Call today!

Magic Sweep Blog

Let Us Give Your Chimney a Makeover

Is chimney cleaning on your spring to-do list? Are you in the middle of a remodel or shopping spree that has your hearth looking a little drab? No matter what is spurring the makeover, there is a fireplace expert at Magic Sweep that can help.

Magic Sweep Showroom

You can see our fireplaces in action when you visit our showroom at 938 Providence Road in Chesapeake, Virginia. You will also get a chance to view a variety of fireplace brands and models, facing displays, doors, screens, stonework, and other accessories. Shop catalogs of our favorite and trusted brands or let an expert walk you through the process from start to finish. No matter the size of your space, the condition of your chimney, or the style you ’d like to achieve, we have something for you.

Fireplaces

You may like the look of your hearth but need an upgrade for better efficiency. You may want to change fuel types to better help the environment. No matter what your reason, a new fireplace can help us achieve your fireplace makeover. We sell and install gas fireplaces and wood fireplaces as well as gas log sets that are realistic and beautiful. Some gas log sets don’t even need ventilation, so they are safe if your chimney isn’t safe, if it’s been closed off, or if you have no chimney at all.

Inserts

An insert may be what your fireplace needs if it’s old and needs an upgrade. The insert is retro-fitted directly into the existing firebox, and is a closed unit with the efficiency of a stove, but the classic look of a wood fireplace. At Magic Sweep, we sell and install top brands of gas inserts, wood inserts, and pellet inserts–each with their own benefits. They are all highly efficient (much more so than a traditional, open fireplace), and will turn your fireplace into a heat machine.

Stoves

Like inserts, stoves are highly efficient and may produce enough heat to warm an entire house during the winter. They can be installed anywhere and may even be used with your existing chimney. We also sell and install wood, pellet, and gas stoves. Most models feature a fire-viewing window that allows you to watch the flames dance as if you have a wood fireplace. Many homeowners can find a model that fits their home and personality exactly.

As you’ll see in our showroom, there is a variation of every appliance that will suit you. We have a full range of products from contemporary and sleek to traditional and ornate. If we don’t have what you’re looking for, we can order it and we won’t stop until you’re satisfied.

Once ordered, a certified Magic Sweep expert will handle your installation with professional expertise and courtesy. Your installation will be completed with an inspection that verifies safety and proper installation.

Make sure that a professional assists you in this process from start to finish. We here at Magic Sweep are waiting to be the next step for your fireplace. Call us today at 757-523-2400.

Why Dryer Vent Cleaning Should be Part of Your Spring Cleaning

Your dryer vent is working for you as often as you do laundry. It’s just as important as every other system in your home but is likely the most overlooked. Homeowners assume that once the dryer is bought, delivered, and installed, it’s good to go! This is not the case, because most homeowners don’t have the dryer vent professionally installed, and fail to have it serviced regularly.

The Danger of a Dirty Dryer Vent

Your dryer vent is designed to direct lint, heat, and moisture out of the dryer and house, and terminate it outdoors. The microscopic lint particles that travel through the vent, cover the walls and become packed down as it mixes with the moisture. If the vent isn’t cleaned regularly, this debris will build-up until it forms a clog that disrupts the airflow completely. When the dryer vent is obstructed, the lint, heat, and moisture are pushed back into the dryer, and the result is always the same: malfunction, and malfunctions lead to fires.

Clothes Dryer Fires

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are nearly 3,000 clothes dryer fires reported each year, resulting in about 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. The leading cause of these fires is simple: failure to clean the dryer.

In Case You Need Another Reason to Clean the Dryer Vent

The biggest benefit of a clean dryer vent is safety, but there are other great reasons to schedule a dryer vent cleaning, at least every 12 months.

