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What Is That Discoloration on My Chimney?

If you have noticed a discolored stain on the exterior of your chimney, you have good reason to be concerned. Not only is discoloration on a chimney exterior unattractive, but it also can signal a problem that could lead to more chimney damage. Different colors can signify different problems, and it is important to know which colors appear with each issue to troubleshoot the needed repairs. For over 30 years, Hudson Chimney has been serving the chimney maintenance, repair, and installation needs to residents of the Jacksonville area, and you can trust us to diagnose the cause of the discoloration and fix the problem behind the stains. Our chimney technicians have been certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), so you are getting both experienced and trained chimney service from us. We would like to tell you the possible causes behind different colors of stains on the exterior of your chimney to help you know more about the reason for the discoloration.What Is That Discoloration On My Chimney - Jacksonville FL

WHITE STAINS

If the discoloration you notice on the outside of your chimney is white, you are seeing efflorescence stains, which is formed by mineral salt remaining on the bricks and mortar from the evaporation of water. While efflorescence could be caused by rain blowing against the chimney during a storm, this discoloration often signifies the existence of a chimney water leak. Hudson Chimney can inspect your chimney to find the leak, repair the source of the leak, and remove the stains. To prevent water penetration of your chimney and efflorescence, we recommend our waterproofing service that creates a barrier to water penetrating the bricks and mortar and also keeps efflorescence from discoloring your chimney.

BLACK OR BROWN STAINS

While darker stains can also be the result of water penetration in the case of mold, Hudson Chimney finds black or brown chimney stains to more commonly be discoloration from creosote or soot. The appearance of creosote running out of the top of your chimney should be taken seriously as a strong risk of a chimney fire. Creosote is extremely flammable, and if enough creosote is in your chimney that it is pouring out, you definitely have enough creosote inside to ignite a chimney fire. If you have a gas fireplace, black or brown stains are not creosote but soot and are an equally important warning sign. According to Inspectapedia, soot stains should alert you to a dangerous situation of a high risk of the overproduction of carbon monoxide inside the chimney. You should contact Hudson Chimney as soon as possible when you see black or brown stains to have us take care of these safety hazards.

RED STAINS

When you see red or reddish-brown discoloration on the exterior of your chimney, you have an issue with rusting. The most common cause for rust stains is corrosion damage on your metal chimney cap. If your chimney cap has suffered from corrosion, it could be damaged by cracks that will allow water to leak into your chimney to cause even more damage. Hudson Chimney can help by installing a new chimney cap that will protect your chimney from water leaks.
The color of stains on the outside of your chimney can alert you to a serious chimney problem that could make your fireplace unsafe to use. Contact us at Hudson Chimney to schedule an inspection to determine the source of discoloration and make the necessary repairs.

How to Properly Season and Store Firewood

Although some people believe the key to burning the best wood fires is using a certain species of wood, the reality is using firewood that has been sufficiently seasoned, or dried, after it has been cut. Properly seasoned wood will give you cleaner, safer, and longer lasting fires because the fire does not have to waste so much energy burning out the moisture as it does with freshly cut green wood. A fire burning green wood can lead to an overproduction of smoke and creosote, which can be harmful to your chimney. Wood naturally contains a lot of water. Green wood can have a moisture content of 40 percent. Allowing your wood to dry out for at least six months will reduce that content by half. To help you perfect your firewood seasoning and storing skills, Hudson Chimney would like to tell you a few tips so that you can have the best firewood to be able to enjoy warm and clean fires this winter.firewood-seasoned-jacksonville-fl-hudson-chimney

Split the wood.

If you are able to cut your own firewood, you should split each piece so that air will be able to get to every side of the wood. This will speed up the drying process. You want to ensure each piece of wood is no longer than six inches so that it will fit inside your fireplace or stove. If you buy your firewood, you can split it at home yourself if it has not already been split. To make this job easier, Firewood For Life recommends using a sharp splitting axe or a hydraulic wood splitter.

Choose the right location for storing your wood.

