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Reasons To Invest In A Chimney Cap

A chimney cap is more than just a decorative accessory. This important chimney component protects the entire fireplace system. Without a chimney cap, fireplaces can suffer from moisture damage, animal entry, and more. Investing in a quality chimney cap can help keep the chimney and fireplace in good condition for years to come.

What is a chimney cap?

chimney with birds on topA chimney cap is a covering for the top of the chimney. It sits at the top of the chimney crown. The chimney cap is a fitted metal hood with mesh or wire sides. This allows the chimney to vent and draft properly while protecting the flue from moisture, debris, animals, and more. Chimney caps come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and metals. This allows homeowners to choose one that is both functional and decorative. Custom chimney caps can also be designed to create a unique chimney component.

Reasons to invest in a chimney cap

A quality chimney cap is an important investment. The chimney cap protects the flue and fireplace against animals, the elements, debris, and more. It is important to have a chimney cap that fits, installed correctly, and made with quality materials. The following are three reasons to invest in a chimney cap.

  1. Chimney caps help prevent leaks. Moisture is one of the most damaging forces to the interior and exterior of the chimney. Chimney caps prevent water from entering the chimney by covering the top of the flue. This keeps water from rain, and snow from entering the chimney. While bricks and mortar are designed to withstand exposure to the elements, interior fireplace components are made to withstand heat. If a chimney leak occurs, even minor amounts of water can cause major damage. Cracked clay tiles in the liner, rusty dampers, or mold and mildew growth are all symptoms of a leaky – or uncapped – chimney.
  2. Chimney caps keep animals out. For animals including birds, raccoons, squirrels, and more, the chimney is a safe, cool, enclosed space to build a nest or hide from predators. Unfortunately, animals in the chimney can be extremely damaging to the fireplace system – and even hazardous to your health. Chimney caps help keep animals out; while the mesh or wire sides of the chimney cap allow proper drafting to occur. The tiny holes also prevent even the most intrepid birds or raccoons from entering the flue. Without a chimney cap, animals can freely enter the chimney. Animals trapped in the chimney can build nests, leave behind droppings, create blockages, and even expose your family to pests and parasites.
  3. Chimney caps reduce the risk of fire. Chimney caps are sometimes known as spark arrestors; this is because the mesh or wire sides can stop stray sparks and embers from traveling out of the flue and onto the roof. Keeping stray sparks off of the roof can help reduce the risk of accidental fire to the roof or other nearby structures when the fireplace is in use.

Invest in a new chimney cap today!

A quality, well-fitting chimney cap is an important chimney component that protects the fireplace from the bottom of the firebox to the top of the flue. For more information on the importance of investing in a quality chimney cap, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today!

We Use SaverSystems to Save Your System

Chimneys are designed to withstand mother nature’s worst. Unfortunately, overexposure to the elements can cause damage – particularly when regular maintenance and upkeep are not performed. However, homeowners have a number of options when it comes to extending the life of their chimneys. At Jack Pixley Sweeps, we are proud to use SaverSystems products. These products can help extend the life of your chimney by protecting it against water damage – and may even be able to stop existing damage from getting worse too.

SaverSystems products can save your chimney!

raining outside a windowIf water has damaged the masonry of your chimney, SaverSystems products may be able to help. These waterproofing products are specially designed for use on chimney systems. Waterproofing the chimney can help prevent further damage and avoid expensive chimney repairs such as tuckpointing or chimney rebuild. Whether the bricks are beginning to crumble, the flashing has lost its seal, or the chimney crown has a crack, SaverSystems has a product to save your chimney!

  • ChimneySaver: ChimneySaver is a penetrating, waterproofing product that is made to stop water penetration and prevent further damage to the freeze-thaw process. This product provides long-term protection against water damage, forming a strong bond with both masonry and concrete. When it is applied, it can penetrate as deep as ¼ inch in most areas of the chimney.

Because traditional paints and sealants are non-permeable, painting the chimney traps any existing water inside the bricks. When this occurs, damage under the surface can continue to take place. ChimneySaver is a vapor-permeable product, meaning that while it keeps water from rain, snow, and other sources of moisture out. It also allows any trapped water in your chimney to evaporate.