  • The dryer will work better. The dryer is designed to work with a vent system. If the vent doesn’t work properly, the dryer won’t work properly.
  • The dryer will use less electricity. The loads that used to take two or three cycles to get completely dry will no longer be an issue. Don’t assume the dryer is worn out. If it doesn’t work in one cycle, and the settings are correctly adjusted, you have a clog!
  • The dryer will last longer. When you run the dryer two or three times to dry one load, it not only takes 2-3 times more energy but also shaves down the life of your appliance! Instead of lasting the ten years it should, it will end up sputtering out after 3-5.
  • The dryer will stop warming up your house. This is especially important during the summer. The dryer should not affect your heating and cooling bill. If it does, then the vent isn’t properly venting the excess heat outdoors.

Schedule Your Dryer Vent Cleaning with Magic Sweep

At Magic Sweep, we take fire safety seriously. That’s why our technicians install, inspect, clean, and repair dryer vents. When you schedule a dryer vent cleaning with Magic Sweep, we will clean the lint and debris away without hurting the ductwork, and without making a mess. Then we will check for leaks and problems that may cause recurrence.

Call Magic Sweep today at 757-523-2400 and schedule your dryer vent cleaning today.

What is HeatShield technology and How Does it Work?

HeatShield® is a chimney liner repair system that restores the chimney to its full safety and function in one easy process. It has been intensively tested and is considered a “Super Duty” refractory mortar. It is affordable and long-lasting. So, what is it?

HeatShield® Cerfractory® Technology

The HeatShield® difference is that it combines the strength of ceramic and the heat resistance of refractory cement to create the cerfractory technology that can repair your joints, resurface your chimney, and assist in lining. When an installer is trained and certified to apply HeatShield® in the field, he’ll do so by simply mixing water with the powder. This allows for less waste and keeps costs low. At Magic Sweep, we trust HeatShield®, and we’re proud to offer HeatShield® repairs and relining with the same great service and professionalism we’ve offered for years here in Chesapeake.

HeatShield® Joint Repair System

When joints become damaged, they not only create gaps, but it also create rough areas that disrupt the flow of air, which brings down the efficiency of the chimney. When this happens, the gaps commonly get bigger and worsen until a bigger problem arises in the flue. Using HeatShield® Cerfractory Technology, we can efficiently fill these gaps using a foam applicator blade, which custom fits your flue. After application, we check the system using video technology to ensure it works properly.

HeatShield® Resurfacing System

Over time, even expensive and properly-installed liners can become damaged. Cracks, gaps, and spalling masonry can become a problem–especially when a chimney is neglected and necessary maintenance appointments are forgotten. We can resurface the entire flue by using HeatShield® Cerfractory Technology. First, the foam applicator is made and placed at the bottom of the flue. It is then hoisted up as it applies a “tie coat” material to the walls. Once this coat dries, we apply HeatShield® in the same manner. This process is repeated once more, and then the job is completed with a video scan.

HeatShield® Cecure® Sleeve Relining System

Both resurfacing and relining work as a liner for your flue, and it’s safe for all fuel-types and long lasting, while also properly-sized–just as if you had a new liner. However, with the HeatShield® Cecure® Sleeve Relining System, nothing has to be removed from the flue. This is less disruption to the home as the HeatShield® material goes directly over the damaged portions. First, HeatShield® Cerfractory® Flue Sealant is applied using the custom foam applicator. Then, a CeCure® Sleeve made of high-density, low profile, ceramic insulation, reinforced with stainless steel fabric is placed inside the flue and pressed firmly into place using the foam applicator. The job is finished when another coat of HeatShield® Cerfractory® Flue Sealant is applied over the sleeve. This work is also checked using a video scanning system so that you have the verification of its safety and installation.

Magic Sweep Installs HeatShield®

We trust HeatShield so much, and we are proud to offer these services to our customers who have damaged or missing liners. This technology was developed in Europe over 20 years ago, and has only improved since then. It’s the top choice for chimney professionals in the United States and Europe, and it’s our top choice too. Call Magic Sweep today at 757-523-2400!

When Was Your Last Chimney Inspection?

If you cannot recall your last chimney inspection, you need to call a chimney sweep now. Many homeowners assume the chimney was inspected before purchasing the home. However, this is often not the case! Home and chimney inspections are often separate. When it’s time to schedule your chimney inspection, put your trust in the hands of a CSIA-certified professional.

