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Magic Sweep Blog

Where Have the Birds Gone?

This spring you might have had a visitor or two in your chimney. The best indicator that you have had birds in your chimney is the chirping and chattering taking place in your flue. You might not be able to see them, but you’ll hear them. Usually, when you find animals in your chimney, you can call a certified chimney sweep to have them removed. This is not the case with chimney swifts. Chimney swifts, are federally protected and cannot be removed or harmed while nesting.

Chimney Swifts Love Chimneys

Chimney swifts historically nested in hollow trees across the US. As the trees were cut down and land was developed, these birds had no place to go. They found an alternative in similarly shaped hollow towers that are plentiful in North America–chimneys! Chimney swifts are prominent in the Hampton Roads/Tidewater area, and some homeowners are surprised to find them in the spring. Others plan for their arrival each year, because if a mating pair nests in your chimney, they will be back. The only way to stop them is to install a proper cap that will keep them out.

Schedule a Chimney Sweep Now

If you have had chimney swifts nesting in your flue this spring and summer, they should be gone now, and left a mess for you to clean up. Nesting materials, feathers, droppings, and other debris is probably still in your chimney, and it’s all flammable. In order for your chimney system to be safe and efficient, it needs to be clean and functional.

When you schedule a chimney sweep with Magic Sweep, you can rest assured your chimney will be cleaned of debris, soot, creosote, and ash. Our technicians come into the home and leave everything just as it was upon arrival. With a special vacuuming system, brushes and tools, we will also leave your chimney flue clean and safe for your winter fire!

Prevent Animal Intrusion

You can avoid nesting chimney swifts by installing a cap at the top of your chimney. A cap should have a mesh portion that keeps animals of even the smallest species from getting in. Environmentally-conscious homeowners can even choose to support chimney swift conservation by building a chimney swift tower. In some communities, neighbors can band together to build structures to help maintain the chimney swift population, while protecting chimneys.

At Magic Sweep, we want what’s best for the environment, but our first priority is the safety of our customers. If you let chimney swifts into your chimney flue accidentally, or on purpose, it is important that it is cleaned before your first fire. Call Magic Sweep today for a chimney sweep. If you want to prevent their arrival next year, schedule an inspection to ensure they cannot penetrate the system.

Schedule an appointment today by calling 757-523-2400 or schedule online.

Chimney Liner Repair

The Key to Chimney Performance: The Liner

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.

Get Your Chimney Swept Before Winter Hits

Winter is knocking at our door. Temperatures are dropping more and more each evening. So, you can be sure you’ll need to light up your fireplace pretty soon! It’s important to make sure your chimney is in working order before burning season. This will avoid extra costs and headaches. Preventative measures, like chimney sweeps, keep your chimney working efficiently and safely for your family and your home.

Get Your Chimney Swept Before Winter Hits - Chesapeake VA - Magic SweepThe Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends regular chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections for optimum use and safety. It’s best to have your chimney swept before the season begins. This is to be sure that you don’t have any dangerous debris or creosote in your chimney flue. When your flue has creosote buildup it can become a fire hazard, and not only because glazed creosote is highly flammable. Also, because roughness on the walls make sit easier for soot and creosote to settle there.

What to Expect

When you choose a Magic Sweep chimney sweep, you can count on a professional experience every time. Our technicians are CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps® (CCS) and are experts at chimney services. All chimneys, all sizes, shapes, and fuel types.

Magic Sweep first puts down drop cloths to protect your floors. Afterwards, we cover the work space with a state-of-the-art HEPA filtered vacuum system. This is in order to keep the soot and dust from escaping into your home. Our technicians use specialized tools and brushes to clean the walls of the firebox. This is the space in which the fire burns, and then we move onto the flue. In order to access the flue and clean it thoroughly, we reach into the flue with poles, brushes, and scrapers from the room. All of the debris falls into the bottom of the chimney and is removed during the final vacuum cleaning.

Our expert chimney professionals leave your home just as we found it, except your chimney will be clean!

You’ll be Glad you Scheduled Your Chimney Sweep Now

When you schedule a chimney sweep with a Magic Sweep,  you can trust that the job is done right. Our technicians clean the chimney top to bottom. We are also happy to offer expert advice, making us available to answer questions or concerns you might have regarding your chimney system.

If you’d like to experience the Magic Sweep magic, you can contact an expert chimney technician now. Simply call 757-828-0404 or request an appointment online. You won’t be disappointed!

Make Your Chimney Repairs Before Winter

Summer is the best time to schedule your chimney services, because it’s considered the industry’s off-season. This means your favorite chimney sweep companies are more available for routine maintenance like chimney sweeps and inspections. Scheduling chimney sweeps and inspections in the spring and summer allows the chimney sweep time to make necessary repairs before burn season. Understandably, families become busy during the summer months. Consequently, the chimney will get overlooked until the weather begins to change.

Make Your Chimney Repairs Before Winter - Chesapeake VA - Magic Sweep CorporationCold Weather and Chimney Appointments

To make repairs to your chimney system, your chimney sweep company will require you to discontinue use of the system for at least 24 hours prior to the appointment. If this occurs during cold months, and your wood stove or fireplace is your primary heat source, you will need to temporarily install electric heaters. You may even have to arrange to stay somewhere else. Then, depending on the type of repair or extent of the damage, your chimney system may be out of use for at least a day, maybe more.

Don’t wait to make chimney repairs until cold weather hits! Many homeowners are tempted to put off the repairs until spring to avoid the cost and hassle of the repair. This is not recommended.

Your Damaged Chimney

If your chimney needs to be repaired, the repairs MUST be completed before burn season. It is never a good idea to use your chimney system when there is even minor damage. This is because it can quickly become a dangerous risk.

If you have cracks in your chimney crown, masonry, or chimney cap it may not seem like a big deal. However, even a drop of moisture entering the chimney on a regular basis is enough to rust parts like the damper assembly. The damper can stop working without your knowledge. The fire can rise up the chimney at unsafe temperatures. This ignites the highly flammable creosote on the walls of the flue liner. Because of a small crack that could have been easily sealed by a certified chimney sweep, or a damaged or missing part that could have been easily replaced, you can experience a flue fire. The headache is not worth it. After a flue fire your homeowners insurance will require repairs and inspection before they continue coverage. This adds stress to an already stressful situation.

Water and Your Masonry

Water in the chimney can cause a host of problems for your whole system, especially during winter. The freeze/thaw cycle of even a drop of water in the chimney can cause extensive damage to the masonry. When the chimney cools the water freezes and expands, causing the existing crack to grow larger. When that same water thaws because someone lights a fire in the furnace, the water falls further into the damaged masonry. The cycle persists until the mortar and bricks begin falling from the chimney due to these deep cracks and water penetration.

You can avoid the added risk of burning a fire in a damaged chimney by scheduling your repairs before burning season! There is still time for a Magic Sweep to diagnose and treat your chimney problems. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call Magic Sweep at 757-828-0404 today or schedule an appointment online.

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