  • CrownCoat: CrownCoat is a flexible, waterproof sealant that is designed to be applied to the chimney crown and chimney wash. The chimney crown is particularly vulnerable to water damage because of its location. Because it is a flat surface that seals the top of the chimney around the flue, the chimney crown is often exposed to significant amounts of water and pooling snow or rain.

For chimney crowns with minor damage or those that simply want to do preventative maintenance, CrownCoat is an easy and cost-effective way to prevent water damage. When it is applied by a chimney professional, it carries a 15-year guarantee against further water intrusion.

  • FlashSeal: Flashing is the strips of metal and plastic that seal the joint between the chimney and roof. When incorrectly installed or damaged, leaky flashing can damage the chimney and the surrounding roof, walls, and ceilings. FlashSeal is a rubber membrane that can be applied over existing flashing to create a waterproof barrier. When it is applied with reinforcement fabric, FlashSeal is guaranteed to last seven years.

Don’t let water ruin the bricks and mortar of your chimney. Instead, keep your entire system looking beautiful for years to come with SaverSystems waterproofing products. For more information about waterproofing your chimney or SaverSystems products, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today!

Should I Have My Chimney Serviced If I Don’t Use It?

Fireplaces are an extremely popular home feature. According to a report by the Hearth, Patio, & Barbecue Association, more than half of the homes in the United States have chimneys. Although many homes have a fireplace, most of them are inactive.

Many homeowners mistakenly believe that they do not need to service their chimney if they do not regularly use them. This is simply not true. Whether you use your fireplace once or 100 times per year, every chimney needs regular sweeping and inspections. These regular maintenances ensure your chimney is free from damage, deterioration, buildup, and other performance problems.

How often should I get a chimney sweeping?

sweep on roof cleaning chimneyThe Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends all chimneys – regardless of fuel source or how often they are used – swept at least once per year. The National Fire Protection Agency also advises that “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.”

Why should I have a chimney sweeping if I don’t use it?

Fireplaces that are not frequently used are in the highest risk category for undetected damage. Because they are not regularly used, homeowners may miss small performance problems that indicate the presence of a bigger chimney issue. A rarely-used fireplace may have less soot and ash to remove, but it still needs professional inspections annually to ensure it is safe to use.

What could be causing my chimney damage?

There are a number of things that can cause chimney damage – even if you do not regularly use your fireplace. The following are three common types of damage that are often seen in infrequently used fireplaces.

  • Chimney damage – Damage to the exterior masonry of a chimney can occur regardless of how much you use the fireplace. Both severe weather and normal exposure to the elements can cause wear and tear to the chimney’s bricks and mortar. Without repairs, a small crack can quickly turn into a large chunk of missing masonry.
  • Moisture – Water is extremely damaging to both the interior and exterior of a chimney system. Moisture from rain, snow, and even sprinklers can cause damage to the bricks and mortar of the chimney over time. Interior fireplace components are designed to withstand heat, not moisture. It can also rust or get damaged by water from a leaky chimney.
  • Nests and pests – Unused chimneys provide prime real estate for birds, bugs, raccoons, roof rats, and more. In addition to causing damage to the fireplace and chimney, an animal entry can expose you and your family to a variety of bacteria, pests, and parasites.

No matter how often you use your fireplace, it is important to have annual inspections to keep your chimney system – and the rest of your home – safe. For more information on annual chimney inspections or to schedule your next appointment, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today!

Critters In Your Chimney

While many of us consider summer to be our favorite season, there is one thing guaranteed to make spending time outside less enjoyable – insects. From mosquitos and flys to bees and wasps, insects can run the gamut from helpful to the environment to benign to downright malicious.

Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between friendly insects and their more malevolent counterparts. One insect that suffers from a bad reputation is the mud dauber wasp. While they are significantly less aggressive than other members of the wasp and hornet families, their penchant for building nests on the side of chimneys brings them to the attention of homeowners and chimney sweeps alike.

All about mud daubers

masonry chimney Mud dauber wasps are long, lean, yellow and black wasps that are found throughout the United States. They are named after their unique behavior around water, mud dauber wasps can often be found on the edges of ponds and puddles collecting mud to build their nests.

Mud dauber wasps are solitary and significantly less aggressive than other wasps. They rarely sting humans and are known instead for eating a variety of insects, which they collect and take back to their nests. One of their favorite types of prey is spiders, making them a natural solution to controlling outdoor pest populations.

Mud dauber nests and chimneys

Mud daubers are known to collect mud to build their unique nests. The rounded, tube-like nests of mud daubers are often found on the exteriors of buildings – and are often on the sides of chimneys. Because of this, many homeowners turn to their chimney sweeps to rid of mud dauber nests.

Whether they appear individually or in a row, mud dauber nests are always the result of a single wasp. There is no need to worry that a swarm of wasps has taken up residence on the exterior of your chimney; in fact, a mud dauber wasp can be a helpful ally in controlling the population of other insects around your home!

Removing mud dauber nests

There is little chance of a mud dauber nest damaging the underlying masonry. However, the nests should still be removed with caution. One of the easiest methods of nest removal is simply hitting it with a broom handle; the dried mud of the nest should simply fall away from the masonry. If this does not work, a small metal scraper can be used to gently remove the nest.

While small amounts of water can be used to help loosen a mud dauber nest, it is not recommended to remove the nest with a power washer. The power washer can easily knock the nest loose, but it can also damage the underlying masonry. The extreme water pressure of a power washer can cause more damage to the mortar and bricks than a mud dauber nest could.

Have more questions? Contact us today!

If you find a mud dauber building a nest on the side of your chimney, there is little cause for concern. These solitary wasps might look intimidating, but they rarely sting, help control insect populations, and have nests that do not damage the underlying masonry. For more information on mud dauber wasps and how they can affect your chimney, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today!

What Is Causing These Chimney Odors?

A musty smell coming from the fireplace. Smoky odors that come and go in warm weather. Rotting smells from the chimney that start suddenly.

What is causing my stinky chimney?woman with clothes pin on nose

Chimney odors can start suddenly or build gradually. They can come and go or be constant. No matter what they smell like or how strong they are, chimney odors are the result of a more serious chimney problem. Because of this, it is important to uncover the root cause of the chimney smell, make any necessary repairs, and keep chimney odors from coming back.

What is causing my chimney odor?

There is no one singular cause for chimney odors. Because of this, a chimney inspection by a certified chimney sweep is often needed to uncover the root cause of a stinky chimney. The type of odor it is, how strong it is, how long it has lasted, and other factors can all help a chimney sweep uncover the source of a smell.

There are three primary causes of chimney odors.

1.Animal entry

Type of odor: Sharp, sudden, rotting smell
Cause of odor: Animals in the chimney are more than a nuisance; they can cause serious damage – and serious odors! Sudden, sharp smells accompanying by crying, scurrying, or scratching from the chimney are the most common signs of animal entry. Animal droppings, dried nesting materials, or even dead animals can cause odors that overwhelm the air quality in the home. In addition, animals can introduce microorganisms, pests, and bacteria into your home; because of this, they should be professionally removed as soon as possible.

2. Creosote

Type of odor: Smoky or dirty, especially during humid weather
Cause of odor: Creosote is a naturally occurring byproduct of combustion; it is a dark, sticky substance that accumulates in the flue. When the chimney is not regularly swept or the wrong fuel source has been used, excessive creosote can build up in the flue and cause odors. Smells associated with creosote in the flue are often most noticeable during hot or humid weather.

3. Water entry

Type of odor: Damp or dank
Cause of odor: The exterior of the chimney is designed to not be affected by moisture, but interior fireplace components are not. While they are designed to withstand extremely high heat, even small amounts of moisture from a chimney leak can cause significant problems. Because chimneys are often cool and dark, water has trouble evaporating; these conditions, along with water, can cause mold or mildew growth. This can lead to damp or dank smells – and seriously impact the air quality in the house.

Get rid of your chimney odor with an inspection!

If a chimney odor is affecting the air quality in your home, don’t reach for the air freshener – call a chimney sweep! Contact the experts at Jack Pixley Sweeps today to schedule your next chimney inspection. Our chimney sweeps can help uncover the root cause of your chimney odor, repair any damage, and permanently get rid of your chimney odor.