Chimney Blog General Chimney Information

Creating a Focal Point by Upgrading Your Chimney

Posted On: April 26, 2016

Decorative Chimney Pots
Most homeowners take their chimney for granted. It is easy to ignore the fact that the chimney can be of the more outstanding features of the home. The only time most people even think of their chimney is when they decide to use their fireplace. However, your chimney not only serves a functional purpose, it can also become the focal point of your home. It can stand as a sentinel, signaling your presence in the neighborhood.

For example, even if it has become necessary to replace your chimney, don’t be content to replace it with a boring, functional piece. Instead, consider selecting a steel or copper chimney cap that will add character to both your chimney and your home.

Another way to create an original exterior appearance is by adding a unique chimney pot. Traditional chimney pots are typically not visibly adorned - they’re designed to be functional and reliable. To increase the authentic visual elements of your property, you have the ability to add a chimney pot that is both useful and unique.
Consider adding an exclusive piece to your home’s exterior. It will serve its original purpose while offering a pleasant visual experience as well.

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Common Problems That Stem from a Chimney in Disrepair

Posted On: December 09, 2016

Common Problems That Stem from a Chimney in Disrepair

People pay little attention to their chimney. It’s just there all the time, looking sturdy and strong. But chimneys can have problems that aren’t readily noticeable and unless you look or have an annual inspection by a professional, you won’t know there’s a problem until it affects something you do notice. Hopefully you’ll notice before it causes damage or smokes you out of your living room.

What Kind of Problems Can Chimneys Have?

It’s important to remember that your chimney is exposed to the worst of the elements. It sits above your house with nothing to protect it from wind, rain, snow or ice. These elements affect chimneys like they do anything else, they wear away mortar and brick and can wreak havoc with the flashing. Any of these problems can weaken your chimney or cause cracks that can lead to leaks that damage your home on the inside.

Chimneys can also have creosote build-up from using your fireplace and not having it cleaned regularly. This build-up can cause serious ventilation problems and can even cause fires inside your chimney. Other problems inside your chimney can be animal nests, dirt and debris, broken chimney bricks or mortar; especially if you don’t have a chimney cap. These elements can cause blockages that can lead to fires or can lead to carbon monoxide or smoke billowing into your living room.

If your chimney has cracks or mortar degradation, and it goes unattended, it is only a question of time before you will need some serious work done on your chimney. If you don’t end up needing it replaced entirely.

So What Else Can Happen?

If you don’t take care of your chimney you put your whole house at risk. Chimney fires are devastating and very thorough. Remember the chimney runs through every floor of your house. If your mortar is degraded water can leak in and the bigger problem is that it can damage the ceilings and walls of rooms near the chimney. A chimney in disrepair can cause extensive damage to your home, which is typically one of your biggest investments.

An annual chimney inspection can prevent any of this and will cost you far less than the price you’ll pay if you neglect it.

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How to Prevent Snow and Ice From Damaging Your Chimney

Posted On: December 19, 2016

How to Prevent Snow and Ice From Damaging Your Chimney

Winter has arrived and with it comes the tasks that make homeowners cheer when Spring finally comes. Aside from weatherizing your home, you have snow removal and salt that has to get spread. But there is a task that is terribly important and many homeowners rarely think about it. That task is protecting your chimney.

Right now, you’re probably wondering what we’re talking about. How can you protect your chimney and why should you even have to? It’s up there and really there isn’t much you can do about it. Well, that’s actually not true.

Snow and Ice

When you let snow build up on your roof, it eventually can block the chimney and the vents. If this happens, you may have a huge problem on your hands. Blocked vents can cause carbon monoxide to seep into your home and it is colorless and odorless. It is a silent killer.

If your chimney is blocked, and you light your fireplace, you could end up with not only a carbon monoxide problem but you could possibly cause a fire. Snow should not be allowed to accumulate on your roof to any depth.

One more problem you could have is the damage that can be done when the snow melts. This is not as big an issue if your chimney is in the center of your house, but if it is on the low side of your house you could end up with leaks in your home if there are any cracks in the mortar or the flashing is deteriorated.

What Do I Do?

If you have a pitched roof you should use a snow rake to get the snow from your roof. Keep in mind, however, that this is a labor-intensive job and if you don’t know what you’re doing you could end up damaging your roof which will cause you more problems. It’s better to get a professional to take care of any mounds of snow you may have.

To protect your chimney from potential leaks from runoff, you should install a chimney cricket. This is a plywood piece, covered with roofing material, specifically designed for your roof, that sits in front of your chimney and diverts the water as it rolls down.

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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.

