Chimney Blog 2017

Free Boiler Installation for Happy Cat Sanctuary

Posted On: December 18, 2017

Sometimes when investigating a chimney problem strange things can occur. Sometimes these events lead you on a path that you never thought you would take. Last year, while doing a chimney inspection service I came across 3 kittens and a mother cat that could barely walk. After making a few calls to a friends who I also knew had cats, I was given the number to the Happy Cat Sanctuary in Medford NY. The gentlemen who runs Happy Cat , Chris, asked me to bring the cats from the Brooklyn location where I found them to my office in Massapequa Long Island.  That evening he drove from Medford to meet me and my new feline friends.  I was not equipped or experienced to take care of the cats so Chris quickly agreed to take them in. His kindness and generosity moved me so much that a few weeks later I took a ride out east to see the sanctuary.  It was simply amazing.

I could not believe the number of cats that Chris was caring for.There had to be over 200 cats. They were all well maintained and the place was very well kept. I am a chimney professional so I offered my services to inspect and clean his chimney. It was the least I could do to show my appreciation. It was at this time that I learned that there was no working boiler at the sanctuary. It had stopped working 2 years earlier and this non-profit group did not have the funds to replace it.   It was at that point that I felt their was a higher power involved, that put me in the path of those kittens with the sick mother, that made me reach out to Chris.  My job was clear... I had to get heat for these cats and the folks who cared for them.  

The very next job I did was for a boiler conversion. The old boiler, although 10 years old, was in excellent condition. I received permission from the owner to take the old boiler and use it for my friends at Happy Cat.  The next Sunday my crew and I setup the boiler and by Sunday night the place was warm. It brought me great joy to help such a great place.

I am telling this story because it has been brought to my attention that the Happy Cat Sanctuary is in severe financial crisis and struggling to stay open. Below is a video about Happy Cat and I encourage all those reading this, if possible, to send a donation, visit the sanctuary or help out in any way possible.  Chris is still there managing the place. Let him know that Tommy from Always Affordable Chimney sent you his way.

www.HappyCatSanctuary.org

0

Chimney Safety and Carbon Monoxide

Posted On: December 04, 2017

Heating systems in the process of producing heat also create carbon monoxide. This dangerous gas is expelled from your home via your chimney flue. In most homes, especially in the Long Island and New York area, there is a chimney that is functioning properly and this carbon monoxide is removed safely and efficiently. However, there are situations that arise over time that can lead to some level of carbon monoxide escaping the flue and entering your home. This is obviously a major problem and can lead to health issues and possibly even death. It doesn't happen often but every once in a while we hear the tragic story on the local news about a family that has suffered a loss due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

As a chimney inspection and repair company we know that a yearly inspection is the best way to avoid this problem. We also understand that many homeowners will go years or even decades without having their chimney inspected. It is not uncommon for a chimney lining to deteriorate over time. We also see situations where a new boiler is installed but the retrofit to the existing chimney liner is not proper. Solving a problem before it happens is always the best course of action and we offer a free chimney inspection service for this very reason.  However, we also highly recommend that all of our customers, friends and neighbors have a carbon monoxide detectors installed in their home. This inexpensive device could be the difference in preventing carbon monoxide poisoning to you and your loved ones.

Make sure you have your detector installed and working and remember to have your chimney inspected annually.

0

Three Benefits of a Chimney Cleaning Company

Posted On: November 14, 2017

Always Affordable Chimney, Inc. is proud to offer our superior chimney cleaning services to Westchester, Queens and Long Island properties. Our commitment to excellent customer support allows us to provide you with the most thorough chimney cleaning services. Our professionally trained technicians bring their years of knowledge and experience into all chimney services. Having your chimney cleaned and inspected every year is important. Here are three benefits to having a chimney cleaning performed by a professional:

  1. Experience - Cleaning your chimney is difficult work without formal training or background. Since our technicians have accumulated years of expertise, we will know exactly how to clean and perform all chimney services safely with ease. Our technicians also inspect your chimney before and after cleaning it to ensure the job is complete. We also inspect chimneys to look for any potential damage, obstructions or circulation issues that prevent your structure from functioning properly. These issues include cracked or broken bricks, loose mortar joints and debris or animals cutting off the opening of your chimney. Our staff is equipped to clean, repair and inspect your chimney efficiently and diligently.

