Santa's Friend Chimney Service

Santa's Friend Chimney Service Blog

Why Chimney Flashing is so important

Every movie has its unsung heroes: those, who without them, the show would be incomplete. Yet few know about them. They aren’t glamorous or showy and are often unseen. Your home has these same behind-the-scenes essentials, and chimney flashing is one of them. It doesn’t sport the stature of the majestic chimney or the glamour of a fireplace, but flashing is a key component that keeps both of these stars looking good.

Why Chimney Flashing Is So Important Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney Service

Flashing: The unsung hero

The main job of flashing is to provide a waterproofing seal. When leaks occur in your home, the most common concern is that it’s a roof problem, but very often loose or missing flashing is the reason for a leak. Fortunately, it’s a very easy problem to solve. Flashing can become loose for a number of reasons. It could be the natural settling of your home or a breakdown in masonry around the flashing. Perhaps the roofing wasn’t installed well. Animals roosting on the roof may eventually disturb the flashing. It could also be that chimney flashing wasn’t fitted properly or completely. If the flashing is loose or missing and it isn’t addressed in a timely way, water will eventually make its way into your chimney. Frequent moisture infiltration aids in the breakdown of masonry.

A Simple Fix

So you see, the role of flashing is crucial in supporting your chimney. Chimney flashing should be installed in two parts, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors: the base flashing is installed on the roof around the chimney and the cap or counter flashing overlaps the base on the side of the chimney. The joints are caulked. This system seals out rain, snow, and other elements. If you notice water marks on your ceiling near your chimney, if you see or hear a flapping around the chimney, it could very well be you need to have the flashing repaired.

At Santa’s Friend Chimney Service, we’ll get up on the roof and look around and repair or replace the flashing so you don’t have unwanted moisture causing damage to your home. We will tell you what is really going on. We state in our Standards of Ethics and Business Practices that we won’t “manufacture problems”. Our customers know they can trust us, as shown by our 2011 and 2014 Angie’s List Super Service Awards. Our membership in the Chimney Safety Institute of America, as well as the National Chimney Sweep Guild, demonstrates our commitment to industry integrity and education. Contact us today by the online form or call 601-854-7563.

By Jim Robinson on September 23rd, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Home Fires are Preventable

Prevention is the Best Way to Avoid Home Fires

There’s nothing sadder than a tragedy that could have been easily prevented. Ask anyone who, helplessly, has watched while their house burned. When it comes to your home, so many fires are preventable and making sure two areas of your home are clean cuts drastically your risk of damage.

Home Fires are Preventable Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney Service

Hidden In Plain Sight

Of course, some causes of fires are obvious: overloading outlets, leaving an unattended candle burning, placing an object too close to a heat source. The US Fire Administration tracks such statistics. So you may be surprised by some other causes of home fires. A startling 84 percent of home heating fires occur in the chimney, flue, or fuel burner. Thirty-four percent of household dryer fires results from dryers that have never been cleaned. The really frightening side to this is that these fire hazards are hidden in plain sight. The hazards mount each time you light your fireplace and use your dryer, but you don’t see it happening.

Clean Clothes and Dirty Dryers

A more likely, but less apparent cause of fire is blockage and dirt in your dryer vent, the piping that leads from your dryer to the outside. Even if your venting is short and simple, and you can see where it begins and where it ends.  You still will need to have it cleaned out regularly. Lint is an excellent conduit to starting fires so you don’t want it accumulating in the venting. But your venting system may not be that straightforward and you may not be able to see to turns and bends that can keep the lint from moving forward. You may also not be able to see what else is your venting is harboring, such as animals. So if you think you need to call the dryer repairman because your clothes take longer to dry or your dryer keeps shutting off, it may not be the dryer; it’s probably debris in the piping.

Debris and animals are often well known causes of problems occurring in your chimney. Let unattended to build up, creosote, nesting materials, and animals themselves can causes fires to back up when you light your fireplace. Weak masonry from age or poor construction may also add to the risk of home fires.

Why Wait?

Regular annual maintenance takes care of the problems and eliminates the risk of these types of tragedies occurring in your home. Santa’s Friend technicians are CSIA trained and certified to spot and address the hazards you cannot see. An annual chimney inspection will find any leaks and weak areas in your chimney and annual sweeping takes away all the debris.
You don’t need to worry about unexpected work cleaning up after us. Whether we are cleaning your dryer vent or your chimney, we prepare the area so no debris ends up on your floors or walls. We use the latest equipment to make sure the job is done efficiently.
So, if there were something you could do to prevent home fires, wouldn’t you do it? You can, and Santa’s Friend Chimney Service is here to help! Contact us today to schedule an appointment and help get your home safe.

