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Waterproofing and Chimney Leaks

Spring weather usually brings us lots of rain. We all know April showers bring May flowers, so we must all do our best to prepare the chimney system from the rain. If rain gets into your chimney, it can do a great amount of damage to your fireplace and structural integrity of your home as well. You can prevent a chimney leak this season by scheduling our waterproofing services right now.Waterproofing and Chimney Leaks - Suffolk NY - Chief Chimney Services

Waterproofing Explained

As soon as you schedule a waterproofing appointment, we will begin a thorough inspection of your entire chimney system. We must first do necessary repairs for your chimney, and then your technician can proceed with our waterproofing service. Gaps and cracks will be repaired and necessary parts will be replaced, such as chimney cap and flashing. All of these components of the chimney helps to prevent leaks.

At Chief Chimney Services, we not only offer the best services to the Suffolk County area, but we also offer the best products. We trust in the saving power of ChimneySaver products for all of our waterproofing. ChimneySaver water-repellant products are vapor-permeable, meaning that the masonry is protected from moisture getting in, but the vapors are also able to get out.

This is vital to the proper function of your chimney. Silicone-based sealants and those used by homeowners and handymen, are actually working against your masonry. ChimneySaver water-repellant works FOR your chimney’s masonry to protect it completely, and it also comes with a ten-year warranty!  Schedule your chimney to get waterproofed this spring, and your masonry will be protected for years to come!

The Unprotected Chimney

An unprotected chimney not only inefficient and unsafe, but it will cost you lots of money later on if the issues are neglected. Water penetration is one of the worst things that can happen to your masonry and your home. Chimney leaks can cause the following issues.

  • Rusted parts (accessories, doors, and hinges)
  • Deteriorated parts (wood, walls, ceilings, and floors)
  • Water-stained (ruined walls, floors, furniture)
  • Dirty, clogged, chimney and clean-out area.
  • Damaged heating system
  • Decayed and spalling mortar
  • Collapsed hearth support and chimney structure

The damages caused by a chimney leak will cost you lots of money and give you plenty of headache. You may have a leak in your guest bathroom three rooms away because of your chimney! If you experience a water leak in your house, then you need to call a chimney sweep. A handyman or contractor can repair your damage, but the root issue from the leak won’t be fixed unless you call a chimney sweep. Make sure your chimney system is ready for spring so you don’t get a leak. Call us at 631-863-2460 to get started.

By John Pilger on April 26th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

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.

Chimney Discoloration Image - Suffolk NY - Chief Chimney Services 1You 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.

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.

Don’t Wait Untill Fall To Have Your Chimney Inspected

Savvy homeowners know that they should have their chimneys cleaned once a year. What you may not realize is the mindset of having your chimney cleaning done in the fall is not always the best practice. The chimney professionals from Chief Chimney Services in Central Suffolk County New York want homeowners to know that summer and spring are two of the best times to set an appointment for your annual inspection and cleaning.

Having a clear view of your chimney structure without regard to weather conditions also enables your chimney professional to block potential entrances for animals, birds, and rodents before they search for a warm place to spend the winter and enter your home via your chimney.

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Summertime offers some distinct advantages when having your chimneys inspected and swept. First and perhaps the most obvious is the weather. It’s much easier to navigate on a roof that is not covered with ice and snow. Also, it is much easier to do a thorough inspection of the chimney, masonry, flashing, chimney cap, shingles, etc. when the area is not covered in ice and snow. If repairs are needed, extreme cold can affect the effectiveness of some sealant and masonry products. As the fall weather approaches, homeowners recognize the change of weather means fireplaces will once again be fired up and they need to be prepared, that’s why chimney companies are flooded with calls after Labor Day. Ashley Eldridge, Director of Education for the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) explains, “By scheduling (in summertime), you will have time to complete any necessary repairs before the start of the heating season. Not to mention the peace of mind you will get knowing that your fireplace or wood stove is ready to go for those dark days of winter.”

