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Protect Your Chimney from Rain

What’s the biggest danger your chimney faces? Many people assume that a chimney fire is the biggest risk your chimney faces. In fact, chimney water raindamage is far more of a threat. Water damage to your chimney can cause cracks and leaks, and even deteriorate your chimney to the point of threatening its structural integrity. Water is so damaging to a chimney, in fact, that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has declared water chimney’s No. 1 enemy and cautions homeowners to do all they can to protect their chimney’s from water damage. Here are some things you can do to keep your chimney safe.

Put a cap on your chimney.

All chimneys should be outfitted with a chimney cap. A chimney cap shelters your chimney’s flue from falling precipitation. Without a chimney cap in place, water can flow down into your chimney every time it rains, causing damage to your chimney flue and creating damaging puddles in the bottom of your chimney. Installing a chimney cap is the CSIA’s primary recommendation from protecting your chimney from water damage.

Check your chimney crown.

In addition to a chimney cap, a chimney crown helps to prevent water from entering your chimney flue. However, many chimney crowns are improperly constructed from the wrong materials. A chimney crown should slope downward away from the opening of the chimney flue to direct water down away from the chimney flue opening. Your certified chimney sweep can check your chimney crown to verify that it’s been properly constructed to protect your chimney.

Address chimney damage immediately.

Chimney damage leads to more chimney damage. Cracks in your chimney’s masonry or in your chimney crown allows water to gain further access to your chimney and cause more damage. If you notice cracks in your chimney or chimney crown, if you notice that mortar has become soft and begun to crumble away, or if you notice signs that water is leaking into your home in or around your chimney, have the chimney inspected and repaired as soon as possible to prevent water from damaging your chimney or your home further.

Have your chimney waterproofed.

One of the best preventative measures you can take to protect your chimney from water damage is to have your chimney waterproofed. Masonry materials are porous; they naturally absorb water, which can cause chimney damage. A chimney waterproofing solution can block 99 percent of water from entering your chimney while still allowing your chimney’s masonry to breath and exhaust the smoke and moisture created by your fireplace. Waterproofing your chimney can help keep your chimney protected from water damage for years.

Water can seriously damage your chimney. That damage can spread to your home, and it can compromise the integrity of your chimney, putting your home at risk for smoke or fire damage. A to Z Chimney Services can help keep your chimney and your home safe from water damage. Call today to schedule an appointment to have your chimney inspected to determine if it’s at risk for water damage!

Why we recommend waterproofing your chimney

Protecting your chimney from water damage can be nearly impossible. Chimneys are most often constructed from porous masonry materials, which draw in and hold moisture, and they extend above the roofline of your chimney, completely unprotected from the elements. The only way to be sure that water isn’t doing damage to your chimney is by sealing it off from moisture with a specialized waterproofing treatment.

Water damage and your chimney

Water leaking in through your chimney can wreak havoc on your chimney and your home. Damages from water can weaken your chimney’s structure, as the moisture causes bricks and mortar to crumble. Moisture retained in chimney masonry can stain the exterior of your chimney, turning the masonry blue, green or black. Inside your chimney, water can cause damage to the chimney liner, and it can cause metal components of your fireplace and chimney system, such as the damper, fireplace grate and fireplace doors to rust and warp. In the heat of the summer, a damp chimney can stink, filling your entire home with an unpleasant odor.

When water penetrates your chimney, it doesn’t only endanger the chimney and fireplace system; it can do damage to your home. Water seeping in through your chimney can cause the support beams in your home to warp and rot. It can cause mold to grow on your roof and walls, and in your attic. Water leaking into your home through the chimney can warp walls and ceilings, and cause staining, warping and sagging. It can cause paint, wallpaper or ceiling plaster to peel away.

Protecting your chimney with waterproofing

Because of how damaging water can be to your chimney and your home, we recommend protecting your chimney with ChimneySaver Water Repellant! Once applied to your chimney, ChimneySaver Water Repellant prevents 99.9 percent of water from entering your chimney’s masonry. At the same time, ChimneySaver lets your chimney’s masonry breathe, allowing 100 percent of the water vapor that can form when your fireplace is in use to exit as it normally would through your chimney’s masonry. That means that, unlike other water sealants, ChimneySaver won’t trap moisture in your chimney!

