Santa's Friend Chimney Service

Santa's Friend Chimney Service Blog

Getting A Jump-Start On Your Fall Chimney Inspection

Summer is drawing to an end. State fairs are starting and last minute summer vacations are being taken. Kids are asking about buying school supplies and new clothes to start the school year off right. You’re probably starting to think about getting your house cleaned and ready for the winter months. Even if you aren’t, there’s one part of your house that definitely needs to be inspected before fall and winter move in, and that’s your chimney! Now is the time to call to book your annual inspection and cleaning and beat the fall rush.

Jump-Start On Your Fall Chimney Inspection Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney ServiceInspection

When a chimney inspector comes to look at your chimney, they are looking for several things. He’ll be looking for obstructions. This includes any type of damage that might have occurred over the past year of use. He will also look for creosote build up. If you’ve had some type of trauma to your home, such as some type of traumatic weather system, your chimney specialist might ask to look at your roof or your attic. This is in order to see if there’s any structural damage that will need to be repaired. If a really catastrophic event such as a chimney fire has occurred, then your inspector will need to take a deeper look into your chimney. It may even turn into a tear down/rebuild job!

Reasons for Inspection and Cleaning

There are several things that can happen to your chimney that cause the need for it to be cleaned. First, it’s pretty obvious that your chimney gets dirty during use. In addition, when you build a lot of fires over the winter months, that build up just gets thicker and thicker. What is building up is creosote! This is a mixture of the gases, water vapors, and other chemicals that are released in smoke.

When the smoke hits the higher, cooler part of the chimney, it condenses onto the sides of the chimney and forms a black, sticky (or possibly brown and shiny) substance that is called creosote. The thing is, this substance is highly flammable. Unfortunately, if it’s left on the there year after year, the likelihood of a chimney fire will continue to increase dramatically! CSIA certified sweeps, like those at Santa’s Friend Chimney Service, know what to look for. Also, they have the tools to remove the creosote from your chimney.

Another thing that your chimney professional will be looking for is obstructions. If you have a mild winter and don’t use your chimney much, you might think that you don’t need to worry about creosote build up. Well, there are other things that can cause some chimney trouble. Animals and birds are drawn to your chimney as a great place to build a nest. When the critters leave, the nest remains. That nest is also a fire hazard! This is another thing that Santa’s Friend knows how to remove – nests and other debris that may be obstructing the chimney.

Professional Cleaning

Call Santa’s Friend Chimney Service today to get ahead of the fall rush. When you do this, you’ll have one less thing to worry about as the busy fall season approaches!

By Justin Perkins on August 8th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

The Dangers Of Creosote

Think about your fireplace. Your mind probably goes to thoughts of cozy family get-togethers, gathered around a crackling fireplace. Who can resist the smell and sounds of a great wood fire? However, one word that no fireplace owner likes to think about is creosote! Although you may not like to spend a lot of time thinking about this unpleasant substance, it is something that needs to be taken care of. Fortunately, there are great companies like Santa’s Friend Chimney Service  that can take care of your creosote problems.

The Dangers of Creosote Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney ServiceCreosote Buildup

Do you know what the smoke that rises from your fire is made up of? Included in that smoke is water vapor, benzene, carbon monoxide, acetic acid, formic acid, sulfur dioxide. Have you heard enough? The good news is that most of that smoke is guided right out of your chimney and into the outside air. The bad news is that some of it doesn’t! Smoke from your fire can climb and reach the relatively cooler surface near the top of your chimney. This causes it to condense and form a layer of what is known as creosote.

The more often you burn a fire in your fireplace, the thicker the layer of creosote will build. Creosote can appear as a black, oily substance or a hard, brown substance. It doesn’t really matter what it looks like. The big issue with creosote is that it is extremely flammable. Creosote can become too thick and catch a spark from your fireplace. Consequently, you might be faced with just what you don’t want – a roaring chimney fire!

One More Thing…

Another issue that creosote can cause is odor build up. You might notice this more often in the damp spring and summertime. The warm, damp air that works its way down your chimney mixes with the creosote on the interior of your chimney. This creates an odor that is, to say the least, unpleasant! You can use some do-it-yourself ideas to try to get rid of the odor. Unfortunately, though, many times these are just temporary fixes at best. Although this isn’t as devastating a problem as the flammability factor, you still want to get rid of this problem.

Problem Solved!

The best approach to getting rid of this dangerous and smelly problem is to hire professionals to come in and clean your chimney for you. Although you could probably get to some of the creosote on your own and scrub it off the interior of your chimney, to have a thorough job of getting rid of the problem, special brushes are used. If a severe creosote problem exists, video inspection can be used to find the root of the problem. Santa’s Friend Chimney Service uses all the latest tools and procedures to make sure your creosote problem is cleaned up! Schedule your annual inspection and cleaning today so you’re ready for the start of fireplace season.