  2. Creosote Elimination - Our technicians are masters of eliminating creosote buildup. Creosote is the leftover waste products from wood after it has been burned. Creosote sticks to the lining of your chimney along with tar and soot. If left uncleaned, it could ignite and set your chimney and property on fire unexpectedly. To prevent this dangerous occurrence, our technicians have the tools and capability to reach as far up and down your flue as possible to find and destroy creosote buildup. Creosote is also dangerous to breathe in. If you suspect your chimney has buildup, we strongly suggest calling a licensed technician immediately.

  3. Sustained Regular Airflow - Your airflow is vastly improved after a professional chimney cleaning. By giving your flue a deep clean and removing all obstructions, our licensed technicians ensure your chimney naturally removes all excess heat and smoke from your fireplace. We also have specific working tools created for these jobs that help our work go safely and smoothly. Our work ensures your chimney remains in excellent condition. Even if your chimney is functioning correctly, having regular cleanings will prevent many common issues from arising.

Our chimney cleaning team has worked on many chimneys of different shapes and sizes. We service both commercial and residential properties. We look forward to working with you. for more information on our chimney cleaning services and all else we offer, please call one of our courteous representatives today.

0

Five Reasons to Have Your Chimney Inspected

Posted On: September 27, 2017

Millions of people own chimneys. During the cooler seasons of Fall and Winter, a room with a beautiful properly functioning fireplace is perfect for both relaxing and entertaining guests. However, your chimney has many working parts that wear over time like any other household appliance. To keep your chimney working properly, scheduling annual chimney inspections is necessary. Here are a five reasons why you should have your chimney inspected.

Soot & Debris Accumulation

A thick black coating of soot and dirt called creosote builds up in the lining of your chimney after many uses. This creosote prevents your chimney from efficiently blowing smoke out of your home. More importantly, creosote causes increased levels of carbon monoxide and can severely harm your health if inhaled. If you notice your chimney struggling to expel smoke efficiently or a black substance in your flue, booking an inspection is imperative for you and your loved ones. 

Proper Blower Function

Both coal and wood burning fireplaces have blowers that push smoke and other hazards, including carbon monoxide, out of your home through the flue. If this chimney component malfunctions, soot and debris could build up leaving you at risk of getting sick from breathing in creosote toxins.

Damaged or Cracked Bricks

Bricks and the mortar joints that hold them together are what make up the structural integrity of your chimney. If you notice bricks that are slipping out of place, broken or chipped, calling a chimney inspector is a must. Allowing bricks to keep cracking and breaking can interfere with your chimney's airflow by not allowing hot air to escape or by letting cold air into the flue while it is in use. If cold air gets in, you will have to use more energy to warm your home and spend more money to do so. A chimney inspection will lead you to a professional chimney technician who can easily correct this problem as well as most others.

Airflow Obstructions 

If you live is in an a woodsy area, your chimney's flue could be accidentally blocked or closed off. Environmental factors including broken tree branches, leaves, debris and even animals could get stuck inside your flue. If you figure that your chimney's airflow is not working efficiently or actually see foreign objects in your chimney, scheduling a chimney inspection is crucial to correcting the problem. 

Building Codes & Laws

Your area's building codes may have changed since your last inspection. Your chimney is no different that any of your utilities that you schedule inspections for.  To ensure that you do not get in legal trouble or pay a possible fine, an inspector will check to guarantee your chimney's safety and compliance with local code and protocol.

Learn more about Always Affordable Chimney, Inc. chimney inspection services.

If you have any questions about chimney inspections or our other services, please call us today at (855) 244-6880


0

You Check your Batteries Why not your Chimney?

Posted On: September 04, 2017

Winter ChimneyWell, we’re past the time change where everyone and their brother tells you to check the batteries in your smoke detector, your carbon monoxide detector, and even the National Weather Service gets into the act telling you to check the batteries in your weather alert radio. Well, not to be outdone, we are going to ask you to check something too.

Aside from the time change we are also moving into the winter weather scheme. Yes, you should check your furnace to be sure it provides the heat you need and if you have a wood stove you should be sure to stock up on fuel. And when the leaves are finished falling and you make that one last trip to clean the gutters, you should check the chimney before you get off the ladder.  

