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Spring Rains and Leaking Chimneys

Florida has been experiencing a lot of rainfall this spring. If you have a chimney system in your home, you may be noticing more than just the rainfall outside. You may also are experiencing some leaks indoors. At Hudson Chimney, our professionals are here to help you solve any leaky chimneys this spring and summer. Learn some of the causes of chimney leaks and best ways to prevent them below.

Common Causes of Leaks

Spring Rains and Leaking Chimneys - Jacksonville FL - Hudson ChimneyYour chimney system can easily get leaks, even a minor damage can cause a leak. And a small leak can lead to major damage down the road. At Hudson Chimney, our certified technicians have plenty of experiences working with leaky chimneys. Although the causes are very easy to pin down by our professionals, we want to help you understand it. Here are some of the potential causes of a leaky chimney.

  • A flashing problem – Damaged, missing, or improperly installed flashing is a leading cause for chimney leaks. The flashing protects the vulnerable intersection of the roof and chimney, and an experienced professional must install it to avoid flashing problems later on. The flashing is usually the root issues behind any chimney leaks, so that’s why our technicians begin by checking the flashing first!
  • A missing or damaged cap – Your chimney cap protects the flue opening from weather, animal intrusion, and more. If the cap isn’t appropriate for your flue, it could be the cause leaks. If it’s installed improperly, it may break away from the flue and allow water in. This is a huge concern when summer rains are heavy, as a flue without a cap is wide open for rain to fall directly in.
  • A cracked crown – The chimney crown must be inspected and repaired. Even a well-constructed crown can become cracked due to constant exposure to the sun and weather. A chimney professional can also repair it if the damage is caught in time. This is why annual chimney inspections are incredibly important.
  • Masonry damage – Like the crown, if the masonry is damaged, even minor cracks, it will allow water to penetrate the system. Water is a nightmare for masonry and your chimney, so you must be proactive when it comes to protection your masonry against water invasion.

Prevention Against Leaky Chimneys

Proper maintenance and regular check ups of your chimney will protect you from getting a leaky chimney. By scheduling your routine chimney sweeps and annual inspections, you will be able to catch and repaired any damages before it worsens to a leak. You can protect your masonry by scheduling a professional waterproofing services. At Hudson Chimney, we trust ChimneySaver Water Repellent to protect our chimneys, especially when it comes to our friends, neighbors, and customers in and around the Jacksonville, Florida area. This vapor-permeable repellent keeps water from getting in, while still letting gas, heat, and moisture out.

Preventing a chimney leak is the best thing you can do to protect your home and family against the heavy rain and storms this summer. Call the professionals at Hudson Chimney and talk to us about waterproofing your chimney system before it’s officially summer. Give us a call at 904-282-4159 or contact us online.

Preventing Odors With Spring Cleaning

Now that spring is in full swing, you’ve probably already noticed the humidity is rising. You might also notice the odors coming from your fireplace. A dirty chimney can be stinky, and warm weather makes it worse. In order to prevent odors, add your chimney to your spring cleaning to-do list!

A Clean Chimney

Preventing Odors with Spring Cleaning - Jacksonville FL - Hudson ChimneyAfter a long winter, it’s important to schedule a chimney sweep. Whether you burned a fire everyday or sporadically, it’s now time to have it cleaned. A cleaning will help keep water and moisture out this summer and  prevent odors that will threaten to run you out of house and home! Cleaning your chimney now also means that it’ll be ready for the first fire of the season when cooler temperatures arrive. While the professionals are getting a look at your chimney, they’ll also determine if there are any damaged portions of the system that may bring down efficiency, allow animals or weather inside, or cause those odors that can range from barbecue pit to smoldering carcass. Call the professionals today and let us take care of it so you don’t have to!

Hudson Chimney Cleans Chimneys

At Hudson Chimney, we take your safety and your comfort seriously. We want your chimney to work properly, your home to be pleasant, and your flue to be clean for a better burn this fall. When we come in and clean your chimney, we will use our tools to clear away all the soot and creosote that not only makes your chimney and fireplace stink, but also makes it dangerous. This same creosote is made up mostly of tar and is highly flammable. Don’t put off your chimney sweep another day!

When you schedule your chimney sweep with Hudson Chimney, a technician will arrive and section off your fireplace opening with plastic to contain the mess. We then set up a high-speed vacuum system. We use our brushes and rods to clear out debris before collecting it into the vacuuming system. Your chimney sweep will include the cleaning and adjustment of your damper, an inspection of the exterior of the masonry including the masonry and crown. You will also receive a full report once the job is done. Once you schedule the chimney sweep, you won’t need another chimney inspection for 12 months. There’s really no reason not to schedule a chimney sweep now!

Give Us A Call!

If you’re looking for a company located in Jacksonville area that has decades of experience, reputable certifications, and is able to handle all of your comprehensive chimney care, look no further than Hudson Chimney of Middleburg, Florida. We’re looking forward to your call. Schedule your spring cleaning chimney sweep now by calling 904-282-4159!

Bird and Animal Nesting Prevention

You hear about it happening to other people, but you’ve never thought that it would happen to you. An animal has made its way into your chimney! Birds, critters, or anything that can climb on your roof could get inside your chimney. Or worst, the intruders have made your chimney their home. What do you do now? We are going to learn some of the problems that comes with animals and critters invading your chimney, and how our professionals at Hudson Chimney can help get rid of this problem or preventing it from happening in the first place.

The Problems With Animal Intrusion

Bird and Animal Nesting Prevention - Jacksonville FL - Hudson ChimneyIf your chimney cap is missing or damaged, you may end up with a animal trying to make a nest in your flue. Once inside, they may build a nest, carrying in debris that could ignite or block the flue completely. They may also leave behind a flue obstruction that might smell so foul that it could run you out of the house. If the animal does end up leaving on its own, they could still potentially leave behind nesting materials such as feathers, fur, and even droppings.

Additionally, small mammals may climb out of a chimney using their teeth and claws, scratching and damaging your flue liner. Small scratches on the surface of the liner may not seem like a big deal, but these scratches will collect creosote and soot that continues to corrode the already damaged area. This will eventually become a hazard, which could cause major issues for your masonry and put your safety at risk.

Chimney Swifts

Critters are not the only thing that can make its way into your chimney flue. You may hear the chirping of birds from time to time. A bird may fly in and out of your chimney, or they may even move into your chimney completely! Chimney swifts are a species of bird that move into chimneys and nest in them.

In fact, chimney swifts naturally nest in hollow trees. When North America began to colonize, this eventually lead to more chimneys than hollow trees, so these birds adapted. Now they nest in chimneys, and if your chimney isn’t capped, they’ll be in yours too. Chimney swifts are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and they are unlawful to be removed or harmed while staying in your chimney. You may even want us to come do a humane animal removal, but this is even unlawful for us. Chimney swifts cannot be removed or tampered with. We can only wait and hope they leave on their own, which can take up to 90 days from the time they move in and nest.

Humane Animal Removal

We believe that when it comes to your chimney, you’re better safe than sorry. If you hear an animal in your chimney (even a bird), you can call us at Hudson Chimney, and we’ll determine whether the animal can be removed or not. Our process is safe for both the chimney and the animal, and shouldn’t interfere with your home at all.

If you need to schedule an appointment for animal removal, call us at 904-282-4159 today.

How to Pick a Chimney Company You Trust

When it comes to chimney safety, the whole industry is incredibly under-regulated. This is not only a danger to residential areas but also a misfortune for buyers. Even though the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) was established in the 1980s and quickly became the national standard for chimney safety, homeowners are still not very knowledgeable about fireplace and chimney standards and safety regulations. The truth is not all chimney companies are the same and neither are all chimney sweeps.

Why You Should Never D-I-Y

How to Pick a Chimney Company You Trust - Jacksonville FL - Hudson ChimneyWhen it comes to your chimney system, it is never a good idea to fix the issues on your own. You wouldn’t build your own transmission or build your own house, you should never repair your own chimney either. This task should only be handled by a professional. They know how to clean it properly without damaging the liner or other parts. They can recognize minor damages before they become major ones. And they are full of chimney-related knowledge because they have had plenty of classroom training and field training along with re-certification.