Schedule Now

When Was Your Last Chimney Inspection - Chesapeake VA - Magic SweepIf you haven’t had a chimney inspection in the last 12 months, now is the time. Scheduling in the spring will identify problems so they can be addressed during the off-season. This gives you time to make necessary repairs, ready the chimney system for burn season this fall, and prevent water damage. Your chimney should be your top priority, and your safety is our top priority!

Magic Sweep Inspections

When you trust Magic Sweep, you get a CSIA certified professional to perform your inspection. CSIA inspections include three different levels.

Level One – Recommended annually, they include a basic inspection of all readily accessible portions of the chimney system. This is a visual inspection only.

Level Two – More thorough than a level one inspections, this includes readily-accessible portions as well as the chimney exterior and interior. Interior portions include parts in attics, basements, and crawlspaces. A level two inspection includes a video scan of the chimney’s interior. This inspection is required if a change is made to the system, if a natural disaster or fire has occurred that might affect the chimney system, and before the sale or transfer of the property.

Level Three – This is a thorough investigation of a hazard that may include the removal of components (walls, masonry, etc.) in order to gain access to the hazard. If destructive action to the building is necessary, your chimney sweep will discuss the level three inspection before proceeding.

It’s not just Magic Sweep that recommends chimney inspections for proper function and safety year after year. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) both recommend annual inspections for the safest and most efficient chimney system possible. Inspecting the chimney system every 12 months may save your life. It may prevent thousands of dollars in damaged property, necessary repairs, and more. Don’t risk your health or your home! Call Magic Sweep today at 757-523-2400!

How to Know if You Have a Leaky Chimney

Many homeowners may not recognize a problem with the chimney before there is substantial damage behind the scenes. Most homeowners don’t know the signs of a problem and the majority of the chimney system is out of sight. Many issues with the chimney system are only recognizable while a fire is lit. If you have a chimney leak, it may go days, weeks, or months unnoticed.

Obvious Signs of a Chimney Leak

By the time there are visible and obvious signs of a chimney leak, it’s impossible to know what type of hidden damage has occurred. If you find there are signs of a leak, call a chimney professional right away.

Dripping – If you hear or see dripping in the chimney system, there is likely a leak that has gone on long enough to cause damage.

Stains – Water stains can occur on the masonry and can show up in a variety of colors. White stains on the outside masonry is a result of efflorescence in which water passes through the masonry and leaves behind minerals on the outside. On the inside of the fireplace, water stains may be darkened parts of the brick or even green stains due to mold.

Leaks – A leak in any part of the house likely points to a chimney leak. If the chimney allows water in, it can run through floors and walls several rooms away before forming a leak. If you experience a leak, your first call should be to a chimney professional. A general contractor will most likely fix the damage without properly checking the chimney.

Not-so-Obvious Signs of a Chimney Leak

It is difficult, but if you know your system and understand how the chimney works, you can recognize a problem with the chimney system before there is serious damage. Pay attention to signs there is a problem.

A Drop in Efficiency – A drop in efficiency, whether sudden or gradual, is a problem. You have a problem if your fireplace isn’t burning as hot as it was, if it’s using more fuel than usual, or is more difficult to light or to keep burning. Determining that problem may be difficult, so try troubleshooting. If it doesn’t resolve your issue, it’s time to call a professional.

Odors – Odors can be so gradual that you don’t notice the change. If your fireplace begins to smell of mildew or mold, then you most likely have a serious chimney leak. This smell may be very obvious when the fire isn’t lit. The fireplace’s usage masks the smell of mildew and mold.

Smoky Fireplace – A smoky fireplace is also caused by a drop in efficiency. If your smoky chimney isn’t resolved by troubleshooting, you may have a leaky chimney.

Water Damage

A leaky chimney not only causes water damage to the chimney system, but also causes damage to the rest of the home, including walls, building materials, and more. This type of damage is 100 percent preventable.

Call Magic Sweep today at 757-523-2400 or request an appointment online.