How Do I Know if My Chimney and Fireplace Need Care?

Yes, it can certainly be one of those tedious little tasks that you forget about or forego in place of other more pressings life issues, however, maintenance of your chimney, brickwork, and fireplace on your home is definitely an important task, and there are more than a few reasons why.

The first and foremost, is obviously the safety of your home and the risk of fire.  The NFPA  (National Fire Protection Association) recommends getting an inspection and cleaning at least once a year, EVEN IF YOU NEVER USE YOUR FIREPLACE.  Birds and other animals can cause destruction, cracks can form due to extreme weather changes, and water or moisture can become a problem.  All of which you might have no idea is taking place.   A knowledgeable, professional specialist can help you make sure your place is clean and ready to use safely.  They can address any concerns that may be quick and inexpensive fixes at the time, but left undone could cause major problems down the road. A specialist, like our guys, know what to look for that we may tend to overlook due to the busyness of life in general.  When it comes to a chimney and fireplace, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" doesn't work well, because the problems can arise suddenly from an unseen or left unfixed problem in the masonry.

When it comes time to sell your home, poor maintenance of the masonry could be one of the most costly deterrents to potential home buyers because of  the risk and fear of the unknown in a poorly cared for chimney/fireplace in the home.  This is one great area that can easily close down a sale, when it easily could have been fixed ahead of time.   It is hard to earn trust with a potential buyer when they have no idea how well the fireplace works.  Not knowing this will cause them to have a costly fireplace inspection, and then a costly "fix it" report.  Not something home sellers want to deal with in an emergency, when they are trying to close a deal and not lose the house they want to purchase and move into.  Most reputable fireplace cleaning, inspection, and repair companies will book out a month or even two.  Emergency appointments can get unnecessarily costly.  

Best idea is to stick to a  regular maintenance schedule.  If you like your guy, set up a yearly appointment.  In our business, we will call these customers and set up their yearly appointment, usually at the same rates they paid the year before, or the cheapest value we are currently running.  We want to have a relationship with our customers not a "one time, cheapest price, might as well because we have a coupon "type relationship with our customers. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to know if it's time to get some care on your chimney/fireplace:

If it been longer than a year OR if you use the fireplace OFTEN and should get it cleaned more than once a year.

If the draw of the fireplace doesn't seem like it's as strong as it used to be.  

If you see the smoke filling back into the room

If the room looks a bit hazy

If there are broken pieces of brick on your yard.

If looking up at the chimney you see it leaning, deteriorating, or visible signs of cracking.

if the bricks or mortar actually looks wet or dirty, that can be moisture absorbed into it, which indicates the need for repair.

Bricks spalling, where the face of the brick has fallen off due to moisture behind it that pops the brick face off.

If bricks look like they are flaking and you see pieces of clay pieces on your roof.

If you recently bought the home, even if they gave you a history of the chimney/fireplace, a thorough qualified inspection is highly recommended.

If you think things are fine, there are no "symptoms", but the chimney hasn't been looked at in a while.  Regular maintenance is important because if any of the caulking is breaking or pulled away, which cannot easily be seen, especially looking at the roof from the ground, you can get water travelling down the outside of the chimney, and/or the inside of the home, which is going to cause many problems, not the least of which, mold issues.

If you live in an area where the temperature changes from season to season are extreme.  Going from hot sun on a roof to desperate cold freezes in the winter can wreak havoc on any building materials, particularly constructs that have multiple elements(think brick to caulking, for example), where spaces and gaps can form.

 

Our team at Element Hearth and Home has qualified technicians that are skilled in the fire safety codes put out by the National Fire Protection Association.  They use a special camera system to take pictures and videos with bright lighting in order to get a real time look at areas commonly unable to be seen by the human eye.  The inspections and cleanings are thorough, and the report clearly states any safety or constructive concerns.

 

 

 

 

Time to Get Ready for Outdoor Projects

Not ONLY is spring and summer our favorite time of year because of obvious warmth related reasons, but at Element Hearth and Home, we get to do the awesome amazing projects that bring so much outdoor joy to our customers.  We LOVE to design and institute the plans that make your outdoor home that much more enjoyable.

YES!  we can do outdoor living scapes, brick fireplaces, brick pizza ovens, firepits and stone pergolas.

NOW is the time to get started.  We want to see your space, and because these projects are typically quite a bit longer than the typical fireplace, chimney repair, build or redo, we need to plan ahead for whose outdoor projects we are going to get to.

If you have been wanting an outdoor living space, it's definitely time to call.  Send us an email, visit our website...www.centralmnchimneysweep.com, and check out some projects we pulled to our pinterest board:  Outdoor Fireplace Ideas.