The CSIA Difference

When a chimney sweep is CSIA-certified, you can fully trust them to take care of your chimney. In order to be CSIA-certified, they must:

  • Study residential fire codes and chimney sweeping
  • Attend a review day in person or online
  • Pass an one-hour, 100 question exam
  • Pass a 90-minute exam on residential code
  • Sign a CSIA Code of Ethics to protect consumers and to help prevent scams in the industry. If a member is found in violation of the code of ethics, their membership could be revoked.
  • Must go back to be re-certified every 3 years by credits or exams

It takes lots of time and money to become CSIA certified. This certifications is vital to help consumers decide whether a chimney sweep is an amateur or a professional. Some other ways to figure out if you can trust the chimney company you choose include memberships such as National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) and manufacturer certifications, such as the National Fireplace Institute.

Take the time to do your own research, read online reviews, and check out each of their credentials. When you do make an appointment, make sure you are comfortable with every person you’ve spoken with at the company. You should schedule an appointment with the industry’s best–a company with excellent reviews, training, certifications, expertise, and more – choose Hudson Chimney! Call us at 904-282-4159 or contact us online.

Chimneys Need Proper Maintenance

Your chimney is designed to last the lifetime of your home — and it will, with proper care and maintenance. The most common issue with chimneys is neglect. A majority of flue fires begin as a result of the chimney not being cleaned. Most chimney leaks occur because of a minor issue being overlooked and later becomes a major one. And most obsolete chimneys are forgotten long before they stopped working.

Routine Maintenance

Chimneys Need Proper Maintenance - Jacksonville FL - Hudson ChimneyAt Hudson Chimney, routine maintenance is very important to us. Proper maintenance will prevent the following issues:

  • House fires
  • Home and chimney leaks
  • Respiratory issues
  • Waste of fuel and utilities
  • Expensive repairs
  • Animal intrusion and damages

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) along with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) both recommend annual routine chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections for the safest and most efficient chimney system. A damaged chimney is not only be a fire hazard during the winter, but it can also lead to structural damage and leaks during the summer. In fact, an inefficient chimney could cost you up to 3 times in utilities annually. Don’t let a neglected chimney become a problem – schedule our professionals to take a look now!

Chimney Sweeps

When you schedule a chimney sweep with Hudson Chimney, you will get the professionalism and expertise from our knowledgeable crew. Our sweeps are not only CSIA-certified, but they also can get the job done quickly without leaving a mess in your home. The sweeps will clean any debris, soot, and creosote in your chimney system, including the fireplace, alongside an inspection with documentation for your records.

Chimney Inspections

We offer CSIA inspections year-round, which include Chim-Scan video scanning. We offer Level 1, 2, and 3 inspections, and we will definitely not miss a thing! You should perform a Level 1 inspection annually. If you haven’t had your chimney inspected by a professional in the last 12 months, call Hudson Chimney now to schedule yours.

Chimney Repairs

Schedule your routine maintenance in the spring gives you ample time to repair your chimney system before fall arrives. If any part of your chimney system is damaged or missing, it can be very dangerous. At Hudson Chimney, we make chimney and fireplace repairs year-round, including masonry repairs, relining, cap, damper, flashing, and crown installation and repair, and more. We are the #1 choice in comprehensive chimney care and continue to serve Northeast Florida’s families and businesses – we can help you too!

Are you concerned about spring showers, hurricane season, or summer heat and humidity? Ask a Hudson Chimney expert about waterproofing services! We can apply a simple protective water repellent to your masonry to prevent water penetration and damage. Call Hudson Chimney now at 904-282-4159 or schedule it online.

Why Do I Have a Discoloration on My Chimney?

Your chimney is not only used for heat and comfort, but also aesthetics and beauty. Just as a chimney can save homeowner’s money in utilities and add value to the property, it can just as easily decrease the value if it’s neglected or damaged. When your chimney becomes discolored, it becomes obvious there is a problem. Oftentimes, the color can tell you what the problem is.

