Call today!

Magic Sweep Blog

Schedule Your Fireplace Spring Cleaning

Like everything else in your home, your fireplace and chimney needs annual maintenance. So, what better time than when you’re giving your whole house attention? While you’re putting together your Spring Cleaning to-do list don’t forget your fireplace and chimney.

Visually Inspect

Schedule Your Fireplace Spring Cleaning Image - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep CorporationYou know better than anyone how your chimney and fireplace has been performing. If your efficiency has gone down, this is something to note. If it’s more difficult to light or keep a fire going, if you hear drips or see other indications of water in the chimney, this needs to be recorded. You can also visually inspect your chimney’s exterior. This is something you can remember to do when you clean your gutters. Make sure your chimney cap and flashing are in place.

Schedule Your Annual Maintenance

Once you have determined what might need to be addressed, schedule an appointment with a chimney professional. You should have your chimney seen by a professional, even if you see no indication of damage. The average homeowner won’t notice a problem until it has done substantial unseen damage. By visually inspecting your own chimney, though, you’re able to direct the certified chimney sweep to concerning issues with your chimney system. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends annual maintenance. This is keeps a chimney running safely and efficiently. Regular chimney sweeps keep the chimney clean of debris, soot, and creosote. These can lead to obstruction, unpleasant odors, and damage. The CSIA inspection is vitally important in diagnosing winter damage and regular wear-and-tear on the chimney system.

Schedule Necessary Repairs

If your chimney assessment indicates a problem with any part of your chimney system, those problems need to be addressed right away. A small issue can cause substantial damage over several months. This can happen even when the chimney isn’t being used. A crack can allow water to penetrate the chimney system throughout the entire spring season. Having repairs done now means you can have your chimney waterproofed. Thus, closing it out for the season and ready for use this fall.

Avoid the “Fall Rush” by Scheduling Now

Schedule your routine maintenance and repairs in the spring. Doing this avoids the hassle of appointments, repairs, and diagnostics in the fall. During the fall, your chimney sweep is busy with emergency calls, installations, and repairs. Don’t wait until the last minute to get the chimney ready for winter! You might be tempted to use a chimney that isn’t safe or ready. Plus, you may end up with a chimney sweep that you aren’t pleased with.

While Spring Cleaning is at the top of your list of priorities, schedule with Magic Sweep! Your safety and comfort is at the top of our priorities. Call 757-828-0404 or request an appointment online today.

Chimney Liner Repair

The Key to Chimney Performance: The LinerChimney Liner Repair - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep Corporation

Your chimney needs a liner in order for the system to run safely and efficiently. The liner has a few different jobs that are important to keep the chimney working for you.

  1. The chimney liner protects the home from heat transfer from the chimney. Heat transfers to materials that support the home. This heat can weaken these materials and cause a fire hazard over a period of time.
  2. The chimney liner protects the masonry from corrosive byproducts that can damage the masonry if left uncleaned. Soot and creosote becomes especially detrimental to the chimney’s masonry if allowed to mingle with moisture. Moisture can result due to a chimney leak or humid weather.
  3. The chimney liner keeps hazardous gases and chemicals from leaving the chimney and entering the home. Hazardous gases affect the air quality and health of the family. The chimney’s masonry is porous in order to allow gas to escape and assist with the efficiency of the chimney. The liner prevents the gases from escaping into the house.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Liner?

It might be that you don’t need a completely new liner, but just a repair. Many old homes may still have a damaged clay tile liner. The stainless steel liner is rated for use with all fuel types, and built to last. The industry now has a repair option that offers the same result as a stainless steel liner and Magic Sweep specializes in this type of liner repair.

Introducing HeatShield®

Industry professionals have formulated a special “Cerfractory®” sealant that combines ceramic and refractory materials. This is used to completely restore a damaged or outdated clay liner. This system eliminates the dangers caused by gaps, cracks, and spalling in your chimney. HeatShield’s® Cerfractory® technology is proven to withstand moisture, corrosive, flue gases, and temperatures over 2900°F. It surpasses both National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) and International Residential Code (IRC) which require only a “Medium-Duty” refractory mortar for use in fireplaces and chimneys.

Hiring a HeatShield® Expert to Repair Your Liner

Independent HeatShield® Installers are factory trained, and experienced with materials and specially designed tools. The technician will first apply the sealant. Then the technician uses special video cameras to verify repairs were completed properly and that the chimney will be able to return to full function.