While sometimes spring rains impede inspections, the rainy season also allows your chimney professional to check for leaks and seepage and be pro-active with repair measures, that’s why springtime is also a good time for a chimney inspection, weather permitting.

There is also more appointment time flexibility when you schedule your appointment outside the busiest time of the year, which starts Labor Day and carries through until spring.
Having a clear view of your chimney structure without regard to weather conditions also enables your chimney professional to block potential entrances for animals, birds, and rodents before they search for a warm place to spend the winter and enter your home via your chimney.

Most chimney professionals are equipped to do service calls all year long and only the most extreme weather conditions prevent them from doing their work. The important thing to remember is to have a safety inspection and cleaning performed by a CSIA professional before using your fireplace for the first time each year.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 211 also states that, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.”

When you follow the recommendations of the chimney experts you know you will be saving on utility costs by ensuring your heating mechanisms are operating at maximum efficiency, and your family is safe for fire and toxic gas hazards.

Don’t wait, contact your local chimney professional today, and if you live in Suffolk County, call Chief Chimney Services.

Chimneys 101: All About Chimney Caps

Are you familiar with the multiple threats to your chimney and fireplace? From creosote to the deposit of moisture, invasion from animals and other issues, staying informed about what poses a threat to your investment is always a good idea.
A chimney cap is an easy way to minimize threats to your fireplace, chimney and the structure of your home, and offers many benefits for homeowners that you might not be aware of. Check out the information below to learn all about chimney caps.

What is a Chimney Cap?

A chimney cap is a stainless steel, mesh or copper cap that fits to the top of your chimney, allowing the smoke and vapors from burning fires to escape through its vents, but preventing other elements from entering your chimney and making their way into your home.
Despite the necessity of a chimney cap in maintaining the safety and efficiency of your fireplace and chimney, many homeowners are unaware of the issues they face by letting their chimney remain uncapped. In short, a chimney cap is an essential and necessary part of protecting your chimney, fireplace and home from unwanted critters, moisture and weather elements.

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Why Do You Need a Chimney Cap?

In addition to its protective properties against wild animals, debris, the elements and excess moisture, a chimney cap serves as a protective barrier between your roof and any floating embers or ashes that might come out through your chimney as you enjoy a fire. Many home fires have been caused as a result of uncapped chimneys sending burning embers onto a home’s roof, causing combustion, structural damage and even home loss.

  • Similarly, moisture build-ups in your chimney can cause both structural damage and general deterioration, threating your investment and prompting costly repairs. In addition to inhibiting the amount of moisture that enters your chimney, caps are designed to help route rainwater away from your chimney and off of your roof.
  • Chimney caps also prevent non-animal or creosote-based blockages, such as those that result from a build-up of leaves, sticks and wind-borne debris, from creating havoc in your chimney.
  • Another benefit you can expect from your chimney cap is a reduction in drafts and excess air flow. During the wintertime, especially in New York, cold gusts of wind and downdrafts can travel through an uncapped chimney, causing heat loss and even blowing smoke and soot into your home. A chimney cap essentially eliminates the occurrence of drafts and gusts of wind coming in through your fireplace.

An uncapped-chimney allows all manner of debris into your home and could potentially cause blockages, damage to your chimney’s structure or issues with venting, any of which can lead to costly, dangerous issues with your investment.

Choosing the Right Chimney Cap for Your Home

So you know you need to invest in a chimney cap, but how can you find the right cap for your chimney and tastes? No matter what you’re looking for, a professional chimney and fireplace company can provide consultation and installation that can put your mind at ease and help you find the right cap for your home. Chief Chimney Services of Suffolk County has been providing superior chimney cap education and installation to satisfied customers for years. Check out our website to browse our services and set up an appointment.

Have Your Heating System Inspected After Cold Weather

Spring has sprung in Suffolk County! While you are busy breaking out your shorts and sandals and prepping your home for outdoor entertaining with family and friends, make sure your spring cleaning checklist includes having your chimney and heating system inspected. We had a long, cold winter this year and the type of weather we endured can take its toll on your chimney. At Chief Chimney Services we are happy to come to your home and do a thorough chimney inspection.

