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Magic Sweep Blog

Chimney and Fireplace Mold

Water can do a number on a masonry fireplace. What happens if moisture is allowed to penetrate into the chimney system? It can cause rot, stains, malfunction, deterioration, leaks, and more. When your damp chimney and fireplace are combined with mold spores, you can’t stop the growth, the damage, or the health risks. The best way to avoid chimney and fireplace mold? Prevent it altogether.

A certified chimney sweep can help you take steps now to avoid mold in the future:

  • Clean the Chimney
    You can avoid chimney and fireplace mold by keeping the chimney system clean. Schedule a chimney sweep with a certified professional today. When the system is clean, it is far less likely to become the ideal environment for mold spores to thrive.
  • Waterproof the Chimney
    Your chimney is a mostly closed system that should be protected from moisture penetration. This is because water destroys masonry from the inside out. Your chimney sweep can make sure your chimney is adequately waterproofed by installing a chimney cap and flashing. Also, applying a waterproofing sealant.
  • Schedule an Inspection
    If there is a problem with any part of your chimney system that can allow water into your chimney, you won’t notice it until there is a major leak or substantial damage. Experts recommend annual inspections to insure homeowners that the chimney is in working order and there is no sign of mold. Neglecting your annual inspection can mean going an entire year without knowing mold is growing in your chimney system. Thus, affecting it’s performance and affecting the air quality in your home.

Mold and Your Health

You can detect mold in your chimney system due to: a musty odor, because you see it on your masonry, or because a professional notified you. If this happens, you should take steps to correct it right away. Mold can cause respiratory issues and chronic illnesses, especially in individuals who have asthma and COPD. The mold and the moisture in your chimney will also affect your chimney’s efficiency. This leads to more particulate matter released into your home, adding to respiratory issues.

What to Do About Mold in Your Chimney

Whether you just have suspicions or you were notified by a professional that you have mold in your chimney, you should take action now. Magic Sweep in Chesapeake, Virginia specializes in chimney maintenance just like this. Our technicians will not only give your chimney the standard once-over, but also treat the masonry for mold, killing it for good! Afterwards, we make recommendations for further water proofing to get your ready for another year of chimney use.

Are you worried about mold? If you smell foul, musty odors from your system, or if you have noticed a leak in your system, Magic Sweep can help you. Call 757-523-2400 today or request an appointment online.

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

Repair or Replace?

Chimney Relining and the Different Kinds of Flue Liners

The best way to prolong the life expectancy of a chimney is to make sure that the flue and the flue liner is in perfect condition. The flue is one of the most vital parts inside the chimney and, quite honestly, it could get a bit pricey to get a new flue. Any homeowner wouldn’t just squander their money without knowing why it needs to be replaced and what the options are for a new set of chimney liners. It is our job here at Magic Sweep Corporation to give you all the information we have about the flue and chimney relining. Rest-assured that you will soon have a good idea on what it’s all about and maybe even save up on a few extra bucks.

What is a Flue and a Flue Liner?

The flue liner in your chimney doesn't last forever. Depending on the damage, you may need to repair cracks or replace it altogether.

The flue liner in your chimney doesn’t last forever. Depending on the damage, you may need to repair cracks or replace it altogether.

The chimney is the place where the smoke, that comes from open combustion in the fireplaces, passes to go out into the open environment. The structure is vertical and the space inside it is called the flue. It is the part where all the unwanted smoke and air passes with the help of the flue liner.

The flue liner is the part that is attached to the walls of the flue. It’s essential because it helps channel heat, smoke and gases to the outside. It also blocks the heat from the combustion in the fireplace from starting another fire inside the chimney. This is very possible especially when there are thick layers of creosote in the chimney.

It starts to crack or crumble because either it has been used it too much, especially during winter, or there is too much air pressure. In most cases, this cannot be prevented because naturally these parts start to deteriorate over time. This is when you need to have your chimney relined before attempting to use it again.

How Do I know that I Need to Have it Fixed?

Replacing the flue liner or chimney relining is not limited to the two reasons above. Sometimes this is needed because of one of the following situations:

  • Natural calamities like earthquakes and storms
  • Accidental chimney fire
  • You have an older version of chimney which originally did not have a flue liner installed
  • Resizing because you have a new appliance
  • Too much creosote build-up inside the chimney

Once you are in any of these situations, our licensed CSIA-certified sweeps will have to do a Level II Inspection where we use a special kind of camera to see what the problem really is and why there is a need for replacing the flue liner.

Let me elaborate more on one of the situations mentioned above, the part about living in an old-fashioned home. When you live in an old home, tendencies are your chimney does not have a flue liner. Somehow, it was designed that way—to function without the flue liner. But after years of tests and experiments, having a flue liner has become a need and no longer just a want inside the chimney; sort of like a requirement. This is because of the fact that it can really help control the heat and prevent it from re-igniting a flame in the wrong place while the combustion process is happening.

Are there Different Kinds of Flue Liners?

There are three kinds of flue liners. The first one is the Clay tile liner. These liners are budget-friendly and can live up to fifty years or more. Maintaining it only needs regular cleaning. They are usually installed once a chimney is installed.

The second one is Cast-in-Place liner. These liners are cemented onto the flue and can withstand a great amount of heat and can protect itself from harmful substances. Also, due to its outstanding insulation properties, less creosote is produced. They can also live up to fifty years and need the expertise of a professional sweep to properly install it.

The last one is the Metal flue liner. These are made in stainless steel and can really protect the inside from fire. Among the three, this is the most expensive because they come in flexible and rigid forms. Big-time companies and industries say that the investment is actually worth it—to the very last cent.

Chimney relining is very important because it can protect your home and your health. Magic Sweep Corporation is more than willing to do the job for you at a very reasonable price. Call us now and we can tell you more.

 

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.