
Running A Safer Fireplace
If you’re lighting fires in your home, you want to ensure your fireplace system is functioning as safely as possible. Keeping guests and family members safe is always the top priority, so your chimney needs to be in tip top shape throughout your entire burning season! By investing in annual inspections, you ascertain that no necessary repairs and/or sweepings are needed before you start lighting fires. And neglecting this regular maintenance could land you in some serious trouble!
One issue that may occur is the build up of creosote. Creosote forms as fires burn in your wood-burning fireplace, and it’s a highly flammable substance. Since it’s prone to catching fire, you want to make sure it doesn’t accumulate. Otherwise, you may be dealing with a chimney fire before you know it!
Chimney fires not only weaken the entire structure of your chimney. They make it unsafe for everyday use, too! Gaps will quickly form, leaving your home and roof vulnerable to stray flames. The worst part is, many of these fires occur unnoticed. You could be using your fireplace, without even realizing you’re at risk! It’s not worth putting off this important maintenance – call us in today.
Besides making sure that everything is running safely, annual inspections help enhance the efficiency of your appliance overall. You wouldn’t want to run a fireplace that is only providing minimal heat output, would you? That’s not cost effective at all, and it makes for a frustrating evening! All parts need to be in good condition in order for everything to work together cohesively. Call us in, and we’ll make sure you’re good to go!
Avoiding Expensive Repairs
Repairs that go unaddressed will only get worse over time and, if things weaken too much, your chimney may settle or collapse. Cracks, holes, and other issues in your chimney’s structure need to be addressed as soon as possible to avoid further (and more costly) issues down the line. Inspect in affordable maintenance now to bypass expensive repairs down the line!
Along with this, repairs take time and, with the busy season underway, we want to make sure we have the time and manpower to address every one of our customers’ issues. Call us at Lords Chimney today, so we can be sure to get any other required services done before your next holiday party or event. We can’t wait to help you out soon!
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!
As the temperatures outside continue to rise, most homeowners have stopped using their fireplaces until the fall. Even though you may not be using it, don’t let your fireplace sit idle until the temperatures drop! Instead, use the summer as a time to have chimney maintenance done.
Summer is a great time to have annual chimney maintenance – including a chimney inspection – completed. By having work done now, you can start using your fireplace again in the fall with the knowledge that it is in good condition and safe to use!
Why have chimney maintenance done in the summer
Because most homeowners do not use their fireplaces during the summer, it is the perfect time of year to have chimney maintenance done. As the summer is traditionally a “slow season” due to the lack of a need for fireplace use, it is much easier to get an appointment at a convenient time with a minimal wait time. Likewise, as some masonry repairs cannot be made in cold weather have summer repairs done ensures your chimney will be ready to use all winter long.
Importance of chimney inspections
“A chimney inspection is like an annual dental check-up,” says Ashley Eldridge, Director of Education for the CSIA. “It’s preventative maintenance that helps minimize potential hazards.” A chimney inspection should be a part of your yearly fireplace maintenance. Unlike a chimney sweeping which focuses on the removal of soot, ash, and creosote, a chimney inspection focuses on the condition of your fireplace and chimney.
Levels of chimney inspection
There are three different levels of chimney inspection designated by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. A CSIA-certified chimney sweep can help advise you on what level of chimney inspection your home needs.
- Level I: A Level I chimney inspection is the simplest kind of chimney inspection and is all that is needed for most homes that receive regular fireplace and chimney maintenance. During a Level I inspection, the certified chimney sweep will visually inspect all accessible portions of the interior and exterior of the chimney for signs of deterioration or damage. If any problems are found, repairs or a more intensive inspection can be recommended.
- Level II: Level II chimney inspections are used if there has been a major change to the fireplace system, such as installing a new insert or changing fuel sources. Likewise, a Level II inspection may be recommended if you are preparing to sell your home or recently purchased a new home. This kind of chimney inspection often involves the use of technology such as closed-circuit cameras as well as accessing areas of your home such as attics, basements, or crawl spaces.
- Level III: A Level III chimney inspection is the most in-depth – and most invasive – type of chimney inspection. For this reason they are only recommended in cases where serious structural damage is suspected, such as after an earthquake, chimney fire, or other natural disaster. During a Level III chimney inspection, portions of the chimney structure may need to be removed in order to better access areas of damage.
This year, don’t wait until fall to schedule your chimney inspection. Instead, have your chimney maintenance done during your fireplace’s summer downtime! Call Lord’s Chimney today to schedule your summer chimney inspection and help your fireplace be ready for fall!
At Lords Chimney Services, we pride ourselves on providing our customers in the Houston area with outstanding chimney and fireplace services. Over the past decade, we have helped our friends and neighbors in Houston make their homes more healthy and safe through fireplace maintenance. Likewise, because we are a local company we understand the unique maintenance issues that are often seen in our area.
