Pozzi Chimney Sweep Blog

Identifying Flue Liner Damage

It may seem upon a simple visual inspection that your chimney is in great shape. This may tempt you to overlook having your chimney inspected by a professional this year. But, there are things to look for that indicate that you may have a problem. One of these issues is damage to your flue liner. Read on for information on how to identify if your flue liner has been damaged. Also, who to call to get quality repairs at a reasonable price.

Identifying Flue Liner Damage - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepPurpose of a Flue Liner

First off, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, “(A) flue lining in a masonry chimney is defined as “A clay, ceramic, or metal conduit installed inside of a chimney, intended to contain the combustion products, direct them to the outside atmosphere, and protect the chimney walls from heat and corrosion.” It is important that the gases from your fire are not allowed to flow back into your home. This is one reason why it is so vital that flue liner damage is detected and repaired.

Damage to the Flue Liner

There are ways to tell if your flue liner has been damaged. First, the flue liner is designed to draw the gases out of your home. When your chimney doesn’t seem to be smoking much when there is a fire in the fireplace, there’s a good chance that there is a problem with your chimney liner. That’s easy enough to check. Walk outside and see how much smoke is emitting from your chimney while a fire is burning.

Another sign that you may have problems with your flue liner? A peculiar, unpleasant odor coming from your chimney. This is likely caused by a build-up of creosote in your chimney. When you burn wood in your fireplace, especially if the fire is smoky and not as hot, creosote will build up. Creosote, as defined by corrosionpedia.com, is a gummy, very flammable material that forms when volatile gases combine and condense in your chimney. If your flue liner is damaged, the gases will not have a smooth transfer out of your chimney. Then, it is more likely that a heavy creosote buildup will occur. Not only does this leave an unpleasant smell, but even worse, this creosote buildup may lead to a chimney fire.

What to Do

If you are seeing signs that your flue liner may be damaged, it’s definitely time to call in the professionals. The technicians at Pozzi Chimney Sweep have been specially trained to inspect your chimney for damage to your flue liner, and all parts of your fireplace and chimney. Pozzi inspectors can use a “Chim-Scan” video camera to see what is happening inside your chimney. This allows us to determine what repairs need to take place to get your chimney running efficiently and effectively. An added benefit to this type of inspection is that it allows you, the homeowner, to see the damage while it is explained to you by your chimney inspector. The work they do is transparent, so you know that you aren’t being advised on work that isn’t completely necessary.

The workers at Pozzi Chimney Sweep take pride in providing you with thorough inspections and cleanings and repair work. Their years of experience and expertise will make you one happy fireplace owner. Call us today and let us have a look at your chimney system!

Effects of Winter on Your Chimney

When winter weather strikes Aurora, your chimney can experience some major issues if you are not adequately prepared. If you do not take the proper precautions, you could find yourself facing some costly repairs in the future. Getting your chimney inspected and getting some of these preventative measures completed will cost you a little right now, but will save you a lot of money in the long run when it comes to the extensive damage that could be caused by excess moisture and bad weather.Effects of Winter on Your Chimney - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweep

Moisture and Masonry

The biggest thing that you can do to protect your chimney during winter is getting it waterproofed. Water and masonry are not meant to mix and excess moisture can cause a lot of damage throughout time. The main problem you will experience is dealing with freeze/thaw process. If water gets sucked into your brick, it will cause it to expand in the winter when it freezes. It then thaws out again and sinks down, putting a lot of stress on your brick and decreasing its lifespan significantly.

On top of this, too much exposure to moisture will cause rust, cracks, water stains, and various forms of deterioration. All of these things add up to cause big problems. Your chimney will eventually either tilt, settle, or just collapse altogether. There is a lot of work involved in repairing these things and it will cost you a lot of money to get everything properly addressed, so you will want to avoid these issues at all costs.

Preventing Damage

There are many things you can do to keep water away from your chimney. Here are just some ways to prep for nasty weather conditions.

  • Add A Chimney Cap: By adding a chimney cap you are preventing all types of weather from entering you chimney and causing wear and tear. They also keep out animals and other pests that may build nests and cause blockages.
  • Waterproof: A professional will know how to properly waterproof your chimney so that moisture cannot enter the brick. Get an expert in today to ensure your masonry is safe for whatever the winter weather brings.
  • Address Damaged Mortar: Water can easily penetrate your chimney if the mortar is not in top shape. Any cracks or holes need to be addressed and fixed to ensure that water is given no opportunity to cause your chimney damage.

Whatever you decide to do, seeking a professional’s help is strongly advised. Experts know exactly what your chimney needs and how to address any needed repairs. They also know the proper techniques to use when waterproofing and preparing your chimney for any type of weather, so you can rest assured that your chimney is good to go year round. On top of all that, taking on these tasks yourself can be challenging and dangerous, especially if you are not adequately trained on the correct procedures.

Save yourself the time and hassle and give Pozzi Chimney Sweep a call today at 815-286-9922! We have everything you need to get your chimney ready for whatever comes its way.

3 Common Chimney Repairs

Look out for the three most common chimney repairs. Even if you think the repair needed is just minor, have it fixed so it won't create a bigger problem in the future.