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Why Have Your Chimney Inspected After Winter?

During winter a lot of things are happening outside that can affect what happens to your chimney on the inside. For example, when the weather freezes and thaws, this can cause the mortar in your chimney to expand and contract. The result of expanding mortar is often cracked and broken bricks inside your chimney.

A lot of simple masonry damage can remedied with some tuckpointing once the weather breaks. A professional chimney company can come to your home and tuckpoint, or force fresh mortar into the joints of your bricks in order to preserve the integrity of the chimney and prevent further breakage.

Another way winter weather can take its toll on your chimney is by water damage. If your chimney has not been properly capped, or if your chimney cap is broken then you may notice some water damage inside your chimney. Water can cause creosote build-up and can cause your fireplace or woodstove to work ineffectively. Having your chimney inspected after the long winter months can make sure any water damage is not extensive and can also remedy the problem before it becomes too serious.

During winter months, critters like birds and squirrels look for any place warm and dry to call home. Your chimney may have become home to these types of pests when the cold weather was here, and a professional chimney inspection and sweeping can remove these critters so they don’t wreak havoc on your chimney.

Hiring A Certified Chimney Sweep

The best way to prevent chimney damage is to have a professional, certified chimney sweeping company come to your home and take a look at your chimney. CSIA certified chimney sweeps are held to the highest educational standards in order to offer premium chimney sweeping services. Our certified chimney sweeps will come to your home and provide a thorough inspection and sweeping of your chimney just in time for the warm weather. Some things our technicians look for include:

  • Rusting components such as dampers and flues
  • Sticks, leaves and other debris
  • Bird and squirrel nests
  • Brick and mortar damage
  • Shifting chimney structures

Contact Chief Chimney Services in Suffolk County today for more information about how we can inspect your chimney and fireplace as part of your spring cleaning. Tackling chimney care as part of your home maintenance can keep the integrity of your chimney intact, which can make starting fires in your wood-burning heating appliance that much easier next winter. Call the professionals and have your chimney inspected and swept by the best in the business today.

Troubleshooting Fireplace Draft Problems

When you need your heating appliances, you expect them to work and it can be frustrating when things aren’t operating properly. If you notice your fireplace is drafty, it could be a simple fix, or it could mean you need to make some repairs. Troubleshooting fireplace draft problems involves understanding how your fireplace and chimney work, and how to prevent your warm air from escaping. No matter what the issue may be, it is best to start with a professional chimney sweeping and inspection.

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Has Your Fireplace Been Swept?

Make sure your chimney has been properly swept and inspected. A certified and reputable chimney sweeping company like Chief Chimney Services, Inc in Suffolk can help make sure your chimney is cleaned and inspected before troubleshooting additional problems. Once your chimney has been properly inspected and swept you can move on to troubleshooting additional causes for a draft.

A thorough chimney cleaning can also remove excess build-up of creosote, which can coat the flue. When the flue can’t open and close effectively, it can lead to a draft in your fireplace. Again, a regular sweeping of your chimney and fireplace can remove creosote and other debris to make sure all the moving parts of your chimney are working.

Using Your Fireplace Correctly

Many fireplace issues are corrected with some simple knowledge on how to operate your wood-burning appliance. Make sure your damper is closed when not in use to prevent cold air from pushing down your chimney. During the colder winter months, it may be necessary to prime the flue by lighting some newspaper and holding it up to the damper to warm it up before you start your fire. In other cases, you may need to clean and replace any connectors that go from the fireplace or woodstove to the chimney. Once you seal all the leaks, you can move on to other possible causes of your chimney draft.

Preventing Downdrafting

During colder weather, the most common cause of a drafty fireplace is a downdraft. A downdraft occurs when cold air blows across your chimney and eventually down your chimney and through your fireplace. Counteract the downdraft by replacing your chimney cap and making sure it is installed properly. Similarly, a chimney cap and proper damper use can prevent The Stack Effect, when the warm air from inside your home battles with the cold external air, which can cause a draft.

