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Magic Sweep Blog

Add a Chimney Cap or Damper

Winter is the best time to have a fireplace. It’s the perfect time to enjoy a crackling fire on those cool evenings, this helps to save money on heating costs. Another plus is you get to enjoy the ambiance of a natural fire for the holidays. In order to get the most out of your fireplace and chimney all winter long, you need to take steps to prevent any issues that may arise.

Prevent Winter Damage

pretty chimney capThe worst thing that can happen to any chimney is water damage. When water invades your chimney system, it can cause lots of problems such as rust, deterioration, stains, mold, mildew, and structural issues. These can all cost lot of time and money to repair or restore. Water damages that occur during the winter is the worst, the damage happens fast and cause more severe damages.

This is due to the freeze/thaw cycle that occurs in the winter. First, a small amount of water fills a small crack or gap. As temperatures drop, the water freezes and expands. While it expands, it breaks apart the masonry. When the chimney warms up, the water thaws and moves further into the damaged masonry. This process repeats throughout the winter season, which can cause serious damage by the end of burn season to your chimney.

Protect Your Chimney With a Cap or Damper

You can protect your chimney from the top to the bottom by adding a chimney cap or top mount damper. Not only is a cap essential for preventing precipitation, wind, and debris from entering the flue, but it also keeps animals out all year-round.

  • Chimney Caps – Every flue need a cap. The metal mesh prevents small animals and debris from falling into the flue opening. It is topped with a metal roof, which helps water fall off and onto the chimney crown below. Many homeowners choose caps to match their home in style. You can find copper and stainless steel caps, which are durable and efficient.
  • Top Mount Dampers – They are often called energy saving dampers, and they are installed at the top of the chimney instead of the throat. They are more efficient than throat dampers, since they can double as a cap when open, and provide an airtight seal when closed. When the fireplace isn’t in use, the damper can be closed to save you up to three times in utility bill. Heated air and conditioned air won’t be able to escape. They also look just like a cap, and they are just as stylish and durable as a cap too!

Let Magic Sweep Handle Your Install

With help our experts at Magic Sweep, you can have a new cap or damper installed in no time, and according to code. We only install the best caps and dampers on the market, and we provide the best services to the Hampton Roads and Tidewater area. Call 757-523-2400 or request an appointment online today.

How to Keep Birds Out of Your Chimney

With spring weather in full swing the likelihood of your chimney being made a habitat for small wildlife is high, especially if they have an open door—or flue.

The Chimney Cap

The Humane Society of the United States recommends a stainless steel chimney cap with wire mesh as the absolute best solution to keep these visitors from entering your chimney. It is not acceptable or humane to use fire, heat, or smoke to drive out wildlife from the chimney, especially birds who have most likely built a nest and may be raising young.

The cap is the first defense against critters that can find their way into a chimney. You might have a chimney cap, but even a minor tear in the screen can allow small birds to slip inside and nest. A chimney cap should be in good condition. A shifted or damaged cap can allow water and animals inside. Not only can animals leave flammable nesting materials in the flue, but they can also suffocate and die, resulting in foul odors and air flow blockage.

The Damper

The cap should keep birds and small critters from entering your flue. But if the cap shifts or becomes damaged, you might notice an animal in the flue before you notice the damaged cap. There is still a chance you can keep the bird out of your house. Keeping your damper closed will definitely deter even the smallest bird from getting into your home. The bird may exit the chimney the way it entered, but whether or not it escapes, you should call a professional.

The Certified Chimney Sweep

Only a professional can remove animals from a closed unit like a chimney flue. Even if the bird escapes, it’s nest and other debris may be left behind becoming a serious fire hazard. If other small animals were in the chimney and escaped, they most likely left behind scratches in the flue liner. This can lead to weaknesses and deteriorations. It’s best to have a certified chimney sweep look over the entire system. They will make sure the animal is gone and there is no trace left that can complicate the chimney system.

Spring is the Time for Chimney Maintenance

The Humane Society of the United States recommends that only professionals remove wildlife from chimneys. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends that only professionals perform chimney services. In addition, certain chimney services should be made annual. Regular chimney sweeps make sure your system is clean and efficient. Annual inspections make sure that the system is in top shape. Having your chimney inspected in the spring is the best way to prevent spring damage caused by rainy weather and nesting animals.

Magic Sweep offers these spring services and more. Our chimney experts will make sure your system isn’t just animal proof, but also waterproof! Call magic Sweep today at 757-828-0404.

