by Mark Hudson | Mar 31, 2020 | chimney maintenance
Procrastinating on chimney repairs can lead to very dangerous results. There are many reasons why you should never procrastinate on repairing your chimney. A fireplace is a wonderful addition to your home to keep you warm and cozy, however, it is important to remember that the chimneys that serve them work to make sure that the fire burning doesn’t result in dangerous gases and other by-products of combustion getting into your home.
Reasons why chimney repairs are important
Smoke from fires contains dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can cause illnesses or even death if exposed to large amounts.
Another risk is that delaying repairs could lead to chimney fires. As all of the different substances produced as wood burns are expelled through the chimney, it could result in residue that sticks to the inner walls of your chimney. This is called creosote. Creosote is a black or brown oily residue that is highly combustible. If it’s not maintained and taken care of, the buildup could ignite causing chimney fires.
Another reason to not delay repairs is that the further the damage, the more costly it could get, especially if it deals with cracks or leaks. Cracks in your chimney could lead to overheating and dangerous gases to leak into your home. Leaks in your chimney could lead to further damage of the structure of your home. As it impairs the efficiency of your chimney, it can also cause leaks into your ceilings, walls, and other structures.
Leaks occur because a lot of masonry materials are porous to expel the gases, however this also means that it can absorb large amounts of water. According to the Chimney Institute of America (CSIA), common bricks act like a sponge, absorbing water & moisture into the interior of your chimney system.
Preventing leaks is very affordable and easy. Here at Hudson Chimney, we want to do everything we can to help from water damage to preventing dangerous gases to enter your home.
Look for signs
There are many different ways to know if you need chimney repairs. With leaks, it could be hard to find any symptoms. However, if you see any of these following signs, call a chimney professional right away.
- Deteriorated metal or masonry firebox parts or rusted fireplace accessories
- A dripping noise
- Rotting adjacent wood and ruined wall coverings
- Water-stained walls and ceiling around your chimney
- Stained chimney exterior or decaying exterior mortar
- A cracked or deteriorated flue lining
- A tilted, collapsed or settled-looking chimney
- Rainwater in or around your fireplace or furnace thimble
With possible creosote build up, you shouldn’t see any heavy or dangerous signs such as loud cracking or dense smoke if you get your chimney swept regularly. As creosote build up comes in different stages, the further you get, the harder and more costly it will get.
Some early signs to look for are:
- Reduced drafting in fireplace
- Black soot in and around your fireplace
- Very dark smoke coming from your chimney
- If you can see more than ⅛ of an inch of soot build up
- Not as much as ash left after burning
- If you see any of these signs, make sure you contact a chimney professional to help.
How We Can Help
Hudson Chimney has been in the business for over 30 years and we have dealt with all kinds of repairs. We have certified chimney professionals that will help inspect your chimney and repair them for you. We want to make sure that your home is protected from preventable danger concerning your chimney.
With the recent Covid-19 outbreak, we are taking precautions to ensure your safety as well as your professionals. We are taking measures not to shake hands, we will be wearing gloves, laying down tarps, which are washed everyday when professionals return, and we have many tarps to ensure that we are not spreading the virus from home to home.
by Mark Hudson | Aug 11, 2016 | chimney maintenance
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.
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.
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.
by Mark Hudson | Jun 27, 2016 | chimney maintenance
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.
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.
by Mark Hudson | Nov 28, 2015 | Chimney Sweeping Logs
Have you ever wondered why you need to have your chimney professionally swept annually? Of course, your chimney gets pretty dirty from regular fires in the fireplace, but soot and dust is not the most important reason for this maintenance task. Your chimney should be cleaned professionally once a year to remove the accumulated creosote from the inner walls of the flue. A compound that forms naturally as a result of the combustion process of burning wood, creosote is extremely flammable and is the main cause of chimney fires. It is essential to get all of the creosote out of your chimney so you can enjoy your fireplace without worrying about this fire hazard. You may have seen chimney sweeping logs, a product that claims to remove and reduce creosote from your chimney, and considered that they could be a substitute for a chimney sweeping by one of the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney professionals from Hudson Chimney. However, this is not the case, and chimney sweeping logs can even lead to dangers in your home. We would like to tell you more about why you should never substitute a professional chimney cleaning by using chimney sweeping logs.
WHAT CHIMNEY SWEEPING LOGS DO
Burning a chimney sweeping log in your fireplace or stove releases chemicals that use catalytic action to remove a portion of accumulated creosote from your chimney. These chemicals cause creosote to flake off and break away from the chimney wall. While this product does remove some of the creosote, the CSIA has its concerns. The claims of chimney sweeping logs are not completely accurate and can lull homeowners into a false sense of security.
THE RISKS OF CHIMNEY SWEEPING LOGS
As we said earlier, creosote is very flammable, so when pieces of creosote are falling down your chimney after flaking off, they could easily catch on fire and lead to a devastating chimney fire. Even if the creosote does not ignite on its way down, the pieces end up at the bottom of your chimney to gather on the smoke shelf and form together to cause yet another fire hazard. Any creosote remaining in your chimney, whether or not it is stuck to the walls of the flue, poses a dangerous fire hazard.
WHY A PROFESSIONAL CHIMNEY SWEEPING IS SO CRUCIAL
Firstly, you can trust our CSIA-certified sweeps at Hudson Chimney to completely remove all of the creosote from your chimney. We know far too well the dangers of creosote, and we take great care to be sure we have gotten all of the accumulated deposits out of your chimney. Not only do we thoroughly clean your chimney, but we also provide a professional inspection with every chimney sweeping. Our sweeps will closely examine the interior and exterior of your chimney to look for any damage that needs to be fixed for your fireplace and chimney to function effectively and safely. If any debris such as nests from birds and animals or leaves are blocking your chimney, we will also remove the blockage to prevent any accidental fires or carbon monoxide leaks.
Have you had your chimney professionally swept this year? Stay away from chimney sweeping logs, and contact us at Hudson Chimney to make an appointment for a safe chimney this winter.
by Mark Hudson | Dec 15, 2014 | Firewood
If you have a wood burning fireplace or stove, you may wonder if there is anything of significance that you can do to maintain the efficiency, safety, and health of your appliance. The answer is yes! By choosing the best firewood to burn in your appliance, you can protect your chimney or stovepipe from rapid creosote build-up and your home from dangerous chimney fires. Not only this, but the right firewood will help you to create fires that are warmer and more enjoyable.
Regardless of the type of woodburning appliance you own, you should only burn seasoned firewood. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, the distinction between seasoned and unseasoned firewood is its moisture content. Seasoned firewood has a low moisture content, usually between 20 and 25 %. Unseasoned firewood, on the other hand, can have a moisture content as high as 45 %. Burning firewood with a higher moisture content can cause you and your chimney a number of problems, from the unpleasant to the dangerous. You will have trouble enjoying your chimney if you burn unseasoned firewood because of the unpleasant smell and smoke it produces. However, your biggest concern is that the water in unseasoned firewood will allow for creosote to rapidly build up in your chimney. Creosote is highly flammable, creating a hazard for chimney fires, and can build up into glazed creosote, which can only be removed from your chimney by a professional with chemicals.
If you chop your own firewood, it is easy to know if it is seasoned or unseasoned. Simply be sure to cut your firewood to length six months before you plan to use it in order to give water in the wood time to environment. Cutting your wood to length opens up the microscopic tubes in the wood that hold water, which allows the water to escape.
If you buy your firewood, it is a little more difficult to tell if your firewood has been properly seasoned. The best way to be sure your firewood has been properly seasoned is to buy it six months before you intend to use it and store it properly. However, seasoned and unseasoned firewood have characteristics that differentiate them from each other that you can utilize to see if the firewood you are buying has been seasoned. Seasoned firewood has darker ends and more cracks than unseasoned firewood and also tends to be lighter. Seasoned firewood also makes a clunking rather than a thudding noise when it is hit.
Whether or not you buy or chop your firewood, you must be sure that it is properly stored. A wood shed is the best place to store firewood. However, you can also store wood in a sunny location as long as you remember to cover the wood when it rains or snows. No matter where you store it, make sure that air is allowed to circulate to promote evaporation and try to store the wood off of the ground.
Give Hudson Chimney a call if you are unsure if you are burning the correct kind of firewood or if you have concerns regarding creosote build-up. The professionals at Hudson Chimney know how to keep you and your home warm and safe!