I Scheduled A Chimney Sweep … Now What?

Fall is the ideal time to start huddling up by the fire with family or friends and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate. Without regular chimney maintenance, this isn’t possible. Time, as well as weather are causes of chimney damage. It isn’t easy to identify whether or not your chimney is in good condition from the outside. If you live near or around Philadelphia, you’ll want to schedule a chimney sweep with Above All Chimney & Masonry.

Once you’ve scheduled an appointment for a chimney cleaning, there are some things you can do to prepare that will allow the chimney sweep to go more smoothly.

Clear the mantel. Remove any picture frames, knick knacks or whatever is resting on your mantel. Doing this will help our team member service your chimney faster while making sure none of your belongings are accidentally broken during the process. Also, please remove any other items that you have around the hearth, as well as wood or gas that is still inside the fireplace.

Cover the furnishings. Our technician will cover areas close to the fireplace with robust linen or sponge blocks. We use an industrial vacuum cleaner that prevents dust from escaping into the room. However, we encourage you to cover any valuable household items and delicate furniture nearby with plastic or sheets, just in case.

Think about what questions you want to ask. Before our chimney sweep expert arrives, think about what questions you have regarding your chimney. You might even want to write them down, so you don’t forget. You won’t forget to ask something, forcing you to remain in the dark, or having to call us back later, which you are more than welcome to do to make sure you understand everything.

Our experienced staff will meticulously inspect the entire structure for any issues. We’ll provide a thorough report of the inspection which includes an estimate of the repairs we recommend.

Have you had your chimney cleaned for this fall? If you are in need of a chimney cleaning in Philadelphia or another nearby area, contact us at Above All Chimney & Masonry.

Is It Time to Clean My Chimney?

One of the primary reasons to have your chimney serviced near Langhorne, PA is creosote. It can generate when wood isn’t burned completely. A smoky fire without sufficient oxygen emits a lot of unburned tar vapors that may condense inside the flue, causing a chimney fire. You can lessen creosote buildup in your fireplace by providing adequate combustion air, encouraging a clean-burning fire.
How Do I Know if I Have Creosote?

To inspect for creosote on your own, first, check that there’s no downdraft coming from the chimney. If you feel a draft, open a door or window on the same floor as the fireplace until the downdraft stops, or until it reverses and air flows up instead.

Tape a tissue to the fireplace opening and see which way it blows.

For this next part, you’ll want to be wearing goggles and a dust mask. Use a fireplace poker to scratch the black surface above the damper (smoke chamber). If you scratch the groove and the creosote is paper thin, it’s in good shape. On the other hand, if it’s just 1/8 inch thick, you’ll want to schedule a cleaning.

If you have 1/4 inch of creosote, your fireplace is too dangerous to use and is at risk of causing a fire. Do not use it again until it is cleaned by professionals.

To check for creosote, shine a flashlight at the top of the firebox, in the smoke chamber and around the damper. Also check the flue, especially on exterior chimneys. Creosote can build up more quickly on exterior chimneys than on interiors because of the lower temperatures outside.

How Do I Get Rid of It?


Creosote is easy to remove if it’s feather-light dull gray, brown or black soot. The next form is a black granular accumulation, which can also be removed using a stiff chimney brush. The third kind of creosote is a road tar-like coating that can be very difficult to remove even with a good chimney brush, scraper or power rotary whip. The final and most dangerous kind is a shiny, glaze-like coating on the flue that is almost impossible to get rid of.

If you spot this black or shiny creosote and need a chimney cleaning in Feasterville, PA or other nearby areas, call us as soon as possible.

3 Animals That May Try to Move Into Your Chimney This Fall

If you hear rustling in your chimney this fall, it’s probably an animal trying to make a home in your chimney! Chimneys can be at risk for animal burrowing and nesting during the cooler months. If you’ve noticed unusual animal activity near or inside your chimney, remember to check your chimney for holes or any signs of degrading in your stone pointing in Philadelphia, and call animal control if any of these three common critters take shelter in your chimney.

 

  • Bats love cold and dark places, and to them, your chimney looks like an appealing cave. Bats commonly carry rabies, so if you have bats living in your chimney, call an animal control service; don’t try to remove them on your own. After the bats have been cleared out, installing a top sealing combination damper and cap. This completely seals off the flue when the chimney is not in use, which is necessary because bats can squeeze themselves into spaces as small as one-half inch wide.

 

  • Squirrels. Squirrels often move into chimneys and build small nests in holes in the mortar. If a nest is clogging your chimney, you’ll immediately be able to tell when a fire is lit, as a large amount of smoke will be produced. Squirrels can be kept out of your chimney by making sure that all your mortar is in shape and up to date, and by adding a heavy stainless steel chimney cover provided by your chimney sweep.

 

  • Raccoons. Raccoons might be cute, but they’re one of the animals that you should never attempt to remove on your own, as they can be aggressive and carry rabies. Only a licensed animal removal service should ever deal with raccoons. You can prevent raccoons from entering your chimney with a very heavy stainless steel chimney cover; don’t go with a cheap version, as raccoons will easily tear through aluminum covers.

 

If you are looking for more helpful tips or masonry services in Philadelphia, contact our experts at Above All Chimney & Masonry today for more information.

4 Signs Your Chimney Is In Need of Repair

Although a chimney is typically a sturdy, worry-free part of your home, problems can and will still arise. A chimney that is in need of repair should be treated as quickly as possible. One that is damaged can be a major fire hazard. The following four signs indicate that your chimney may be in need of repair.

White Staining – The white staining found on a chimney is called efflorescence. Efflorescence is an indicator of excess moisture in your chimney. While it is fairly simple to remove the stains, cleaning the chimney isn’t going to eliminate the moisture problem. If the issue is not addressed quickly, premature degradation of your chimney will most likely occur, as well as lead to other major problems with moisture.

Damaged Mortar Joints – Damaged mortar joints must be repaired as soon as they are spotted. When mortar weakens, the chimney is exposed to increased moisture. The increased moisture helps accelerate the weakening of the entire chimney. Added moisture helps lead to cracks in freezing weather. Larger cracks develop once the freezing weather is over. The entire chimney can be in danger of collapsing if damaged mortar is not repaired.

Rust – Similar to white staining, rust is a clear sign of a buildup of moisture within your chimney. Although not common like white efflorescence, rust should also be cleaned and treated as soon as possible. If your chimney damper is not sealed well or operate like normal, that is a sign that there is rust damage that is not visible. Cracked flue ties can also be the result of rust damage in your chimney.

Damaged Wallpaper – Any damage on the wallpaper near your chimney is a huge, easy to spot sign that there is something wrong with your chimney. Just like the previous three tips, damaged wallpaper near a chimney is usually the result of moisture buildup. Hold off on using your fireplace until repairs are made to the chimney or flue.

Contacting our professionals to inspect your chimney is the first step you should make if you are experiencing any of these four warning signs. That’s where Above All Chimney & Masonry comes into play. We specialize in chimney sweeps, chimney repair and brick pointing in Langhorne, PA.

Head over to our website at http://www.aboveallchimneys.com/ to see a full list of the services we offer or to see what makes us the best company for masonry in Philadelphia, You can also reach us by dialing 215-664-8884.

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