Always Affordable Chimney's Blog

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.     


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! 


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 Damper Service Information

Posted On: July 17, 2017


Long Island, New York and Westchester homes should all have efficiently working chimney dampers. Dampers stop gases from seeping into your home through your chimney’s flue.

What is a chimney damper?

A chimney damper keeps your flue shut when your fireplace is not being used. These devices are placed at the top of chimneys and are often used as replacements for fireplace dampers.

A common misconception is that a damper and flue are the same device. The damper is not the flue itself, but it is what provides access to the flue so different chimney services and maintenance can be performed.  

What factors impact damper performance?

Damper efficiency can be impacted by a variety of environmental factors. Wind, type of firewood used, the moisture level of the firewood, and temperature inside and outside of the home all play a role in your damper’s performance.

While starting a fire, your chimney damper should be completely open. The amount of smoke emitted is heavily dependent on the type of firewood being used. Damp woods and hardwoods tend to create much more smoke.

The flue will need time to generate heat if the air is colder outside the house than on the inside. This will build up the draft needed to pull the smoke through the flue’s top from the firebox.

Strong enough wind gusts can dangerously cause flames to flare out of the firebox by forcing air down into the flue. Fortunately, there are many chimney services that can help prevent this from happening.

Wind can also cause tall trees to create back drafts by keeping swirling wind above the flue.

For chimney damper inspection and many other chimney services, please call Always Affordable Chimney at (855) 244-6880.


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!