For the sake of convenience, you want to pick a spot that is close to your home. Even more importantly, you should choose a location that gets full sun to take advantage of its heat. The sun is a great help in drying out the moisture, and the moisture will evaporate much more quickly in the sun.

Stack the wood elevated off the ground.

Storing your firewood directly on the ground will slow down the drying time because the wood will absorb even more moisture from the earth. If you do not have a storage shed, you can use pallets as a platform for storing. A storage rack is another good idea. Stack the wood in a criss cross pattern will help the air be able to circulate better around your firewood.

Cover the top.

If you have a storage shed, you want to be sure it is not completely enclosed by walls. Air circulation is very important for seasoning firewood as it helps to evaporate the moisture. If you do not have a storage shed, you can cover your supply with a tarp or a fireplace cover to protect it from rain. Ensure that the sides are open so that moisture is not trapped inside your stacks of wood.
After you have stacked and stored your firewood, all you need to do is wait for at least six months for properly seasoned firewood. Contact us at Hudson Chimney for even more firewood tips, along with any of your fireplace and chimney needs.

Clothes Drying Slower? It’s Time to Have Your Dryer Vent Cleaned

One of the biggest signs that you have a clogged clothes dryer vent is when it takes more than one cycle to completely dry one load of clothes. If you have noticed that it is taking your clothes longer to dry, you should contact us at Hudson Chimney to schedule an appointment for our professional dryer vent cleaning services. Not only does a dirty dryer vent cause your dryer to not work as well as it should, it also creates a dangerous fire hazard. According to the US Fire Administration, 2,900 clothes dryer fires were reported each year between 2008 and 2010, and these fires resulted in approximately five deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property losses. Most of these fires started due to dirty and clogged dryer vents. This is why many national fire safety organizations recommend that homeowners have their dryer vent system professionally cleaned at least once a year. This service will also save you money on utility bills because you will not have to run your dryer twice as long to dry your clothes. We would like to share some more clothes dryer safety tips to help you reduce this fire risk and prevent clothes dryer fires.

Time to Have Your Dryer Vent Cleaned  Image - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

Never use your dryer without a lint filter.

Lint is so flammable that the Boy Scouts of America recommend using it to start campfires. Since your clothes dryer produces a lot of lint, you need the lint filter to collect as much of it as possible. You should always clean the lint filter before or after each load. Although this does trap a lot of lint, your vent will still have loose lint that accumulates over time. When lint builds up enough to block the vent, you could easily have a dryer fire since the excessive heat from the dryer can ignite lint.

Be sure your vent is made from the right material.

For proper air flow, your vent should be constructed from rigid or flexible metal venting material. You also should ensure that the air exhaust vent pipe has no restrictions. The vent flap on the outside of your home should open when your dryer is in use.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Read the owner’s manual for your clothes dryer, and do not overload your dryer with too many clothes. Check the plug for your dryer and be sure it is plugged into the right type of outlet. If you have a gas-powered dryer, it should be inspected annually to ensure the gas line and connection have no leaks.

If you have damp clothes at the end of one drying cycle, your dryer vent is most likely clogged. Contact us at Hudson Chimney to schedule an appointment for our professional dryer vent cleaning services.

Diagnosing Chimney Odors

During the summer, your fireplace is probably the last thing you are thinking about, but unpleasant odors coming into your home from your chimney through the fireplace will quickly remind you. Hudson Chimney has been working on the chimneys of Jacksonville area residents for over 30 years, and we have lots of experience with diagnosing and solving chimney odor problems. The heat and humidity of the summer months can worsen these stinky smells, and, because your home is weatherized to keep the cold air inside, you are more likely to have chimney draft problems that allow these odors to be blown into the house. Different things can cause chimney odors, and we would like to tell you a bit more about these smelly factors and how we can take care of your stinky chimney.

Diagnosing Chimney Odors - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

Do you notice a bad barbecue or asphalt odor?

