Our Company Blog

We Serve Suffolk County

There is no better place in the county for us to provide comprehensive chimney services than in Suffolk County, New York. Chief Chimney Services has been part of the Suffolk Country business community for over 30 years. Over that time we have seen a lot of changes to our area; however, nothing can offset the rich history and the spirit of past and current residents.

serving-suffolk-county-ny-suffolk-county-ny-chief-chimney-services

For those who have never been to Suffolk County, let us introduce you. Long Island is in Suffolk County. The peninsula extends into the Atlantic Ocean. The world renowned Hamptons is also part of Suffolk County. The area is characterized by its beaches, wharfs, farmlands, seaside villages, rolling hills, and farmlands. Long Island was named one of the Top Ten Wine Regions in the World by Wine Enthusiast magazine. Dr. Beach, a noted, beach expert, named Main Beach in East Hampton the Best Beach in America.

The first inhabitants of Long Island were the Algonquin Indians. The Algonquins and others who came to settle in the area were attracted by the waterways, local game, rich farmland, and native nuts, berries, and grains. Those interested in the development and chronological history of Suffolk County can click here.

There are almost 300 places in Suffolk County currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places which preserve the area’s rich history. Click here for a complete list.

The Vanderbilt name is synonymous with Suffolk County. Visitors and residents enjoy visiting the mansion, museum, and planetarium on the Vanderbilt estate. For more information click here.

It’s the local nuances of an area that gives it its character. Here are a few bits of information to enlighten and amuse you.

  • You can never get really lost on Long Island.All you have to do is drive until you come to water and then turn around, “re-routing re-routing”.Suffolk County is described as an “epicurean’s dream”.
  • “The word “fresh” takes on a different meaning. Here, the menu’s ‘catch of the day’ was likely hauled in that morning from the waters off our Island shores, prepared and served with vegetables – picked from a nearby farm – seasoned with herbs from the garden then paired with a Pinot Grigio from a vineyard just down the road.” Click here for more information on great dining experiences.

Suffolk County has several aviation museums and places to explore science, mathematics, history, energy, astronomy, and technology. To learn more click here.

Those interested in live entertainment will not be disappointed. The theatres and auditoriums in the North Shore area have performances for all entertainment genres and audiences. Click here for more information.

New York City is close enough to visit when you want to participate in all that one of the world’s most dynamic cities offer, yet far enough away not to interfere with the tranquility and charm and quaintness this historic county offers.

Quality of life is important to residents visiting in Suffolk County. Chief Chimney Services is proud to maintain chimneys and fireplaces and offer comprehensive and related service to new residents of Suffolk County as well as those whose ancestors are part of the area’s history.

Now Is The Time For Masonry Repairs

Spring has sprung! At Chief Chimney Services in Suffolk County we are so excited to gear up for great season of chimney sweeping and inspection. We are sure that every homeowner has a long list of items on their spring cleaning checklist and we are grateful to be able to serve the area for another year.

While you are scheduling your professional chimney sweeping and inspection, consider tackling those chimney masonry repairs you have been putting off. Spring is the perfect time to take care of some basic chimney repairs and it is important to stay on top of any fireplace or chimney damage before they escalate into costly rebuilding. Hiring a professional chimney sweeping and repair company can save you money on costly repairs in the long run.

now-is-the-time-for-masonry-repairs-suffolk-county-ny-chief-chimney

Winter Chimney Damage

Winter is tough on chimneys. Firstly, the weather is wet and cold, and the harsh elements of winter can wreak havoc on the masonry of your chimney. Bricks can last a long time, but mortar (the cement holding each brick together) is not as durable. Moisture from severe winter weather can seep into the mortar and cause it to crack, break and crumble. If you do not take proper precautions to repair this it can result in the bricks in your chimney shifting and crumbling, which can jeopardize the overall integrity of the structure of your chimney.

Another common chimney danger is when pests make their home in your chimney. Chimneys are typically warm and dry so pests like rats, mice and birds often make their homes in this environment. Some birds build nests right into the mortar of the chimney, which can cause it to crack and break and cause subsequent damage to the bricks. These common winter problems can be held at bay with some simple masonry repair work during spring.

Tuckpointing

Tuckpointing is probably the most common form of masonry repair. Tuckpointing is when mortar is “tucked” into the damaged mortar joints of your fireplace and chimney. The result is an easy repair that reinforces the bricks to avoid potential damage to the overall integrity of your chimney.

We have had a severe winter with a lot of wet weather and this can be particularly damaging to the mortar and masonry work of your chimney. Be a proactive homeowner by schedule a routine masonry repair to keep your chimney intact and your home looking beautiful.

Additional Benefits Of Tuckpointing

  • Provides structural security to the chimney
  • Restores beauty to the structure
  • Waterproofs your chimney
  • A simple, cost-effective repair
  • Prolongs the integrity of your chimney while preventing major repairs

Tuckpointing and other types of simple chimney masonry repair are the best ways to prevent costly modifications to your chimney. Because the weather is so mild during spring, this truly is the best time to schedule a chimney inspection and masonry repair. A professional technician like those at Chief Chimney Services, Inc will come to your home, thoroughly inspect your chimney and answer any questions you may have about basic repairs. Schedule your chimney inspection and masonry repair today.

Recent Bad Weather Could Damage Your Chimney

It’s been a winter of record-breaking weather in the Northeast United States. The Weather Channel is reporting some of the worst weather in years, and New York City has experienced some of the coldest temperatures in ten years. With the month of March expected to come in like a lion, many homeowners are concerned about the potential damage all this weather could be causing.

winter-chimney-damage-weather-image-suffolk-ny-chief-chimney

The Stack Effect

The cold weather could be affecting your heating bill, but beyond that harsh winter weather can also affect your chimney. During something called The Stack Effect, the cold air from the outside of your home battles with the warm air inside your home. When cold air is forced down your chimney and into your home (because of chimney leaks or a poorly capped chimney) this can force a back draft in your fireplace making lighting a fire almost impossible.

The Moisture Effect

Another major culprit of chimney damage is moisture. When there is an excessive amount of snow and/or ice like we’ve been experiencing in the Northeastern United States, this precipitation can make its way into your chimney. Not only can this make it very difficult to light a fire in your fireplace or stove difficult but it can also create a build-up of creosote. Creosote is a potentially harmful chemical build-up inside a chimney that occurs when a fire isn’t burning hot enough.

How You Can Protect Your Chimney From Winter Weather

Moisture and cold air are two of the main culprits causing chimney damage during the long and cold winter months. Luckily, there are certain precautions you can take to make sure you address chimney damage before it becomes a major problem:

After heavy snowfall, inspect the exterior of your chimney for any noticeable damage.
Inspect the interior of your home for water damage or peeling paint/wallpaper around your chimney or fireplace. This could signify a leak or other chimney damage.

Perhaps the best thing you can do to protect your chimney happens before winter sets in. Hire a professional chimney sweeping company like Chief Chimney Services in Suffolk County to inspect and sweep your chimney before the winter months. Your chimney sweeping company will make sure there is no major damage to your chimney and will keep it clean. Beyond that, your chimney sweeping company will:

Recommend a top-sealing damper
Re-line your chimney
Recommend and install a chimney cap

These easy add-ons can protect your chimney from harsh winter elements like cold air and moisture. After all, having an airtight chimney is the best way to protect against bad winter weather.

This winter has been one of the record books. Between the frigid temperature and immense amount of snow many homeowners can’t wait for spring to arrive. While you’re waiting out the storm, be sure to hire a reputable, professional chimney sweeping company to help you maintain your chimney and keep it in great working order. An airtight chimney will heat your home, as well as keep your loved ones safe while winter continues to rear its ugly head.

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.

chimney-inspection-levels-csia-suffolk-ny-chief-chimney

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.”

How Winter Weather Affects Your Chimney

Weather experts have forecasted a winter just as frigid as last year’s, which has everyone thinking about ways to stay warm. For some, that means turning on the heat in the house or lighting a toasty fire in the fireplace. To help the fireplace and chimney continue keeping us warm, they need regular care themselves, particularly before the winter weather sets in. In fact, winter weather does more damage to the chimney than any other season.

winter-chimney-picture-suffolk-ny-chief-chimney

Many people believe chimneys are built to endure the winter elements and only need the occasional sweep to function properly. Chimneys do hold up remarkably well to the weather, considering they experience it 24 hours a day, but they cannot survive indefinitely without a little help. The main concern for chimneys in the winter actually comes from water damage, which often surprises people.

Masonry chimneys, in particular, can suffer extensive and costly damage as a result of water exposure in the winter. Materials such as brick, concrete, and mortar are used to build a masonry chimney and they all have a porous texture. This means these materials readily absorb any water that settles on its surface. Although water alone does relatively little damage, when winter weather drags temperatures below freezing, the trouble starts. In sub-freezing temperatures, water undergoes a freeze and thaw cycle in which it continuously contracts and expands. The water inside the masonry materials also goes through this cycle and expands the bricks and concrete right along with it. Water can cause severe and costly damage to a chimney, particularly during to masonry chimneys. After several seasons of this constant motion, the materials start to degrade and lose strength. The damage can even extend to cracking or collapse.

If water has a chance to seep inside the chimney, it will happily cause damage there, as well. A metal flue lining can rust after repeated water exposure, and this leads to cracks and holes in the lining. Damaged flue lining does not effectively protect the house from the heat of the fire and the water leaking into the chimney. Eventually, this can lead to an unintentional house fire or to further water damage in the house. Water damage may come in the form of a rusted damper, which inhibits the proper ventilation of the smoke, or may even appear as ugly water stains on the walls or ceiling around the fireplace.

Fortunately, some simple and cost effective fixes can prevent all of this expensive damage. At the next chimney sweep and inspection, ask the chimney specialist about the application of a special sealant to the outside of the chimney. A chimney cap or chimney crown repair or replacement can help keep water out of the chimney and house, too. The chimney specialist can provide and install these fixtures for you upon request. With winter closing in, the roof is going to start icing up, soon making it too dangerous for the chimney specialist to access the chimney, cap and crown. Therefore, you should call now to schedule an appointment to have your chimney protected this winter. If you live in the area of Suffolk County on Long Island, contact Chief Chimney Services, Inc. for a professional consultation.

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.

stainless-steel-chimney-liner-suffolk-ny-chief-chimney

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.

Changing Temperatures Can Seriously Damage Your Chimney

If any part of your home can withstand the notoriously harsh New York winters, it would be the chimney. Made of tough brick or stone, it has most likely seen decades or even centuries of unforgiving temperatures. While the chimney is particular strong and durable, it does have weaknesses and that includes dramatic changes in weather.

temperature-change-suffolk-ny-chief-chimney

Chimney damage due to temperature changes starts with the presence of moisture in the structure. Aside from stone, all materials used to create a masonry chimney are porous and sensitive to contact with water. Even stone chimneys need mortar to bond the stones together, so they do not escape the dangers of water. When water hits materials like mortar or brick, the porous materials absorb the water like a sponge. While this does not have immediate repercussions, it will eventually cause damage.

During the bitterly cold winters on Long Island, every outside structure is subject to the freeze and thaw cycle. This includes your chimney. Now that the porous materials on the chimney contain water, the freeze and thaw cycle can damage the structure. The water inside the brick or mortar expands and contracts in freezing cold temperatures and this continuous movement weakens the brick and mortar.

Signs of damage due to changing temperature include cracks in the mortar, loose bricks or stones, missing bricks or stones or a listing structure. Without the proper attention and maintenance, a water and temperature damaged masonry chimney could collapse, which means serious costs.

You can protect your chimney from this type of deterioration in a couple different ways. One way to do this is to have a chimney service apply water repellent to the outside of the chimney. Using a water repellent instead of a sealant is crucial, because the repellent allows water vapor trapped in the masonry to escape, while it discourages water entry. A sealant will keep any moisture trapped and the damage will happen anyway.

Another way to protect your chimney is to have a chimney cap installed. A chimney cap is a small, simple contraption that covers the top of your chimney. Usually made of copper or stainless steel, chimney caps prevent water from freely entering the inside of the chimney. This can help prevent water damage to your masonry and water damage to other areas such as the flue, damper, and the inside of your home. In addition to keeping water out of the chimney, chimney caps also prevent animals from nesting in the flue and keeps live embers from escaping to create a fire hazard.

Both the application of a water repellent and the installation of a chimney cap should be performed by a licensed professional. Chimney caps sold by big box hardware stores are generally low quality and a chimney service can provide you with a properly fitting, high quality chimney cap that will last years longer. Also, both services pose serious danger to your safety, so consider leaving them to the experts. If you live in the Suffolk County area of Long Island, New York, contact Chief Chimney Services, Inc. for a professional consultation.

Types of Masonry Restoration

If your masonry and/or firebox needs so repairs, call us and our experts will have fixed in no time!

If your masonry and/or firebox needs some repairs, call us and our experts will have it fixed in no time!

Masonry restoration is the phrase used for working with any form of masonry on an existing building or home that doesn’t encompass actually building it. Restoration runs the gamut from tearing the masonry down and rebuilding it from scratch to cleaning and sealing. One of the most commonly needed restoration projects is masonry and firebox repair. Keep reading to learn what this job involves and why it’s so critical.

Masonry and Firebox Repair

The specific type of mortar used in fireboxes is called refractory mortar. However, don’t assume that your fireplace was built with this mortar. The chances of an older home actually having refractory mortar in the firebox are slimmer than the chances of a newer home. This is due in large part to changing building codes and the availability of the product. Many brick masons who constructed fireboxes in homes well into the 1990s used either a Portland-cement-based mortar or a self-concocted fireclay mortar (a mix of Portland cement, crushed fireclay, and sand).

Although both of these mortars were approved by building codes of the time, they haven’t fared well in homes in which the fireplaces are used regularly; the problem is simple: Portland cement doesn’t hold up well when subjected to the cycle of heating and cooling that occurs in a firebox. In an effort to combat this problem, most major building codes have added clauses requiring refractory mortar be used, as it doesn’t use Portland cement as a binder; instead, either calcium aluminate or sodium silicate is the binder. Over the long haul, refractory mortar performs far better than Portland-cement mortar and is more readily available than it was a few decades ago.

Approaches for Repairing a Damaged Firebox Mortar

In order to repair damaged firebox mortar, you can take one of three approaches. The first approach involves simply scraping out and repointing the joints between the bricks with refractory mortar. The second approach involves applying a thin coat of refractory cement over the floor of the firebox. The final approach involves removing damaged bricks and replacing them with castable refractory cement. No matter which approach is taken, scrubbing the surface clean and vacuuming any dust before making the repair is critical.

Along with any part of your home, your fireplace requires maintenance to ensure your family’s safety during its use. A damaged firebox can be a potential fire hazard and should be repaired or replaced before using the fireplace again. At Chief Chimney Services, we work hard and pride ourselves on doing outstanding chimney and firebox repair and restoration work. The level of expertise of our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps is unmatched by anyone else on Long Island. No matter what your question or problem, we’re here to help! Contact us to schedule an appointment today.