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You Check your Batteries Why not your Chimney?

Posted On: December 09, 2015

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

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Winter and Your Chimney

Posted On: January 13, 2016

We’ve certainly had an interesting winter this year and it isn’t over yet. You’re probably enjoying your fireplace and if you were smart, you had your fireplace and chimney inspected by professionals before the winter season arrived. But what many people don’t realize is that throughout the winter, particularly if there are heavy snows, below freezing temperatures or temperature swings, you have to watch your chimney.

Your chimney stands proudly like a soldier, rising out of your roof and funneling smoke to the outside. What you probably don’t consider is the effect your weather can have on your chimney and ultimately, the safety of your home.

When the winter weather comes, and snow builds up on your roof, you should always take some time to look up at that grand chimney and give it a good once over. But what do you look for, you may ask? Here’s the answer.

If there has been snow and temperatures have remained cold enough for that snow to remain on your roof, make sure that it isn’t blocking your chimney. A chimney blocked by snow can cause carbon monoxide to build up in your home when you light that roaring fire. Just because the smoke isn’t billowing into your living room doesn’t mean that there isn’t some blockage that can cause you a problem. If you suspect that the chimney isn’t completely free of snow, please call a professional to check it out.

One way to help protect your chimney from any kind of blockage, whether it’s birds, leaves or snow, is to have a chimney cap installed. These little devices work wonders to help keep your chimney free of debris that could otherwise cause costly repairs. Remember that a blocked chimney can also affect your home’s heating supply, and not in a good way.

If you had a fair amount of snow, or if the temperatures remained at freezing for some time, remember that your chimney is constructed of brick and mortar that expands and contracts with the weather. Pay close attention to your chimney’s structure and call a professional if you suspect that damage may have occurred.

Always Affordable Chimney

Servicing All Of Long Island (Nassau & Suffolk County) Westchester, Queens, Brooklyn & Staten Island

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Chimney Professionals? What to look for...

Posted On: January 30, 2017

Yes, there are pretenders in every business.  But the true professionals always rise to the top, and have longevity.  Here are a few tips you should know before choosing a chimney company.

Make sure you are using a company that has been around for years.   Bad reputation spreads quickly.  If the company you choose has been around a while will be able to search for information online about the company and if there are many bad reviews you will find them.

Make sure they are licensed and insured. If they are like my company we disclose that information on every page of our website.  We are legitimate and we want everyone to know and be able to check us out.

Take a look at the equipment. Vans and Trucks are a good reflection of the business.  At Always Affordable we have our vehicles professionally painted with our logos. We invest the money to spread the news.  We are not hiding behind a rock, when we are doing a job we are proud of our work and we want everyone to know who we are.

Make sure your chimney cleaning company is full service.  Anyone can learn to clean a chimney.... but if the company you choose also provides other types of chimney services, you can feel more assured that they have the experience and the business sense to do a good job at a fair price.  Gaining a loyal customer leads to future work. Chimney repairs, masonry, liner replacement and other more involved and specialized work.

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Starting The Year Off Right - Chimney Information

Posted On: January 04, 2016

Most people don’t think about it, but your chimney takes a beating in the winter. It gives the impression that it is so strong and can withstand anything while providing you with the ability to enjoy your fireplace when the winter winds come swirling around your house. But you must remember that your chimney is made of the same substance as other parts of your house. Just as you wouldn’t let your foundation crumble, you also don’t want to watch your chimney crumble.

Your chimney and all of its parts are made of brick, mortar, concrete, steel and cast iron. All of these substances are exposed to, and affected by, the weather. Freeze and thaw conditions cause the mortar and cement in your chimney to expand and contract and can cause gaps and holes much as they do the city sidewalks.

When these gaps appear, small though they might be, they allow moisture to enter your chimney. The moisture can further deteriorate the mortar and can enter the inside of your chimney as well. When water seeps into the mortar, not only does it cause it to crumble, but it can degrade the bricks as well. Once it seeps through and works its way inside your chimney, the metal and iron then become vulnerable. If you don’t take care of these issues you can find yourself with a host of other problems.

When moisture gets into your chimney it can cause deterioration of your firebox and can clog the clean-out area. You could find yourself with a damper that begins to rust and if it isn’t taken care of, it could very well ruin next year’s winter by the fire. You could also develop cracks in the flue lining which will cause more damage to your chimney. A badly damaged chimney can start to tilt or lean and that is not only dangerous, but ruins the whole look of your house.

A good idea is to start the year out right. Have a professional give your chimney a good once over. They can spot and fix problems before they cause you to need a major overhaul.

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