We Provide Effective & Reasonably Priced Chimney Repairs All Throughout Knoxville, TN
When your chimney is in need of repair, you may have a lot of questions. Who should you call for repairs? How will you know what really needs to be done? How do you prevent damage or the need for repairs in the future?
Well, we’ll do our best to answer some of those questions for you right here.
Who Should You Call For Chimney Repairs & How Do You Know What Really Needs To Be Done?
First things first, who should you call? There are no federal regulations for the chimney industry, and many homeowners have been ripped off, cheated, scammed, or left with workmanship that’s not up to code and certainly not safe. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) is a non-profit organization that’s committed to educating and protecting homeowners for this very reason.
That’s why the CSIA developed a certification process for chimney professionals. In order to receive the certification, the chimney technician has to demonstrate extensive knowledge, pass rigorous testing, and agree to do his or her job with integrity. That’s why the CSIA is able to guarantee that homeowners are in better hands with a CSIA certified chimney professional.
So when you’re looking for someone to repair your chimney — whether you need masonry work, chimney liner repair, or chimney leak repair and prevention — the first thing you should do is check the credentials of the chimney companies you’re looking at. For your safety and satisfaction, go with a CSIA certified chimney sweep.
How Do You Know If Your Chimney Needs To Be Repaired?
Here are a few common signs that can signal problems with your chimney system:
- Bad odors. Odors in the chimney are usually caused by creosote or nesting animals. Both will need to be removed and repairs may need to be made.
- Smoke problems. Your fireplace really shouldn’t be putting smoke back into your home, so if it is, there’s a problem. There could be a flue blockage or your chimney may not be achieving proper draft. Either way, you’ll need to have the chimney looked at so a solution can be found.
- White staining on your brick. White stains on your brick signal one thing: excess water. Excess water will lead to chimney leaks and masonry damage, possibly even chimney collapse. So at the first sign of white staining, it’s important to discuss waterproofing solutions with an experienced chimney professional.
- Cracked firebox. The panels in your firebox, the area of your fireplace that holds the logs, can crack as a result of wear and tear or moisture exposure. And when this happens, repairs need to be made to prevent high heat, hot ash, and CO from getting into those cracks and causing problems.
- Rust on your chimney, chase cover, or chimney cap. You should never see rust anywhere on your chimney — not on your chase cover, not on your chimney cap, not on your flashing, and not on your chimney chase. If you do, something needs to be replaced ASAP to keep water from getting into the system.
- Flaking or deteriorating brick and mortar joints. Moisture can cause the brick of your chimney to flake (spall) or deteriorate, and the mortar joints between your brick to erode and recede. To keep your chimney standing strong and free of leaks, you’ll need to have any damaged brick and mortar joints repaired promptly.
What’s The First Step You Should Take?
Whether you have a general idea of what needs to be fixed or you’re not sure what’s going on, you just know something’s not right, the first step is to schedule a level 2 chimney inspection. A level 2 chimney inspection is superior to a level 1 or standard chimney inspection because it will give you a more thorough idea of what’s going on with your chimney.
A camera will be snaked up into your chimney to get a look at the flue liner, and the exterior of the chimney will be inspected as well. We’ll check for things like leaks, masonry damage, liner damage, missing components, improper installation, insufficient clearance from combustibles, and anything else that could potentially impact the safety or performance of your chimney and fireplace.
So it doesn’t much matter if you know exactly where the problem is, just start with a level 2 chimney inspection. We’ll find it and let you know what we recommend. And whatever you need, we’ll take care of it — from masonry repairs and chimney leak repairs to chimney relining or resurfacing.
What Causes Most Chimney Damage?
Most chimney damage is caused by one of the following things (or a combination):
- Moisture. Water is the #1 cause of chimney damage, and it’s capable of destroying the masonry and metal components of your chimney system. So every time it rains, sleets, or snows, that moisture is working against your chimney.
- Neglect. Chimneys need to be cleaned routinely, especially if creosote is present. Creosote is a highly flammable and highly corrosive substance that can cause chimney fires and wear away at liners. If the chimney is neglected and corrosive flue gases and creosote are left in the chimney season after season, a lot of damage can be done.
- Chimney fires. Contrary to what you might think, chimneys are not built to withstand the heat of a fire. In fact, if creosote ignites in the chimney and causes a chimney fire, the liner could collapse or crack in just moments, causing extensive damage.
- Severe weather. Tennessee is a great state, but we get some pretty extreme weather. This can include things like tornadoes, lightning strikes, straight line winds, heavy rain, and sleet. All of these things can do a number on your chimney’s exterior.
- Animals & birds — Without a chimney cap, animals, birds, and even bats can get into the chimney and set up shop. That doesn’t just mean furry or feathered guests keeping you up all night, it also means bugs, feces, and other unpleasant things that can cause some serious damage to your chimney.
How Can You Prevent Chimney Damage?
There are several simple things you can do to prevent chimney damage:
- Only burn well-seasoned wood. Green or wet wood will lead to a greater production of creosote, and creosote can be incredibly dangerous and damaging to your chimney.
- Schedule inspections every year, even if you don’t use your fireplace. A lot can happen in a year, and with most of your chimney system hidden from view or high above your eye line, you might not even see what’s going on until things are pretty bad. By scheduling annual inspections, you’ll find out about problems before they have time to worsen.
- Invest in a good chimney cap. Chimney caps are covers that go over the chimney top to keep water, bugs, birds, and animals out. If you don’t have a good chimney cap or yours has rusted or blown off, investing in a stainless steel cap with mesh screening can go a long way towards protecting your chimney and preventing damage.
- Waterproof your chimney. When the weather’s bad outside, you can go inside for some reprieve. But your chimney’s out in it all day, all night, all year. Temperature changes and moisture from rain, sleet, or snow can cause the masonry of your chimney to crack, flake, crumble, and leak, but waterproofing can prevent all of these things for decades.
If you live in the greater Knoxville area and you’re in need of chimney repairs or would like to talk with a professional about what needs to be done to prevent repairs, give Ashbusters Chimney Service of Knoxville a call at 865-470-6117. We’re licensed, insured, and CSIA-certified, so you can be confident we’ll take excellent care of you, your chimney, and your home. Call or request an appointment online today!
Don’t forget to visit our Chimneys Gone Wild page to see what can happen to a neglected chimney!
Our chimney and dryer services include installing a chimney cap to ensure your chimney system is protected from weather conditions and animal intrusion.