In addition to all the benefits that HeatShield® offers, it is an “eco friendly” product. Because it is made from recycled and naturally occurring materials, so it saves on resources as well as time and money. If that is not enough to convince you to choose HeatShield® for your liner repair, then remember the 20-year material warranty.

If you’re not sure whether your chimney needs a complete replacement or rebuild, you can talk to a chimney expert today about your chimney liner repairs. Call Magic Sweep at 757-828-0404 or request an appointment online.

Repairing Chimney Leaks

A chimney leak is the last thing any homeowner wants to experience. It doesn’t only affect your chimney! A chimney leak can cause damage to other parts of your home because the water runs through the hidden portions of your home. For this reason you should always assume a leak is caused from the chimney, no matter how far it may be from the chimney itself.

Repairing Chimney Leaks Image - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep CorporationChimney leaks also cause damage to supports, walls, ceilings, and wall coverings near the chimney, along with a host of extensive damage to the chimney itself.

Water and Your Masonry Chimney

Masonry is constructed of multiple materials, all of which are adversely affected by moisture. If water is allowed to penetrate your chimney, it can destroy your masonry from the inside out, causing rust, stains, deterioration, weakening, decreased efficiency, and increased fire risk. The best way to prevent water penetration and damage to your chimney is to have it inspected annually and waterproofed by a professional. The average homeowner won’t notice a leak until a problem is visible. By this point there can be substantial damage behind-the-scenes. A professional will see a problem before it causes damage.

Diagnostics and Repair

An inexperienced chimney sweep might repair the damage that makes your chimney a hazard, but a certified chimney sweep will repair the damage, diagnose the problem, and prevent it from reoccurring.

Common Causes of Chimney Leaks

Magic Sweep sees chimney leaks often, and year round. Common causes include a missing or damaged chimney cap and damaged or missing chimney flashing. These two components are vitally important to prevent water penetration. Magic Sweep technicians are trained and experienced in installing chimney caps and flashing to prevent leaks.

Common Chimney Leak Damage

  • Spalling
    A chimney leak during the winter can be especially damaging to your masonry because of the freeze/thaw affect. The water penetrates the masonry, freezes, expands, then melts, moves further into the masonry, and repeats the cycle. This causes spalling, cracking and crumbling masonry. It can be repaired through a process called tuck pointing in which a chimney sweep removes the bricks, replaces mortar and each brick. It is a tedious job because the new mortar should match the old in consistency, color, and strength.
  • Liner Deterioration
    When moisture mingles with soot, it is corrosive and can damage the chimney liner quickly. In this case a certified chimney sweep can reline the chimney. Magic Sweep can fix your chimney liner damage using HeatShield® cerfractory technology. When we reline your chimney with HeatShield®, we restore your liner instead of replacing it completely, saving you time and money.
  • Structural Damage
    Our chimney experts are certified masons who can rebuild and repair your damaged chimney. Your firebox, hearth, and chimney can all be affected by a chimney leak, and once the leak is repaired, the masonry should be repaired. Only a certified chimney sweep specializes in the construction and repair of a masonry chimney.

When you experience a chimney leak, it can be your worst nightmare. Magic Sweep can help restore the fireplace of your dreams by repairing and waterproofing your chimney. Call Magic Sweep today at 757-523-2400.

The Value of Air Duct Cleaning

Chimneys and fireplaces are not the only source of fire hazards in your home. Even a home with no fireplace is at risk of fire when the dryer vent is not maintained properly. According to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report there were over 5,000 clothes dryer fires in 2012. It is the goal of the CSIA Certified Exhaust Technician® to bring this number down year by year. How? Through public education and industry standards!

The Value of Air Duct Cleaning Image - Chesapeake VA - Magic SweepRaise Efficiency, Save Money

Your clothes dryer can be more efficient if you clean it of lint and debris. Many homeowners just assume that running the dryer through two or three cycles is normal for an old appliance. This couldn’t be more wrong. If your appliance doesn’t complete the job in one cycle, then it is a hazard. It is most likely clogged with lint which doesn’t only cause you to spend more in utilities, but also poses a serious fire hazard.

Lengthen the Life of Your Appliance

Because the efficiency of your clothes dryer drastically decreases when it is used improperly, its life is shortened significantly. If you have to run the dryer through two or three cycles, it is essentially shortening the life of the appliance by half or three times. Save money in the long run by properly maintaining your clothes dryer from the beginning.

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Intrusion

Many homeowners don’t think twice about running a clothes dryer without a dryer vent hose. They think it will help heat the house. This is never recommended. In fact, this allows carbon monoxide into your home, affecting your air quality, and putting your family’s health at risk. When the dryer creates heat to dry the clothes, it also creates carbon monoxide and other harmful gases that can adversely affect the air quality in your home.

Did You Know?

  • There is a specified size that dryer vent ducts should be in order to properly vent. Your local community has specific codes that regulate even your dryer vent hose for your safety!
  • The length of your dryer’s exhaust hose, or vent duct, should not exceed 25 ft. In fact, every 90 degree angle the hose makes actually adds 5 feet.
  • Dryer vents are their own unit, should not vent into any other system such as the chimney, and should vent outside only.
  • Your dryer vent’s outside hood should be equipped to prevent back drafts in order to avoid the gases coming back into the hose.
  • There should be a metal transition duct between the dryer and the exhaust hose.
  • Flexible transition ducts should not be used in a crawl space, attic, or inside a wall.
  • The CSIA Certified Exhaust Technician® is the only nationally recognized certification of its kind.

Need other facts regarding your clothes dryer vent? If so, you should study your owner’s manual. In addition, ask your technician when the appliance is installed. While they often install their own clothes dryers, it is likely that most homeowners don’t know the safest ways to do so – or the local codes to adhere to. It’s also important to make sure your clothes dryer is covered under your home owners insurance. Plus, that you follow the recommendations of your policy concerning your clothes dryer.

For further information, you can contact a clothes dryer vent expert at Magic Sweep. Call 757-828-0404 or request an appointment online.

Reducing Fire Hazards This Winter

Winter Fire Hazard Reduction Image - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep Corp.If you have any type of heat source or household appliances, there are always hazards to avoid. It’s our goal at Magic Sweep to keep our neighbors in the Tidewater area safe and warm every winter. We’ve served the area for over 35 years and in that time have become familiar with many of the fire hazards our customers might overlook.

The Cluttered Hearth

If you have a fireplace, furnace, or other heat appliance it should be professionally installed to insure it is not too close to walls or other home installments that can interact with the heat. Also, the area should be kept clean of debris, decorations, and furniture that can ignite. This includes ALL fuel types!

Pro Tip: If furniture feels hot near your fireplace after an hour, you should move the furniture back from it.

A Clogged Chimney

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends regular chimney sweeps to insure the fireplace or appliance and chimney are clean and clear of debris, soot, and creosote (all of which are highly flammable).

Pro Tip: If your fireplace is consistently smoky, difficult to light, or generally less efficient you may have a flue obstruction or another problem that can raise fire risk.

A Clogged Dryer Vent

A fire hazard often overlooked in today’s age of convenience is the dryer vent. This hose that runs from the back of the clothes dryer to your wall vents hot air, water vapor, harmful gases, and lint. If given the chance to buildup (most often caused by angles in the vent or a defective exterior flap) this highly flammable lint can ignite. There were over 5,000 house fires caused from clothes dryers in 2012, and the Chimney Safety Institute of America has even created CSIA Certified Exhaust Technician® training in an effort to further keep families and homes safe from fire.

Pro Tip: Have your clothes dryer professionally installed. Most companies offer free installation or a discounted installation if you pay for delivery.

Improper Use of Cooking Appliances

Avoid using cooking appliances for anything other can cooking. Always keep towels, cookbooks, plastic cooking tools, and pot holders away from flames or burners. Never leave a stove unattended, and never use an oven to heat clothes, shoes, gloves, or anything else.

Pro Tip: Check the oven for food debris, dishes, or any other items before turning it on for cooking (especially if you have children who may hide items in the stove).

Other Dysfunctional Heat Appliances

Be aware of your other home appliances that use heat and how they work, especially if they’re new or you’re new to the home. For instance, hot water heaters and dish washing machines can become a fire hazard if the water source is compromised do to a water clog, leak, or if it’s frozen.

Pro Tip: Have these appliances professionally installed and check them regularly. If your “dishwasher safe” items show signs of melting, have the system checked for too little water.

Always put safety first when it comes to heat in the home—that means ALL heat! Magic Sweep wants to see you safe and comfortable this winter.