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So, you’re all set to put your fireplace to use, but something is off. Whether there’s a slight issue you can’t quite pinpoint or something big and obvious, you’re not getting the experience you’re hoping for and you want to find solutions fast. But where do you start?
Well, here at Lords Chimney, we know that the more educated homeowners are, the safer they’ll be able to operate their appliances. That’s why we’re here to give you the lowdown on what to look out for in both gas-fueled and wood-burning fireplaces and appliances.
When it comes to operating a gas appliance, one thing we urge all of our customers to do is trust their senses. Your nose, for example, is more sensitive than you might think – if something smells off, it’s likely you have some type of gas leak.
Another indicator is burning eyes or even the “feeling” of something being off. In other words, trust your spidey senses! If your stomach is upset, your head hearts, you’re feeling dizzy, or something else along those lines and you have nothing to blame it on, there could be carbon monoxide in your home.
Now, in the case of a carbon monoxide leak, the biggest warning sign is your carbon monoxide detector going off. Don’t have a carbon monoxide detector? Then it’s time to invest in one! It could make all the difference in keeping you and your loved ones safer.
If your detectors do start beeping, it’s important to leave the area immediately and call the appropriate authorities for assistance. Carbon monoxide causes hundreds of deaths every single year, so this is one substance you can never be too careful with.
Another thing to keep in mind when working with gas appliances is to check your batteries. Believe it or not, some homeowners call in a sweep to check on an appliance that’s not working only to discover the batteries were in backwards.
If your carbon monoxide detectors aren’t going off and your batteries look good, but problems are still occurring, it’s time to call us in for an inspection. Most gas appliances are designed to automatically shut down when your safety may be threatened. The unit could be overheating, not venting correctly or maybe the oxygen levels are off.
And in some cases, it’s the safety feature itself that isn’t working. Regardless, the entire system will need to be checked out, so a visit from our team is always a great first step.
When it comes to a wood-burning fireplace, a common sign that something is off is smoke in your living space. Now, in many cases you’ll actually see the smoke entering, but sometimes you’ll smell it without seeing any in your home. Many love that classic smoke-y smell and think it’s normal, but it actually shouldn’t be present. If you smell smoke at all, something is wrong, and it’s time to call in the experts
What does smoke in your space typically indicate? Well, there are a number of things that cause this. You could have excess creosote build-up, clogs in your flue, incorrect chimney dimensions, poor draft or air flow, a stuck damper, or some type of masonry damage. Fortunately, our team has the tools and training to spot and resolve the issues in no time.
It’s also important to keep an eye on your masonry. If it’s showing any signs of cracking or crumbling, then there’s likely water damage. Ignoring water damage leads to inefficiency and costly repairs, and it can even trigger a house fire, gas leak, or chimney fire if too much damage is done.
We have preventive services that can help, including waterproofing, flashing installation, crown repair, and more.
Sometimes repair work simply isn’t an option if the damage is too extensive or if your system is too old. So, how do you know when it’s time to invest in a new unit altogether? Well, our team can help with that, too.
The fact of the matter is that if you know how your chimney is supposed to work, then you’ll know when it’s time for repairs or replacement parts. Lords Chimney can help you gain the necessary knowledge to know when it’s time to hire someone for professional care. We’re happy to keep homeowners as informed and as educated as possible.
One thing is for certain – you don’t want to wait until the system completely fails before investing in care from a certified sweep. This is when major accidents happen, and you could end up putting your home and family at risk.
In the end, it’s important to remember that fireplaces, stoves, inserts, and the like are all appliances that will eventually need to be replaced. Fireplaces are known for their longevity, so it’s easy to forget that. Yet, if you buy a home that’s decades old with the original unit still installed, just know that you might be replacing it sooner than you think.
Basically, when we come to look at your system, anything over 20 years old will get a bid for replacement. This will give you an approximate estimate as far as when a new system will be in order so that you can start planning for it (and saving up).
If we take a look and realize that you need something new right away, it’s important that you stop using your appliance until a new one is installed. If a new one isn’t in the budget, shut your fireplace down until it is. Your safety and satisfaction depend on it!
Regular maintenance is vital for good chimney health, so if you have yet to schedule your annual inspection then it’s time to reach out to the Lords Chimney team today at 281-497-4000 or you contact us online! We look forward to helping you out soon!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
“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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!