How Does a House Chimney Work?

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Traditional chimneys provide warmth and comfort to your entire family. How does a house chimney work? Built of stone or brick, a chimney has several components: firebox, flue, crown, dampers, smoke chamber, ash pit, and more. How does a chimney work?

The Dampers

When you burn wood in the fire, the smoke escapes past the dampers. Harmful gases like carbon monoxide also leaves. Close the dampers when not using the fireplace. This helps keep the room warm, even in cold weather, and even prevents critters from entering your home. Install the house chimney damper above the firebox.

Drafting

The rising heat helps keep the gases, smoke, and heat up. Drafting prevents your home from filling with harmful gases and smoke. Hot air rises. The hotter the gases the stronger the chimney draft. A chimney protects the house from the hot gases.

The Flue Liner

The flue liner helps with fire prevention. How? The flue liners will prevent overheating and makes the chimney more resistant. Typically you will install three different types of flue liners: Clay, Stainless steel or aluminum, cast-in-place.

Many homeowners have clay tiles. They resist heat but can split under intense heat. Metal flue liners have easy installation over older liners. Cast-in-place liners involve more labor and provide superior protection.

Cleaning Chimneys and Regular Maintenance

Without regular cleaning, flammable creosote builds up, causing a fire hazard. Chimney fires cause massive property damage and can cause bodily harm. Additionally, chimney leaks and damage can allow moisture into the home.

Most homeowners schedule yearly sweeping and inspections before the winter to prevent any damage. An inspection will reveal if a home needs cleaning, repair, or even replacement due to structural problems.

When you need quality masonry and chimney repair, call the experts at Cummins Restoration. We provide a wide range of masonry services. The Cummins Restoration team prides itself on superior customer service and excellent workmanship. When you need a chimney inspection or repair, you can trust our seasoned professionals. Call us today for your initial consultation.

Your Guide to Chimney Inspection

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With winter just around the corner, you need a chimney inspection. Why? Prevent fire hazards and energy loss this winter. Your chimney inspector will tell you if you need masonry chimney repair, sweeping, or a new chimney cap. In general, there are three levels of chimney inspections, each more involved than the last.

Basic Chimney Inspections

A basic chimney inspection provides guidelines and an assessment to prevent property damage or injury from fire hazards. Inspect your chimney once or twice per year. If you use your fireplace a lot, schedule a chimney inspection before use each year. When the chimney technician inspects your chimney, they will check for an operating malfunction,  and other important issues:

  • Water damage
  • Moisture
  • Cracked chimney cap
  • Damage from lightning strike
  • Operating malfunctions
  • Inspect flues
  • Fireplace
  • Check connected appliances
  • Camera inspection
  • And so much more

Why Do You Need a Chimney Inspection?

The main reason to schedule a basic chimney inspection annually is to prevent damage from fire hazards, check any malfunctions, and point out any serious issues different from the previous year’s inspection.

Thinking of buying a home with a chimney? Schedule a more in-depth inspection. You want to avoid purchasing a home that has a chimney with serious structural damage, a fire danger, or serious moisture and leaking. Sometimes that will not come up in a basic home inspection. A seasoned chimney technician will help you save thousands in damage by finding problems before you purchase a home with a problematic chimney.

Our helpful experts at Cummins Restorations will provide a wide range of affordable solutions. Whether the problem is large or small, count on Cummins to fix your chimney. Customers trust us again and again to repair their chimney with top notch masonry and repair.

Camera Inspections

Camera inspections allow you to see any serious masonry issues with your own eyes. By using state-of-the-art technology, technicians will pinpoint major problems and help you save money by dealing with issues today.

When you need the best chimney inspection and repair in the Greater Toronto Area call Cummins Restorations. Our talented team will help you with chimney repair, tuckpointing, masonry, and more. Contact us today. Schedule your first appointment with us.

What are Chimney Caps and Dampers?