Spring Showers & Leaky Chimneys

Spring is here, and everyone is happy to see the flowers blooming, to hear the birds singing, and to enjoy warmer weather. However, spring also brings the Chesapeake Bay area a lot of rain, and you could end up with a leaky chimney. You are at a bigger risk for chimney leaks if your chimney suffered from spalling damage during the winter. If you have noticed cracked, chipped, loose, or missing bricks and mortar joints on the exterior of your chimney, this is spalling damage, which can lead to more water damage if left unrepaired. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) tells us that water is so destructive that it is the worst enemy of masonry chimneys. Magic Sweep specializes in leaky chimneys, and our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps know how to locate and repair leaks as well as how to prevent leaks from happening in the future. We would like to tell you about the most common sources of chimney leaks and how we can stop and prevent them.

FLASHING

One of the main areas where chimney leaks occur is the area where your chimney meets the roof. To protect this area, you need a custom-fitted flashing system that will provide a watertight seal of your chimney. Magic Sweep can install flashing by wrapping metal sheets around your chimney where it meets the roof, and you can trust us to take precise measurements to be able to keep the flashing from bending, as this gives water an opening to enter the chimney. We can also repair damaged flashing systems to restore the seal to prevent water from getting into the chimney at the roof.

CHIMNEY CAP

Spring Showers and Leaky Chimneys - Chesapeake VA - Magic SweepYou need a good-quality chimney cap installed at the very top of your chimney to prevent water from entering the chimney. Not only does a cap keep water out, but it also protects your chimney from getting invaded by birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other wild animals. If your chimney cap is damaged or missing, your chimney is unprotected from water penetration. Magic Sweep sells and installs chimney caps, and we can help you find the best cap for your chimney and be sure it fits correctly on the top of the chimney.

WATERPROOFING

The bricks and mortar of your chimney absorb water naturally, and the water that gets trapped inside freezes and thaws throughout the winter to cause spalling damage, which leads to water leaks in the spring and summer. Magic Sweep can create a barrier against water penetration by applying a 100% vapor permeable waterproofing treatment on your entire exterior chimney. This investment is one of the best preventive measures against water leaks. Since our waterproofing service comes with a 10-year warranty, your chimney will be protected for a decade.

Protect your chimney from spring showers! Contact Magic Sweep today to schedule a chimney leak inspection to keep your chimney safe from water penetration.

Are You Prepared for the Arrival of Chimney Swifts?

Spring is here, and this new season brings us many things, like flowers blooming, grass growing, and birds returning from their winter homes in South America. If you have had trouble with a family of birds taking up residence in your chimney, they may be back this spring, and you could be stuck with them until the fall if they are migratory birds, such as chimney swifts. These birds are protected by federal law by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which means it is illegal to remove them from their nests, even if it is inside your chimney. Although chimney swifts will leave your chimney on their own in the fall, you may not want to share your home with loud, tweeting birds. How do you prepare for the arrival of these birds? Magic Sweep would like to tell you more about chimney swifts and the best way of keeping them from getting into your chimney to nest.

Are you prepared for the arrival of Chimney Swifts - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep

What are chimney swifts?

Migratory birds with cigar-shaped bodies, chimney swifts like to nest in tall, hollow trees. In the past 25 years, construction has caused many of these trees to be cut down, so these birds are now nesting in chimneys. While these birds are helpful by eating hundreds of flying insects every day, they are most often unwelcome houseguests for the entire spring and summer seasons because it is against the law to have them removed from their nests, which could be fire hazards after they leave them behind in the fall.

How do chimney swifts build nests inside my chimney?

Small cup-like structures, the nests of chimney swifts are made up of small twigs that the birds attach to chimney walls with their saliva, according to The Humane Society of the United States. If you do have chimney swifts living in your chimney, Magic Sweep can remove the nests after they leave in the fall to reduce your risk of a chimney fire or a flue blockage. However, if you have a metal chimney, the chimney swifts can easily become trapped as they cannot grip the slippery metal walls.

How can I keep chimney swifts from getting into my chimney?

Magic Sweep agrees with The Humane Society of the United States that the best way of keeping these birds from getting into your chimney to nest is to install a chimney cap with mesh metal sides on top of your chimney. These mesh sides prevent the birds from entering inside your chimney to nest for the spring and summer months. You will not have to worry about sharing your home with a family of birds with a good-quality chimney cap on top of your chimney.

Are you prepared for the arrival of chimney swifts this spring? Contact us at Magic Sweep to learn how we can help you be ready by installing a chimney cap on top of your chimney.

5 Reasons to Have Your Chimney Inspected

We’ve talked many times about the importance of chimney inspections. This infographic shows you those reasons. Don’t let an unmaintained chimney cause severe damage to your home!

5 Reasons for Chimney Inspections - Chesapeake VA