We look forward to seeing you in sunnier weather, and can't wait to construct your next project.

Happy planning!

The Element Team

Stone Everywhere

Maybe we're partial (because it's our business, and all) but we LOVE stone everywhere!  Stone and brick masonry is not just for fireplaces.  People think they can't work with us because they don't have a fireplace...not true!  A good portion of our business is unique artisan stone and brick work.  Here are two examples of taking an odd boring space and adding some life using stone and brick veneer.  Stonework just adds that naturalist vibe that is all the rage not only these days, but stands the test of time.  It protects the wall, plus you don't have to worry about painting or touch ups EVER AGAIN!  I challenge you to look around your home and see where you might find a unique space that can be enhanced with artisan brick or stone work.

 

Also, check out our pinterest boards for more unique Stone Everywhere idea

Hot Toddies to Toast the New Year

Ahhh, the new year.  I have visions in my head of chilly evening night lights shining off of glittering snow, a midnight sky, and the buzz of knowing that there is much happening in the world....New Year's Eve!

We sit inside with family and friends, and the fireplace is blazing the stone work around it warm from the glow and our card playing table pulled close.  It is a cozy night of togetherness.  Did you know that even if you don't have a fireplace you can still create the scene?  We've done plenty of "firescapes", where we do custom brick work and design a unique "fireplace" setting even when there is no chimney.  For those of you that have this setting, you know just what a centerpiece it is.

You've got the goodies and nibblies close at hand, now all you need are the hot toddies to put the icing on the cake.  We've gathered a list of some faves, some alcoholic, some non,  to help you complete your own New Year's cozy.

Head on over to our pinterest boards and see all the ideas Element Hearth and Home has to offer, and more toddies here: https://www.pinterest.com/elementhandh/pins/ 

 

Why does my chimney flue need to be relined?

Did you recently have a home inspector  or a chimney service professional tell you your chimney was in need of a new liner? 99% of time this is due to a safety concern.  1% of the time it's too improve the efficiency of your wood stove or fireplace, which is a great side benefit of having a stainless steel chimney liner installed.

Masonry chimneys were built to withstand years of abuse from the elements.  Fire, wind, and water of all sorts are exposed to your chimney internally and externally.  Over the years, the clay flues that currently reside inside your chimney and serve as venting for your wood stove or fireplace become cracked and deteriorated, in some cases far worse than others.

A cracked chimney flue is a major cause for concern, call us right away if you suspect any crack in your clay flue, large or small.

A cracked chimney flue is a major cause for concern, call us right away if you suspect any crack in your clay flue, large or small.

It's important to keep in mind that even the tiniest of cracks in your clay chimney flue are a cause for concern because carbon monoxide gasses could potential be leaked into your home putting you and your entire family at risk.

The clay flues on top of my chimney are cracked, what do I do?

Working with clay flues can be tricky.  They tend to not do well with moisture and over time do crack. At that time, repair is not possible, and replacing the flues or relining the flues, are the only options.  Do you know if the flues have been professionally inspected, and if so, did the inspector notice any cracking inside the flue, further down the chimney?

In our experience, cracks at the top of the flue usually mean cracks somewhere inside the flue as well.  If that is the case, than you're looking at a risk for carbon monoxide poisoning and worsening conditions of your chimney.

We have worked with several home owners during the selling process and would urge caution with this chimney system.

Please feel free to tap into our vast storehouse of information by giving us a call, (320) 414-0191, or visiting our website, www.centralmnchimneysweep.com

Our professional services are unmatched

Our service areas include the following locations and all surrounding locations

  • Chimney cleaning Little Falls, MN
  • Chimney cleaning St. Cloud, MN
  • Chimney cleaning Minneapolis, MN
  • Wood stove installation Little Falls, MN
  • Wood stove installation St. Cloud, MN
  • Wood stove installation Minneapolis, MN
  • Fireplace cleaning Little Falls, MN
  • Fireplace cleaning St. Cloud, MN
  • Fireplace cleaning Minneapolis, MN
  • Chimney inspection Little Falls, MN
  • Chimney inspection St. Cloud, MN
  • Chimney inspection Minneapolis, MN
  • Fireplace mantels Little Falls, MN
  • Fireplace mantels St. Cloud, MN
  • Fireplace mantels Minneapolis, MN
  • Wood burning furnaces Little Falls, MN
  • Wood burning furnaces St. Cloud, MN
  • Wood burning furnaces Minneapolis, MN

We welcome you to call us or email us anytime!

(320) 414-0191 or info@centralmnchimneysweep.com