Chimney Services

By: Bay Area Chimney  09-12-2011
Keywords: Air Conditioning, chimney, chimney cleaning

Chimney Cleaning

Keeping your chimney clear of combustion deposits will ensure your chimney operates efficiently, while limiting your exposure to a chimney fire - an uncontrolled 2,000 degree fire inside your chimney.

Our trained sweeps will mask off the fireplace opening with a sheet of plastic. A vacuum will be running inside the plastic, and a drop cloth will be placed on the floor. The soot and creosote deposits are scraped off the walls of the flue and smoke chamber with brushes attached to flexible poles. The damper, smoke shelf, and hearth are cleaned of any debris. Our careful methods mean there's no mess left in your home. In fact we guarantee it. The cleaning may take up to an hour. Chimney cleanings should be done each year or when you move into a new home.

Professional Chimney Restoration

Due to the large amount of seismic activity in the San Francisco Bay Area and the age of your chimney, there's a good chance the mortar joints in your chimney are cracked and loose.

The creosote and gases that escape through these cracked joints are the leading cause of chimney fires. These fires are especially dangerous because they can easily spread to the rest of your home causing catastrophic loss.

In order to prevent this, you have two options:

  1. Chimney must be removed and replaced at an average cost of $2,500-$4,000
  2. Using our method, the chimney can normally be restored to its original, safe condition for less than $1,000. Bay Area Chimney provides a 10-year warranty on all chimney restorations.

Chimney Restoration Process

Our restoration process includes closure of open mortar joints with applications of custom cement sealant throughout the interior of the chimney. This will make a new seal and prevent the passage of creosote and dangerous gases through the joints, making your chimney safe again.

This poorly maintained chimney is allowing creosote and gases to escape into your home.

Dampers

A damper is the valve or plate that controls drafts or the flow of gases including air. A chimney without a damper is costing you money - as much as 30% of your heat and air conditioning can go up the chimney. We can provide a top damper that fits into a flue cap. This stainless steel damper easily opens and closes with a spring-loaded pull chain mounted on the firebox wall. We also install blade dampers in the throat of the chimney.

Flue Caps & Spark Arresters

A masonry chimney should have a flue or rain cap installed on top. The expanded metal spark arrester meets California code requirements. The spark arrester will stop large burning embers from escaping the chimney and it will also keep animals and debris from getting into the chimney. On top of the wire mesh box sits a metal lid to keep out rain water. It is essential to keep the rain water out of your chimney; it can cause a sooty odor when it mixes with soot. When water mixes with soot it creates an acid that erodes mortar, and it can drip on the damper, causing it to rust and warp. Metal flue pipe should also have the proper manufacturer-specified spark arrester or termination installed on top.

Log Lighters

This gas-fueled rigid pipe supplying heat to your wood can really make getting your fire started a lot easier. We can install a new one or replace one that has worn out.

Chimney Repair Services

Chimney Smoking Problem

This is a common chimney problem, which can be evaluated during the chimney inspection and cleaning. Usually the chimney smoking can be solved with a low-cost solution installed by one of our professional chimney technicians.

Chimney Liners

Typically, a chimney liner is made of terra cotta clay, ceramic, or metal conduit. The chimney liner is designed to contain and direct the products of combustion to the outside atmosphere. A properly lined chimney is vital to your safety and will help prevent chimney deterioration. Most masonry chimneys were not designed to handle the venting of modern, high efficiency heating appliances. These improperly designed chimneys can lead to multiple problems for a homeowner and more importantly can be a serious fire safety hazard.

Recent advancements in venting technology have rendered the development of high efficiency chimney lining material. The Chimney Safety Institute of America's endorsement of these liners has initiated a mass exodus from traditional clay flue tile lining systems. Instead, consumers are leaning towards the new aluminum and stainless steel liners, which provide the assurance and safety that all homeowners demand. Retrofitting a chimney with one of these UL listed, properly fitted and installed chimney lining system is the best way to reduce chimney draft, reduce masonry deterioration, and protect against carbon monoxide problems.

Relining a chimney dramatically improves the performance and safety of an existing venting system. This is especially true of fireplace inserts and high efficiency gas appliances.

Chimney Masonry Repairs

Is your chimney falling apart at the seams? We provide a full spectrum of masonry repairs, including exterior tuck pointing, crown wash repairs/replacements, and replacing those worn out firebox bricks with new extruded fire brick.

Water infiltration, condensation, acidic gases, and erosion all contribute to the deterioration of the masonry structure of your chimney. Some of the signs of this masonry breakdown are visible from the outside:

  • crumbling or flaking bricks
  • white stains
  • wet spots
  • cracks in the brickwork or mortar crown

Tuck Pointing

Acid from within the chimney, leaves and debris on your rooftop can soften the bricks. There can also be defects inside your chimney you can't see, like a cracked flue liner, or no flue liner at all. The tuck pointing or rebuilding of a chimney is designed to repair masonry deterioration of the chimney structure. In the process of tuck pointing, existing mortar joints are cut out to an appropriate depth and the joint is repacked a new mortar compound. The joint is then struck to form a concave surface that will direct water out of the joint. A properly completed tuck pointing job will give the chimney a much longer life span, and often will enhance its appearance. This preventative maintenance is designed to protect the overall structural integrity and performance of the chimney and to help prevent costly repairs in the future.

Chase Covers

Your chimney top is far from sight, but clearly exposed to potential problems. A properly fabricated aluminum chase cover will help prevent damaging water penetration, erosion and access to animals that build nests in your chimney chase. This cover is custom designed to cover the entire top of your chimney. This chase cover will continue to drop down over the top edge of the chimney and first course of brick to help prevent chimney deterioration caused by precipitation, the primary culprit of concrete and mortar chimney crown problems. Being made of aluminum, the chase top will not rust or leave stains on your chimney or home.

Chimney Caps

Similar to a Chase Cover, Chimney Caps are designed to help protect your chimney against many problems. Our chimney caps protect against moisture from entering the top of your chimney and doing internal damage to your chimney's masonry structure and flue tiles. Also, the cap prevents animals and birds from making a home of their own by entering your chimney's uncapped flue. Finally, a properly installed chimney cap will act as a spark arrestor for material that has not completely combusted during the burning process, thus decreasing the risk of a byproduct-caused fire.

What Is a Chimney Relining System?

Before we explain what a chimney relining system is, let's learn what a chimney lining system is. Most masonry chimneys are constructed with an inner liner of clay tiles. The purpose of this liner is to keep the heat of flue gases inside the chimney so the chimney can't overheat the nearby combustible material, such as the framing and walls of your house, and possibly cause a fire. The liner also keeps carbon monoxide, moisture, smoke, creosote, and other products of combustion from seeping through the bricks and mortar of your chimney and leaking into your home. As you can see, a secure lining system is crucial to the safety and well being of your home and family.

This brings us to a chimney relining system. What is it? Simply put, it's what you need when the original clay tile liner was either never installed, or when the tile lining cracks, crumbles and deteriorates over time. Water damage, chimney fires, or just age can cause the deterioration of your clay liner. When that happens the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) code 211 says it must be replaced. The most popular, effective and economical way to reline your chimney is with UL listed, HomeSaver stainless steel relining pipe. HomeSaver has been used for over 20 years in chimneys throughout North America and is the industry leader.

Chimney Inspections

Where in your home do you have a 650 degree fire burning, except in your chimney? The safety of your family depends on a safe chimney and fireplace to contain that fire. This is why having your chimney inspected by a trained chimney sweep is so important. At Bay Area Chimney, we follow the guidelines set by the National Fire Protection Agency and the Chimney Safety Institute of America. The guidelines dictate the areas of the chimney to be inspected and when each inspection should be done. Each of the three levels is outlined below.

Level One Chimney Inspection

This is a 15-point visual inspection. The chimney sweep will be able to give you a basic condition report after this inspection. We inspect the readily accessible areas of the chimney in the living area and at the exterior of the home. Some of the areas covered are the firebox, damper, and smoke chamber. Outside, the spark arrester will be checked to make sure it does not restrict the draft, and that it meets local building codes. The structure will be checked for basic soundness and any evidence of deterioration. This inspection should be done every one to three years.

Level Two Chimney Inspection

This is the inspection recommended before modifications, during a change in property ownership, or after a chimney fire, or earthquake. We use a digital camera system and/or smoke testing. This 15-point visual inspection may be used to complete a Level Two Inspection. The camera is used to inspect the condition of the interior of the flue. The chimney may also be smoke tested to check for leaks. You will receive a detailed written report outlining any areas of concern.

Level Three Chimney Inspection

A chimney, by nature, has areas that are concealed. Whether it is the internal metal flue pipe, or the unexposed brick of a masonry structure, sometimes it may be necessary to open up the components of the building or chimney to inspect the area in question. The scope of the Level Three inspection includes that of the Level One and Two inspections, as well as removing portions of the building or chimney as necessary. The need for this inspection is usually based on the findings of a Level One or Two inspection. Less than one percent of the chimneys we evaluate require a Level Three Inspection.

The information in this article was current at 06 Dec 2011

Keywords: Air Conditioning, chimney, chimney cleaning, Drop Cloth, Fireplace Opening, Smoke Chamber,

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