By Jim Robinson on September 8th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

The Importance of Firebox Panel Replacement

When you have a prefabricated fireplace, it is important to routinely check the conditions of the metal firebox panels. While prefabricated fireplaces can last for years with proper usage and regular maintenance, these factory-built appliances do not last forever. One of the most common problems with these types of fireplaces is cracked panels in the floor and walls of the firebox. These refractory panels can also wear down over time, which leaves gaps in the firebox. This can be a serious issue with hazards of accidental fires and carbon monoxide leaks. Santa’s Friend Chimney Service can reduce these hazards and extend the life of your prefab fireplace by replacing the firebox panels. We would like to tell you a bit more about this service and why it is so important.

When do I need to have my firebox panels replaced?

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the replacement of the refractory panels of the firebox is required by most prefab fireplace manufacturers when you can insert a nickel into a crack in the panel. You will also need to replace these panels when the surface of the panel has abraded more than a fourth of an inch from the original surface. This is why Santa’s Friend Chimney Service recommends that you routinely check the firebox panels for cracks. Most of the time, we find this type of damage during a chimney inspection.

The Importance of Firebox Panel Replacement Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney Service

What are the dangers of cracked firebox panels?

Toxic gases like carbon monoxide can easily leak into your home through the cracks in the firebox panels whenever you burn a fire. Since this poisonous gas is invisible, odorless, and tasteless, you and your family may not even know you are breathing it, unless you have a carbon monoxide detector alarm installed in your home. The more carbon monoxide you breathe, the sicker you can become. Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill you. Another danger is the high temperatures produced in a fire transferring through the cracked panels to ignite the combustible parts of your home that surround the fireplace. Santa’s Friend Chimney Service will greatly reduce both of these hazards with our firebox replacement panel services.

What if my prefab fireplace has been discontinued?

When you replace parts in a prefab fireplace, those parts must be made by the same manufacturer as the fireplace and be designed for that specific model for the appliance to work safely and efficiently. If your prefab fireplace has been discontinued, Santa’s Friend Chimney Service will search for the replacement panels for that particular make and model. More often than not, we will find exactly what is needed.

If you have noticed a crack in a firebox panel, contact us at Santa’s Friend Chimney Service. We can replace that panel so that you can safely burn fires again without worrying about any hazards.

By Jim Robinson on August 25th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Why We Recommend Top-Mounting Dampers

If you would like to see a reduction in your heating and cooling bills and an increase in the energy efficiency of your home, you may want to consider updating your damper. A traditional throat damper can become rusted over the years, and this can cause it to not provide an airtight seal to your chimney, which means heated and cooled air from inside your home can easily escape out of the chimney. This makes you have to spend more money to make your home more comfortable. Santa’s Friend Chimney Service recommends installing a different type of damper – a top-mounting damper. There are several advantages to a top-mounting damper over a traditional throat damper, and we would like to tell you more about these benefits.

Why We Recommend Top-Mounting Dampers Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney Service


One of the reasons Santa’s Friend Chimney Service is in agreement with in recommending a top-mounting damper over a traditional throat damper is that this type of damper is installed at the top of the chimney and also serves as a chimney cap when the damper is closed. When we need to replace a chimney cap, we will recommend the homeowner consider going with this option instead of a new cap. The rubber silicone seal that keeps heated and cooled air from exiting the chimney also prevents water from getting into a chimney. Some models of top-mounting dampers are equipped with mesh metal sides that allow them to work as a chimney cap even when the damper is open.

Energy efficiency

When you have a traditional throat damper, cold air, ice, and snow can get into your chimney during the winter to create a cold core. A cold core in your chimney is a huge waste of money and energy because it is trying to cool down your home at the same time you are trying to heat your home. Since a top-mounting damper is located at the top of the chimney, a cold core does not have a chance to form inside your chimney because cold outside air cannot get past the rubber silicone gasket. Santa’s Friend Chimney Service knows you will save money on your utility bills after we install a top-mounting damper on your chimney.

Ease of use

Opening and closing a traditional throat damper can be challenging, especially when it is old and rusted. It can get stuck in a position and not be able to close completely, which can allow even more heated and cooled air to escape your home. A top-mounting damper has a stainless steel cable that drops down the chimney to a handle on the side of the firebox, which makes it easier for you to open and close the damper. Santa’s Friend Chimney Service will show you how to operate the damper after we install it in your home.

Save money and energy this winter with a top-mounting damper. Contact us at Santa’s Friend Chimney Service to learn more about our damper sales and installation services.