If it smells like someone has burned food on the grill or like your street is being paved, the source of your chimney odor is creosote. Formed naturally during the combustion process of burning wood, creosote sticks to the inner walls of your chimney and can accumulate into large deposits. Not only does creosote have a strong, acrid odor, it also is so highly flammable that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) says that creosote is a leading cause of chimney fires. To keep your home smelling sweet and to reduce your risk of a chimney fire, Hudson Chimney recommends scheduling your annual chimney sweeping in the spring or summer. Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps will make sure to remove every bit of creosote from the inside of your chimney.

Is the smell musty?

If you notice a musty odor, you most likely have standing water on the smoke shelf. To keep water out of your chimney, you need a good quality chimney cap professionally installed on the top of the chimney. Without a cap, water from rain can easily get into your chimney and land on the smoke shelf. Leaves, sticks, and dirt can also fall into your chimney, and when this debris mixes with standing water, you could end up with a rotting odor coming from your chimney. Hudson Chimney offers a wide variety of chimney caps, and we can help you pick out the perfect cap for your chimney and install it to protect your chimney from water leaks.

Has your home been invaded by a rotting, decomposing stench?

The worst case odor scenario is a dead bird, squirrel, raccoon, or other wild animal in your chimney. These critters often mistake chimneys for trees and get inside the flue to nest. Unfortunately, it can be easy for a bird or animal to become trapped inside and die within your chimney. To prevent this situation from occurring, you need a chimney cap that is equipped with mesh metal sides that will keep birds and wild animals from being able to get into the chimney. Hudson Chimney knows which caps work the best against animal invasions and can help you stop these creatures from nesting inside your chimney.

Keep your home smelling fresh this summer. Contact us at Hudson Chimney to schedule an appointment for a chimney sweeping and inspection today.

Water and Your Chimney

Even though your masonry chimney was built to be durable and strong enough to last a lifetime, its exterior is constantly exposed to the elements of weather. Water from rain erodes the bricks and mortar joints over the years, and this can lead to chimney leaks as well as to severe structural damage. Protecting your chimney from water penetration is one of the most important responsibilities a homeowner has, and Hudson Chimney is proud to provide water leak repair and prevention services. For over 30 years, we have been taking care of chimneys across Northeast Florida, and we have the training and experience to ensure your chimney is safe from water damage. Our chimney technicians have all been certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), and we agree with this non-profit educational organization that water is the biggest enemy of masonry chimneys. We would like to tell you more about the services we provide to take care of leaky chimneys.

Water and Your Chimney - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

MASONRY REPAIR

If you have noticed cracked, loose, or missing bricks and mortar joints on the outside of your chimney, you will need our masonry repair services to restore the structure of your chimney. Damaged masonry materials allow even more water to get inside the flue, which can lead to rusting of the liner or damper and to rotting of the wood that surrounds your chimney. Hudson Chimney uses masonry techniques like tuckpointing to replace damaged and missing bricks and mortar joints. You can trust us to make sure your chimney is safe and sound.

CHIMNEY CAP

Without a chimney cap professionally installed on top of your chimney, rain water can easily get into the flue. Hudson Chimney offers a wide variety of chimney caps, and we can help you find the best one for your chimney and install it to protect your chimney from water intrusion. The CSIA recommends chimney caps, as the least expensive preventive measure you can take against chimney water leaks.

FLASHING

One of the most common areas for water leaks is where your chimney meets the roof. To protect this vulnerable spot, Hudson Chimney can install a customized flashing system by wrapping metal sheets around your chimney at the roof. We will ensure that the flashing provides an airtight seal of your chimney. If you have a flashing system that has been damaged, we also provide flashing repair services.

WATERPROOFING

Once your chimney has been repaired, Hudson Chimney can create a barrier against water penetration by applying a waterproofing formula to your entire chimney. We only use formulas that are 100% vapor permeable, which is important because it allows vapors to escape the masonry materials while keeping water out of them. Our waterproofing treatment has a 10-year warranty, so your chimney will be protected from water penetration for a decade.

Protect your chimney from damaging water leaks. Contact Hudson Chimney today to schedule an appointment for a water leak chimney inspection.

Your Prefab Fireplace May Be Calling Out for Help

If you have a prefab fireplace, you know how important it is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions so that it works safely. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) says that using your prefab fireplace properly is critical to operate it efficiently and safely. Even though these types of fireplaces are not built to last as long as masonry fireplaces, you can prolong the life of your factory-built fireplace with regular maintenance and service. One of the most common problems with prefab fireplaces has to do with the firebox. Over the years, the lining of the firebox can suffer from rust corrosion, which can cause the firebox to crack. When this happens, your home is at a greater risk of an accidental fire because the cracks and gaps allow fire and heat to reach the combustible materials in the walls that surround the fireplace. Hudson Chimney has years of experience in repairing damaged fireboxes in prefab fireplaces, and we would like to tell you more about what can damage your firebox.

Your Prefab Fireplace May Be Calling Out For Help - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

WATER LEAKS

The main reason a firebox in a prefab fireplace suffers from rust corrosion is exposure to water. When you have a prefab fireplace and chimney that is covered with a chase, you need a chase cover to keep water out of the chimney. If the cover is damaged or missing, water from rain can easily enter your chimney, and this is how your firebox becomes corroded with rust. Hudson Chimney can not only repair your damaged firebox, but we can also install a new chase cover that will protect your chimney and fireplace from water leaks.

FREQUENT USAGE

Prefab fireplaces are designed to be used occasionally, and if you burn fires in your prefab fireplace everyday, it can lead to firebox damage. This type of fireplace is not made to handle daily exposure to extremely high temperatures. If you want to use your fireplace everyday during the winter, Hudson Chimney can help you upgrade to a fireplace insert that is manufactured to be used more often.

WRONG PART INSTALLATION

When certain parts, such as the damper and smoke dome, of your prefab fireplace and chimney need to be replaced, it is essential that those parts match the brand name and model number of the original parts. If these parts are not replaced with parts that match the originals, your prefab fireplace will not operate safely and properly. You could end up experiencing a house fire in this situation. Hudson Chimney will take the time to find the exact parts needed for your prefab fireplace.

If your prefab fireplace is calling out for help, Hudson Chimney is here to solve the problem. Contact us to schedule an inspection of your prefab fireplace today.

Your Chimney May Look Great on the Outside, but How Does It Look on the Inside?

Exterior damage to your masonry chimney is easily noticed, but problems deep within the flue can be impossible for you to see. A lot of damage can be lurking inside your chimney, and you could be endangering yourself and your family by using your fireplace when any damage exists. This is why it is so important to have an annual professional chimney inspection. At Hudson Chimney, we have all been certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) in properly inspecting chimneys. We know where to look for damage inside your flue, and we perform video scans on certain inspections we do, which allows us to see every inch of the interior of your chimney. If we do find any problems, we have the video footage that we can show you to help you understand the type of repairs needed to correct the issue. We would like to tell you a bit more about the importance of chimney inspections.

Your chimney may look great on the outside, but how does it look on the inside - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

What kind of damage can typically be found inside a chimney?

One of the most common problems Hudson Chimney often finds inside chimneys is a cracked chimney liner, which can be very hazardous. If your chimney has suffered a water leak, your liner can suffer from rusting and other corrosion damage and crack and break apart. When your liner has cracks and gaps, the toxic byproducts of combustion can leak into your home. Another issue we see is chimney blockages. Many things can block your flue, including leaves, sticks, nesting materials from birds and wild animals, soot, and creosote. When your chimney is blocked, you are at a higher risk of a chimney fire and a carbon monoxide leak. Something else we often find when we inspect the interior of chimneys is a flue that is not properly sized to the heating appliance. This can cause problems including an overproduction of carbon monoxide, chimney draft issues, and inefficiencies in the operation of your fireplace and chimney.

What is involved in a chimney inspection from Hudson Chimney?

Your chimney inspection will depend on the level you need. Over a decade ago, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) adopted three levels of chimney inspections to remove inconsistencies in inspections and streamline the process across the country. Level 1 is the most basic level of inspection, which is included with our annual chimney sweeping services. For this level, we will carefully check out the readily accessible parts of the inside and outside of your chimney and the accessible parts of your heating appliance and its heating connection. If you have changed your heating appliance, are selling or buying a home, or have experienced a chimney fire, earthquake, or severe weather event, you will need a Level 2 inspection. This level includes everything in a Level 1 inspection, a video scan, and an examination of the attic, crawl space, or basement. If we find a potentially hazardous problem, we will recommend you have a Level 3 inspection. This level includes everything in a Level 2 inspection and the removal of components, such as the chimney crown and an interior chimney wall. While a Level 3 inspection may seem destructive, it is necessary for your safety.

Just because your chimney looks great on the outside, you could have hidden hazards lurking inside your flue. Contact us at Hudson Chimney to schedule your annual chimney inspection today.

Home Inspectors Are Not Necessarily Chimney Experts

When you buy a home, you have to hire a home inspector to make sure there are no hidden problems with any of the major systems in the house. Your home inspector will check out the electrical and plumbing systems, the structure and foundation, and other parts of the home. After you receive the final inspection report, you may believe everything in the fireplace and chimney system works properly, but home inspectors are not necessarily chimney experts. Many of the national fire safety organizations like the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommend that the chimney and venting system should be inspected by a professional certified chimney technician before you buy a home. Our CSIA-certified chimney professionals at Hudson Chimney are trained and experienced in finding damage and potential problems in chimneys and fireplaces. You may think you are saving money by not hiring a chimney technician for an inspection before you purchase a house, but there could be a problem with the system that can not only cost you a lot more money in the future, but it could also be a danger to your life. We would like to tell you about the importance of a professional chimney inspection when you are buying a home.

Home Inspectors Are Not Necessarily Chimney Experts - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

Home inspectors can miss some major problems with a chimney and fireplace system.

While home inspectors have been trained and certified to professionally inspect the major systems of a house, they usually have not received any professional extensive training concerning fireplaces and chimneys. For example, the CSIA reports that a home inspector approved a chimney and fireplace system, which was found to have some major problems by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. The chimney inspection discovered that the height of the chimney was not tall enough to meet building code regulations, the existence of drywall exposure, and the separation of the hearth from the wall. These problems could cause chimney draft issues, fire hazards, and carbon monoxide leaks. If the homeowner had not hired the chimney sweep because the home inspector found no problems, he or she could experience a devastating fire or become ill from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Home inspectors are not required to thoroughly inspect chimneys.

The most a home inspector will typically do to check out the chimney is using a flashlight to look into the flue. A chimney inspection from the CSIA-certified sweeps at Hudson Chimney will include a video scan from a closed-circuit camera that has been designed to be used inside a chimney. We will have a close-up look at every inch of the inside of that chimney, and we can show you any damage or possible problem we may find. You will also have the needed evidence to show to the homeowner of damage that needs to be repaired before you will agree to purchase the home.

Shopping for a new home? Contact us at Hudson Chimney to schedule an appointment for a professional chimney inspection to be sure the home you are buying poses no dangerous risks from the chimney and fireplace system.

Relining Your Chimney with HeatShield

If you have an older masonry chimney, you most likely have a clay tile liner. While these liners are durable and long-lasting, the clay tiles do crack and break off over the years. Repairing clay tile liners can be costly and time-consuming, but, fortunately, there is another alternative. Hudson Chimney is proud to offer the HeatShield system to repair and reline clay tile liners. We have been certified by the company that manufactures HeatShield, so you can trust our skills, experience, and training to use this product properly and successfully. We are often asked about this relining system, so we would like to tell you more about HeatShield and how it can restore your chimney liner.

Relining Your Chimney with Heatshield - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

What exactly is HeatShield?

A specially created “Cerfractory” sealant, HeatShield was developed 20 years ago in Europe to restore your chimney to its original level of safety and efficiency. When your clay tile liner is damaged with cracks and gaps, it can be dangerous as these voids allow toxic gases like carbon monoxide to leak back into your home. An environmentally friendly product made from recycled and naturally occurring materials, HeatShield is a less expensive way of relining a chimney, compared to rebuilding your chimney or removing clay tiles to install a new liner.

How does HeatShield repair my clay tile chimney liner?

If Hudson Chimney determines that your liner simply needs repairing, we can use one of two HeatShield methods: the Joint Repair System, if only defective mortar joints are found, or the Resurfacing System, if you have both damaged mortar joints and other minor defects in the tile liner. With the Joint Repair System, we take a special foam applicator blade that has been customized to fit your chimney and place it down your chimney to position it below each gap or void. We then add the HeatShield Cerfractory Flue Sealant mixture to fill in every void. Once the voids have been filled, we will pull the blade upward, which will smooth the repaired voids. The Resurfacing System is very similar, except we will use a customized foam applicator plug. This plug will be placed at the bottom of your flue and attached to a winch at the top of the flue. A primer is applied first, and then we will add the HeatShield mixture. As the plug is pulled up by the winch, the mixture will be smoothed to the right thickness. For both systems, the work will be checked by viewing the footage from the video camera at the bottom of the blade or plug. This ensures the repairs have been done properly.

How can HeatShield replace my liner?

If your clay tile liner is damaged beyond repair, Hudson Chimney can use the CeCure Sleeve Relining System. This process begins with a coat of HeatShield, which is applied with the same type of plug used in the Resurfacing System. Next, the CeCure Sleeve, which is a ceramic insulation sleeve that has been reinforced with stainless steel fabric, will be lowered into your chimney and attached mechanically to the top of the chimney. We then pull the plug down the chimney to press it into the first coat of HeatShield. Finally, another coat of HeatShield will be applied over the CeCure Sleeve. This procedure will also be video recorded and viewed afterwards to be sure the sleeve is in the proper place.

If your clay tile liner needs repairing or replacing, HeatShield can be the perfect solution. Contact us at Hudson Chimney to schedule an inspection of your clay tile liner today.

Replacing Your Chase Cover

Protecting your chimney from water leaks is an important part of maintaining your chimney. If you have a prefabricated chimney, you likely have a chase that is built around its metal exhaust pipe. When you have a chase around your chimney, it needs to have a good chase cover (also known as a chase pan) that will keep water out of your chimney and chase. Water is the greatest enemy of chimneys, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). You want to be sure you are doing everything you can to prevent water from penetrating your chimney because of the damage water can do. Not only can water damage the metal components of your chimney, but it can also cause damage to the ceilings and walls in your home. Unfortunately, chase covers do not last forever and should be replaced when you notice any signs of damage. Hudson Chimney sells, installs, and repairs chimney chase covers, and we would like to tell you what you should look for to know it is time to replace your chase cover.

Replacing Your Chase Cover - Jacksonville FL - Hudson Chimney

How do I know if my chase cover is damaged?

Although you may have to get on your roof to get a closer look, you will probably be able to see signs of corrosion from rusting on your chase cover from the ground. Chase covers are made from metal, and the cheaper metals tend to start rusting pretty quickly. As soon as your chase cover starts rusting, the cover will develop holes in it, and these holes allow rain to easily enter your chimney. While Hudson Chimney can repair chase covers, if the cover is made from galvanized steel, the metal is probably to weak to repair. You cannot even clean the rust corrosion off of the chase cover because it could break apart.

What should I be looking for in a replacement of my chase cover?

You want to find a chase cover made from either stainless steel or copper. You also want to be sure the cover has been designed correctly. Look for a chase cover that has been designed with a slope from the middle to the sides so that water will run off of the cover and not pool on top in the middle. When water pools on top of a chase cover, it leads to quicker corrosion. Hudson Chimney can help you select the best chase cover for your chimney. No matter if you have multiple flues in one chimney or have an unusually shaped chimney, we can customize a chase cover to protect your chimney and chase from water penetration.

Is it time to replace your chase cover? Contact us at Hudson Chimney to find out how we can help you prevent damage from water leaking into your chimney with the perfect chase cover for your chimney chase.

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