A professional chimney inspection company will help determine other causes of drafts including whether or not your chimney is leaky, which may mean you need some masonry repair. Your certified chimney inspection company can also inspect your damper and any stovepipe connectors that may need to be replaced. Many newer homes are built airtight, which makes fixing a drafty fireplace as easy as installing a chimney cap or closing the damper. However, in older homes masonry repair may be required. In either case, hiring a professional chimney inspector can alleviate your worries and fix your draft problem in on easy step. Contact Chief Chimney Services to fix your drafty fireplace today.

Spring Into Action

Spring Into Action This Spring & Have Your Annual Chimney Inspection

The importance of having a yearly inspection and evaluation of your chimney cannot be stressed strongly enough. When your health and safety are at risk, it is important make sure you call a trained professional to evaluate and clean your chimney and its components on annual basis. Chief Chimney Services, Inc. has earned the prestigious credentials of certified chimney sweep from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) to perform a complete evaluation and inspection in order to keep your venting operating at peak capacity, controlling energy consumption and costs, and protect you from fire and toxic gas hazards.

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Spring is the ideal time to have your inspections performed.

Our mothers and grandmothers used the end of winter to signal time for their spring cleaning. A thorough cleaning helped make the transition from the demands of winter to the demands of summer. Springtime is an excellent time to also have a professional inspection of your chimney performed.

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. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.”

During the winter, you use your chimney more than other times during the year. The residue from your fires builds up in your fireplace and chimney. Not only that, the masonry of your chimney is subjected to temperature changes as the weather freezes and thaws. These temperature changes can cause cracks, leaks, and lose bricks which allow water, smoke, and toxic gasses to seep back into your home. In addition, since your chimney is warm, birds and animals may decide to make your chimney home for the winter and then may die or get trapped inside and cause dangers.

3 Levels of Inspection as described by the Chimney Safety Institute of America*

Level 1 Inspections –During a Level 1 inspection, your chimney service technician examines the readily accessible portions of the chimney exterior, interior and accessible portions of the appliance and the chimney connection. The technician will also verify the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits.

Level 2 Inspections –A Level 2 inspection is required when any changes are made to the system. Level 2 inspections are required when property is sold or transferred. Fires, seismic events, and weather events are reasons for a Level 2 inspection.

Level 3 Inspection – Includes all the areas and items checked in a Level 1 and a Level 2 inspection, as well as the removal of certain components of the building or chimney where necessary. When serious hazards are suspected, a Level 3 inspection may well be required to determine the condition of the chimney system.

* See more here.

The Department of Consumer Protection echoes the recommendations of property experts, fire departments, insurance companies, and chimney professionals in all 50 states, “Have your chimney inspected and cleaned, preferably in late spring or early summer when heating season is over. That way, you’ll have enough time to schedule any repairs you may need before the heating season begins in the fall.”

The Importance Of Using A Company That Employs CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps

When you are a homeowner you understand you are taking on a certain set of responsibilities when it comes to maintaining your home. Making sure your appliances and heating/cooling systems are running efficiently and safely are necessary to ensure your home is operating in the best possible way. Having your chimney inspected and swept on a regular basis is one of the easiest and smartest things you can do when maintaining your home. Hiring a reputable company with CSIA certified chimney sweeps is also important in making sure your fireplace and chimney are in good hands.

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What Is The CSIA?

The CSIA, or Chimney Safety Institute Of America is at the forefront of education and public awareness for chimney safety. The CSIA strives to make sure every chimney and venting system is properly cared for. By training and certifying qualified professionals to perform chimney sweeping tasks and by educating homeowners on the importance of having your chimney inspected and cleaned, the Chimney Safety Institute Of America helps prevent chimney fires, creosote build-up and carbon monoxide exposure in homes across America.