By Jim Robinson on August 11th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

The Dangers of a Clogged Dryer Vent

Unfortunately, many homeowners do not realize the dangers of dirty dryer vents until it is too late. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), clothes dryers were involved with an estimated 16,800 residential fires that caused 51 deaths, 380 injuries, and $236 million in property damages in 2010. The leading cause of these fires was failure to clean clogged dryer vents. Santa’s Friend Chimney Service can help prevent your clothes dryer from being a fire hazard with our professional dryer vent cleaning services. Recommended by the NFPA, the Chimney Safety Institute of America, and other national fire safety organizations, an annual professional dryer vent cleaning also has other advantages. We would like to tell you more about the benefits of having your dryer vent professionally cleaned.

The Dangers of a Clogged Dryer Vent Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend

Reduce the risk of a residential fire

The statistics from the NFPA speak for themselves. Clogged dryer vents are dangerous fire hazards, and a professional dryer vent cleaning from Santa’s Friend Chimney Service can keep your home from becoming part of these statistics. The reason why clogged and dirty dryer vents are such fire hazards has to do with lint. Although your lint screen does trap a great deal of the lint produced from drying a load of clothes, lint still gets into the vent where it can accumulate to the point of blocking the vent. Lint is so flammable that it is recommended to start campfires by the Boy Scouts of America, so when the clogged vent causes the dryer to overheat, lint can easily and quickly ignite into a fire that can spread throughout your home. Our experienced technicians will be sure to remove every bit of lint to reduce this fire hazard.

Improve the efficiency of your dryer

When the dryer vent is dirty and clogged, your dryer has to work harder to operate, and this causes the appliance to overheat. If you continue to use your dryer as it overheats, it will cause important components like the heating element to wear out prematurely. Repairing the heating element can be very expensive, and it could even be more economical to replace your dryer. A professional dryer vent cleaning will actually prolong the life of your dryer. After Santa’s Friend Chimney Service has cleaned your dryer vent, you will notice a big improvement in the efficiency of your clothes dryer.

Save money and energy

If your dryer vent is clogged, the dryer will have a hard time drying a load of clothes in one cycle. If you have ever noticed damp clothes at the end of a complete drying cycle, your dryer vent is most likely clogged. Having to run your dryer twice the time to dry a load of clothes not only wastes energy, but it is also very costly. You will see a reduction in your utility bills after a professional dryer vent cleaning from Santa’s Friend Chimney Service.
You should never ignore the dangers of a clogged dryer vent. Contact us at Santa’s Friend Chimney Service to schedule an appointment for our dryer vent cleaning services.

By Jim Robinson on July 28th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Schedule Your Chimney Sweeping Before Fall

The old saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun” is certainly true in the summer. School will be starting back before you know it, which means the cooler temperatures of fall are right around the corner. To be sure your fireplace is ready to use on the first cool day of fall, you should schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection in the summer. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and other fire safety organizations recommend to have your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected before you light the first fire of the year. If you wait until the fall to schedule this appointment with Santa’s Friend Chimney Service, you may not be able to get this important maintenance task taken care of as quickly as you may wish. Starting in September, our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps are booked solid through December, so it can be difficult arranging an appointment on the date that is the most convenient for you. Scheduling this appointment in the summer makes it easier to get the appointment you want with no waiting. We would like to tell you what you can expect from our professional chimney sweeping services.

Schedule Your Chimney Sweeping Before Fall Image - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney Service

No-Mess Guarantee

When we arrive at your home, we begin the chimney sweeping process by laying down tarps around the hearth to protect the area from soot and dust. We also set up a high-powered dust collector to keep soot and debris out of your home.

Chimney Sweeping

We begin the chimney sweeping task by scrubbing the firebox with hand-held brushes. Then, we work our way up the chimney to clean it from top to bottom with rotating brushes on rods. You can count on Santa’s Friend Chimney Service to take great care to remove all of the accumulated creosote deposits from the inner walls of your chimney. A natural compound that forms during the combustion process of burning wood, creosote is so highly flammable that the CSIA has named it as a leading cause of chimney fires.

Chimney Inspection

After we have cleaned the chimney, we will then inspect the inside and the outside of your chimney. We will be looking for problems like chimney blockages that could lead to toxic gases like carbon monoxide being forced back into your home. We also check for any damage to the bricks, mortar, and chimney crown. If we find any damage, we will note the problem and take pictures to give you a clear idea of the repair work that is needed. We will also provide you with a written evaluation of the condition of your chimney, along with a written estimate of any needed repairs.
Our chimney sweeping service comes with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee! Contact us at Santa’s Friend Chimney Service to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney sweeping today.

By Jim Robinson on July 13th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment