Getting Your Chimney Ready for Winter

Posted On: August 04, 2017

Easier Appointments & Minimal Repair Wait

A common time to have your chimney repaired and inspected is the fall and there is nothing wrong with that, but getting a timely visit and subsequent repairs will not be easy. By scheduling a chimney inspection for the end of the summer, you will be presented with an array of available times and the flexibility around your schedule for this inspection will be a breath of fresh air. You won’t have to worry about getting the inspection done last minute or waiting over a month for some repair work to be addressed. Another added benefit is the ability to use your fireplace if there is a brisk night in September or October without the risk of fire.

The weather during the summer also makes it easier for expedited chimney repairs. The drier weather allows for our chimney experts to get the job done quicker. The masonry materials that are used during chimney repairs need optimal time and weather to cure, which is why summer chimney repairs are ideal.

Perhaps you have been discussing whether or not to upgrade your fireplace with an insert, changing your fireplace fuel type or repairing your hearth or chimney structure. Perhaps your chimney needs a new liner, a new chimney cap or a new damper. Does your chimney need to be waterproofed? With the winter months coming, a properly waterproofed chimney will protect your family from the cold, wet winter weather.

Call Always Affordable Chimney to set-up your annual sweeping and inspection or for any repairs you may need!


Chimney Cleaning & Maintenance

Posted On: June 30, 2017

First and foremost, if a chimney is cleaned it should always be cleaned professionally. Your average homeowner is not equipped to adequately clean a chimney. It requires specialized tools and an understanding of the construction of the chimney to be able to recognize the warning signs of a chimney that needs repair.

The question of how frequently this professional cleaning should be performed is based on a variety of factors. A quick answer is that it should be professionally cleaned on an annual basis. If your chimney has been taken care of regularly, cleaning once a year should be sufficient. However, the answer to this question is also related to how frequently you use your fireplace or woodstove. It depends on the type of wood you burn in your fireplace. It depends on the age of your chimney and how well it has been maintained.

The frequency that you professionally clean your chimney is related to the standards set by the National Fire Protection Association (NPRA). This group also sets the standard for chimney inspections. An annual chimney inspection can give you a better idea of how frequently you should professionally clean your chimney.

The NPRA recommends that you have a basic chimney inspection annually. This inspection will check your chimney for soundness, freedom from deposits, and the clearances that are necessary to operate your fireplace safely. Even if you don’t use your chimney frequently, it can deteriorate due to animals building nests in the flue or deterioration due to many factors including weather.

The NPRA recommends that you have a chimney sweep come in if you have 1/8” of soot built up and sooner if there is a glaze buildup. A soot or glaze buildup of 1/8” or greater is a buildup that is sufficient enough to potentially spark a fire. If you have a factory-built fireplace, you should get your fireplace professionally cleaned when there is any appreciable buildup.

The deposits that build up in your chimney and fireplace are acidic. This acidic soot is corrosive and aside from being capable of starting a fire, it can significantly deteriorate your chimney.  Only a professional is capable of safely and adequately cleaning your chimney. 


Summer Chimney Cleaning

Posted On: June 22, 2017

Have Your Chimney Cleaned This Summer

Summer is here! It's time to turn off the fireplace and head outdoors to enjoy the weather. Just because you're outside, though, it doesn't mean you should forget about the part of your home that kept you warm and cozy all winter long. As a matter of fact, summertime is the perfect time to take care of it by having your chimney serviced and cleaned.

Prevent Problems Before They Happen

On the outside, winter can be hard on your chimney, causing cracks or other damage that can allow water to seep into your home. On the inside, buildup of soot and other debris over the course the winter can easily cause water or smoke damage. Both of these issues can leave your home with a funky smell. Any accumulation of debris inside can create an appealing environment for birds or rodents. It can also pose a potential fire hazard or even lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. By having your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional, you can stop these issues before they ever occur.

Beat the Rush

Many people tend to forget about their chimneys once they no longer need to light a fire, only remembering to get them cleaned once the weather cools down again in the fall, thus creating a mad rush to schedule an appointment with a professional chimney sweep. By having your chimney serviced in the summer, you have a greater opportunity to schedule an appointment quickly and be sure that it fits into your schedule.

Be Prepared

Weather is unpredictable. By having your chimney cleaned in the summer, you can rest easy knowing that should the cold set in sooner than you expected, your fireplace will be ready to go as soon as you need it.

Warmer weather means you can finally give your fireplace, and your chimney, a much needed break. Treat your chimney with the respect it deserves by having it cleaned and serviced now, keeping your home safe and clean, as well as prepared for the day the air inevitably cools again.


Why You Need a Chimney Cap

Posted On: May 16, 2017

Even though a chimney cap is a minor and relatively inexpensive installation, most homeowners question whether it is necessary or not. However, the truth of the matter is that this small amount of metal protecting your chimney keeps your chimney, home and family safe. A chimney cap works in several ways to protect you from various forms of damage..

Animal Protection

An unprotected chimney is the perfect place for animals to build a nest. In the warmer months, it is a dark, cool place to get away from the weather and predators. For this reason they will make their nests close to or inside of the small and comforting space of the chimney flue. It doesn’t take long for a family of critters to move into your chimney. Animals can get stuck in there, causing smells as well as damage to the mortar inside your chimney.

Eliminate Moisture

Rain, snow and ice all create problems for your chimney if they are allowed in the chimney flue. Living in the Northeast exposes your home to cold winters, warm summers and torrential downpours. Excessive moisture and minimal chimney care causes deterioration problems within the structure of the chimney. Therefore, it is best to not allow the excess moisture into the chimney in the first place by preventing the elements from ever entering your chimney by having one of our experts at Always Affordable Chimney install a Chimney Cap.

Prevents Fires

Burning, leftover embers from the fire below get sent up and out of the chimney along with the burning gases. These embers that are still lit escape out of the top of the chimney and can cause chimney fires and damage to your roof. These problems are entirely avoidable with the addition of a chimney cap and spark guard to prevent the burning particles from escaping


Freshen Up Your Chimney

Posted On: May 16, 2017

However! Always Affordable Chimney is here to save the day! Our experts, who are conveniently located on Long Island, but can provide service to the five boroughs and Westchester are available around the clock to provide emergency chimney service!

Water Damage

The second water seeps into the mortar and brickwork of your chimney, problems begin to arise and arise fast! Due to the water damage your chimney will be subject to rot, clogs, rust, mold, deterioration and terribly foul odors. Water, without any of these subsequent effects, can create odors on its own, so when it is mixed with these other problems, the smells can become unbearable.

So how do you go about addressing the issue? The best way to stop any issue is to prevent it from happening all together! Our certified chimney experts can repair any current damage, followed by a thorough installation of our waterproofing system (which you can read more about here), so you won’t have to face these issues again down the line. While our experts are on site. they will also look at your flashing, chimney cap, chimney crown and more to make sure they are not leaving you with any other problems!

Air Pressure

One of the biggest reasons that foul odors and smells seep into your home is due to negative air pressure. What this means is that the air from outside is being pulled into your home through your chimney and with it comes these odors that are stinking up your home! If this occurs, you must find a way to put an end to it immediately - enter Always Affordable Chimney.

How do we help? Well, we remedy the situation by installing a chimney damper. You can learn more about our chimney damper service here. Our chimney damper installations are quick and done with immense efficiency. By the time we are done those drafts and foul odors will be banished from your home.

Clean That Creosote!

You should have your chimney inspected and cleaned by one of our chimney experts at least once a year. A thorough and top of the line sweeping always helps your fireplace run better and it makes your home exponentially safer. Creosote is the leading cause of chimney fires and the smell it produces alone is hazardous to your family. When it comes to the safety of your family and your home, there is no one better to turn to than Always Affordable Chimney!

Animal Safety

Animals getting stuck in chimney is a rather common issue and one that is harmful to the animal and your home. If an animal were to get stuck, it is very likely their life is in danger and if they cannot get our or not rescued in time, they will not make it. If their presence is unknown to the homeowner, terrible smells will start to come from the chimney. Having one of our experts install a chimney cap, keeps your family, the animals and your home safe!


Spring Cleaning for Your Chimney

Posted On: May 09, 2017

With winter finally coming to a close and the warm weather steadily approaching, it is the season when many people start getting active. One great active move you can make every spring is taking a few minutes to give your chimney and fireplace a once over, now that you won't be using it throughout the warmer months.

The winter months are hard on these structures, particularly if they’ve been used throughout the winter and especially if you’re using them to burn wood.  A chimney and fireplace inspection includes some tasks virtually any homeowner can perform, as well as a few that are best left to the professionals.

Chimney Checklist:

1. Chimney cap: Make sure it fits securely and has no draft obstructions from any kind of debris.

2. Chimney crown: Check for cracks, which can allow water to seep in and cause plenty of damage.

3. Chimney exterior: As with the crown, inspect the entire outside of the chimney structure for cracks and crumbling masonry/brick.  You can buy special sealant to cover very small cracks, but larger cracks could mean that the chimney is seriously compromised and needs professional repair.

4. Chimney flashing: This is the material that seals the gap between the chimney and the roof.  Look for damage and faulty seals that can let in water.

5. Flue: You won’t be able to adequately inspect the inside of your chimney, so call in a certified chimney sweep.  This person will use specialized equipment to determine the level of creosote buildup and any structural damage that might be present.  The technician also can clean your chimney.

6. Damper: Make sure the damper opens completely and closes completely.  Over time, these units begin to wear and need replacing.

7. Firebox: Your firebox should be free of cracks and rust.  Either of these signs could point to a serious problem for which you should consult a professional.

