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.

Top 20 Things to Immediately Do to Your Chimney this Winter

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Don’t wait on protecting your family. This winter takes the time to check your home, from the basement to chimney, from windows to concrete block masonry workmanship. Follow this essential chimney safety checklist.

The Ultimate Chimney Safety Checklist

Take the time to protect your family by going through this safety checklist, especially for old chimneys. If you find that your chimney needs chimney crown repair, a cleaning, inspection, or replacement, please call the professionals at Cummins Restoration right away. Our talented team does a wide variety of chimney repair and concrete block masonry workmanship. Your family deserves to be safe.

  1. Have your chimney inspected at least once or twice a year
  2. Inspect your chimney and have it serviced before the winter or extended use
  3. Check for any settling or cracks at the foundation
  4. Check for masonry wear or evidence that the chimney has moved away from the house
  5. Look at the base of the chimney to see that the firebox rests on the thick reinforced masonry
  6. Check for any excessive leaning
  7. Check to see if your chimney is three inches higher than the roof surface. A short chimney may spew sparks and cause a fire hazard
  8. Inspect exterior chimneys for weathering
  9. Check to see if the chimney is lined properly
  10. See if there are any obstructions and if the chimney is clear of debris
  11. Check the flue for pipes, TV cables, electrical wires, and other service cables that may have been run along the chimney
  12. Check for masonry holes and cheaply done repairs
  13. Does your chimney have a cleanout door? These help with maintenance. Older chimneys may not have these
  14. Clear out the chimney door
  15. Check the flue for the damper and check its operation
  16. You need a minimum of two inches between the fireplace opening and the trim, mantel, and flammable materials
  17. Check for two inch clearance between the wall and ceiling framing and the flue masonry
  18. Check the chimney cap for damage and cracks
  19. Use a knife to see if the mortar has deteriorated
  20. Check the interior mortar joints

A Professional Inspection

Do you need help inspecting your chimney? Call our incredible team at Cummins Restoration. We pride ourselves on superior workmanship. With decades of experience, we will provide you with the chimney repair you deserve. Contact us today.

Common Chimney Complaints

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Your chimney requires regular maintenance and inspection to prevent fire damage and structural problems for your home. Some common issues that require chimney repair and masonry include brickwork problems, chimney obstruction, creosote, and replacing a cracked crown. Let’s talk about some of the most common chimney complaints you may encounter.

The Chimney Crown

Your chimney top has a chimney crown or a chimney cap. This protects your home from precipitation, birds, small animals, and any leaves. If you do not upkeep your chimney, over time structural damage may result. This requires extensive chimney repair and masonry, especially if the entire chimney must be replaced. Because of this, be sure that your chimney crown is intact.

Creosote

Smoke goes up the chimney. The smoke deposits flammable creosote in the flue lining. A dirty chimney results in possible fire damage. Have your chimney inspected annually for hazardous creosote buildup. You need to have your chimney checked regularly for creosote. Sometimes a simple chimney cleaning can address the issues. Contact us about our cleaning services.

Brickwork Issues

Sometimes your chimney has cracked and broken bricks due to aging or moisture. Tuckpointing removes damaged mortar. The new mortar gives additional stability and protection to the chimney. Your main concern will always prevent moisture from damaging your chimney.

Cracks in the Flue

If the moisture and creosote combine, the lining can deteriorate. Always make sure that any wood-burning system is safe. An annual inspection before the winter months will ensure that your home is safe. The professional will make recommendations regarding cracks in the flue, creosote buildup, and structural damage. You want to address the flue. The chimney lining has undue stress and can have much damage over time.

Cummins Restoration provides professional detail and care for your home. Contact us today about scheduling an inspection of your chimney. We provide extensive tuckpointing, masonry, and chimney replacement services. Keep your family safe this winter. Contact us today.  

4 Reasons Why Chimneys Leak

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A chimney leak causes immeasurable damage to your home. Between the chimney repair cost and possible damage to your home, identifying the causes of your chimney leak can save you thousands of dollars. What are some of the top causes of chimney leaks?

