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Magic Sweep Blog

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.

Spring Cleaning Means Cleaning Your Dryer Vent Too!

When the weather turns warm is when homeowners start decluttering their homes and tending to their properties before summer is in full spring. This year, don’t just focus on packing away seasonal clothes and clearing away winter debris from the yard. While you’re completing your spring cleaning to-do list, don’t forget the dryer vent too!

Prevent Dryer Vent Fires

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are approximately 2,900 home clothes dryer fires reported each year, resulting in five deaths, 100 injuries, and approximately $35 million in property loss. A great deal of these fires (34 percent) are preventable because they are directly caused by dirty vent and dryer appliances. These fires happen most often during the fall and winter months, but can be prevented when you have the dryer vents serviced annually.

Dryer Safety

Dryer vent fires are so prevalent in modern society and result in lost lives and property loss that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has started the C-DET program. CSIA Certified Exhaust Technicians are trained in the classroom and in the field to install, clean, and maintain dryer vents so that they are safe and functional. It’s our goal at Magic Sweep to offer dryer vent and chimney services that continue to keep those in our community safe month after month, and year after year. A clean dryer can prevent a devastating fire that destroys property, creates health problems, and even results in death. Not only will regular dryer maintenance keep your dryer safer, but it will also work better in the long run.

Save Money with a Clean Dryer Vent

When a clothes dryer is manufactured, it is designed to last up to 10 years. This is unfortunately not the case in most American homes. In fact, clothes dryers often only last half that amount of time before homeowners need to replace them or have them repaired. So, what is the problem?

  • Professional Installation – Your clothes dryer should be professionally installed, including dryer vent installation. The delivery people from the store do not install the appliance. Their job is delivery and setup. In order to have the dryer professionally installed, up to code, and safe for use, you should call a C-DET professional.
  • Proper Use – Read your owner’s manual so that you understand the proper installation and maintenance standards required for your unit. You may have a warranty that requires certain services. Your owner’s manual should also explain how to empty the lint trap, clean the unit, and more. Are you sure you’re using your clothes dryer correctly? If you’re using more than one cycle to dry a moderate-sized load of clothes, you aren’t using it properly. Not only is this improper use of the dryer, but it indicates a problem with the system.
  • Professional Cleaning and Maintenance – Your clothes dryer should dry a load in one cycle. If it doesn’t, the dryer vent is likely clogged and in danger of causing a fire. Not only is it a serious fire hazard, but it also costs you money! Using your dryer two or three times more than should be necessary can shorten its lifespan and potentially double or triple your electricity costs.

Don’t hesitate to schedule dryer vent maintenance. Call Magic Sweep today at 757-523-2400. Do you have rental properties to service? We’ll handle that too!

Check Out Our Homeowner’s Guide

It’s no secret homeowners love fires—fireplaces, stoves, inserts, even fire pits, and grills outside. You may have chosen a fireplace, or you may have recently purchased a home with one. Regardless, it’s important to know and understand what you’re getting into. A fire appliance can offer many benefits, but you can avoid potential drawbacks when you know your system inside and out. In this world of fast-paced living, web-surfing, and blogrolls, it may be hard to sit down and read a manual or user guide. We have the perfect Homeowner’s Guide —a fantastic resource for any homeowner, any appliance, any climate.

It’s a lot of information—so here are some important points:

1. Getting Started

You won’t have your dream fireplace all at once, but when you start with the professionals, you can have a safe and beautiful hearth that will last and add comfort and value to your home. Browse our showroom and catalog to find the best product. Schedule a professional installation and then make sure you have all the information about your appliance (including user guides and warranty information).

2. Fuel Type

Your fireplace or appliance will only burn a certain type of fuel. Wood stoves, fireplaces, and inserts should only burn properly seasoned firewood. Gas appliances will only burn gas, and pellet appliances will only burn pellets. It’s not only the appliance, but your flue liner may also be equipped with only one fuel type. You cannot use a clay tile liner for a gas appliance. A stainless-steel liner works for all fuel types, is long-lasting, and leaves your options wide open.

3. Building a Fire

If you’re using wood, you will be building fires regularly, and there are a couple ways to build an efficient one. A popular fire-building technique among professionals is the top-down burn, in which the large fuel is on the bottom, and decreases in size until kindling and shavings are laid on top. Traditional fire-building also works well if you have adequate airflow.

4. How the Chimney Works

You may read the user guide for your specific appliance, but you will still need to understand the chimney system and how it works. Even if you have a decent fire built, if it doesn’t have enough oxygen feeding it, it will not burn. If the chimney is cold, it can be difficult to light a fire. If a cap is missing and the air is blowing in, it can also make it difficult. It’s also important to know how to troubleshoot chimney problems for yourself, before calling in the professionals.

5. Professional Services

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend routine maintenance for the safest and most efficient chimney system. Magic Sweep offers inspections and sweeps year-round, as well as a variety of installations and repairs.

We want you to feel comfortable with your fire appliance and chimney system. Magic Sweep is the #1 choice for comprehensive chimney care in the Hampton Roads and Tidewater area. If our Homeowner’s Guide doesn’t have an answer for you, our chimney and fireplace experts will.

Call today at 757-523-2400!