Santa's Friend Chimney Service

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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

Are Your Dryer Vents Really Clean?

Spring is the time of year that your thoughts turn to doing some deep down cleaning. Cleaning your closets and throwing out those clothes you don’t wear anymore, going through your drawers, even washing the windows. It feels so great to walk in and see the sparkling windows, smell the fresh spring air, and know that everything is right with the world. However, one thing that you don’t often think about cleaning is your dryer vents. Unlike your drawers or closets, if you neglect cleaning your dryer vents, you could be putting your home at risk!

Are Your Dryer Vents Really Clean Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney ServiceHow to Clean Your Vents

When you think of your dryer vents, you probably think of cleaning the lint tray after every load dried or every couple loads dried. This is a great thing to do. Plus, it does help prevent an excess buildup of lint. The thing is, even with regular cleaning of the lint tray, dust and other small particles get through and can lodge in the dryer duct work. Although most of these particles get out into the great outdoors, some get stuck in the duct work. Consequently, as that builds up, serious problems can occur.

Common Problems

When you have a build-up of lint in your dryer vent, the most catastrophic occurrence is fire. If that lint catches a spark from your dryer, it will instantly explode into a full-blown fire. It can quickly follow the trail of dryer lint in the hose and cause a major house fire if it isn’t caught immediately.

There are also health risks involved with having a full dryer vent. When moist dryer air blows through a dryer vent that is full of soft, fluffy lint, mold and mildew can begin to grow. If someone in your home has allergies, asthma, or other breathing conditions, this buildup can actually exacerbate the situation.

Another negative of having a full dryer vent? It makes your dryer run less efficiently. When there’s a build-up of lint and dust in your dryer vent, it causes less space for the air to get through. This causes your dryer to put extra effort in to get the clothes dry. How often have you run clothes through one cycle, only to discover that it is still damp?

If you run it through and don’t get to it right away because you think it’s going to be dry and then find out it’s still damp, you may find a load of clothes that smells musty and needs to be rewashed. Not only is this an annoyance, it also means you may be getting bigger electric bills. According to the National Filter Supply website, having a full dryer vent can also cause added strain to the motor of your dryer. This could mean having to replace your dryer sooner than normal.

Call in the Experts

It is recommended that you have your dryer vents cleaned at least once a year. When you call Santa’s Friend Chimney Service, you can be sure of getting your dryer vents cleared completely. You don’t have to worry about any of the risks listed above. Give them a call today to get your vents cleaned. Then rest assured knowing that your house is truly spring cleaned!

By Jim Robinson on May 3rd, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Fix Your Leaky Chimney This Summer

Now that spring is here, things will green up and smell fresh and sweet. Why? Because spring is rainy season! One thing that may become apparent now that it’s raining more often is that you have a leaky chimney. That’s definitely not a welcome discovery. On the bright side, summer is the perfect time to get your chimney repaired.

Fix Your Leaky Chimney This Summer Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend ChimneySigns of a Leaky Chimney

First off, it’s important that you recognize signs that your chimney might be leaking. In the interior of your home: if you notice that your ceiling or your walls are water stained, these could be signs that your chimney is leaky. On the outside of your house: if the mortar or the bricks are crumbly or look like they’re decaying, this could also be caused by water damage.

Unfortunately, there might also be damage that isn’t as easy to see. Damage to the interior of your chimney. If there’s interior damage from water leaks, you’ll need to call in the professionals like at Santa’s Friend Chimney Service. A professional chimney inspector will be able to determine if your metal or masonry firebox assembly is damaged. Also, if your damper assembly is rusty, or if your hearth support is weakened. A leaky chimney could also cause a deteriorated central heating system. All these things could mean big repair bills.

Causes of Leaks

There are many things that might be causing your chimney leaks. However, the biggest problem is usually the sheet metal flashing. This is important because the sheet metal flashing is what keeps the intersections between the chimney and the roof tight and leak-free. Maybe your flashing has just been affected by normal wear and tear. Perhaps it wasn’t installed right in the first place. If this is what’s causing your leaks, you’ll want to call in CSIA certified experts to come in and repair it.

Another cause of a leaky chimney? You don’t have a chimney cap or a chimney crown, or that your chimney cap or crown is cracked. A chimney cap keeps the rain out of the inside of your chimney and a chimney crown keeps rain off the exterior of your chimney. Both of these are very important for the health of your chimney. Again, call in the experts to check out your chimney cap and crown. Let them determine whether these need to be repaired or replaced.

Call in the Experts

When you have a leaky chimney, you need to take it seriously. This is definitely not a do-it-yourself job. You’ll want a thorough inspection and expert advice. The best company for this job is Santa’s Friend Chimney Service. They not only offer quality repair jobs, but they can inspect, clean, waterproof, and re-line your chimney. That’s only a few of the things they can do. Give them a call or check out the website today, and say good-bye to worrying about your chimney leaks!

By Jim Robinson on April 18th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Chimney Cap Replacement

Probably the biggest fear of homeowners is a chimney fire. There really is no good way to stop sparks from heading up your chimney. Plus, if they fly out of your chimney you might have a roof fire on your hands. Another big threat when it comes to damage to your chimney is water. There is just no way to protect the exterior of your chimney from the damage that can come from rain, sleet, or snow. The inside of your chimney, however, is a different matter. When it comes to protecting your roof from sparks and the interior of your chimney from water damage, the best protection you can buy is a solid chimney cap.

Chimney Cap Replacement Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney ServiceWhat Can A Chimney Cap Do?

First, let’s consider the danger of fire. One problem with your chimney is that it’s a natural place for birds and other animals to want to build their nests. It’s protected from the elements and from other natural predators that threaten their young. When the young leave the nest and the critters leave for good, the nest stays behind and dries out. This is perfect kindling for those sparks that shoot up your chimney. Not only can nests cause a problem, but paper, dried leaves, and twigs can also blow down your chimney; these can also provide a great spark catcher for a chimney fire. According to Angie’s List “(A) professionally installed chimney cap, sized properly, will prevent animals from entering the chimney.”

Another area that is susceptible to fire is your roof. When sparks fly up your chimney, they can fall on the roof. If it’s been a particularly dry year, all it could take is one good spark. All of the sudden, you’ll find yourself with a very big problem: a roof fire. If not caught quickly enough, this could end disastrously with the loss of your home. A chimney cap can also stop those sparks from escaping from your chimney, thus preventing that disaster from occurring.

Interior Damage

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, water penetration can cause a lot of damage to the interior of your chimney. Some problems that can be caused include rusted damper assemblies, collapsed hearth support, water stained walls and ceiling, rotting wood and ruined wall coverings that surround your fireplace. Not only that, but it can also cause mold and mildew to grow inside your chimney. This mold and mildew can eat away at the mortar of your chimney, and it can also produce a very unpleasant odor. A chimney cap can help stop rain water from getting down into your home’s chimney.

Finding the Right Company

When it comes to chimney caps, it’s important to make sure that you find the right size and shape to fit your chimney. That means it’s especially important to find the right company to help you obtain the perfect chimney cap. That company is Santa’s Friend Chimney Service. They are experts when it comes to making sure that your chimney is up to regulation and running efficiently. Call them early to make an appointment – whether you’re looking at chimney cap repair or replacement, you’ll be glad you did!

By Jim Robinson on April 4th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment