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Magic Sweep Blog

How to Determine the Discoloration of Your Chimney

Located at the top of your chimney, your chimney crown prevents water from rain and melted snow as well as birds and animals from entering your chimney to cause devastating and costly damage. However, because your chimney crown is constructed from mortar, it can suffer from exposure to the elements, especially since the crown sits on the very top of the chimney. When your chimney crown begins to crack, you will need to contact us at Magic Sweep to get it repaired as soon as possible to keep the cracking damage from worsening. Since it can be very difficult to know whether or not your crown is cracking without getting on your roof, signs of discoloration can let you know if there is a potential problem. We would like to share with you a couple of ways to determine the discoloration of your chimney crown.

Chimney Crown Efflorescence - Chesapeake VA

Efflorescence

A crystalline deposit of water-soluble salts, efflorescence is responsible for leaving white stains on masonry materials. If you have noticed white stains at the top of your chimney, it is most likely your chimney crown is also covered by efflorescence. More common in the winter, these deposits can be cleaned off your chimney by brushing a mixture of water and muriatic acid. Efflorescence is often seen as “new building bloom” when it occurs on new construction after the masonry dries; however, if it continues to persist, it is signaling a problem with water penetration and execessive moisture trapped within your masonry chimney. If you have noticed a white film on your chimney, contact us at Magic Sweep so that we can inspect your chimney and make any necessary repairs. The earlier water penetration symptoms are found, the less money you will have to spend on fixing damage to your masonry chimney.

Carbonate Deposits

Appearing as white or gray crusty formations running down your chimney from the top, carbonate deposits, also known as “lime run,” are also indicators that your chimney crown is cracked. What makes these look different from efflorescence is that carbonate deposits will not be crystallized at all. These deposits appear on masonry materials after water trapped within them has been brought to the surface and reacted to the carbon dioxide in the air. Just like efflorescence, carbonate deposits are signs of water leaking into your masonry chimney and should be treated immediately.

Rust

Any sort of rust stain should be seen as a symptom of a damaged chimney cap. Your chimney cap sits on top of the crown and covers the flue opening. As one of the least expensive ways to prevent water leaks of your chimney, you should call Magic Sweep to schedule an inspection of your chimney cap to see if it should be replaced.

Mold

Another sign of water penetration of your chimney, a mold stain will be dark green, blue, or black and can be fuzzy. Since mold can also be harmful to your health, action should be immediately taken to see if mold is also growing on the inside of your chimney.

Notice any discoloration of your chimney crown? Contact us at Magic Sweep to schedule an inspection of this important component of your chimney system.

Time to Clean Your Dryer Vents

Is your dryer slower and noisier than usual? Perhaps it's time to have your dryer vents cleaned. Watch out for the signs!

Is your dryer slower and noisier than usual? Perhaps it’s time to have your dryer vents cleaned. Watch out for the signs!

The first time you use something it should be at its best condition and functioning at maximum efficiency. This is true for all appliances and the dryer is one of them. When it was brand new, all you had to do was wait a couple of minutes and it would do its job in a jiffy.

However, also like other appliances, regular use also means regular maintenance. If you start to notice weird sounds during the spin cycles and it takes a longer time to dry or cannot even completely dry your clothes, your dryer vents could desperately be in need of attention. Magic Sweep Corporation will tell you what you can do to prevent this from happening and the things you can do to prolong your dryer’s life.

Dryer Problems

Every time you use your dryer, lint can enter and accumulate in the vents. Mold, dirt and rust could catch onto the lint and lead to further problems for the dryer which makes the spinning process longer and the actual drying process not happen at all. Very soon it can begin a domino effect and ultimately affect the dryer’s performance.

Did you know that there is such a thing as dryer fires? Yes, the equivalent of creosote in the chimney is lint in the dryer vent. Lint is also very flammable. In fact, there have been more house fires caused by clogged dryer vents than those started in the chimney. This is really scary especially if you have kids or old people at home. As a precaution, make sure you have a fire safety plan in case there is fire inside the home, but it would really be best if you could avoid it altogether.

The ONLY Solution

Eventually, your dryer will get destroyed if you don’t have it checked. The important thing to note here is to make sure you have your dryer vent cleaned by our CSIA-certified professionals who have undergone rigorous trainings, seminars and tests just so we can give you our very best in work ethic and performance. Once there is regular cleaning and inspection of your dryer vents there should be no doubt in any homeowner’s mind that the result is a fully-functional, effective, fast-drying dryer.

Water & Mold & Your Chimney

Mold in your Chimney

If you have ever had water damage in your home then you already know the damage mold can do. It is notoriously tenacious and can be a serious health hazard to you and your family. What most people don’t know is that your chimney can be accumulating water damage and mold without you ever knowing. Once there are signs it has already begun to take its toll.

Mold can get into your chimney in a variety of ways but the most common is water seeping into cracks in the mortar that holds the structure of your chimney together. As the chimney expands and contracts with the rise and fall in temperatures, both from the outside air and from fires being burned in your fireplace, the mortar can crack and break leaving gaps. Water can get into these gaps and begin to grow mold.

Any moisture that accumulates makes a breeding ground for mold spores. Make sure your chimney is waterproofed.

Any moisture that accumulates makes a breeding ground for mold spores. Make sure your chimney is waterproofed.

Mold reproduces by releasing spores into the air. These spores can be breathed into your lungs and cause serious health concerns from allergic reactions to irritating asthma to possible permanent lung damage. The best way to prevent mold from spreading is to stay proactive in preventing it from getting into your home. One of the most important steps you can take is to have your chimney regularly inspected and cleaned.

When a chimney sweep comes to your home and you have concerns that there is mold in the chimney the first thing they will do is inspect the chimney. This is done with a variety of techniques but it will most likely involve a camera that is fed up the chimney to examine the inside of the flue. From this vantage point the chimney sweep can see any cracks that may have formed in the interior that could contain mold. They will also inspect the outside of the chimney to check for cracks or other entrance points where moisture can accumulate. If mold is found they will take additional steps.

In order to remove any mold that may be present in your chimney the sweep will use a special type of soap that, along with water, will remove the majority of the mold. It may also be necessary to wash the area in a mix of bleach and water to destroy any remaining organic material. This should cleanse the area thoroughly. It is always important to let a professional remove mold as the process can stir up the dangerous mold spores that can get into your lungs or eyes.

In addition there are things you can look for to help identify mold. Mold is usually green, black, or white and has a distinct musty odor. If you suspect that there may be mold in your home seek professional help immediately. The longer you wait the more mold can accumulate increasing your chances of being affected by the dangerous spores. Always have your chimney inspected and cleaned on a regular basis and you will minimize the chances of having to deal with this potentially hazardous situation. That simple preventative measure will go a long way in helping you be worry free this winter while enjoying your fireplace.