Before you go up, check to see that your chimney is standing as straight as it always did. A leaning chimney is not a good sign and must be attended to; of course that’s a worst case scenario. Next, check to see if there are any bricks that look loose or out of place. If there are, note the location and call a chimney professional.

Lastly, look at the base of your chimney where it meets the roof. There should be some sheet metal at this point and it is called flashing. Flashing wraps around the base of your chimney and acts as a moisture barrier by deflecting water away from the chimney. Water-stained ceilings near the location of your chimney tend to make the case for a flashing problem, but nothing beats getting near the roof and taking a peek.

If your flashing has breaks in the seams, is bent or is missing entirely, call a chimney professional. A roofer may come up there and tell you a little tar will fix your problem, but it won’t, it hides the problem. If your flashing needs repair or replacement, get it done quickly. The damage that can be caused by a flashing problem can only get worse and will cost you more in the long run.

Of course, if you are unable to get to your chimney to do this yourself it is not wise to completely ignore it. Hoping for the best is not a good course of action when it comes to your safety and the safety of your family.   If this is the case then please reach out to a reputable chimney service who can do this for you.

Tommy Reek
Always Affordable Chimney, Inc.
(855) 244-6880

0

AAC Does It All - Liner, Tile Knocking & Repointing

Posted On: August 21, 2017

Even the most modern chimneys require maintenance from time to time.  Check out the video below to see our Always Affordable Chimney technician on the job.

Chimney Liner Replacement is necessary to ensure quality air circulation as well as the safety of those inside of the structure on which the chimney is supported.  The stainless steel liners are used in replacing terracotta clay chimney liners most commonly found in residential areas.  Chimneys should be inspected annually for safety precautions.  For your convenience, Always Affordable Chimney offers a Free Chimney Inspection Service.

Chimney Tile Knocking is the process of breaking up terracotta chimney lining.  Over time the terracotta lining can break or crack.  This often occurs in older homes with older chimneys. When this occurs, it is most often replaced with a stainless steel chimney liner.  Tile-Knocking is a tough and dirty job and should only be performed by an experienced chimney professional.  

Repointing a chimney is a very important part of masonry maintenance.  Although the bricks surrounding the chimney may last for over 100 years, even high quality mortar decays over time, usually within the first 25 years of installation.  Weather is a huge indicator in how long the mortar holding the bricks in place will last.  Chimneys built in areas of higher temperatures and humidity may require more attention and maintenance as a result of moisture being absorbed into the brick and mortar.     

0

Critters, Wildlife, Chimney Information

Posted On: August 09, 2017

Keeping Critters Out Of Your Chimney

Having your chimney cleaned is an excellent way to ensure its longevity and peak performance. However, even if you have your chimney cleaned regularly, there are still some outside factors that are hard to control. One of the most common sources of headaches for Long Island, New York, and Westchester homeowners is keeping local wildlife from getting stuck or even nesting inside of their chimney's flue.

Most Long Island and Westchester neighborhood critters such as squirrels, skunks, raccoons, and even birds and bats can find ways to make your chimney their new homes. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to help prevent them from taking over your chimney.

Fill All Openings

One precaution to take when keeping animals out is to look out for any openings, holes or cracks inside your house. These exposed areas let moisture enter and can damage any wood and walls in your house, as well as the mortar joints on your chimney. They also let warmer air escape, especially on Long Island, resulting in higher energy bills. Most of all, these openings easily allow animals to enter your living space and take residence in your chimney.

The next time you perform your spring and fall cleaning tasks like weatherizing, gutter cleaning, and limb trimming, keep in mind how animals could take advantage of these areas and enter your home.

Make Sure All Wildlife Are Out

Despite your efforts to keep animals out of your chimney, some may have been sneaky enough to get in already. For this reason, it is important to make sure all animals are out before you place a chimney cap on top of it.  

First use a flashlight to inspect the flue from ground level for any animal traces such as droppings, fur or hair. Look closely for these traces especially on your chimney's smoke shelf and damper.

Next, from your rooftop, look down your chimney with a flashlight for the same traces.  Frequently, birds make their nests near the top of chimneys. Check the chimney flue from the roof (or have a chimney sweep do it) to make sure no animals are present.

Cap Your Chimney

Finally, perform one more general inspection. After confirming your clear chimney, install your animal-proof chimney cap.

Need a professional? Call Always Affordable Chimney for any chimney cap installation! 

0

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!

0