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Homestead Chimney Service Blog

All About Liners

Your chimney’s liner protects the exterior masonry from intense heat. This extends the life of your chimney…and minimizes fire risk.

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Spring Means Chimney Repair

As days grew shorter and the weather got colder, many of us retreated indoors to the warmth of our homes and hearths.  For those of us who made use of a fireplace during these cold weather months, spring is a great time to make sure chimney system is in good working order following this period of extensive use.  Take this opportunity to call a chimney service technician to inspect your chimney system.  If your inspection uncovers any issues, you’ll be able to address it early on, before it gets big, expensive, and potentially dangerous.  Water penetration, a damaged flue liner, and deterioration of mortar joints are just a few issues that’ll require prompt attention.

You shouldn't attempt chimney repairs on your own. Not only is it dangerous for you, but it also puts your home in danger in case the issues aren't correctly addressed.

You shouldn’t attempt chimney repairs on your own. Not only is it dangerous for you, but it also puts your home in danger in case the issues aren’t correctly addressed.

Wait…That’s not Supposed to be There   Chimneys are notorious for leaking; the reason for these leaks is almost always compromised flashing, which is designed to keep water out of the chimney, thereby protecting both the flue and roof.  Flashings are made from a variety of materials, including aluminum, copper and galvanized steel.  You’ll want to have new chimney flashing installed if yours is missing, rusted through, falling out, or completely covered with roofing tar (this is a common short-term fix that’s sure to be hiding bigger problems).  Many homeowners also opt to have new flashing installed when having new shingles put on because they want it to last as long as the new roof.

Ushering Harmful Byproducts out of Your Home   Problems in your chimney’s flue can present serious risks to your home and family, because it’s no longer able to perform its primary function: to safely contain and vent the products of combustion to the outside of your home.  If your current liner was installed improperly or is deteriorating, it is recommended that you either have a new one installed or, if possible, have your current liner repaired.  Several different relining options are available—clay and stainless steel are the most popular—depending on both the type of flue liner you currently have and the overall condition of your entire flue.  Because of the critical job completed by your chimney liner, it is a critical part.  Every chimney needs a working liner.

Out With the Old, In With the New   The mortar used to construct your chimney is exposed to the elements on the outside and the heat from your firebox on the inside, which greatly speeds up the weathering process.  Because of this, it is common for it to crumble and fall away, leaving open areas between the bricks, thereby compounding an already bad problem and leading to even more issues.  The process for repairing your damaged mortar is known as repointing; the damaged, old and loose mortar on your chimney is removed from the joints between the bricks and replaced with new mortar.  Only a skilled professional should perform this work because it requires an experienced hand.

It’s easy to understand why annual chimney system inspections are strongly recommended.  In fact, more frequent inspections are recommended for chimneys and flues that endure heavier usage.  A proper inspection of your chimney by a qualified chimney professional should include a thorough examination of the external structure to look for signs of deterioration or weakness, as well as a visual inspection of the flue inside your chimney.  NFPA code states that cracked chimney liners constitute a significant safety hazard and must be replaced.  The chimney professionals at Homestead Chimney Service are fully prepared to meet all of your chimney inspection and repair needs.  Contact us today!

Common Chimney Repairs

These Things Happen

Many people do not give any thought to chimney repairs until it becomes clear that there is something wrong. If the chimney is starting to smell strange or is producing a great deal of smoke, it may be time to hire a certified chimney professional to investigate. A chimney specialist is a critical piece, because their training and experience give them the ability to see problems, or potential problems that you don’t notice or cannot interpret.

So you know you need to call a chimney professional, how often does your chimney need an inspection?  This should be done on an annual basis, not just when there seems to be a problem. In fact, having the chimney inspected each year is the best way to avoid most common chimney problems before they become major issues. This can save you money and prevent any damage to the structure of your home.

Annual inspections are critical for safety reasons, but also so that an expert pair of eyes can identify small problems before they become big and expensive.

Annual inspections are critical for safety reasons, but also so that an expert pair of eyes can identify small problems before they become big and expensive.

Replacing or relining the flue liner is a common repair. The liner protects the inside of the chimney from corrosive gas, chemicals and general wear and tear on the flue. In many cases, chimney specialists find that the liner has started to detach from the flue, making it ineffective. Older homes may not have a flue liner at all and, if this is the case, the chimney should not be used until one is properly installed.

A great deal of chimney damage is caused by excessive amounts of moisture that collect within the flue. This may be the result of rain or snow that makes its way into the chimney and collects there. A simple way to fix this problem is by having a chimney cap installed. This little piece fits right over the top of the chimney and prevents unwanted material from getting inside. This can prevent damage such as deteriorating bricks, dangerous molds or damage from critters setting up a home in your chimney.

Sometimes, a chimney inspection will show that there are cracks inside of the chimney as a result of foundation settlement. This is a serious issue that a homeowner would not likely know about if they did not have a proper inspection. In this case, it may be necessary to have the entire chimney refurbished or replaced. This may seem like a major undertaking but, if it is not addressed in a timely manner, the damage could spread throughout the foundation of the home.

It is important to remember that even the simplest of chimney repairs should only be handled by a professional chimney repair person. The average person who tries to repair their chimney may end up causing more problems instead of solving them. In addition, they put themselves at serious risk for bodily injury if they are not used to climbing up on the roof. The Chimney Safety Institute of America is a great place to find professionals who are trained to deal with many of these issues. Annual cleaning and inspection is a must-do for homeowners wanting to save money in the long term. Catching little issues before they become catastrophic is why expert eyes are needed.