ChimneySaver also provides protection that lasts. When applied properly, ChimneySaver Water Repellant continues to protect your chimney’s masonry from water for 10 years!

Schedule your ChimneySaver Water Repellant application today!

Water can cause major damage to your chimney and your home, which is why we recommend protecting your chimney with ChimneySaver Water Repellant. Don’t let jeopardize the health of your chimney’s masonry, your fireplace and your home’s structure! Have ChimneySaver applied to your chimney to keep it safe from the dangers of water penetration. Call A to Z Chimney Services to schedule your waterproofing today!

Are Odors Coming From Your Chimney?

When spring brings warmer temperatures and  damp weather, many homeowners are faced with an unpleasant surprise: Foul odors from their chimney. When your home smells, it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. To keep chimney odors out of your home, you need to understand and address the source of the smell; often, a simple chimney cleaning or a chimney deodorizer won’t get rid of the problem.

Moisture

Chimney odors can indicate moisture entering your chimney through the chimney opening or through a leak in the chimney wall. When moisture comes into contact with the soot and creosote in your chimney, it can fill your home with a strong wood-burning smell. Moisture also can cause mold or mildew to form within your chimney, and fill your home with unpleasant damp odors. To help resolve odors caused by moisture, have your chimney fitted with a sturdy chimney cap. The chimney cap keeps water from running down your flue. If your chimney emits odors that seem to be caused by moisture, have the chimney inspected to make sure your chimney isn’t leaking.

Animal Intrusions

Animals are another common cause of chimney odors. Animals make their way into your chimney either by accident or to find shelter. Once they are inside your chimney, animals can cause a host of smells. The organic material used to build nests can decay, leaving behind a compost smell. Animals can leave droppings or bits of food. Trapped animals can die within the chimney, which can lead to a horrible rotting smell. Once an animal is inside your chimney, you will have to have it professionally removed. After the removal, you should get your chimney professionally cleaned. In the case of animal intrusions, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: A chimney cap surrounded by a cage or a top-sealing damper can keep animals from entering your chimney in the first place.

Debris

An unprotected chimney also can house natural debris, which can decompose in the chimney and cause foul odors to filter into your home. If you don’t have an enclosed chimney cap or a top-sealing damper, leaves and twigs can fall into your chimney, forming blockages that can rot and smell. If you have debris in your chimney, you will need to have the chimney swept. For a long-term solution, protect your chimney with a cap or top-sealing damper.

Improper Drafting

Regardless of the interior cause of your chimney odor, there is one element that is always to blame for chimney odors filling your home: improper chimney drafting. If odors from your chimney are filling your home, that means that the air inside your chimney is being pulled down into your home. This is a common problem in weatherproofed homes, where the chimney and fireplace can’t get enough air to properly draft up. Your chimney sweep can help you find a solution to improper drafting, and a top-sealing damper or sealed fireplace doors can help keep odors out of your home.

If your chimney is filling your home with unpleasant smells, you don’t have to suffer through it! Call A to Z Chimney Services today. We’ll find the source of your chimney odor and help you find a solution to your odor problem.

Maintain Your Chimney To Maintain Your Home’s Value

Homebuyers love fireplaces. In national realty surveys, 60 percent of homebuyers listed a fireplace among the top three amenities they look for in a home. In another survey, 46 percent of homebuyers said they would pay more for a home with a fireplace. According to the National Association of Realtors, a fireplace can increase a home’s value by up to $12,000.

With that in mind, maintaining your fireplace goes hand in hand with maintaining your home’s value. While homebuyers will pay more for a home with a fireplace, very few homebuyers want to take on homes that need costly and extensive repairs, and that includes chimney repairs. Additionally, a poorly maintained fireplace can show signs of water damage and staining, detracting from your home’s aesthetic value.

So what can you do to make sure that your home’s fireplace and chimney remains an asset to your home’s value, rather than becoming a liability?

Creosote buildup - Sacramento CA - A to Z ChimneysAnnual maintenance

Chimney maintenance begins with your annual chimney sweeping and inspection. First and foremost, your annual sweeping removes creosote from the inside of your chimney, saving your home from the risk of a chimney fire. On top of that, the creosote that builds up within your chimney is acidic. In addition to being a fire hazard, creosote left within the chimney can eat away at chimney liners, causing their deterioration.

The inspection portion of your annual chimney sweeping helps to identify any minor chimney problems before they become major chimney problems. Your chimney sweep will look for signs of water damage, leaks, cracks and other chimney deterioration. If a problem occurs, your chimney sweep will recommend a course of action for preventing a small chimney maintenance issue from become a major structural problem that could affect not just your chimney, but your home structure, as well.

Prevention

Of course, preventative maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure that your chimney boosts your home’s value. Generally, with chimneys, preventative maintenance means protecting your chimney and fireplace from water damage, as water is the leading cause of chimney and fireplace deterioration. There are three primary ways to protect your chimney from water damage:

• Chimney cap. A chimney covers your chimney’s opening like a little roof. It prevents water from running freely down the inside of your flue. You, or your chimney sweep, should check your chimney cap regularly to make sure it is in good repair and firmly in place over your flue.

Waterproofing. A waterproofing treatment prevents moisture from seeping in to your chimney’s masonry and causing damage while still allowing your chimney to exhaust fireplace smoke and gases as it was meant to.

Flashing. Flashing should surround your chimney’s base, preventing water from leaking into your home’s roofline. Just like your chimney cap, your flashing should be inspected regularly to make sure that it is secure and free from any holes, cracks or signs of corrosion.

Remember that investing in regular chimney maintenance is an investment in your home! If you are due for a sweeping and inspection, or if you would like to hear more about protecting your chimney and your home’s value, call the chimney experts at A to Z Chimney Services today!

Preparing your chimney for El Nino’s wet weather

Prep Your Chimney for El Niño - Sacramento CA - A to Z Chimney ServicesWeather forecasters are predicting an unusually strong El Nino winter. The system is expected to drop 40 percent more rain on the Sacramento area this winter. As you prepare your home and your family for a wetter-than-average winter, there are steps you should take to save your home from water damage caused by your chimney. While, of course, your chimney and fireplace structures can be damaged by water, a leaking chimney can cause expensive damage to your home, such as water-stained walls and chimneys, rotting woodwork, and a failing chimney structure.

Repair any failing masonry

If your chimney’s masonry components, such as the bricks, mortar, or chimney crown, are cracking or crumbling, that can let water leak into your chimney. If you are aware of any cracks in your chimney or chimney crown, they should, of course, be addressed immediately by a professional chimney mason. If you haven’t already had your annual chimney inspection, you should schedule that now, as your chimney sweep will be able to locate any cracks or crumbling masonry on your chimney.

Inspect your flashing

Failing flashing is a leading cause for chimney leaks, and preparing for a wet winter should include having your flashing inspected and repaired when needed! Flashing surrounds your chimney’s base, where it meets your roof. Over time, holes or cracks can form in metal flashing, and urethane calking can break down. Sometimes, roofers cut corners by using tar to flash a chimney, rather than the longer-lasting recommended sheet metal. If your chimney sits on a portion of your room that sees a lot of water runoff, an additional piece of tented sheet metal, called a cricket, can be placed on the roof to divert water away from the chimney’s base.

Install a chimney cap

The Chimney Safety Institute of America lists a chimney cap as the best way to protect your chimney from rainwater. Without a chimney cap, water can pour down your chimney’s flue, causing mold, wood rot, and drywall damage. Your chimney should already have a cap — if you have a prefabricated chimney, a chimney cap would have been required at installation — but metal chimney caps can rust and deteriorate over time. Make sure your chimney cap is in good working order before El Nino hits to avoid having rainwater run down your chimney’s walls!

Consider waterproofing

Because of the porous nature of bricks and mortar, masonry chimneys are easily damaged by an excess of water. There is a way to fight that: ChimneySaver waterproofing coats a chimney’s masonry, keeping out 99.9 percent of water that comes in contact with a chimney while still allowing the gases produced by your fireplace or any water already trapped on the masonry to exit, as needed, through the chimney’s walls.

Consult your chimney sweep

When it comes to protecting your chimney from the damaging rainwater of the predicted El Nino, the best thing you can do is to have your chimney inspected, if you haven’t already. The certified chimney sweeps from A to Z Chimney Services will help you spot any vulnerabilities in your chimney that could allow water to leak into your home. When you know where your chimney is vulnerable, you can take steps to make it watertight!