Look out for the three most common chimney repairs. Even if you think the repair needed is just minor, have it fixed so it won’t create a bigger problem in the future.

Due to the nature of the materials used in their construction, chimney repairs are inevitable. Some repairs are more common than others, however, all repairs are important. Making minor repairs as soon as problems arise will help you prevent or at least postpone major chimney system repairs down the road.

Some parts of the system are exposed to the outside elements and are adversely affected by them, whereas other parts are exposed to the heat of your fires, which causes them to wear out. Either way you cut it, these parts will need to be repaired or replaced at one point or another.

Repointing

Your chimney is exposed to the elements on the outside and the heat from your firebox on the inside. As a result of this two-front attack, the weathering process is sped up. As such, it isn’t atypical for your mortar to begin to crumble and/or break away.

This leaves open areas between the bricks, which exposes more surface area to these weathering agents and processes. Repointing your chimney might be recommended. During this process, your chimney’s damaged, old and loose mortar is removed from the joints between the bricks and replaced with new mortar.

Chimney Crown Repair

Your chimney crown is a reinforced concrete cap placed over the top of your brick and mortar chimney. A properly constructed crown sheds water and serves as a protective covering for your chimney against harsh weather. Your chimney crown is exposed to the same elements that wreak havoc on your chimney itself.

As such, it can eventually crack or break and need to be replaced. The replacement will either be cast-in-place (a form is placed on the top of your chimney and filled with cement to the exact specifications required by your particular chimney) or precast (a prefabricated unit that is placed atop your chimney).

Flue Liner Repair/Replacement

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, problems in your chimney’s flue pose serious risks to your home and family, because it’s no longer able to safely contain and vent the harmful gases that are products of the combustion process to the outside of your home.

If your current liner was installed improperly or is beginning to crack, it is highly recommended that you have a licensed professional either repair it or install a new one altogether. It’s a critical component of your chimney system! Every functioning chimney needs a working flue liner.

Dealing with masonry repairs can be frustrating. Your chimney and fireplace play a large role in your home; when issues arise, we know you want them taken care of correctly, quickly and affordably.

The central theme here is clear: repairing minor problems in a timely manner will decrease the likelihood of them becoming major problems down the road. We encourage our customers to have annual chimney inspections and cleanings to help reduce the chances of chimney system surprises.

The expert technicians at Pozzi Chimney Sweep are dedicated to making your system look and feel like new again. If your system is in need of repair, or you need a chimney inspection to determine the cause of a problem, call us today. We are ready to help!

A Spring Checklist for Your Chimney

Give your chimney some much needed care. Don't forget to include you chimney in your spring home maintenance checklist.

Give your chimney some much needed care. Don’t forget to include you chimney in your spring home maintenance checklist.

Spring is finally here, and that means spring cleaning is on your mind. It’s time to rid your home from that dusty, winter air, and your fireplace and your chimney should not be left out. After using your fireplace all winter to warm your home from the chilling winter air, spring is the best time to schedule your annual chimney sweep and chimney inspection, and Pozzi Chimney Sweep is ready to take on your spring checklist for your chimney because you only have one step to check off: contact us today to schedule an appointment for a chimney cleaning.

When Pozzi Chimney Sweep arrives at your home for your chimney sweep and inspection, we have a spring checklist for your chimney that we follow in our modern chimney sweep with state-of-the-art tools:

  • Clean the chimney with powerful tools. We use a long-handled chimney brush and rotary cleaning rods, all powered by a cordless drill and equipped with vacuums to keep your house free from any debris or dust.
  • Video the entire cleaning process. With a “Chim-Scan” video camera attached to a rod, we can video and take still images up close of your chimney, allowing us to find problems like cracks in the mortar, creosote buildup, or broken tile. You can also see for yourself exactly what your chimney interior looks like, so you know for certain when we tell you that you have a problem.
  • Decide if your chimney needs maintenance. After cleaning and inspecting your chimney and watching the footage from the “Chim-Scan,” we then evaluate whether your chimney needs any repairs.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America lists three obvious signs that your chimney is in need of maintenance sooner than later:

  1. A strong odor. Your fireplace should not put off any smell at all, so if it does smell smoky, this means you may be having problems with your damper or issues with air ventilation.
  2. A stained-black or discolored fireplace opening. This is an obvious sign smoke is escaping through your fireplace. You need to have your venting replaced immediately before using your fireplace again.
  3. Loose bricks or cracks in the mortar. This means water is getting into your chimney and causing structural damage, leading to all kinds of nightmares. This also should be repaired immediately, as in tomorrow.

There are other things you as a homeowner can look for to see if your chimney needs repairing, so add these to the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s signs:

  • a dripping noise coming from your chimney
  • soot on your furniture or smoke in your home
  • a campfire smell coming from your chimney
  • a dead animal smell coming from your chimney
  • a powdery white substance on the bricks and mortar on the exterior of your chimney, indicating water damage.

With proper chimney maintenance, you can enjoy your fireplace inexpensively for years. The importance of an annual chimney sweeping and inspection is stressed highly by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Ignoring this step on your spring cleaning list can be dangerous. Schedule an appointment today with Pozzi Chimney Sweep, and let us handle all of your chimney maintenance this spring.