Is your chimney leaking?

The biggest problem with leaks in a chimney is that homeowners often don’t catch them before costly damage has occurred. Below are some signs of leaking. If you see any of these issues, please call one of our certified professionals at Always Affordable Chimney.

·      White patchy areas on bricks

·      Any kind of foliage/growth sprouting in mortar cracks

·      Dust, small chunks or any other sign of brick and mortar deterioration

·      Rusty areas

·      Discoloration of a brick or a section of bricks

·      A musty, damp smell

·      Water in the firebox

Spring is a good time to get this inspection taken care of, especially when looking for leaks. Upcoming rainy weather and storms will only make the problem worse, so don’t delay in scheduling repair work just because you think there won't be an issue - more times than not, there will be. Always Affordable Chimney, conveniently located on Long Island with professionals stationed in Westchester and throughout the five boroughs provide immaculate chimney service. From professional inspections to cleaning, repairs and maintenance, whatever you need, we can do it for you! Don't wait until it's too late, call us today!


Is There Mold in Your Chimney?

Posted On: April 27, 2017

There could be an unexpected hazard growing in your chimney and it could cause serious damage to your chimney and home. Have you noticed a distinctly musty odor coming from your fireplace that you suspect might be the sign of mold? If you have, your fears might be valid and it would be wise to contact one of our certified chimney sweeps who has experience removing mold across Long Island, Westchester and the five boroughs.

How and why does mold grow in chimneys?

There are many ways that moisture can seep into your chimney. Bricks and mortar that have not been properly water proofed can act like sponges, absorbing large amounts of moisture during rainy periods. A damaged chimney cap, badly installed chimney chase tops or cracked chimney crowns could also let water leak into your chimney.

Call us to remove the mold. Do not do it yourself!

Mold doesn’t just produce an unpleasant smell, it also releases spores into the air that can cause serious health issues when you breathe them in, from asthma attacks and allergic reactions to permanent lung damage. If you do not wear the appropriate protective gear when removing mold, you can inhale dangerous spores. It is also likely you do not have the requisite gear to remove the mold - so please call us to safely remove the mold from your chimney! Your safety is our #1 goal.

What do we do during our inspections?

If we arrived at your home to inspect your home’s chimney for mold and remove it, the first thing one of our CSIA certified chimney sweeps would do is feed a camera into the chimney to examine the flue lining and look for mold. In the process, we would also look for ways moisture might be getting into the chimney like cracks in the flue lining or a loose chimney cap. We would finish up by doing a visual inspection of the chimney from the rooftop.

If mold is found, we would take additional steps to remove it with the proper chemicals and gear. After it is removed, we would give you a full report and talk about courses of action that we could take to make your chimney waterproof. The options that we recommend will be based on what we discover during our thorough inspection of your chimney. We would never sell a service that wasn't truly necessary and our installation and repair services are above-reproach and more than anything else, affordable for all. Call Always Affordable Chimney today and keep your family and home safe!


Enjoy your Fireplace Safely

Posted On: February 15, 2017

Whether you’re going over the river and through the woods or just staying at home this holiday season, you want that fireplace stoked up and ready for use. Nothing warms the bones better after a night of sledding or ice skating than a glass of hot chocolate and a cozy fire. We’d like to pass along some tips that will help you enjoy that fire.

First off, don’t use your fireplace for longer than about five hours. It gets hot and it really isn’t designed to heat your home. If you have a glass front, keep it open while the fire is going, but always keep the spark screen in front of it. When you keep the glass doors open it allows the air to be drawn up into the chimney and helps to cool it.

Before you make a fire, always light a match and put it over the log holder. Blow out the flame. It should start to grow up in the direction of the chimney, and out. If it doesn’t, you have a blockage or the damper is closed. Either way, making a fire will cause you a problem. Check the damper and if it was closed, open it and try again. If it still doesn’t work – no fire for you until you get a professional in.

Try to get a non-flammable rug to place in front of the fireplace so if sparks to get out they will land somewhere safe. Whatever you do, always use the fireplace tools to move your burning logs around. The tools are there for more than decoration. When you decide to remove the ashes, remember that coals can remain hot for several days. When you decide to clean the ashes, don’t use a vacuum cleaner and scoop the ash into a metal container in case there are still some hot embers. Clean that firebox once a week during the season, but leave a thin layer of ash, about an inch, for insulation and to help the fire heat faster. To keep your fireplace looking grand, if you have glass doors that have soot buildup, mix a cup of vinegar with a gallon of water, spray it on and wipe it with newspaper.

To keep your brass fireplace utensils shiny and looking their best, spruce them up with a toothbrush and some Worcestershire sauce. Finally, we get to the hearth. If you have a slate hearth, wash it, dry it and coat it with lemon oil for a lovely shine. If it’s brick, your local fireplace shop should have a brick cleaner that will work just fine.