Stains on the Exterior

Why Do I Have a Discoloration on my Chimney - Jacksonville FL - Hudson ChimneyWhite Stains – When water passes through the masonry, it leaves behind minerals like water molecules. If you have white stains on the exterior surfaces of your masonry chimney, your chimney is being affected by water. This is especially common in ocean regions where there are a lot of salts in the air, such as in our service area.

Red Stains – Red stains are common toward the top of the masonry chimney. They are a result of a corroded and rusted chimney cap. A damaged chimney cap may allow water inside, allowing the rusty water to run down the chimney face.

Stains on the Interior

Green/Black Stains – Noticeable stains on the inside of the chimney system are often a result of water damage. Greenish/black stains are a direct result of mold and mildew. The bacteria and spores are likely present in the air and affecting the quality of the air you breathe.

Black/Brown Stains – Caused by soot and creosote, these common stains are mostly found in the firebox. A regularly cleaned and maintained fireplace will not stain. Soot stains may be an indication of a dangerous overproduction of carbon monoxide in the chimney.

Stains on the masonry are not the only kinds of stains that may indicate a dangerous hazard. If you have any type of heat appliance including gas fireplaces or electric heaters, you should be aware of the surrounding space. For instance, if the wall near your heat appliance appears discolored, the heat is affecting it. Most of the building materials that make up your home are flammable, including wood, insulation, wiring, wall coverings, and window treatments. When heat affects the area around the appliance, it still weakens the beams and materials over time, drying them and making them brittle while increasing their fire risk.

No matter what the discoloration or where it occurs, it indicates a problem. If you have noticed a change in appearance, a stain, or otherwise discolored area of the chimney’s masonry or area nearby, you should call a professional for an assessment. Hudson Chimney provides important services such as chimney inspections that can keep your family safe. Remember to schedule your inspection annually, especially if you notice a change or a problem in your system.

Call Hudson Chimney at 904-282-4159 or contact us online!

We Are a Full-Service Chimney Company

Hudson Chimney of Middleburg, Florida has been providing comprehensive chimney care for the area since 1979. Our full-service chimney and hearth care include chimney and fireplace maintenance, repairs, diagnostics, and sales and installations. Our technicians live and work in the area, so we have the neighborhood advantage. We know the local fire safety codes and even work together with local businesses and contractors to make safety a priority in our communities, no matter who’s doing the work. Hudson Chimney goes above and beyond, also providing dryer vent cleaning and installation to further keep families safe from accidental house fires. Full-Service Chimney Company Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

Preventative Care

Our comprehensive list of chimney services starts with and includes preventative maintenance. Chimney fires are 100 percent preventable. Chimney leaks are 100 percent preventable. Dryer vent fires are 100 percent preventable. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) both recommend routine chimney sweeps and annual inspections for the safest and most efficient chimney system. Safety and efficiency go hand-in-hand. If your chimney’s efficiency drops due to neglect, it becomes less safe and results in damage and health emergencies.

When you schedule your preventative care with Hudson Chimney, don’t forget our waterproofing services, seasonal preparation, and routine inspections and sweeps that keep the chimney working properly year-round.

Repairs and Installations

Whether you need a repair, or a part needs completely replaced, Hudson Chimney has you (and your chimney) covered. Common repairs we see here at Hudson Chimney include tuckpointing, firebox repair or rebuilds, masonry repairs, stain removals, mortar crown repairs and installations, and relining. There are many issues minor and major that may require repairs, but if you’re proactive about chimney care, you will avoid the major repairs that cost more time and money than you’d like.

Extend the Life of Your Chimney

Maintaining your chimney system properly will allow you to save more, work less, and your chimney will last as long as designed. Not only that, but a well-maintained chimney and fireplace are easier to convert to a new fuel such as a wood-to-gas conversion, and easier to install a new insert to bring up efficiency.

Choosing a full-service chimney company like Hudson Chimney today means you don’t have to worry about your chimney tomorrow. Whether you’re scheduling preventative care, repairs, conversions, or even have an emergency with your chimney system, you can call Hudson Chimney. Our chimney sweeps are certified and experienced in all aspects of chimney maintenance and repair, as well as fire science, and fire safety.

If you’re in the Middleburg, Florida area, including St. Augustine, Gainesville, and Clay, Duval, Putnam, St. Johns, Barker, Bradford, Alachua, and Nassau counties, we will come to you. If you aren’t within this area of service, please give us a call and see if we can still help you with all your chimney and fireplace needs! At Hudson Chimney, it’s our goal that all of our neighbors in Northeast Florida are comfortable and safe this season and year-round.

Call Hudson Chimney 904-282-4159 or contact us online today.

The Home Inspector is Not a Chimney Expert

Whether you’re a homebuyer, looking for a home to purchase, or a seller looking to sell a house, your chimney needs some attention. Before a sell, you might find yourself scheduling a home inspection. Depending on the realtor associated with your sale, the seller may pay for and schedule the inspection, or the buyer may. Regardless, you will want a chimney expert to check out the chimney system—because the home inspector won’t!The Home Inspector is Not a Chimney Inspector Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

Disclosure Statement

When you’re buying or selling a home, there is a disclosure statement that includes known issues with the property. Oftentimes, instead of scheduling an inspection with a chimney expert, a seller will include the chimney in the disclosure statement. This frees them of costs and damages that may be associated with the chimney system. This may seem A-okay, but it can cost you more than you bargained for in the long-run. If you think the only thing you’ll be paying for when you take ownership of your house is a chimney inspection (required by most homeowners insurance), think again. If the previous owners don’t have an up-to-date chimney inspection, there is probably neglect and damage behind the scenes. These costs will add up quickly, and will likely mean you can’t use your fireplace until it is repaired.

The CSIA Signature

To ensure you have a safe chimney—or at least an accurate report of condition—you need to look for the CSIA signature on the report. This means the inspector is a classroom trained, tested, and field trained certified chimney sweep, with current membership in the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the nation’s standard for chimney professionals.

The CSIA Inspection

A home inspector will focus on the structure of the chimney and note visible issues.  A CSIA certified chimney expert, however,  will assess it from the inside out. Hudson Chimney, Jacksonville’s choice for chimney care for over 30 years, inspects chimneys year-round. Not only do we offer level 1, 2, and 3 inspections, but we proudly use a Chim-Scan camera to view the inside of the system, hidden to the untrained eye. Our technicians do not miss a chimney issue, large or small. If you are selling, we are happy to complete a level 2 inspection (required for land transfers and sales) and provide you with a thorough report for your potential buyers.

The best way to make your house more desirable is to leave no questions for the potential buyers. If your realtor has a current chimney inspection in-hand when speaking with potential buyers, they’re more apt to view it as what it is—a benefit. An inspection report is necessary for insurance policies, code enforcement, and more. Leaving it up to the home inspector is like hiring a veterinarian to remove your appendix. Professional training doesn’t always transfer to other uses.

Save time and money by hiring a chimney expert to assess your chimney. Call Hudson Chimney at 904-282-4159 and schedule your chimney inspection today.

How to Remove Ashes from Your Fireplace Safely

Every day that you burn wood in your fireplace, you are creating ash. Over the course of an entire winter, you may have to remove ashes from your fireplace countless times. It’s a headache, but it’s necessary. Leaving them in the firebox can crowd your fire, make it difficult to light and maintain, and even cause wood and hot ashes to fall out of the fire! Don’t risk it, remove the ashes regularly, and remove them safely.How to Remove Ashes from Your Fireplace Safely Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

Use Appropriate Tools

You can find fireplace accessories at a home improvement store. Make sure they work for you, because not everyone is the same. Be sure the shovel is long enough that your face and hands are away from the hot fire. Homeowners who have asthma or chronic respiratory illnesses may choose to wear a face mask while cleaning ashes from the fireplace. Make sure that your clothes are not loose and that hair does not drop close to the fire. It is best to remove ashes when the fire is out or very low. Removing red hot coals is dangerous, even if you have an appropriate metal bucket to store ashes in. Scoop the ashes into your metal bucket, and carry them outside to cool at least 5 feet from your house. If you save ashes for various uses, you may have a metal trashcan with a lid to dump them into. Keep this container away from flammables.

Reasons to Save Your Ashes

Your ashes are going to continue to build up throughout burning season, with you removing them regularly. Leave ¼ inch each time in order to insulate the bottom of the firebox. The rest can be useful for many purposes.
Cleaners: Add water to a small amount of ashes and polish silver, doorknobs, and chrome. Larger amounts mixed with water can clean stoves, ovens, and pots and pans.
Deodorizer: Dust a handful of cool, dry ashes into your pet’s fur to neutralize odors and deter mites and ticks.
For the Garage: Toss ashes onto slick sidewalks and driveways to prevent slips and falls. Pour onto oil spills on the driveway and in the garage.
For the Garden: Sprinkle ashes over soil to change the alkaline levels for certain plants to thrive. Putting along the edge and in between rows also deter bugs and slugs.
Get Creative: You can use your ashes to make lye, which you can use to make homemade soap products.

If you think your fire is producing too much ash, there may be a reason. Avoid extra ashes by building the best fire possible.

Have you been avoiding your ashes, only emptying it when it’s absolutely necessary? Like so many other things, a routine will help you stay on top of the problem. Have your chimney system swept regularly to in addition to emptying the ash so that the flue will be clear of soot, creosote, and debris as well. Even if you use an ash dump for your ashes, it should be cleaned out regularly by a professional. You really can’t go wrong with professional services. Call the chimney and fireplace experts to learn more about your fireplace and chimney system, and for valuable services that keep it working for you.

Call Hudson Chimney at 904-282-4159 today.

Start the Year Off with a Clean Dryer Vent!

Even if your Christmas list didn’t include home maintenance, there is time to start on the right foot. You can save money this year, and improve your household safety, when you start the year off with a clean dryer vent.

Why Clean the Dryer Vent?

  • Prevent Fires
    There are 2,900 home clothes dryer fires reported each year, causing around 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. In fact, failing to clean the clothes dryer is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires. These fires happen more in January than any other month, and when they happen during the night, the family is less likely to escape unscathed. The best way to prevent devastating fires is to keep the dryer vent clean.Start with a Clean Dryer Vent! Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney
  • Raise Efficiency
    The average homeowner doesn’t realize that a clothes dryer is designed to last 10 years, and designed to dry a load in ONE CYCLE. If your dryer takes more than one cycle to dry a normal-sized unit, there is a problem with the appliance. The most common problem is a dirty/clogged dryer vent. Not only is it a fire hazard, but it wastes electricity and shortens the life of the appliance!
  • Save Money
    If your dryer takes 2 or 3 cycles to completely dry a load of clothes, your dryer will only last 3-5 years when it should last ten. It will use 2-3 times more electricity and will cause other issues with your home year-round.
  • Damage to Home Interior
    When the dryer vent is clogged and efficiency drops, heat and moisture can push into your house. Many homeowners assume it is normal for your dryer to produce heat, and it does—but it should escape by way of the vent! There is a problem with the dryer vent if your dryer feels hot to the touch, heats the room where it’s installed, or causes condensation in the home. Condensation and heat inside your house can cause wallpaper and paint to buckle.

Call a Professional Today

Most homeowners buy a large appliance like a clothes dryer and has it delivered. This is not a professional installation and does not mean it’s ready to use. Only a professional knows there are the manufacturer and local codes that affect the way your dryer is installed. In some cases, these specifications will determine whether or not your appliance is covered by its warranty.

  • The dryer duct should be 4 inches or more
  • The dryer vent should be less than 25 feet
  • Dryer vents should be independent systems and terminate outside
  • The dryer vent termination hood should prevent backdrafts
  • Metal transition ducts should be used between the dryer and the exhaust duct
  • Flexible transition ducts are not safe for use in attics, crawlspaces, or inside walls

These safety standards are for safety and efficiency. Taking care of your dryer vent now, starts the year off right. Make sure your family is safe from a dryer vent fire, and save money in 2018.

Contact Us

Call Hudson Chimney at 904-282-4159, and ask an expert about dryer vent services today.

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