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Save thousands of dollars in energy expenses and repair with quality chimney caps and dampers. Your top sealing dampers help protect your home by sealing your chimney flue. Drafts can cost a lot in energy and heating expenses. Enjoy innovative energy efficiency and the comfort of a warm, safe home. Avoid chimney damage with proper sealing and masonry construction. Learn what is masonry good practices for overall chimney maintenance.

Losing Heat?

Your fireplace is essentially a giant hole in your living room that lets in cold drafts and reduces the overall energy efficiency of your house. The fireplace and chimney allow in air from the outside. This affects overall temperature. You might have higher heating costs trying to cope with the problem. What is the best masonry solution?

The damper prevents heated air loss. Don’t worry about down drafts and cold air anymore. The chimney top damper at the top of your chimney will properly seal your chimney. A professionally sealed chimney will prevent drafts, moisture, and debris from causing serious damage. Some dampers serve double duty as a chimney cap and a damper.

The chimney cap covers the very top of your chimney. A wire mesh will prevent debris from entering your house. A cracked cap can lead to leaks and other problems. If you suspect a leak or chimney damage, call the professionals at Cummins Restoration for an inspection. You want the best chimney repair in the Greater Toronto Area. Our customers trust us to deliver quality service every single time.

In some cases, you don’t want a damper cap. For example, top sealing dampers cannot be used with pre-fabricated metal box fireplace styles. You also don’t want the dampers if you have a traditional gas log fireplace.

Don’t Worry About Weather or Pests

Your top damper will prevent moisture and harsh weather from causing structural chimney damage. Prevent air loss and heating problems. Worried about birds and pests making their home in your home? The sturdy chimney damper will stop those critters cold.

When you need to repair your chimney cap or damper, call the experts at Cummins Restoration. With decades of experience, our trusted team will fix your chimney problems the first time. Call us today.

What You Need to Know About Leaky Chimney

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How do you know if your kitchen is leaking? The brick and mortar joints of your chimney remain the most vulnerable. Why? Over time the joints can split and become damaged. Moisture slowly deteriorates your chimney over time. Leaks can cause serious structural issues to the masonry construction. In fact, you might end up having to replace the entire chimney if you don’t fix it right away! What causes a leaking chimney?

Faulty Flashing Problems

One key cause of leaky chimneys can be faulty flashing. The chimney flashing prevents debris and rain from affecting your home, negatively impacting your masonry construction. If water gets between the chimney and roof serious damage occurs. The sealant erodes. Water enters your home. Have your flashing repaired and waterproofed to prevent costly damage.

Brick and Mortar Joints

Over time the brick and mortar joints deteriorate. Water gets in. Leaks cause serious damage. The chimney loses structural integrity. Tuckpoint and waterproof your chimney to prevent long-term damage.

Cracked Crowns

Your chimney crown protects your home from unwanted moisture and debris. However, a crack often occurs due to natural shrinkage. When this happens, water goes through the cracks, causing damage. Repair or replace your cracked crown.

Condensation Woes

Sometimes condensation builds up inside your chimney. The moisture leaks through causing damage. Many times gas fireplaces have faulty liners. Moisture builds up. Prevent this problem by having your liner professionally installed.

Chimney Inspections

Have your chimney inspected at least twice a year. If you use the fireplace heavily, you may need additional inspections if you sense there is a problem. An inspection before the fall will ensure that your family can use the fireplace safely this winter. Our professional inspection team at Cummins Restoration will find out exactly why your chimney leaks. We offer a wide range of affordable solutions for every chimney problem. Trust Cummins Restoration to stop your leaky chimney.

Enjoy the comfort and warmth of your fireplace safely this year. Call Cummins Restoration for the best chimney repair in the Greater Toronto Area. If you want decades of professional masonry experience and the best in tuckpointing and chimney repair, call us today. Our friendly staff will be happy to answer your important questions. Contact us now.

How to Repair Chimney Cracks

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Your chimney and fireplace provide your home with warmth and much-needed comfort. Whether enjoying the family around the cozy fire during the winter or simply heating your home during the cold winter months, you rely on your chimney to provide comfort and safety. Regular maintenance will protect your property and family. Yearly chimney repair and masonry will ensure that your family will enjoy your home for decades to come.

Chimney Cracks

Over time your chimney experiences harsh weather, moisture, precipitation, and high winds. This continues wear leads to damage. When the chimney’s walls crack you may experience damaged mortar joints, structural integrity loss, and spalling. Often the constant freezing and thawing of water over the winter leads to these issues. After several years, mortar might wash out, crack, and flake off. Avoid these problems with chimney repair and masonry.

Inspections

The first step to dealing with chimney cracks is setting up an inspection. A professional inspector will be able to tell you what you need to repair your chimney. Minor problems may need just tuckpointing and minor repair. During the professional inspection, the inspector will look over all chimney components, including the fireplace and the chimney cap.

Tuckpointing and Stone Chimney Crack Repair

Smaller cracks will be repaired with tuckpointing. Tuckpointing involves replacing failed mortar joints with fresh mortar. The mason may use chisel and hammer and other tools to repair the problem. After cleaning the area they may fill in any cracks with caulk or bonding materials. They might remove broken stones or bricks first.

Professional Masonry

While smaller jobs might be able to be done by the homeowner, most chimney repair work should be done by a professional. Why? Unless you have been trained in masonry repair, it is easy to miss the cause behind the cracks. A quick tuckpointing may take care of aesthetic issues, but the initial problem remains. A professional inspection will help you see how to prevent future damage. If you inspect your chimney each year, you will be able to avoid costly problems in the long-term, especially if you have a newer chimney. Regular maintenance is key.

Prevention

Once you have repaired your damaged chimney, you should waterproof the chimney. Repair and replace the chimney crown, the flashing, and install a chimney cap. All of these steps will prevent further damage in the future. Look out for problem areas like vines crawling around the chimney, which might cause excess damage over time.

Call the masonry specialists at Cummins Restoration for an inspection today. We will help you diagnose what is wrong with your chimney. We offer quality repair and chimney replacement. Cummins Restoration prides ourselves on our excellent customer service and expertise. Our technicians provide the best masonry repair in the region. Contact us today for your first consultation.

How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Fireplace?

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Over time your chimney will require regular maintenance and repair to prevent long-term issues. Most residential chimney repair results from simple cracks. Moisture leaks into the chimney, causing damage to the home. Additionally, smoke and fumes may enter the home, causing a possible fire hazard. Regular maintenance and repair will ensure that you and your family will enjoy your fireplace for main years to come.

Basic Costs

Many factors affect the total cost to fix a fireplace and chimney. The size of the home, amount of damage, and other factors like structural damage or moisture all contribute to the final cost. You have many factors to consider when estimating the residential chimney repair cost. Here are some common repairs and their estimates.

  • Basic Brick and Mortar Repair – If you have issues with moisture and cracks, you will need chimney repair. The mortar joints contract and expand. This may lead to fire hazards and carbon monoxide problems. The cost for basic repair can be as little as a few hundred dollars and go up to a few thousand dollars for more serious issues.
  • Moisture Damage – Over time, small problems like a crack can lead to moisture entering through the seals and flashing. This leads to rusty dampers. Expect to pay hundreds of dollars to repair water damage.
  • Chimney Replacement – In the worst scenarios, you will need to replace your entire chimney. This happens when your chimney has too much structural damage for a basic repair. Expect to pay thousands of dollars for a full chimney demolition and repair.
  • Crown Repair – Your chimney crown has several functions like keeping birds out of your chimney and preventing precipitation from entering your home. Cold harsh climates can wreak damage on your chimney as the water expands and freezes. A chimney crown repair costs several hundred dollars.

Maintain Your Chimney

At the end of the day, the best way to prevent costlier repair is through regular chimney maintenance and repair. Contact Cummins Restoration for an inspection and consultation. Our experienced staff will be happy to help you. Trust our talented professionals for all your chimney and fireplace repairs. We offer a wide range of services like parging, tuck-point, chimney replacement, and crown repair. Contact us today.

5 Different Types of Chimneys

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Your chimney keeps your family warm and comfortable throughout the winter months. The house chimney also adds aesthetic beauty and home value to your home. Install a quality chimney with durable materials to keep your family safe. There are several key types of chimneys, each serving a different function. Your chimney pulls unwanted gases and smoke from your home and ensures proper airflow in your home.

Masonry Chimney

A masonry chimney usually includes masonry fireplaces. The contractors build them using cement, mortar, blocks, stone, and bricks. The standard house chimney allows the smoke to go through the channel and out of the home. The bricks absorb heat, keeping the home warm. Masonry chimneys last for decades with regular maintenance and care.

Metal Construction

Metal chimneys do not have the same elegant looks as traditional masonry chimneys. They can be triple walled or double walled. They sometimes cost more than traditional chimneys. The extra insulation helps dissipate the heat.

Prefabricated Chimneys and Fireplaces

In contemporary modern construction, prefabricated chimneys are a new trend. Complete with elegant fireplaces and custom design, factory-built chimneys have more style options. Prefabricated chimneys and fireplaces often come as a set. If you have a fireplace that does not match the factory-made chimney, you may need another option. These types of chimneys and fireplaces do not last as long as traditional chimneys. They require more repair and replacement over time. There are a few different types of manufactured chimneys:

  • Double Walled Chimneys
  • Air-Insulated Chimneys
  • Combination Chimneys
  • Air-Cooled Chimneys

Fireplace Insert Chimney Styles

The insert chimney has a special insert. They are often fit to open masonry fireplaces. They can be used with wood stoves. They can be installed with a masonry fireplace, then connected to the flue.

Freestanding Stove Chimneys and Wood Stove Chimneys

Another popular option involves installing a freestanding stove chimney. They can be built with masonry or pre-fabricated. Wood burning stove chimneys have a rich old tradition spanning over a century.

Speak with the experienced professionals at Cummins Restoration about the ideal chimney type for your home. We are the premier chimney repair and installer in the region. We offer a wide variety of services from chimney replacement and repair to tuckpointing. Set up an in-home consultation with our friendly staff. Contact us today. We will be happy to help you.

How Your Chimney Works

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Every homeowner should understand the scientific basics of how your chimney works. Reduce chimney repair cost by maintaining your chimney over time. Learn how to diagnose problems with your chimney that may require professional repair. Save money with a more efficient chimney.

Your House Works Together as a Complete System

Your home has constant airflow. Wind loading, stack effect, furnaces, and fireplaces all contribute to changes in the home’s overall airflow. Modern homes from the last two decades have much tighter airflow. Older homes often suffer from drafts and inefficiency overall. Your chimney repair cost will be affected by numerous factors including the age of your home, the structural integrity of your chimney, and the overall airflow in your home.

The stack effect refers to warm air rising to the upper levels of your home. The air attempts to escape your home from the upper levels. Meanwhile, new air pushes its way inside your home on the lower levels. The Natural Pressure Plane (NPP) is the point where the indoor-to-outdoor air pressure is essentially zero. Each home has at least one NPP, and possibly more. Factors like a home with two chimneys can result in smoke in the home because of changes in the air flow.

Wind-loading occurs when wind causes additional air pressure by striking the home. Open windows and doors will help pressurize the house. Backdrafting may result if windows are open on the leeward (downwind) side of the home. Other devices like kitchen fans, bathroom fans, and central vacuums will affect depressurization, as well. Furnaces, fireplaces, woodstoves, and water heaters require large volumes of air. Innovative mechanical devices will help manage air flow.

Your chimney is considered a negative pressure system. In other words, your chimney pulls air through a firebox, creating a draft. Poor chimney flow can result in your home being full of smoke, structural damage, or dangerous creosote build-up. There are a number of reasons why your chimney does not function properly:

  • Creosote deposits
  • Plugged and closed dampers
  • Structural damage
  • Improper construction
  • Dirty or damaged chimney cap

Think of a dirty chimney cap like a water hose plugged at the end. The water builds up. In the same way, a damaged chimney will prevent airflow through the chimney and out of your home. A professional inspection will help determine if your chimney is functioning correctly.

Regular maintenance and cleaning help maintain your chimney and fireplace. Call the experts at Cummins Restoration about your chimney repair needs today. Our friendly staff will be happy to answer all of your questions. Please set up your consultation now.

Chimney Sweep and Cleaning 101

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Why should you get your chimney cleaned? Chimney cleaning removes dangerous built-up creosote, blockages, and soot from your chimney. Eliminate any hazards with a professional cleaning. Creosote can cause volatile house fires when left alone. If you have poor burning practices, use the chimney often, or have a stove not working well, creosote can increase. Creosote builds up over time and reduces the efficacy of the chimney overall

What Should I Do?

Before you clean your chimney be sure to regularly maintain your chimney and have an inspection at least once a year. A professional inspection should be twice a year if you use the chimney more often. Ideally have the chimney inspected before the winter.

What is Done During a Chimney Sweep?

The chimney sweep cleans the entire chimney. This includes the flue pipes, fireplaces, and smoke ducts. They remove creosote, debris, and any critters that may have nested in your chimney.

How Do I Know I Need to Hire a Chimney Sweep?

You will have a few indicates that your chimney needs sweeping. First, be sure to have inspection if you have not had one yet this year. You will see that you have poorly burning fires and less efficiency. You might smell strong odors or notice greasy black soot buildup. The smoke may enter the home instead of going up the chimney. In the case of invading birds and animals, you may hear animals sounds in the walls.

How Long Does It Take to Sweep a Chimney?

A professional chimney sweep can clean a chimney in less than an hour. They will look over the chimney and maybe check out your water heater or furnace. The chimney sweep will be happy to answer any questions you have about chimney safety overall. In most cases, you need a professional to clean your chimney. If you do not remember the last time the chimney was cleaned, you need to have a professional clean it out.

Call Cummins Restoration today. We provide the best chimney inspection services in the region. Our trusted staff will be happy to answer your questions. Schedule your appointment today.

5 Common Reasons Your Chimney Leaks

Additional moisture in your chimney can cause irreversible damage. Roof leaks at the base of a chimney can cause structural problems for years to come. There are many reasons for chimney leaks. You may need chimney repair for flashing that is worn, tuckpointing, or chimney replacement. What are some of the most common causes for chimney leaking?

Old Flashing

The flashing provides a waterproof seal between the chimney and the roof. However, this area can be susceptible to moisture and deterioration over time. The materials have less durability. Chimney repair for flashing that has damage will prevent significant structural damage over time.

No Chimney Cap

Your chimney needs a functional chimney cap. This prevents unnecessary moisture from entering the chimney. The chimney cap protects against rain, snow, and even little critters that want to make a home in your chimney.

Mortar Problems

Chimney mortar lasts about twenty years. The bricks last for a century. This means that mortar will deteriorate well before the bricks. Freezing and thawing during the winter can cause serious problems. Deteriorating mortar can cause a chimney to lean or fail entirely.

Crown Issues

A cracked crown lets in water between the flue lining and the chimney. This will cause issues to walls and ceilings of your home. An annual chimney inspection will help you find these common issues before they cause expensive damage to your home.

Regular Maintenance

Your home needs a chimney inspection at least twice a year. Usually schedule the inspection before the winter months, when the chimney will be in use the most. Cummins Restoration can provide a detailed assessment to determine what repairs your chimney needs. Don’t wait until the chimney is beyond repair. The longer you wait the costlier the repairs may be.

Trust Cummins Restoration to repair your chimney. Our family business provides the best masonry and chimney repair in the region. Call us today.