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All You Need to Know about Glazed Creosote Removal

If you have a wood or oil-burning furnace or fireplace, you may have heard about glazed creosote. Information online, in the hardware store, and from well-meaning friends or loved ones may be confusing.

Chief Chimney Services has all the information you need to keep your home or business safe from glazed creosote.

What is it?

get rid of creosote - Smithtown NY - Chief Chimney Services

Creosote is a highly flammable, tar-like substance created when fuel is burned at high temperatures. This powdery residue can remain on the walls of a smoke box or chimney and compound over time in several layers. A professional will sometimes call this buildup glazed creosote, or level three creosote. At this level of buildup the creosote bubbles and boils when high-temperature fires burn in the furnace, then cools into a solid, very flammable, mass.

This hardened buildup can become a hazard as it begins to obstruct the chimney, causing the heat, smoke, and gases to slow, and begin to heat the flammable substance.

CSIA-Certified Chimney Technicians

At Chief Chimney Services, we are qualified, licensed, and insured to clean and repair damage caused by glazed creosote. Our licensed chimney sweeps are the difference in chimney maintenance. Using the proper tools we can transform the glazed creosote into a more pliable substance to be easily removed.

What We Do

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends regular chimney cleaning and inspections, and urges consumers to not depend only on chemical cleaning products like those found in hardware stores. A licensed and experienced chimney sweep provides fast service, inspections, and offers expert advice.

The way our chimney sweeps remove the creosote will depend on the consistency of the buildup. If it is gummy or moist we may use a chemical designed to transform the creosote to a powdery substance. This allows our sweeps to brush it out. These chemicals are safe for your home or business, and our chimney sweeps are qualified and experienced in their use. If a chemical remover isn’t needed, we use tools and brushes to detach the creosote from the chimney walls. After the creosote is properly removed, the chimney returns to safe function.

What You Can Do

As a home or business owner you can regularly check your firebox and chimney for signs of creosote buildup. Burning a high-temperature fire, with plenty of oxygen to the flames, helps the fuel burn completely. Also, burning proper fuel can help prevent creosote buildup. Proper wood should be cut and set aside to dry. This process could take as little as six months, or up to two years for denser types of wood.

Creosote is caused primarily when wood isn’t completely burned. So using improperly seasoned wood raises the risk of buildup.

In addition to burning proper fuel, home and business owners should not skip an annual cleaning and inspection. A regular cleaning should remove creosote before it reaches level three buildup.

Call or set up an appointment online and let Chief Chimney Services make the difference for your home or business today.

By John Pilger on January 27th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on All You Need to Know about Glazed Creosote Removal

Let the Chief Tell You Why Your Chimney Needs a Cap!

Whether you have a brick-and-mortar chimney, a new or aging insert, or a simple stove pipe, you may wonder about a chimney cap. A lot of home owners may have a policy of “out of sight, out of mind”, but although the chimney stack is outside, it can cause major issues inside without a proper cap.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) describes the chimney cap as “an important chimney safety and damage prevention component.”

Keep the Outside Out

Although chimney caps can be found at your local home improvement stores at an affordable price, some home owners don’t find them important. Although we at Chief Chimney Services are happy to service all chimneys, we recommend the use of a chimney cap for safety as well as prevention.

Wood-burning furnaces are designed to heat the inside of the home, the chimney designed to release gases and equalize pressure in the home, and the chimney cap designed to keep certain things outside the home.

Weather

chimney cap - Smithtown NY - Chief Chimney Services

Chief Chimney Services will clean, maintain, and inspect chimneys to make sure the path is clear for gases to escape, but rain, snow, and ice can cause flue obstructions if allowed into the chimney. We recommend using chimney caps to keep the path clear!

