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Magic Sweep Blog

Creosote and Your Chimney

Your chimney and fireplace system has been working to heat your home all winter long. This has been a particularly long winter, and you’ve likely burned more wood than usual. The slow-to-start spring also causes homeowners to continue using the fireplace even when temperatures become milder, sometimes closing the system out for the off-season before having it properly cleaned and inspected.

It’s important to clean up the creosote and soot from inside the fireplace and chimney system so that you aren’t bothered by unwelcome odors this summer, and your system will be ready to use this fall. Creosote and Your Chimney

Creosote

Creosote is a substance that is produced when organic materials are burned. When wood is burned, for instance, creosote is produced and deposited into the chimney as it rises with the smoke. Properly seasoned firewood produces creosote, but green or wet wood burns incompletely, resulting in more wood being burned and more creosote being produced when it is burned. Creosote is made up mostly of tar, which makes it a sticky, flammable material. This material builds up easily inside the flue and is extremely dangerous when not removed regularly.

Glazed Creosote

If the creosote isn’t removed on a regular basis through a professional chimney sweep, it can quickly become a buildup that obstructs airflow through the chimney. As the air slows in the chimney, more creosote will be deposited inside the flue. These buildups eventually turn into glazed creosote. Glazed creosote is the term used to describe creosote that has been heated over and over again, evaporating the water and leaving a condensed mass of fuel. Glazed creosote is a solid mass with a glassy appearance that is difficult to remove.

Creosote Removal

Your chimney should be cleaned on a regular basis to avoid a drop in efficiency and safety. The chimney works perfectly when air flows properly from the fireplace to the flue opening. As creosote and soot are deposited in the chimney interior, airflow is no longer at its best. The drop in efficiency leads to more creosote buildup. In order to stop the cycle, your chimney system should be cleaned by a professional on a regular basis. A standard chimney sweep will remove all the soot, creosote, and debris that affects your chimney system. Once the creosote reaches level three or glazed buildup, it is more difficult to remove. Instead of using brushes and vacuums to clean the chimney, a chemical is first applied to the glazed creosote. As it’s absorbed, the creosote flakes away and can be brushed and vacuumed out of the system.

When it comes to creosote, you can’t stop it completely, but you can prevent creosote from making your system less efficient, and even dangerous. In order to prevent excessive creosote from affecting your system, make sure your firewood is properly seasoned, never burn trash or clothes in your fireplace, and make sure you use your system properly. Allowing your fire to smolder or lighting a fire in a cold chimney increases the amount of creosote produced by your fire.

In addition to creosote removal, your chimney professionals can also complete routine chimney inspections. If your chimney hasn’t been inspected in the last twelve months, it’s time to call the professionals. Call Magic Sweep to schedule services today.

Stainless Steel Liner Vs. Cast In Place

Your chimney liner is one of the most important parts of your system. It protects the masonry from corrosive materials and gases. It also protects your masonry and home from extreme temperatures and acts as a perfectly-sized flue for venting your fires properly. Chimney liners are made of many materials, ranging in cost and ability.

For older chimneys, you may have a clay tile liner that needs to be replaced. Your chimney may have a liner that isn’t appropriate for the type of fuel you’re burning. You may have a new unit that needs a newly-sized flue. Whatever the reason it might be, you can count on the team at Magic Sweep to help you pick out the best liner for your chimney.

Stainless Steel Liners

stainless steel chimney linerUnlike clay tile or aluminum liners, stainless steel is appropriate for all fuel types. It is the most durable and long-lasting liner on the market. However, they are more expensive than other options.  They are the only liners that last forever and will never need to be replaced. In order to install a stainless steel liner, the old one need to be removed, which is a lot of work. The team at Magic Sweep is dedicated to helping you install a stainless steel liner, if this is the option you go with.

Cast In Place Liners

If you’re looking for a relining option that doesn’t require a tear-out, it is possible with a cast in place liner. With a cast in place liner, we use a special material to cast a new liner directly over the old one. This process fully restores the chimney flue for safe and proper use. At Magic Sweep, we use Supaflu Chimney Systems, which is safe for all fuel types. They are also designed to insulate your chimney and seals all cracks and pores in your existing liner.

Replacing Your Liner

In order to determine what type of liner you’ll need for your specific chimney, first you need to schedule a level 2 inspection. This inspection is a detailed assessment of the flue, which gives the professionals a in-depth look at the entire flue interior. The shape of your flue help us determine if your system is a good candidate for cast in place or another option.

Your Liner as a Priority

Your chimney liner is an important part of your chimney system, and it should not be neglected. This is true for an oil or gas furnace too. The best way to protect your liner, no matter what type of fire you burn, is to pay attention to the appliance. At Magic Sweep, we provide maintenance to gas appliances. We also repair flues on a regular basis for gas, oil, and wood fires systems. Your liner is an important part of your chimney system, and it’s important for us too!

Call Magic Sweep at 757-523-2400 or request an appointment online for the #1 choice for chimney, air duct, and dryer vent cleaning in the Hampton Roads and Tidewater area.

Transform Your Fireplace With Gas Logs!

Although spring means that homeowners are finished with their fireplaces and appliances for the season. Many people take this time to reevaluate their system to upgrade their hearths or make changes. If you are thinking about upgrading or switching system, our professionals from Magic Sweep are here to help. By converting an old wood burning fireplace to a low-maintenance gas fireplace such as gas logs is something we do. We sell the best on the market, and we can help you pick out the log set that compliments your style and need.

All You Need to Know About Gas

beautiful gas logsGas is the most popular fuel source among homeowners today due to its easy installation, convenience, low maintenance, and safety. When you choose gas, you can have your fireplace installed anywhere in your home. You can convert any fireplace to gas, and you can choose a fire that matches any sized space. When you’re looking to install a gas log set, it’s important to know what you want.

  • Vent v. Vent-Free Gas Logs. The type of log set you choose will determine if it can be installed with or without a vent. A vent-free log set can be used safely indoors without a chimney or vent. This allows the freedom to install it anywhere. However, vent-free gas logs are less realistic looking than vented ones. If you’re looking to have the realistic yellow flames that dances and moves like a wood fire, you should opt for the vented gas logs.
  • Gas Fires and Condensation. Gas burns cleanly and efficiently. Today’s homes are built so tightly, that no air gets in or out. When gas is burned inside the homes, the water vapor that is produced has nowhere to go. This effect can occur with vented or vent-free gas fires. In order to avoid excess humidity, you might invest in a dehumidifier for your home.

Why Convert to Gas?

If you choose to convert your wood fireplace to gas, then gas logs are an easy option. They are easy to install and operate, and they are especially useful during this time of year when rooms can easily overheat with a furnace or wood fire. Manufacturers have perfected gas logs to look realistic, even the detailed cracks and grooves of the ceramic logs. They’re a great addition to any remodel, whether you own a home, apartment building, or rental.

Let Magic Sweep transform your fireplace with gas logs. Our techs are trained and experienced. We can help you determine which gas log set is best for you, help you choose the right capacity, location, and installation. Our experience, knowledge, and professionalism are the main reasons that we’re the #1 choice in the area, and we only choose the best products for our customers. Choose Magic Sweep for your new gas fireplace now by calling 757-523-2400 or request an appointment online.

Proper Dryer Vent Maintenance

As a homeowner, it is very important to maintain your home to ensure the safety of your family. One of the most important part of home ownership is maintaining your dryer vents. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are approximately 2,900 home clothes dryer fires each year. Among those fires, it resulted in 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. These fires are definitely preventable, especially if you properly maintain your clothes dryer vents.

Dangerous Dryer Vents

woman doing laundryYour dryer vents can become dangerous, if you don’t properly maintain it. If your dryer vents are not properly installed, it will not vent properly to cause dangerous buildups too. However, properly installed dryer vents also need maintenance to remain safe and keep it running efficient as long as possible. It’s important to use your clothes dryer unit properly.

Signs You Need Dryer Vent Maintenance

Even if your clothes dryer has not given you any problems, it may still be dirty and clogged. Keep in mind that as soon as there are signs of a problem, your dryer is at risk and this could put your home and family in danger.

  1. The dryer is hot to the touch and warms the room.
    The dryer vent should carry excess heat, moisture, and lint out of the system and home. If the clothes or unit itself is hot to the touch, then the vent is not working properly. If the dryer releases heat into the home while running, this is also a sign your vents are clogged.
  2.  The dryer requires more than one cycle to dry a single load of clothes.
    Your clothes dryer should last ten years. If your dryer is younger than five years old, it should get the job done in one cycle. If it’s not drying your clothes in a single cycle, then you dryer vents are likely clogged. This also means the moisture isn’t leaving the system so your clothes aren’t drying properly.
  3. Lint and condensation cover surfaces in your home.
    The lint and condensation should be carried out of the system through your vents. If it’s pushed into the house, there is either a clog in the vent or damage somewhere in the vent.

Dryer Vent Maintenance Saves You Money

You should consider all the risks of dirty dryer vents and what it does to your clothes-drying unit. There’s no good reason or need to neglect proper maintenance of it. Give yourself peace of mind by taking care of your dryer vents yearly. It also means your system will run more efficiently, which means less electricity and less wear and tear of your unit. You don’t want to replace a ten-year appliance every 3 to 5 years! You won’t have to when you invest in professional installation and routinely services.

When you’re ready to schedule a dryer vent service, schedule it with Magic Sweep. We’ve been serving our customers for over 30 years, and we are here to serve you. Call 757-523-2400 today or contact us online.

We Offer Three Levels of Chimney Inspections

Chimney inspections are what keeps homes and businesses safe in the way that inspections keep car manufacturers accountable with certain safety standards and keep owners accountable for safety on the road. The industry standard for chimney safety and efficiency is the CSIA inspection, and we stand by it. That’s why we offer the three levels of chimney inspections which cover all the bases.

Level One

A level one inspection is necessary annually even when there aren’t changes made to the system, no problems noticed, and it is used in the same manner as always. This inspection is an examination of all readily accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior and connections. After a level one inspection, the homeowner can rest assured that the flue is free of deposits and obstructions and it is safe for another year of use.

Level Two

The level two inspection is required when a problem is noticed during a level one inspection. It is also required before the sale or transfer of property, when changes have been made to the system, and if there has been any occurrence that can affect the system such as tornado or flue fire. A level two inspection includes all that in a level one in addition to the accessible portions of the chimney that are in the attic, basement, or crawlspace. A level two inspection also includes a video scan which provides footage of the entire system.

Level Three

If a hazard is detected in a level one or two inspection, a level three is necessary to gain access so that a professional can assess and repair the problem. During a level three inspection your chimney sweep may need to remove components of the home or chimney to gain access to the suspected hazard. This may include removal of the crown, chimney wall, or other wood or panels. This inspection is warranted when a serious hazard is suspected and should not be overlooked.

Magic Sweep Inspections

The best thing you can do for your home and family is to schedule a chimney inspection this spring. According to the two most trusted organizations in the industry, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the safest and most efficient chimneys are those that are serviced regularly. We provide these services because we value our customers. Keep your chimney system properly maintained and you’ll need fewer service appointments. Schedule inspections annually and any problems will be caught early and corrected easily.

Whether you’re a homeowner, a REALTOR, or property manager, call and schedule a Magic Sweep inspection now. Dial 757-523-2400 or request an appointment online.