By Justin Perkins on July 21st, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Why You Should Have Your Chimney Relined

Why do people line things? Usually it’s to add a layer of protection or reinforcement to the item you’re lining. For example, adding an underskirt to a dress or shirt to give it more body and sturdiness. Linings can also protect what you’re trying to install. If you’re doing some landscaping, you can put a lining down over the ground so that weeds don’t grow among the new landscaping. However, did you know that your chimney has a liner? This is a very important piece of the makeup of a chimney. Not to mention, one that often gets taken for granted!

Why You Should Have Your Chimney Relined Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney ServiceChimney Liner

A chimney’s purpose is to direct the smoke up and out of your house. The problem is that the uneven, rough texture of your brick and mortar chimney can actually catch the small particles that are in the smoke. This causes a buildup of creosote. It can easily eat away at the mortar of the chimney, which in turn will impact the stability of your chimney’s structure. The way to protect this is to have a chimney liner installed. If your house was built within the last eighty years, it will already have a chimney liner installed. Do you have an older home built before the 1940’s? If so, it’s very possible that your chimney was built without a liner. If you own an older home, it’s important to know whether there is a chimney liner present, and, if not, to have one installed.

Correctly Sized

If you know that your chimney is lined, another concern might be that it isn’t correctly sized. When your chimney liner was installed, it should have been sized accurately. This is to provide an efficient path for your wood burning appliance to work correctly. If it wasn’t, you may be facing the possibility of excessive creosote buildup or excessive production of carbon monoxide. Both of these can create hazardous situations!

Cracks in the Clay Lining

Many times, clay liner tiles have been used as chimney lining materials. This is great! Why? These tiles can withstand the heat from your fires. Having said that, however, they can also become cracked over time. Other materials can also be used, such as stainless steel or other types of metals. Stainless steel is the most often recommended; because of the durability of this material, stainless steel chimney liners often come with a lifetime guarantee!

Have Your Chimney Relined

Does your chimney not have a liner? Are the clay liner tiles have cracked? Was your liner sized incorrectly in the first place? If you said yes to any of these questions, you will want to have your chimney relined. The best way to determine the condition of your chimney liner? Have your chimney inspected by the CSIA certified technicians at Santa’s Friend Chimney Service! Once they’ve given your chimney a thorough inspection, they’ll be able to suggest the best method and materials for relining your chimney. They’ll offer convenient, friendly service and are dedicated to looking out for the safety of their customers.

By Justin Perkins on July 7th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Importance of Annual Chimney Inspections

It’s so easy to see the importance of some of the things we do. Do you have your car serviced every three to five thousand miles? Of course, because you don’t want to be caught standing on the side of the road with your hood up, waiting for someone to help you. Do you have an annual physical? Yes, because you want to continue to be healthy and know what to do to prevent or cure illnesses. Do you check the batteries on your smoke detector once a month? Yes, because you want to make sure you’re protected in case a fire breaks out. And how often do you check your credit score? It’s important to stay on top of these things so your physical, material, and financial status stay positive and healthy. So, why do people think it’s okay to skip a yearly chimney inspection and cleaning?

Importance of Annual Chimney Inspections Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney ServiceWhy Have An Annual Inspection?

The first thing your chimney sweep is going to look for is creosote build up. Over the course of the winter months, your chimney undergoes a lot of wear and tear. When you burn that wood fire, water vapor, unburned wood particles, minerals, and even tar fog are released, and these organisms escape up your chimney in the form of smoke. Unfortunately, not all of these elements make it out into the open air.

When the smoke hits the cooler chimney surface near the top of your chimney, it condenses and forms creosote, a highly flammable, black or brown, hard or tarry substance that can cause a lot of problems. And the more often you use your fireplace, the more this creosote will build up. As with any other highly flammable material, all it takes is a spark to start a roaring fire – just what you DON’T want inside your chimney! Your chimney sweep will be able to determine how deep the creosote layer is and then will use the proper tools to break this free and eliminate it from your chimney, all the while keeping the residue out of your home.

Structural Damage

Another thing your chimney sweep will be looking for is structural damage. Your sturdy chimney is just that: sturdy. But sturdy does not mean impenetrable, and even the strongest chimneys are susceptible to the wear and tear of time. One of the most damaging elements your chimney faces is precipitation. Rain can beat on the mortar of your chimney and, over time, cause it to wear and weaken. And when that rain gets in the pores of your mortar and then freezes, the expansion that occurs will cause those cracks to get deeper, which leads to instability.

Chimney Fire

Your chimney sweep will also be looking for signs that you have had a chimney fire. You think that you would know if you’ve had a chimney fire, right? Well, that’s not always the case. Sometimes a chimney fire can take place without the homeowner knowing, and that’s dangerous because structural damage can occur. A well trained, CSIA certified technician from Santa’s Friend Chimney Service will be able to spot that damage and any other problems, recommend solutions, then follow through with the necessary repair work.

