Company Blog

Avoid the Fall/Autumn Rush with an August Sweeping Appointment

Although it may seem hard to believe right now, Fall will be here before you know it. Autumn can be a busy season for a lot of people, including Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps.Avoid the Fall Rush with a Late Summer Chimney Sweeping Appointment - Spartanburg SC - Blue Sky Chimney

Once September arrives, our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) Certified Chimney Sweeps are booked every day cleaning and inspecting chimneys. If you wait for too long to schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection, you may not be able to get the date and time that is most convenient for you.

Many national fire safety organizations like the CSIA and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend that homeowners have their chimneys swept and inspected before lighting the first fire of the Winter season to be sure everything is working properly and safely. To ensure your chimney is ready for that first fire, we recommend to our customers go ahead and schedule their chimney sweeping and inspection appointments in the late summer and avoid the annual Fall/Autumn rush.

Since many customers ask what they can expect from our chimney maintenance services, we would like to tell you more about a chimney sweeping and inspection from Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps.

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps begins by looking for creosote deposits.

To help determine whether sweeping is necessary and what tools will be used, our certified chimney sweeps perform an initial inspection to see how much creosote has accumulated on the walls of your fireplace and flue. A highly flammable compound, creosote develops naturally during the burning process as the gases (smoke) exit the cooler upper part of your chimney. Creosote builds up into deposits on your interior chimney walls (the flue) and can ignite a frightening chimney fire if left to accumulate. Looking for these deposits and removing them, if they are there, is one of the main reasons you need your chimney checked annually. Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps can make your chimney ready to use by removing the creosote with a variety of appropriate equipment.

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps protects your home from soot, dust, and debris.

Before our sweeps begin cleaning, they will cover the area surrounding your fireplace with drop cloths to keep it from getting dirty during the chimney sweeping process. A powerful vacuum cleaner is used to collect airborne soot and ensure a clean job.

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps performs a Level 1 NFPA chimney inspection.

Our chimney sweeps will look for weather-related deterioration and damage, cracked chimney liners, flue blockages – literally any issue that could impact safety, usage or normal maintenance. If any problems are found, our sweeps will explain their findings and recommend resolutions.

Avoid the Fall/Autumn rush! Contact Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps to schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection now.

 

3 Ways Water Ruins Your Chimney

Chimneys sure are high, but they are not necessarily dry. As one of Upstate South Carolina’s premier chimney service companies, those of us at Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps see water as your chimney’s biggest adversary.

3-Ways-Water-Ruins-Your-Chimney-Spartanburg-Greenville-SC-Blue-Sky-Chimney

You might be able to leave a leaky faucet alone for a while, but a leaky chimney is another story. Small chimney leaks can very quickly lead to big chimney leaks, and big, expensive problems.

Unfortunately, it’s not at all difficult for water to find its way into a chimney that has not been adequately protected from the elements.

While we can certainly find resolutions for your leaking chimney, your best bet will always be to prevent leaks from the beginning. Water intrusion left unmanaged, can cause significant damage to the chimney structure as well as areas adjacent to your chimney. This damage is often expensive to repair.

Here are just a few ways that water can harm your chimney:

  • Water weakens your chimney’s masonry. There are a number of ways that your chimney brick and mortar may react to rainwater.
    Crumbling, cracking, or bricks falling apart altogether.
    Spalling (when the face of the bricks appears to have popped off).
    Holes in header joints
    The more your masonry breaks down in this way the more easily water will be able
    to get into your chimney and, possibly, into your home.Water creates cracks and/or voids inside and out.
  • Water creates cracks and/or voids inside and out. Water can cause both on the inside and the outside of your chimney.
    The relentless freeze/thaw cycle can also cause the bond to break between the brick and the mortar.
    Water washing over the exterior surface of the brick can erode out thin mortar joints.
    Water washing over the inside of your chimney can cause gaps to develop between the flue tiles. This would allow toxic gases attack the brick and mortar of your chimney from the inside out. In some cases it could cause the gases to leak through into your living space instead of venting safely outside.
    In some cases the damage may permit water to get inside your home, where it can stain the walls, ceilings, and floors around the chimney.
  • Water can cause mold, mildew, and lichen to grow on the exterior of the chimney.

If you find yourself dealing with water issues with your chimney, call Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth at (864) 682-5422 or fill out our online form to make an appointment with us today. We can help!

We are proud members of the South Carolina Chimney Sweep Guild, the North Carolina Chimney Sweep Association, and the National Chimney Sweep Guild. We are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fireplace Institute.

 

Buying a house? What about the chimney?

The list of inspections is endless and each one has the potential to open a nasty can of worms. (Termite letters, Home Inspections, Electricians, Plumbers, HVAC, Radon, etc.)

Why isn’t inspecting the chimney on that list? Ask anyone who assumed that their “new” long awaited fireplace is user ready only to find out long after the closing that (because of age, damage or just plain bad construction), it will require an additional large investment to be usable. They’ll say it should be….for sure!

Buying a house What about the chimney img - Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps - Blue Sky ChimneyRECOMMENDATION:

Get the chimney its own inspection by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep – BEFORE signing on the dotted line.

  • Some issues that are revealed by a thorough inspection may be normal wear and tear or maintenance. These type things may not have a real bearing on the purchase of the house. No house is perfect and no chimney is perfect.
  • On the other hand, there may be serious damage or construction flaws that will be expensive to remedy. Better to know this before committing to buying the house with the fireplace of your dreams, only to have your dreams turn into nightmares.

Things you’ll want to find out…

  • Is it dirty? You can’t really tell whether a chimney has problems if it’s dirty. Go ahead; get it cleaned, so the surface of the flue can be inspected properly.
  • If it’s masonry built
    • Is the liner the right size for the fireplace opening?
    • Is the chimney tall enough?
    • Is the liner installed properly?
    • Has it ever had a wood stove installed in the fireplace or attached to the chimney? If so, a closer look is merited.
    • Is the liner broken?
  • If its manufactured prefabricated
    • Are all the pieces there?
    • Are all the pieces put together correctly?
    • Are there pieces that are not supposed to be there?
    • Is the chase cover rusted?
    • Has it been damaged or modified? Modifications can make it unsafe to use.
    • Does it have gas logs? Or a gas starter?
    • What happens if it has gas installed and it’s not supposed to? Yes, there are prefab fireplaces that are not supposed to have gas appliances installed in them.
  • Can it be used in its present condition?
  • If it cannot be used as it sits, what options are there for making it usable?

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps | Bless Your Hearth has the expertise to inspect your chimney and let you know what is so about it. They are capable and qualified to make suggestions for resolutions and/or repair most any issue that may be revealed during the service.

Spring Checklist for Your Chimney

Why Springtime Is THE Right Time for Chimney Service

Spring has sprung!  You’ll soon be cleaning out those fireplace ashes for the last time.  It follows that it’s the best time all year for you to have the chimney and fireplace inspected, cleaned, and make any necessary repairs. Spring Checklist for Your Chimney- Greenville SC- Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps

Here are a few reasons why Spring is the best time of year to get this annual service done:

  • During the Winter just past, your chimney, fireplace or woodstove likely accumulated creosote buildup and potentially experienced some wear and tear.  It’s a good idea to discover and address any problems before they have the opportunity to cause costly damage to your chimney and possibly other areas of your home.
  • During the Spring, chimney sweep service companies are often less busy. If you wait to call in the Fall, schedules tend to be jam-packed with everyone wanting to get their chimneys ready in a hurry for the approaching Winter.  You’ll find it much easier to get scheduled quickly if you plan your annual check-up when the calendar is less crowded.
  • The truth is that all chimneys stink if you put your head in them, but if the chimney is dirty and then it gets damp from summer rains and humidity, it can stink worse.  If your chimney is cleaned out before it gets hot and humid, these odors can be minimized.
  • If you have house pressure issues that cause a reverse flow of air (bringing outside air into your house through the chimney), the stink that usually hangs out in any chimney can be brought into the house.  These are issues that can be identified during one of Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps’ inspections and cleanings.
  • Finally, if you take care of checking out your chimney in the Spring, you won’t have to give a second thought when you want to light a fire in your fireplace come the first chill of Fall.   You’ll be completely confident that a fire can be safely lit.

One of our C.S.I.A. certified sweeps will be able to thoroughly inspect your chimney for signs that a cleaning or repair is necessary, but you may ask… “Is there anything I can do to identify potential problems myself?”  Absolutely!

YOUR Chimney Checklist

If your answer to any of the following questions is “yes”, we encourage you to give us a call to make arrangements to address changes or updates that may be necessary to keep your chimney operating safely and efficiently.

  1. Has your chimney been swept in the last year? Almost all national chimney and fire safety organizations recommend that a chimney be inspected by a CSIA certified chimney sweep once a year and cleaned whenever needed.
  2. Did you install new energy efficient doors or windows in your home? Many folks are surprised to find how drastically these changes can affect chimney draft.  Our chimney sweeps receive training to identify house pressure issues and offer resolutions.
  3. Do you have a broken or missing damper? If your chimney still has a damper located just above the firebox, our inspection can sort functional issues.  Our technicians can offer repairs or replacement options.
  4. Is there an unpleasant odor coming from your fireplace? If so, South Carolina summers are notorious for exacerbating these odors.  Musty or campfire-like smells are usually a sign that your chimney either needs to be cleaned, is absorbing water, or that your house is having a breathing problem.  Our trained technicians can help with all these issues.
  5. Is your chimney masonry stained or showing signs of disrepair? Loose bricks, black stains on bricks, and crumbling mortar aren’t just cosmetic problems.  They’re signs that water is penetrating your chimney.  This is a problem that only grows worse with the passing of time.  One of our chimney masons will be able to make needed repairs, including brick replacement, tuckpointing, and waterproofing.
  6. Are you noticing leaks? If you’re seeing leaks—or evidence of leaks—in or around your chimney, we can help!  WE FIX LEAKY CHIMNEYS!
  7. Did you have pesky birds in your chimney last Spring? We can help you sort a chimney cap with an animal guard that will keep them out this year.
  8. Do you have a “funny feeling”? If you have a feeling that something is just not right with your chimney or heating appliance, give us a call. We are more than happy to take a look at your chimney and advise you about whether or not everything is operating efficiently and safely.

Schedule an appointment with Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps today by using our online appointment form or give us a call (864-682-5422) and speak to one of our pleasant customer service representatives.