We are proud to say that we love the city of Houston! A bustling – and growing – metropolis that is home to a diverse international community, Houston is the largest city in the state as well as the fourth largest city in the nation. The city is recognized as a worldwide leader in the energy industry in both oil and natural gas, and is also the proud home of Johnson Space Center.
Apart from the bustling economy, Houston has plenty to offer both residents and visitors alike. The Houston Theater District is home to six performance halls and nine arts organizations, including permanent opera, ballet, music, and theater companies. The city has a professional team in every league except for the NHL, including the Houston Astros, Texans, Dynamos, and Rockets. In addition, several college and universities such as the University of Houston and Rice University add to the city’s vibrant culture.
About Lords Chimney
Over the last decade, we have proudly built and grown our business in Houston. We offer our customers a number of high quality fireplace, chimney, and dryer vent services and are proud to work in the same neighborhoods and areas that we live.
We provide our customers with a wide range of chimney and fireplace services; we can service and repair everything from the bottom of the firebox to the top of the flue. This includes the sales and installation of a number of high quality fireplace inserts and accessories. In addition, we also clean and install dryer vents.
Why choose us
At Lords Chimney, we are dedicated to providing our friends and neighbors in the Houston area with quality, mess-free services for their chimneys, fireplaces, and dryer vents. There are a number of things that set us apart from our competitors:
- Our certifications: All of our fireplace and chimney services are performed by Chimney Safety Institute of America certified chimney sweeps. With a CSIA certified sweep, you can rest assured that you are getting a highly trained and qualified professional. This also means that our technicians are more than able to uncover the most common causes for chimney issues and answer any questions you may have.
- Our professionalism: We go above and beyond to treat your home with care and respect. This includes placing protective tarps and wearing protective footwear to keep your home clean. Likewise, Lords Chimney is also fully insured – including auto insurance – on the off chance that anything should happen on the job.
- Our integrity: We have made a promise to be upfront and honest with all of our clients. For our customers, this means never doing any work without prior approval and providing you with an accurate estimate beforehand.
If you live in the Houston area, look no further Lords Chimney for all your chimney, fireplace, and dryer vent needs. We love this city and are proud to play a small role in keeping its residents safe. Contact us today to for all of your chimney and heating appliance needs!
Gas fireplaces make a beautiful addition to any home and are an increasingly sought after feature for homebuyers. Valued for their beauty, functionality, and ease of use, more and more homeowners are converting their existing open hearth fireplaces to gas. However, what many may not realize is that their new gas fireplace is missing a required component – the damper stop.
Although many homeowners may not know what a damper stop is, they are a necessary part of a gas fireplace. Unfortunately, many homes with gas fireplaces – especially those that were not professionally installed – may be missing this important piece.
What is a damper stop?
A damper stop is a piece of metal designed to ensure that the flue of a gas fireplace always remains partially open. With a traditional hearth fireplace, the damper is opened or closed when the fireplace is in use.
While gas fireplaces also need the flue to be open while in use, there is often no mechanism to close it; instead, the damper is simply left partially or fully open when the gas insert is installed. However, leaving the damper open at installation does not ensure that the damper will stay open forever. Strong winds, house settling, or other damage to the flue or damper can cause the damper to close.
Because of this, damper stops were designed to be installed as a way to keep the damper permanently open. Although they are required, some homes with gas fireplaces – especially those that were self-installed by previous homeowners or untrained installers – may not have them.
Dangers of a missing damper stop
A damper stop may seem like an insignificant piece of the gas fireplace. However, it is a specially designed safety precaution that can help protect your family, namely against carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas that is often called the “silent killer” because it is so difficult to detect. When the damper is open, carbon monoxide is able to safely travel up the chimney and out of your home. However, if the damper is closed this deadly gas can back up into your room, affecting the health and safety of you, your family, and your friends.
How to identify a damper stop
With a traditional hearth fireplace, it is easy to tell if the damper is open or closed; if smoke back flows into a room when the fireplace is in use, the damper is closed. Gas fireplaces, however, do not produce smoke, making it much more difficult to tell if the damper is open or closed.
Missing damper stops are most frequently identified during home inspections; however, they can be easily missed, leading homeowners to believe that there is nothing wrong with their gas insert or fireplace.
To make sure that your gas fireplace has a damper stop that is correctly installed, contact Lord’s Chimney to schedule a chimney inspection. Our trained chimney sweeps will be able to inspect your chimney and fireplace to determine whether or not your gas fireplace has a damper stop; if it is missing, one can be installed. To make sure your chimney is up to current safety standards, contact us today!