Precipitation

This might seem simple, but rain will cause considerable headaches if not kept in check. You need a cover to reduce chimney repair costs from a damaged chimney. A cover makes sense. The cover will keep out critters, debris, and water. An uncovered flue can cause water problems. Additionally, you want to make sure the chimney doesn’t have a block that can cause dangerous CO poisoning. Regular inspections will identify any chimney issues.

Cracked Crown

A cracked chimney crown allows snow and rain to come into the chimney. They can crack from shifts in the chimney, structural damage, and shrinkage over time. Precipitation can result in structural damage and mold. You want to protect your home. You may need a new crown for your chimney.

Leaking Bricks

Just like a cracked chimney allows in precipitation, leaking bricks do the same. In very cold climates, the constant freezing and thawing cause considerable damage. This causes leaks in your home. Waterproofing material may help, but using the wrong waterproofing materials may lead to more damage.

Other Leaks

Sometimes your chimney leak actually originates somewhere else. Maybe you have a roof leak in your attic or one of your roof tiles has flown off. Water sometimes makes it way to your chimney through small cracks or the trusses. How can you know where the leak originates? This is precisely why you need a professional to inspect your chimney and identify any potential problems.

Contact our trusted experienced staff today. We can help you with chimney inspection, repair, and full chimney replacement. Call us now.

Can Rain Get in My Chimney?

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Worried about rain getting in your chimney? Minimize expensive long-term damage. Your chimney repair cost for maintenance ensures that you enjoy your chimney for a lifetime. But how can you prevent rain in your chimney? What are some of the more common causes?

Why is My Chimney Leaking?

There are a few different reasons why you have rain coming into your chimney. One of the more common reasons is basic structural issues. You might have chimney crown damage or faults in the lining. A professional will inspect your chimney for possible causes for precipitation. Chimney repair cost depends on how much damage has occurred. Because of this, you want to fix the problems sooner to reduce expenses and water damage.

Depending on your climate, your chimney may be exposed to high winds, heavy precipitation, freezing temperatures, and snow. Harsh weather deteriorates masonry materials significantly. Debris and rodents also contribute to chimney damage.

The mortar and bricks pass water. Harsh winters can cause leaks in the house with continual thawing and freezing. Sometimes bricks may get soggy. The wrong waterproofing materials may even exacerbate the issues. Do you need to waterproof your chimney? Your contractor can do a Masonry Absorption Test (MAT) which checks how long it takes for the bricks to absorb water. They can identify structural issues due to water damage.

Repairing the Chimney

Your chimney professional will offer some repair and maintenance options:

  • Chimney Relining
  • Caulking
  • Crown Coat
  • Fixing a Cracked Crown
  • Chimney Crown Replacement
  • Structural Adjustments
  • Chimney replacement
  • Basic maintenance and cleaning

Most of the time the repair will be simple. However, you might have to do a costly repair like chimney replacement or structural adjustments. A professional contractor can identify and fix the issue. Ask for an inspection to identify the problem.

Do you have rain in your chimney? If you need a quality inspection and chimney repair, call us today. We are ready to help you solve your chimney issues immediately.

5 Professional Tips to Repair Your Chimney

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When the weather’s chilly, nothing is as comforting as warming up by the fireplace. Maintaining your chimney protects your family and provides a safe cozy home for your family. Chimney repair prevents dangerous creosote buildup. Upkeep the chimney flue to prevent illness from smoke fumes. Follow these simple professional tips to maintain brick chimney construction. Enjoy your fireplace for decades to come.

Common Chimney Repairs

Your chimney has a few common problems. Some issues, like replacing the entire brick chimney construction will require the work of a professional. A common problem involves debris blocking the chimney flue. The debris may be a nest, leafs, or debris. Blocking the chimney may cause dangerous fumes to enter your home. These can make you and your family ill. Inspect your chimney at least once or twice a year, preferably before the winter. The inspector will check for debris and a blocked chimney. Keep your chimney clear of debris and critters to prevent injury.