Since chimneys have to allow large amounts of pressure and gas to escape, there are sometimes multiple openings at the top, called flues. If moisture is allowed into the openings it can run directly into the chimney itself, causing minor problems like bothersome odors in the home, and more serious damage like rusted damper assemblies, deteriorated firebox assemblies, rot, clogged heating and clean-out systems, stained chimneys, decayed mortar, cracked or damaged flue lining, collapsed hearth support, and tilted or collapsed chimney structure.

Wildlife

If a chimney cap is damaged, improperly installed, or nonexistent you essentially have a hole in your roof that animals can access. Any animal that can climb onto your roof can also climb into your home. A chimney is a warm and safe place for animals to shelter their own families, so if they have the opportunity, expect them to take advantage!

If an animal finds a way into you chimney it can definitely cause obstruction, and could even suffocate, causing a foul odor in the home, and need removal.

Keeping the Inside Out

At Chief Chimney Services, we recommend chimney caps to prevent sparks from escaping the chimney. A hot fire has the power to push hot sparks up the chimney along with the smoke and gases. These hot sparks can damage the roof around the chimney, and can cause accidental environmental fires.

It’s our responsibility as home and business owners to be responsible for our homes and buildings. We strive to give our customers the best opportunity for success, and we are readily available to help you with your chimney.

When to Call a Professional

If you are ready to install a chimney cap, or have concerns there is a problem with your existing chimney cap, notice a smoke or draft problem in your fireplace, furnace, or chimney system call a Chief Chimney Services professional today, or click here to schedule an appointment online.

By John Pilger on January 12th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Let the Chief Tell You Why Your Chimney Needs a Cap!

Is Your Dryer Vent Putting Your Home at Risk?

Everyone knows the importance of cleaning the lint trap of your dryer before each load of laundry, but what about the importance of dryer vent cleaning? It’s easy to see the lint and hair that builds up in your lint trap, but what you may not see so easily is the same lint, hair, and debris that builds up inside the dryer vent. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, you should “Have a qualified service person clean the interior of the dryer chassis periodically to minimize the amount of lint accumulation.” Keeping your dryer vent clean and clear of this debris is vitally important for your dryer’s efficiency as well as your home’s safety. Neglecting to do so is not only a threat to your wallet but to your life as well. Is Your Dryer Vent Putting Your Home at Risk - Smithtown, NY - Chief Chimney Services

Beyond just cleaning your dryer vent, a professional can also help identify and prevent:

Animal Nests

Especially during colder months, some animals will try to seek shelter in your dryer vent system. This causes air flow issues, as animals such as birds leave behind flammable debris that can be ignited by the dryer’s heat. Animal nesting can also damage dryer ducts, which can lead to overheating and inefficiency.

Leaky Ducts

During a dryer vent cleaning and inspection, it’s important to check for damage or leaks in the ducts. Especially if your ducts are only sealed with duct tape, which can easily wear with the presence of heat and moisture.

Carbon Monoxide

According to the CSIA, the Chimney Safety Institute of America, “If a gas clothes dryer is improperly vented or the exhaust duct itself is blocked by lint or debris, carbon monoxide can be forced back into your living space.” If your dryer vent is not clear, then your dryer and home are not receiving proper air ventilation. Carbon monoxide is difficult to detect without equipment, and can cause serious health problems such as brain damage, organ damage, or even death before it is discovered. By annually checking your dryer vent system and installing a carbon monoxide detector nearby, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home is greatly reduced.
Although the issues above are serious, regular cleanings and inspections can help prevent them before becoming fire hazards. Without an annual professional cleaning and inspection, though, these issues can go unnoticed and cause inefficiency and fire risks to your home.
Chief Chimney Services, Inc. technicians use high-quality brushes and an incredibly-high-powered vacuum to clean your dryer vent system from start to finish. Lint and debris is loosened and immediately vacuumed up by a high-intake vacuum cleaner, guaranteeing a dust- and mess-free job. We will also check for any damages, leaks, obstructions, or air flow problems. With a Chief Chimney Services, Inc. technician, you will have a safe and efficient dryer vent system in no time!

 

To schedule your dryer vent system cleaning, call Chief Chimney Services, Inc. today!

 

By John Pilger on December 23rd, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Is Your Dryer Vent Putting Your Home at Risk?

How to handle a chimney fire

Homeowners hope they never have to deal with a fire, but it’s something every homeowner should be prepared for. If your home has a fireplace or heating stove, you also should be prepared to deal with a chimney fire.

Recognizing the signs of a chimney fire

How to handle a chimney fire - Suffolk County NY - Chief ChimneyFirst, you should know the signs of a chimney fire. Oftentimes, chimney fires are extremely dramatic and obvious. Flames and sparks shoots out the top of the chimney, dense smoke billows out, and people inside the home hear a roaring noise like a low-flying plane. Other times, however, chimney fires are far more subtle. Some smoke may begin entering the house, or there may be a popping or “raining” sound from inside the chimney.

Responding to a chimney fire

If you believe you are experiencing a chimney fire, your first priority should be to get everyone out of the home safely. While most metal chimney are made to withstand a chimney fire, there is a risk that the fire could escape and ignite your home’s structure. Because of that risk, you should immediately call the fire department. If you feel safe doing so, you can close the doors to the fireplace, and turn off any fans or blowers. Once outside, you can spray water on your roof to prevent any sparks coming from the chimney from igniting your roof.

Following a chimney fire, your chimney should be inspected by a certified chimney sweep before you attempt to burn another fire. A sweep will clean the chimney and inspect the structure. While metal flues can withstand temperatures up to 2,000 degree, they still may be damaged by a fire. The extreme temperatures of a chimney fire can cause major damage to a masonry chimney. Mortar can melt and bricks can crack, compromising the chimney structure.

Preventing a chimney fire

As the saying goes, “Clean chimneys don’t catch fire.” The majority of chimney fires are caused by a buildup of creosote, which is extremely flammable. The best way to protect your home from a chimney fire is to have your chimney swept by a certified chimney sweep at least once a year, and potentially more frequently if you rely on a woodstove as a main source of heat. Your chimney sweep will remove all creosote buildup from your flue, and will look for any signs of chimney damage or weakness.

Creosote forms when smoke cools near the top of your flue, causing condensation. Burning properly seasoned hardwood that is the right size for your fireplace can slow the buildup of creosote in your fireplace. Also, make sure you always burn fires with your damper fully open, and if you have an open-hearth fireplace, never close the fireplace doors when a fire is burning. Having a partially closed damper or closed fireplace doors interrupts the draft of smoke out of your chimney, causing smoke to linger longer and encouraging creosote buildup.

If you’re overdue for a chimney sweeping, or if you’re concerned that your chimney has experienced a fire, call the experts at Chief Chimney Services. We can help keep your home and family safe from the risk of a chimney fire.

By John Pilger on December 8th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on How to handle a chimney fire

Is Your Chimney Ready for Winter?

As winter weather sets in, we all start to look longingly toward our fireplaces for warmth and light. But before you light that fire, make sure your home, fireplace, and chimney are ready and safe. Here’s a checklist to start with:

Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home.

Is Your Chimney Ready for WInter - Suffolk County NY - Chief ChimneySmoke detectors should be installed on every level of your home, and should be checked often.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas produced when certain fuels are burned that has the potential to kill if left undetected. Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed on each level of the home, especially near sleeping areas.

Stock up on seasoned firewood.

Only use firewood that was cut and split at least six months ago, and has been stored in a high and dry place protected from rain and dampness. Green and/or wet wood produces more creosote, which could lead to chimney fires.

Reverse your ceiling fans.

During the summer months we use our ceiling fans to move cool air around, but in the winter months the fan blades should rotate the opposite way to make sure the warm air that has risen to the ceiling is pushed back down to the ground where you can enjoy it.

Have a CSIA-certified chimney technician visit.

Chimney Safety Institute of America-certified technicians have gone through extensive training and education to ensure that they can identify and treat fireplace and chimney damage or problem areas. You should have a CSIA-certified technician inspect your chimney at least once a year. The tech should inspect your chimney and fireplace and will alert you to any structural issues like cracked linings, missing or broken masonry, and mortar joint issues.
If necessary (the technician will tell you), have them sweep your chimney to remove any potentially flammable creosote left over from last year’s fires.
Consider having the technician install a chimney cap. People aren’t the only things that get cold in the winter! Birds, bats, and other small animals like to escape the cold, and your chimney seems nice and cozy. A chimney cap will keep these little guys out, making your life much easier.

Before you light that fire, call Chief Chimney Services serving the Suffolk, NY area. Our CSIA-certified technicians can talk to you about inspection options, sweeping, and chimney accessories to keep your home warm and your fires safe.

By John Pilger on November 25th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Is Your Chimney Ready for Winter?

Chimney Liner Repair

When most people think about damage to their chimney they think about crumbling mortar and chipped bricks on the exterior of the chimney structure caused by age and weather erosion. While this is something to be concerned about the most common (and the most dangerous) chimney damage happens inside the flue where it cannot be seen without a proper inspection. Cracked and damaged chimney liners are more common than people realize and can put your home and family at great risk if not properly repaired.

How Can I Tell If My Chimney Liner Is Damaged?

Chimney Liner Repair - Suffolk County NY - Chief ChimneyThe best, most effective way to tell if you have a damaged chimney liner is a proper inspection by a CSIA certified chimney technician [https://chiefchimney.com/]. A certified tech will run a camera up your chimney so that they can see exactly what state your entire chimney liner is in. If you have a clay tile liner (the most common among older chimneys) the tech will be looking for cracked, broken, or missing tiles.

When you burn a fire the chimney heats up and cools down rapidly causing stress on the clay tiles. Over time these tiles will fracture and break and can even fall off completely. When this happens it leaves a gap in the liner exposing the masonry structure to the heat and combustible byproducts of a wood burning fire. This can cause major structural issues for your chimney and can create a potentially hazardous situation for you and your family.

If My Liner Is Damaged What Are My Options?

If your chimney liner is cracked or damaged your chimney sweep will know what to do next. Depending on the severity of the damage a relining job [https://chiefchimney.com/chimney-repairs/chimneys-relined/] might be necessary. In many cases this is the best option regardless. If your chimney liner is starting to show signs of wear and tear it will eventually have to be replaced. It is better to have that done at the first sign of an issue otherwise you are simply prolonging the inevitable and spending money on small repairs in the process. Your specific chimney system will dictate what type of liner to have installed but in most cases HeatShield is the way to go.

What is HeatShield?

HeatShield [http://cecurechimney.com/heatshield-system.html] is a Cerfractory Flue Sealant product that is used to either repair or completely replace your chimney liner. It is one of the most trusted products in the chimney industry and comes with a 20 year material warranty. There are 2 methods of using HeatShield to repair a damaged chimney liner.

Resurfacing – If the damage to a chimney liner is not too extensive the chimney sweep may recommend using the HeatShield resurfacing system. This process is performed in several steps. The first step involves a “tie-coat” that cleans the interior of the chimney liner of dust and debris and acts as a primer for the final HeatShield application. Once this primer has dried the HeatShield material is applied into the flue at ¼ inch thickness. After this is all finished a camera is run up the length of the chimney to ensure that there are no gaps left in the liner.

CeCure Sleeve Relining – If the chimney liner is extensively damaged or missing all together your chimney sweep may recommend completely relining your chimney. This is where the CeCure Sleeve Relining system comes in. When installing a CeCure Sleeve Relining system the first step is to coat the interior of the chimney with a coating of HeatShield Cerfractory Flue Sealant and a drying accelerator. Next a custom fitted CeCure Sleeve is lowered into your chimney and secured to the top of your system. This sleeve provides ceramic insulation and is reinforced with stainless steel fabric. Once this is in place another coating of the Flue Sealant is applied and another camera is run to ensure that everything is in place properly.

How Do I Schedule A Chimney Inspection?

If you have a fireplace and chimney you should have a chimney inspection performed annually by a CSIA certified chimney technician. Call Chief Chimney Services today to schedule your appointment or visit us online at chiefchimney.com.

By John Pilger on November 13th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Chimney Liner Repair

The Value of CSIA Certification

No one wants to be a trailblazer when it comes to their safety and health. That’s why Chief Chimney Services in Long Island, New York and hundreds of other chimney professionals belong to and have their technicians certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

CSIA is a non-profit organization dedicated to “public awareness while educating and certifying industry professionals” throughout North America.

Since 1983 the CSIA has been the recognized authority on the prevention of fires. CSIA has established uniform standards of performance for both chimney and dryer exhaust technicians.

CSIA-certification-image-blog-suffolk-county-ny-chief-chimney-services

In order to earn the CSIA Certified Technician status, the technician must complete a rigorous process of learning based on the National Fire Protection Association and International Residential Fire Codes and Standards, chimney construction, and cleaning processes and then the technician must pass comprehensive exams. As part of the certification process there is also extensive hands on training and testing with leaders in the industry.

For those in the industry, earning the CSIA credentials for your business and technicians means more than just paying dues and belonging to a “club”. Being an active participant in CSIA sends a message to your existing and potential customers that you are committing your time and financial resources to provide the highest level of expertise and superior customer service necessary to keep their family and home safe.

Remember consumers can be very particular about the service team they let into their homes. As they should be. Many have heard horror stories of big messes during the chimney sweeping process, unscrupulous businesses practices, and shoddy work and so they procrastinate in calling for service to avoid the hassles. It is your job to educated the consumer on the importance of regular maintenance and why they can trust you to be their solution and the expert they can trust.

From a consumer’s perspective seeing your CSIA credentials ensures they are doing business with a trusted professional not just some guy canvassing your neighborhood. The CSIA provides homeowners with a list of qualified chimney companies who can perform the maintenance and repair services they need according to the CSIA standards. As a business owner, you want to be included in that elite group.

Equally important in assessing your consideration as the chimney sweep consumers choose to do business with is, the fact that you display your all your credentials which tells the consumer you are serious about the service you provide and you want to develop a long term relationship with them. Be sure to post on your website and on other marketing materials that you have participated in continuing education classes.

The CSIA website provides a wealth of information for those in the industry as well as consumers. The fact that your company is part of such an impressive and prestigious organization adds value to the services you provide. Your membership and commitment to having your technicians certified and renewing their certification helps distinguish you in the marketplace and tells potential customers (and your existing customers) why they should be doing business with you rather than your competitors!

By John Pilger on October 31st, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on The Value of CSIA Certification

Identifying Chimney Discoloration

What do your fingernails and chimney have in common? A trained professional can gain insight as to your health and that of your chimney by looking at their appearance. Changes in color and texture indicate the need for further attention. Look at your fingernails, if you see any of these symptoms, be sure to consult your physician. When it comes to discoloration of your chimney it may not be so easy to inspect. That’s why homeowners in the Long Island area call chimney professional Chief Chimney Services to look for any chimney discoloration and identify the cause and solution to prevent damage.

You may not be able to see the discoloration on your chimney from the ground and the last thing an untrained homeowner needs to do is start climbing around on their roof. (Ladder accidents are one of the major causes injuries especially from folks who swore they’d be careful. Maintaining your safety and the health of your chimney are two of the reasons you call a chimney professional once a year for a thorough inspection and cleaning.) Simply washing the stains away without tending to the underlying causes puts you and your home at risk.

 

Discoloration on chimneys can be white, black, brown, green, or red depending on the cause.masonry chimney

White stains are caused by evaporated water. When you see the white powder or crystals it is an alert that further investigation is needed. The white substance, efflorescence, can be just simple evaporation from rain, snow, and ice. However, efflorescence can also be a sign that water is running inside your chimney or flue and you have a problem. The website InspectAPedia cautions, “Although efflorescence is not mold, it often indicates wet conditions that cause problem mold growth elsewhere in the same building. You’ll need to identify the sources of moisture or leaks and correct them, and depending on other building air quality complaints or health concerns it may be appropriate to inspect and screen the building for problem mold or other moisture or water-related problems. Efflorescence is always a cause for professional attention.”

Green, blueish, and black stains send out a loud SOS to have your chimney professional check for algae growth and or mold. Both thrive on moisture and cause serious health and infestation issues which are expensive to correct. It is imperative that water leaks are caught early, identified, and cured to prevent mold.

Rust colored stains are also the result of water leaks and the source must be identified and corrected.

Black and brown stains can appear on your chimney, roof, and on sides of your home; dark stains have a variety of root causes. These stains can be caused by clogged gutters, leaks and cracks in your masonry or actual chimney flue, or a missing, dislodged or no rain cap. None of which can be diagnosed from a ground level inspection. Black and brown stains can also mean you have a very serious health and safety issue that require immediate attention if the dark stains are the result of creosote and soot. Creosote and soot are highly combustible and may be the result of malfunctioning heating appliances. Dark stains can also indicate a fire occurred that you weren’t aware happened.

Take Away: No matter what color they are, stains on your home are not simply a cosmetic issue. Stains send a message that something needs the attention of a trained chimney professional before you jeopardize your health, safety, the integrity of your structure. Like most things in life, the longer the problem is left unattended, the more complicated and costly the cure becomes. If you live in Long Island, call Chief Chimney Services for help. If not, be sure you contact a chimney professional with strong credentials ASAP.

By John Pilger on October 14th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Identifying Chimney Discoloration

Starting a cold fireplace

As the cold weather approaches, Chief Chimney Services in Long Island, New York wants to make sure that you are using your fireplace in an efficient and safe manner. We know there is nothing better than the sound, ambiance, and warmth from a crackling fire in your fireplace. And, there is nothing worse than a house full of smoke and toxic fumes caused by improperly starting a cold fireplace.

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There are very specific considerations you need to know and specific techniques to successfully light a fire in a cold fireplace:

Before the cold weather approaches, a thorough inspection and cleaning by a CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certified chimney technician is a must to ensure your chimney, fireplace, and their components are fully operational and clean. If you avoid this step, you are putting your house and family at risk for a fire, explosion, and toxic gas poisoning. CSIA, in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), urges homeowners to have a yearly inspection and cleaning of their fireplaces and chimneys before using the fireplace for the first time each season. Your skilled CSIA certified chimney technician will identify and repair any potential hazards and remove any blockages from debris or critters so you will be ready for that first fire of the year.

Once you have done your due diligence and had the cleaning and inspection performed and repaired any problems then it’s time to prepare to light your first fire of the season. The first thing to do (and many times overlooked) is OPEN THE DAMPER. The setting for many romantic and utilitarian fires have been ruined as the room filled up with smoke because the damper was not opened before the wood was lit.

The next step is to prime the flue. Here’s why that is so important. Consider that your chimney is located on the outside of your home and surrounded by the cold fall or winter temperatures. Remember, hot air rises and cold air sinks. So when you open the damper, cold air from outside is drawn down your chimney. The cold air forms a barrier as the warm air from inside your home begins to rise. This is called “air sink”. When air sink occurs and the smoke cannot escape out the chimney your house fills up with smoke. The way to avoid air sink is to prime the flue by lighting a rolled up newspaper or piece of seasoned wood and holding it to the damper for 3-4 minutes. You will actually be able to feel the warm and cold air exchange. Once that happens you can proceed to the next step in lighting your fire.

Place your wood atop a bed a couple inches thick of ashes.The ash bed will provide additional insulation to keep your fire burning hotter. Remember the hotter the fire, the more safe and efficient it is.

As the final step is to build what is known as an “upside down” fire:

Stack large or split logs next to one another tightly to form your bottom layer. Place slightly smaller logs/split logs perpendicular to the bottom layer to form the 2nd layer.
Repeat this process using smaller and smaller pieces to a reasonable height – usually 2-5 layers depending on:

  • The size of your fireplace
  • How much wood you have on hand
  • How long you want the fire to burn

At the top add strips or crumpled newspaper and dry kindling.
Light the newspaper/kindling at the top and watch that baby burn itself down.

By following these recommendations when you initially start your cold fireplace, you will be able to truly appreciate and enjoy romantic and utilitarian fires all season long.

By John Pilger on September 27th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Starting a cold fireplace

Why Ivy Is Damaging Your Chimney

Rarely does fantasy live up to the facts associated with reality. One of the strongest fantasy verses reality buzz-kills is associated with picturesque ivy covered stone and brick buildings. From an aesthetic point of view, nothing is more quaint and dignified as ivy covered buildings and fences. However, ask property owners who battle this invasive predatory, albeit beautiful, vine and its beauty becomes insignificant. Chief Chimney Services, Inc. in Long Island know that growing ivy is a wakeup call that structural damage is being done.

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Ivy spreads quickly and homeowners need to have the ivy removed from your chimneys and other stone and brick structures before its roots and vines can work their way into your masonry and be the catalyst for a whole host of problems. Once the ivy is removed it is important to have a thorough inspection done to find and repair any cracks, crevices, and gaps in the masonry caused by the invading green leafy pest. The roots are so invasive and embedded that damage can even be done to masonry and shingles during the ivy removal process.

Your chimney is built from masonry. Masonry is a naturally porous material and holds water. Bricks are held together with mortar that can become damaged over time due to weather exposure, freezing and thawing, age, and pressure. Once masonry starts leaking, water starts seeping in to your chimney, down your fireplace, between your gutters and roof, and along the foundation of your home. Water damage rots wood, erodes masonry and soil, causes mold, and can be a breeding ground for unwanted germs, insects, animals, birds, and rodents. Introduce a robust and resilient vine like ivy that works its way into the nooks and crannies of masonry and the water and vine damage begins a downward spiral of maintenance and repairs.

It is important that during your annual inspection, your CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certified chimney inspector and technician look for the early signs of ivy growth and remove it before it takes root. Ivy growing on one part of your home or in your trees will quickly invade everything around it.

On the website Ask Metafilter.com readers gave their responses to a potential homeowner who asked about the ivy growing on a house he was interested in purchasing:

  • Ivy is the devil’s plant. I have spent the summer helping my mom removed it from a neglected house she bought. It was choking out and killing BIG trees. Any vegetation growing against a house will hold moisture and decaying matter (against) the building a (drastically) shorten the lifespan of the exterior of the house if not the whole structure.
  • It will destroy chimneys, trim, and woodwork; it will weasel its way into your home through your windows, if you let it; it will vex you by sprouting from every corner of your garden no matter how many sprigs you pull; it will turn neighbor against neighbor. (Truly. Just ask anyone who has lived next to a house with ivy.)

Don’t put yourself and your neighbors through the aggravation of dealing with ivy. Make sure you have a professional immediately eradicate any existing ivy growth and do a complete inspection of your chimney, fire box, and their surrounding area to identify, repair (and prevent any future) damage. There are plenty of ways to improve the curb appeal of your home without ivy…Don’t get tangled in the illusion of its beauty. Be pro-active in your efforts to work closely with a chimney professional to avoid ivy’s potential damage.

By John Pilger on September 8th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Ivy Is Damaging Your Chimney