Company Blog

Why is it SO HARD to get an appointment BEFORE Thanksgiving (and now Christmas)?

That’s another REALLY good question! There’s a couple of really good reasons.
Supply and Demand: The demand for services during the Winter season usually exceeds the supply of qualified technicians to perform the needed services. Kinda like trying to get your air conditioner fixed in July. The second? Quality: Premium companies usually have the longer wait lists. Word gets around.

SUGGESTIONS TO EASE THE PAIN:

Regular users (weekly fires throughout the Winter season):

Why is it SO HARD to get an appointment BEFORE Thanksgiving (and now Christmas) - Spartanburg SC - Bless Your HearthGet your service done IN THE SPRING right after the burning season is complete. You may have a short wait, even then, if you choose to book with a company that has a good reputation and has been around long enough to have a solid repeat clientele base. However, it’s a cinch that getting it done at the END of the burning season will have you ready to go when you want to use it the NEXT winter – no waiting.

Holiday (Thanksgiving/Christmas) users:

Call to make your appointment NO LATER THAN Labor Day. The longer you wait to call for an appointment, the longer you will wait for an appointment. It’s a fact of life. With the premium companies, their procrastinator clients (the ones who don’t remember to get it done in the Spring) start calling in AUGUST because they know the drill. Truth is: by October you likely can’t get a definite appointment until close to Christmas – if you’re lucky.

Home Sales/Houses under Contract:

This is a hard one. There’s ALWAYS a limited window for the inspections to take place. The best thing to do is call AS SOON AS THE CONTRACT IS SIGNED and get on the waiting list and be as flexible as possible. Most professional companies will work hard to take advantage of any schedule changes that will allow them to get you worked in as quickly as possible — if you give them enough lead time. I know we do. It helps tremendously if we can have 2 to 3 weeks lead time during the Winter season. Spring and Summer are much easier to accommodate short notice.
• Note to Buyers: It’s important to get this done if your purchase is contingent on having a working fireplace. This is especially important if there has EVER been a wood stove vented though a fireplace or into a masonry chimney. Reference: CSIA.org regarding Level 2 Inspections.

• Note to Sellers: Be as flexible as possible in providing access. While it might be scary, not knowing what will show up, professional companies know the difference between normal wear and tear and actual damage or construction defects that can impact usability.

Worst Case Scenario:

Pick the company you prefer to work with based on quality, training and experience. Take their first available appointment. Professional companies will work hard to get you moved sooner when they have pop-up openings due to schedule shifts. They are usually worth the wait.

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth is proud to be one of those premium professional companies. Call our friendly office staff (864-682-5422) or email (bluesky@sweepstuff.com) to set an appointment for your annual chimney service.

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.

 

Shopping for a new home? Can we talk?

Let’s talk about the chimney and fireplace!  Just how important is it to know the ins and outs of these parts of your potential new home BEFORE you close?  

The short answer is….it depends.  It depends on whether you really want to use the fireplace and chimney or not.  If having a fireplace that works is a deal-breaker, then you absolutely do want to get the chimney inspected by someone familiar with Level 2 Inspection process as outlined by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).  Most CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps have access to this training.  When asking about the certification, be sure to specifically ask if the technician providing your service is trained in performing a Level 2 Inspection AND reporting the results to you clearly.  

Buying a new home, talk with us

Level 2 Inspection can identify hidden flaws and potential costly repairs.  Statistics show that almost half of home buyers say they would spend extra money on a house with a fireplace.  That being the case, for those folks, it is very important to have a thorough, well-documented inspection to insure that the fireplace is well-maintained and functional.  

What can make a chimney/fireplace not functional?  Here are a few examples.

  • The inside of chimney has sustained damage from an unfriendly fire event (i.e. a previous chimney fire).  Repairs for this scenario can cost as much as $5k-$8K, depending on details. (Clue: missing damper plate can indicate prior wood stove insert installation.  Wood stove inserts when not properly installed or maintained can increase the chances of chimney fires.)
  • The flue may be undersized for the fireplace opening; or the chimney may not be tall enough causing performance (smokeback) issues.  These are construction flaws and a resolution could cost $3k-$5K. (Clue: staining over the face of the fireplace opening)
  • Some prefabricated manufactured fireplaces have serious deterioration due to age.  At times replacement parts are no longer available. This normally necessitates a system replacement if the system is not viable.  Replacement costs of this nature can cost as much as $5k-$9K depending on details. (Clue: excessive rust in firebox, damper area or on chase cover)

This is by no means a comprehensive listing of all the things that can make a chimney/fireplace system nonfunctional.  Because, as a buyer, you want to know as much as possible about the house you are considering for your new home, you may want to bring in your own chimney professional in addition to the normal home inspector for an in depth review of your fireplace and chimney – with your intended usage (i.e. woodburning or gas appliance) in mind.  

After a complete Level 2 Inspection is performed, Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth‘s trusted chimney professionals will provide a comprehensive report outlining options for how the chimney/fireplace system can be utilized (or not), documentation pictures, and recommendations for resolving any issues found.  Let us help enrich your home hearth experience.

How Does the Age of a Chimney Impact its Ability to Stand Up to Water Intrusion?

While virtually any chimney can leak, older chimneys are prone to more of the issues that contribute to leaking. And over time, moisture intrusion on a chimney will impact the state and structure of the chimney and eventually lead to the need for some kind of maintenance.

Prefabricated Manufactured Chimneyswater

* Most notably, galvanized chase covers will begin to pit and deteriorate allowing water to seep into the wooden structure.

* Water running down a pipe can contribute to rust forming on the metal works or interfere with the mechanical parts of any attached appliance (i.e. fireplace, gas logs, etc.).

* Continuous introduction of water into a wooden chase either between the metal chimney and wooden framing or between wooden structure and the vinyl, brick or stone veneer will eventually lead to rotting of the wooden structure. Regular annual inspections as recommended by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fire Protection Association can help to anticipate any age related leaking issues before they become a problem requiring extensive repairs.

Masonry Chimneys

As masonry ages, it becomes more soft and porous. This goes for the brick and the mortar.

* Water exposure can cause the bond between courses (rows of bricks) or mortar and stone to break (cracking between the brick/stone and the mortar).

* Water saturation and subsequent freeze/thaw with colder temperatures can cause bricks to crack or spall (the face of the brick pops off), or even cause bricks fall off the chimney altogether.

Aging brickwork becomes even more vulnerable to water intrusion. Again, regular annual chimney inspections can result in recommendations that will head off the inconvenience of water entering you home unexpectedly by way of your chimney.

Flashing on Any Chimney

Almost all conventional flashing has some caulk used in its construction. As the caulk ages, it becomes vulnerable to drying and cracking leading to water seeping into the area between the roof and the chimney structure. Flashing should be monitored during regular annual inspections by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep who can verify if your issue needs attention and can provide suggestions for resolution. Let our trained professionals here at Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth help determine overall condition, need for maintenance, issues with functionality, and even offer solutions for long-term issues. Regular inspections/maintenance can help insure there are no issues related to moisture exposure.