Importance Of CSIA Certification

Chimney Sweep Institute Of America Certification is the gold standard for industry professionals. When hiring a CSIA certified chimney sweep you can rest assured that they:

  • Have met the highest level of certification for chimney sweeps
  • Have paid the annual certification fee
  • Meet the stringent credentials put forth by the CSIA
  • Can provide referrals for excellent work
  • Hold a certification recognized by builders, contractors and homeowners associations across the US

CSIA certified sweeps have attended training sessions as well as passed exams based on the most current chimney sweeping safety information. Additionally, when certified, all chimney sweeps agree and sign the CSIA Code of Ethics that ensures they uphold their duties according to the most current safety information.

Other Benefits of CSIA Certification Include:

  • Ongoing training opportunities
  • Education for home inspection and fire safety
  • Support after chimney fires
  • Support for military veterans

It’s not enough to have your chimney cleaned regularly. You want to look for a company that utilizes the best technology in the business, as well as the highest safety standards in the country. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to hire a reputable company that cares enough about their employees and about the quality of their work to comply with CSIA certification standards.

Chimney sweeping professionals, like the ones at Chief Chimney in Suffolk, NY have been through the CSIA training course and strive to uphold the safety and quality standards this important organization promotes. When you understand the importance of hiring a CSIA certified chimney sweep you begin to realize that your fireplace heating system is quite literally the hearth of your home.

As a homeowner, you deserve the very best. Trust a company that wants to keep your family safe by making sure your fireplace and chimney are working efficiently and safely. By taking time to invest in a company that certifies its employees and maintains the rigorous standards set forth by the CSIA you can rest assured your chimney and fireplace will be maintained, cleaned and swept by the very best. For more information contact Chief Chimney today.

Reasons to Reline Your Chimney with Stainless Steel

The seasons have officially changed, and fall has arrived in full swing. Vibrant leaves decorate the ground as they fall from the trees, and the chilly wind has everyone dusting off their light jackets. In addition, the colder temperatures have homeowners looking ahead to heating their homes throughout the upcoming bitter New York winter. Many homeowners utilize heating appliances such as stoves and fireplaces, and because these units have chimneys, they require special care and maintenance. While your chimney sweep is out to clean and inspect the chimney, ask him or her to check for a flue liner in the chimney. If your chimney does not have one or if the current liner is damaged, you may want to consider making the investment before winter.

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A damaged or missing flue liner comes with a wide variety of problems. If water finds a way inside the chimney, a flue liner prevents it from going on further. Without a liner or with a liner full of cracks, the water can cause damage. A masonry chimney interior absorbs the water, and during the freeze and thaw cycle of winter, the structure becomes damaged. Cracks and holes will form, and eventually, the structure may collapse.

Additionally, the gases from the fire that are meant to flow out of the home through the chimney may actually seep through the unlined chimney back into the house. Dangerous chemicals like carbon monoxide and creosote create numerous health hazards, so keeping them out of the house is crucial.

You may also be losing money on fuel by leaving your chimney unlined or with a damaged liner. Newer heating appliances have a higher efficiency than older appliances, meaning they burn at lower temperatures. Due to the physics of hot air, these highly efficient units need a narrower flue to function properly. If the chimney is too wide, the heat will dissipate too quickly, causing more fuel to be burned and even resulting in some toxic gases settling back into the home. You can save costs on fuel and keep your home safer by having a chimney sweep install a stainless steel flue liner with a size that fits the efficiency of your particular unit.

Another frightening issue associated with unlined chimneys is unintentional house fires. A study done by the National Bureau of Standards showed that when a fire was burned under an unlined chimney, the adjacent woodwork took just 3 ½ hours to catch fire itself. In just one evening with a lit fire, your home could burn to the ground.

If you live in the Suffolk County area of New York and you need your chimney relined with a high quality stainless steel flue liner, contact Chief Chimney Services, Inc. for a professional consultation. The experts at Chief Chimney Services, Inc. can help save you money and keep your home and family safe.