Creosote Building

Creosote building can create a hazardous condition in your home. Always burn your fires hot to prevent creosote buildup. Have working carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. Check the detectors regularly. Keep your chimney flue clean. Hire professionals to clear out any excess buildup.

Restoring Your Chimney

Minor steps like preventing chimney leaks by applying mortar can be done by homeowners. Mix mortar and apply to the crown. Keep the mortar the consistency of cookie dough. You don’t want the mortar to be too dry or too wet. Plug minor cracks and protect your home.

Tuckpointing

Some handy homeowners feel comfortable doing minor tuckpointing work on their chimney. Restore the brick joints to restore deteriorating mortar. Apply the mortar using a trowel. Clear away any extra mortar.

Structural Issues

Finally, structural issues like cracks and breakdown of mortar can ruin the structural integrity of the chimney. If you spot any major cracks or structural issues, contact a chimney repairman.

How to Stop Creosote Buildup

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Every time you light a fire in your fireplace, creosote will deposit in your chimney. Creosote can be a dangerous flammable hazard. In some cases, you will need to look for chimney repair companies to remove excess buildup of creosote to prevent fire. What are some ways to prevent creosote buildup in your home?

Three Stages of Creosote

Each stage of buildup becomes increasingly more dangerous. At the first stage, you can brush away flaky soot with a chimney brush. After this stage, the creosote looks like hard black flakes. At this point you may need to hire a professional as you need specialized tools to remove the buildup.

At the final stage, the creosote is highly concentrated. The creosote coats the inside of the chimney. The creosote builds up in layers, creating a deadly fire hazard. At this stage, replacing the entire chimney liner may be necessary. Call our professionals today if your chimney has entered this final stage. Prevent damage and harm to your family and home.

Prevent Creosote Buildup

Allowing creosote to build up in your chimney leaves your home exposed to many fire hazards. A hot fire can ignite the tar, causing irreparable damage to your home. A chimney fire quickly becomes a house fire. What are some ways to prevent dangerous creosote buildup?

  • Do not burn unseasoned firewood
  • Do not burn artificial logs
  • Avoid burning slow smoldering fires
  • Burn with plenty of air flow
  • If your chimney is outside your home, check regularly for creosote buildup
  • Contact a chimney repair professional to assess your chimney

Protect your family by regularly inspecting and cleaning your chimney. Contact our experienced professionals today.

How Long Should a Brick Chimney Last?

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The chimney plays an important aesthetic and functional role in your home. Providing warmth and comfort, the chimney also adds home value and provides a sense of luxurious charm. However, regular maintenance and repair are necessary to help your chimney last for generations. Failure to maintain the structure and masonry of your chimney can result in having to rebuild the chimney stack, which can be costly.

How to Make Your Chimney Last

The bricks in your chimney can last a century. Mortar typically last a couple of decades before erosion due to extreme weather and water damage cause structural problems. If you need to rebuild the chimney stack, the cost can be high. What are some things that you can do to help maintain your chimney? Regular cleaning, chimney sweeping, masonry repair, and tuckpointing all will help keep your chimney in tip top shape.

Regular Maintenance

You should have your chimney swept and inspected at least once a year. An inspection will check for debris, structural integrity, and correct clearances. Cleaning should happen before the winter season starts. If you do not use your chimney often, animals and birds may nest in the chimney. It is imperative to check your chimney if you have not used it in a very long time. For example, homeowners should have the chimney cleaned on their vacation homes if the homes lie dormant for much of the year.

Masonry Repair

An inspection will reveal any structural issues or mortar deterioration in your chimney. Many times water damage can accrue over time, causing long-term problems. Have your chimney inspected by a professional for water damage, debris, and any other issues. They will provide you with an honest assessment and information on how to help you maintain your chimney for a long time. With proper maintenance and repair your chimney can last a century or more.