Summer Chimney Repair Checklist

Summertime is a time for getting things done. Nothing is quite as satisfying as making out a summer to-do list and then checking things off one by one. Washing windows? Check. Cleaning the attic? Check. Clearing out the basement? Check. Going to the beach to relax? Check! When it comes to taking care of your chimney, there are several things to put on your summer to-do checklist.

Summer Chimney Repairs Checklist Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney Service Summer Chimney Checklist

Although you could put summer chimney work down as one item on your checklist, it’s much more fun to add all the things to do so that you can have the fun of checking off more items. So here you have it:

  1. Do a thorough visual check of your chimney to see if you can see any visible signs of deterioration or structural damage. This will give you a starting point to discuss with your chimney specialists. Take special note of the flashing, or the metal pieces that cover where the roof meets the chimney. If these are loose or in disrepair, you’ll want to make sure that you point it out to your chimney technicians.
  2. On the interior of your home, check your damper to make sure that it opens and closes easily and that it seals securely.
  3. Check the firebox to make sure there are no loose bricks or mortar or any cracks or stains.
  4. Give your firebox a thorough cleaning. First, remove the andirons and grate and give them a good scrub with a brush. In order to avoid a big mess, do this over old newspaper or outside. Then scoop up the ashes with a fireplace scoop. A good way to control fly-away ashes is to sprinkle used coffee grounds over them before scooping them up. Put the ashes in a bag and take them to the outdoor garbage right away to avoid the possibility of spilling. Reach into the chimney as high as you can from time to time and scrub some of the soot off with a wire brush. Remember to put paper down first to catch the loose soot and dust. Doing this early in the summer allows you to enjoy a fresh, clean fireplace all summer long.
  5. Make sure that you don’t get an infestation of birds or animals. This is done by checking out your chimney cap or chimney crown. Do you notice cracks or holes? If so, you’ll want to get these repaired immediately! This is so that you don’t have some unwelcome visitors take up residence in your chimney.
  6. Probably the most important thing that you can do? Set up your annual chimney inspection and cleaning using a CSIA certified chimney sweep company, Santa’s Friend Chimney Service. Call them early so that you can have your chimney work completed early in the year. Your Santa’s Friend Chimney Service technician will also be able to recommend any repair work that is necessary and to get this on their calendar early on. Give them a call sooner rather than later, and you can check chimney inspection, cleaning, and repair off your to-do list!
By Jim Robinson on June 5th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Animals in Your Chimney

Spring is such a great time of year! You can get out of the house and move around without having to worry about warm clothes. Also, the possibility of cold weather stopping your activities is nothing to worry about. However, you’re not the only one that is more active in the springtime. In addition, so are the animals that like to take it easy in the cooler winter months. Spring is the time that many animals start to have their young. That means they are building nests, whether we’re talking about four legged critters or birds. Many creatures are looking to find a warm area that’s protected from the wind and rain to build a nest and raise their young. Guess what? Your chimney really fits the bill! Not only is it warm and protected, it’s also safe from other predators.

Animals in Your Chimney Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney ServiceLet Them Be or Get Them Out?

If a bird or other animal is making a nest in your chimney, you’ll know it. When you have an animal visitor taking up residence, they’ll make noise. Whether it’s the parents getting ready for their babies to come, or after the babies arrive and make lots of baby animal noises. Usually these noises will only last a couple of weeks. So, if it doesn’t bother you, you can just let nature take its course! What happens once the babies are old enough to be out and on their own? It’s important to call in the pros to remove the nest. This is because the nest will dry out and be a fire hazard come autumn and winter when you start using your fireplace again.

If the noises are bothering you, one thing to keep in mind is that some animals are protected by law during nesting season! So, you’ll just need to wait until they are gone before calling in someone to remove the nests.

Smells

Another reason that you want to have animals removed from your chimney is because of the odor they can cause. The strongest and most offensive odor is, of course, if an animal gets stuck and dies before it can be removed. However, there other causes of odor. This includes the waste and urine that an animal leaves behind when it gets in your chimney. You’ll want to call in a company that can do more than just remove the animal. You need them to clean your chimney to remove the odor causing materials as well.

Accidental Visitors

Sometimes animals find your chimney to get out of the elements and raise their young. Additionally, sometimes animals fall into your chimney and can’t get back out. If that’s the case, you’ll want to make sure that you hire a company to remove those animals in a safe and humane manner. You may be tempted to try to smoke the animal out, but that’s never a good idea. If the animal is really stuck, you may succeed in killing the animal instead of scaring it out!

Call the Right Company

If you suspect you have an animal, living or dead, in your chimney, call Santa’s Friend Chimney Service. Let them check out the situation and give advice on the best way to remove the animal. You can trust them to get the job done in a safe and humane way!

By Jim Robinson on May 22nd, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment