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Have Your Gas Fireplace Professionally Serviced

If you own a wood burning fireplace, it’s pretty clear the effects burning a fire has on your chimney. The smoke that is released has plenty of gases and chemicals that can stick to the inside of your chimney in the form of soot and creosote. This is why the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends having your chimney inspected and cleaned on an annual basis. If you own a gas fireplace, you might think that inspection and cleaning aren’t as important. Gas burns clean, right? Why add the expense of an annual inspection and cleaning to your budget? If this is the way you’ve been thinking, please think again!

Advantages of Gas Burning FireplacesHave Your Gas Fireplace Professionally Serviced Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney

The first advantage that comes to mind when considering a gas burning fireplace is the convenience factor. Let’s face it – finding trees that need to be cut down, cutting them down, cutting up the wood into usable-sized pieces, transporting and unloading and stacking that wood – we’re not talking about just a little time and effort here. Although this can be a satisfying workout, sometimes you just don’t have the time. With a natural gas fireplace, this effort is non-existent. You push a button and you have a fire. It’s as easy as that.

Another great thing about gas is that there’s a lot less mess. You don’t have to scoop out ashes once a week, and you don’t have the soot and creosote build-up you’ll have with wood. To top it off, gas is a cheap fuel, which means that, unless you have ready access to free firewood, you’ll be saving some money when you choose gas over wood.

Cleaning Your Gas Fireplace

So if burning gas is, indeed, a cleaner option, why is yearly servicing important? According to the CSIA website there are a couple of good answers to that.

First, your gas appliance will run more efficiently than a wood fire, and that means cooler. While that’s good when it comes to your heating bills, it’s not so great when it comes to combustion. In order to have enough draft to make your venting system work properly, it needs to get to a sufficient heat level. It’s important that you have your gas appliance checked by a professional to make sure that level is met, or you may be putting your family at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Second, when not enough heat is generated, the interior of your chimney will remain cool. This allows the water vapor that is produced from burning in your fireplace to condense on the cooler surface. When this happens, it can cause corrosion on the interior of your chimney, which can lead to a dangerous breakdown in the makeup of your chimney. This, again, can put your family in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Professional Service

If you haven’t had your gas fireplace serviced in awhile, now’s the time to call in professional help. We at Owens Chimney Systems are dedicated to ensuring that your gas fireplace system is clean, safe, and in great condition to give you a beautiful, efficient experience.

Published by James Owens on July 21st, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments

Advantages of Summer Chimney Repairs

Winter weather is great for some things. Skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, making snow angels – all of these things just couldn’t happen in the summertime. Summertime has some things that just aren’t as much fun in the winter, as well. You’d get pretty chilly walking around in shorts and a tank top, and swimming just isn’t as much fun once the weather dips below 65 or 70 degrees. Even picnics are more fun when the weather is warm!

Another thing that is better accomplished once the weather turns warm is having your chimney repaired. Here are some reasons why!

TuckpointingSummer Chimney Repairs Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney Systems

The mortar of your chimney, like practically anything else, is going to suffer from weathering. The drumming of rain or sleet on the mortar that holds your brick, block, or stone chimney together will cause it to wear down and become unstable, and that can cause a dangerous situation for a homeowner. The process of removing that mortar and replacing it with new is called tuckpointing. This is a job that is best done during the warm summer days.

Mortar is directly affected by the temperature. In the cold winter weather, your mortar will have a slower hydration. When the water in the mortar freezes it will expand and cuase your mortar to crack. This is not to say that it is impossible to do mortar replacement during the winter. However, there are many steps which must be taken, and the price of repairs will increase. Add to this the possibility that the mortar may not set right or freezing may occur which will damage the consistency of the mortar, and it just doesn’t seem like it is worth the risk – instead, have it repaired now, when the temperatures make it an easier repair job.

Flashing Repair

If you’ve noticed that your chimney is starting to leak around the fireplace, it is most likely that you’ve have some type of damage to your chimney flashing. Chimney flashings are the metal sheets that you can see around where your chimney meets your shingles, and it plays an extremely important role in making sure that leaks don’t occur. Many times a chimney isn’t actually attached to the frame of the house, and so, when the normal settling that happens in every house occurs, cracks can appear and leaks will then happen. Flashing is also susceptible to normal wear and tear from the weather, and it can also rust through. When that happens, you’ll probably notice leaks starting to occur.

The process of having your flashing repaired is best accomplished during the warm summer months simply because it’s easier for your chimney repairman to get on your roof when there isn’t snow or ice present. Also, outdoor work is safer for our team during the summer months.

Call Owens Chimney Systems!

Whatever the chimney repair job is that you are considering having done this summer, or if you need an initial inspection, give us a call at Owens Chimney Systems  to make sure that the job is done right!

Published by James Owens on July 6th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments

Schedule Your Inspection Early

After a long winter of using your fireplace, the last thing you is to think about getting your chimney cleaned. Chimney sweeping and cleaning is probably one of the easiest things to put off until fall. This is the time when you start thinking about using your fireplace again. But there are several reasons to reconsider this decision and schedule your cleaning and maintenance now.

Schedule Your Inspection Early img - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney SystemsSolve Blockage Problems Before They Start

One of the things that your chimney care professional will be looking for is blockages. Many times the cause of those blockages is animal or bird nests or leaves, twigs, and other loose debris. One way to ensure that these blockages don’t occur is to get your chimney inspected and cleaned early. Do this to make sure that your chimney cap or crown is working at its optimum capacity before these nuisances get a chance to get in your chimney.

Clean the Creosote and Avoid Odors

GuideOne Insurance explains that the chimney is the main route for the byproducts of your fire to escape. These byproducts can include unburned wood particles, minerals, water vapor, and tar fog, so it’s a good thing there is a way for them to get out of your home. However, over the course of the winter, some of these byproducts will stick to the inside of your chimney in the form of creosote, a black and hard or brown and sticky substance that is highly flammable. When the warm, humid days of summer arrive, this creosote can begin to smell, and that odor can permeate your home. By scheduling your inspection early, you can eliminate the source of that odor.

Warm Weather Fixes

There are also some repair jobs that just work better in the warm weather. Many of the materials used to repair chimney breakdowns require time to cure, and that curing is best accomplished in warm weather. It’s also easier for your chimney professionals to work on your chimney when the weather is warm. And if your chimney is leaking, you may want to think about waterproofing after your leaks are fixed; this is also a job best accomplished in the warmer weather.

Get Ahead of the Rush

Another great reason to schedule your chimney inspection, cleaning, and repair work early is simply to avoid the rush and to be able to pick the day that works for you, rather than having to schedule around everyone else who is calling in at the last minute. Your chimney technicians will also have more time to complete any repairs if you schedule early in the summer rather than waiting until the last minute.

If you’re looking for a quality team of chimney care professionals, look no farther than Owens Chimney Systems. These professionals are CSIA certified and they stay on top of all the current chimney inspection and care techniques. Call early and avoid the rush!

Published by James Owens on June 21st, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , | No Comments

Looking for a Custom Chimney Cap? Owen’s Can Help!

A chimney cap is a vital part of your chimney and fireplace system. It holds a very specific purpose of protecting your chimney from things that want in and from things that want out. Although it may seem like an optional component, it is definitely something that you want for your chimney system.

There are different ways that a chimney cap can benefit you.

Fire Prevention

One of the most important things that a chimney cap can do is to prevent a roof fire.

When burning a fire in your fireplace, it’s inevitable that some sparks will rise with the smoke up your chimney. If one of those sparks happens to reach your dry shingles, it could be all it takes for your roof to catch on fire. It doesn’t take too much thinking to understand how much damage that could cause, even to the point of losing your home and the possessions in it. Chimney caps are effective at keeping those sparks from getting to your roof.
Looking For a Chimney Cap Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney

Keep Animals Out

Another purpose served by a chimney cap is to keep animals out.

Your chimney makes a delightful little home for birds and other animals. Some creatures aren’t even looking for a home; they just have the misfortune of falling into your chimney and then not being able to get back out. Three possible consequences can arise from this situation. First, the animal can keep struggling to get out, making noise and disturbing your peace. Second, an even less happy scenario is that the animal will die in your chimney before you can have it removed. This will cause a horrible stench that will still end with you calling someone to remove the carcass. Third, the bird or animal will fall down into your firebox, and then you’ll have the fun of trying to remove a scared wild animal from your home. None of these options sounds like much fun, and all can be avoided by installing a chimney cap to keep them out.

Prevent Backdraft

A third way that a chimney cap can have a positive impact on your home is by preventing a backdraft.

You may have heard that chimney caps increase backdraft. This story is false if the chimney cap is fitted and installed properly.  Not only can chimney caps help reduce backdraft, if the proper amount of draft is a problem for you, there are chimney caps that are designed especially to help create the proper draft for your home.

Different Chimneys, Different Caps

This brings up the issue of what kind of chimney cap is best for your home. There are so many types to choose from: standard, draft increasing, draft master, top sealing – the possibilities are endless! That’s what makes Owens Chimney Systems so great! Owens custom designs our own chimney caps, so you will have the exact right cap for whatever your needs may be. Give us a call to look at your chimney and help you determine what cap is best for you.

Published by James Owens on June 7th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments

Get Rid of Chimney Odors

A fire – nothing is quite as comforting on a cool autumn evening than a crackling fire. And a big part of that is the smell of the burning wood. You count on this on chilly autumn evenings, during freezing snow storms, and on cool spring nights. Sometimes, however, the smell turns unpleasant, and that is definitely a problem. Also, when the summer turns hot and humid, oftentimes the odor that emanates from your chimney isn’t quite so pleasant, either.

What Causes Bad Odor in Your Chimney

One thing that could be causing unpleasant odors in your chimney could be a blockage. When a blockage exists, smoke and other gasses from the fire aren’t getting drawn out of the chimney like they should be. This seems like it is an easy fix, and, in fact, sometimes it is. Just go in and remove the blockage. If the source of the blockage is near the top of the chimney, you can probably do this yourself. Oftentimes, however, this blockage is caused by a bird or animal nest or even twigs or leaves that have blown deeper down into your chimney. If this is the case, you’ll want to have help with the removal from a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweep like those that work at Owens Chimney Systems, Inc.Get Rid of Chimney Odors Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney Systems

If you’re noticing a nasty odor coming from your chimney during the fire-burning season, it could be as simple a fix as cleaning out the ashes left after you use the fireplace. The Home Guides website suggests cleaning these ashes out once a week by using a stiff brush to reach into your chimney to loosen any ashes that are in your reach. Brush these into a garbage bag and take them out of the house right away so that you don’t risk spilling them.

If the ashes are too fly-away, try getting them to stabilize by placing damp coffee grounds on the ashes before you brush them up. If you still have an odor in the room, try sprinkling your carpets and furniture with baking soda and letting it sit for an hour, then vacuuming it up. This is known to be an odor neutralizer and you should soon have a fresh smelling room.

Draft and Dampers

Another cause of odor is creosote build-up, especially when the weather turns hot and humid. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, “[T]he real problem is the air being drawn down the chimney, a symptom of overall pressure problems in the house.” A downdraft happens when you don’t have a fire burning, and air and odors are being forced back into your home. One way of stopping this is to make sure that your dampers are closed. Another simple approach could be to burn votive candles in your fireplace during the summer. A more lasting approach, however, would be to have your chimney cleaned.

Hire Expert Professionals

There’s nothing that can spoil the appearance of a clean home like a bad odor. Give Owens Chimney Systems a call now and schedule your annual inspection and cleaning, and soon your home will not only look but smell, fresh as a spring morning.

Published by James Owens on May 24th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments

Importance of a Functioning Chimney Flashing

There are so many parts to a working fireplace/chimney system that it’s hard to keep them all straight. There’s the damper, which you need to remember to open when lighting a fire but close when you’re not using your chimney. There’s the smoke chamber, which guides the smoke from the fireplace to the flue. Then we have the flue, which guides the smoke up and out of the house into the great outdoors. And lastly there is the flashing, but…what exactly does the flashing do? Read on to find out about this important part of your chimney’s anatomy.

What is the Chimney Flashing?

Have you ever looked up and really inspected your chimney? If you have, you would have noticed that there is a covering at the bottom of the chimney – right along where the chimney meets the roof. These sheet metal strips are there to protect the area where the roof meets the chimney. It’s the chimney flashing or the “seal between the roofing material and the chimney.” Another question: have you noticed a leak in your living room? Is the wallpaper around your fireplace looking water-stained? Do you have watermarks on your ceiling? Because if the answer is yes to any of these, it may be that your chimney flashing is damaged.Importance of a Functioning Chimney Flashing Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney Systems

What Happens

According to the Family Handyman website, the biggest cause of leaky chimneys is the sheet metal flashings. There are a few things that could cause a problem with the flashings. It could be that your flashings have just plain worn out, or it could also be that the flashing wasn’t installed correctly in the first place. Regardless of the reason, if your chimney flashing isn’t functioning properly, you are looking at big roofing and interior repair bills.

How To Fix It

The first line of defense against leaking flashings is having your chimney inspected and cleaned on a yearly basis. This may seem like a simplified solution. However, the truth is that the problem may not become a major issue if it is detected early.

There are several steps to fixing your flashing: clean out any debris or dead leaves from the gap between the flashing and chimney, remove the hardened roofing cement, apply more, reattach the flashing with masonry nails, make sure the nail heads are covered…plus a few more steps. If you’re handy and have lots of time, you might be tempted to undertake this job on your own. But considering all the steps and things that need to be done correctly, you’d be better off trusting this job to the experts.

Call the Experts

If you’re looking to get the job done right, give Owens Chimney Systems a call. If your flashing repair is not done correctly, you may end up with rotting wood and mold. Owens Chimney Systems has the proper equipment and the expertise to know exactly how to make sure your chimney flashing will protect your chimney and the interior of your house from rain damage.

Published by James Owens on May 10th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , | No Comments

Keeping Animals Out of Your Chimney

You love your fireplace, no doubt about it. And birds and other animals love your chimney. Yes, your chimney is a natural draw for birds and animals, and now that the weather is turning nicer, you’ll need to be on the lookout for these unwelcome visitors. Luckily, this is an easy fix.

Keeping Animals Out of Your Chimney Image - Charlotte NC - Owens ChimneyNatural Home For Animals

There are usually two reasons that an animal is in your chimney. First, it could be that a small bird or animal has fallen into your chimney and can’t get back out. The other reason you may have something in your chimney is because it makes a perfect place for birds, raccoons, or squirrels to build nests. If you are hearing screeching and scratching in your chimney, chances are pretty good that one of these two things has happened.

If you have an animal in your chimney, the one thing you should not do is try to smoke the animal out. All this will accomplish is killing the animal, and that is not only inhumane, it is also smelly. There are other things that you can do. The easiest is to just wait it out. If you have a raccoon, squirrel, bird, or other critter that is having babies in your chimney, if you can handle the noises, you can just wait until the babies are big enough and the moms will eventually get the babies out.

If A Bird Or Squirrel Gets Trapped

You may try to lure him out through the fireplace and out the door or window. If it’s a squirrel, you can try this: hang a rope down the chimney to give him an escape route. If this doesn’t work, it might work better to try to lure him down into the fireplace and into a live trap. First, open a door or a window to give him a place to go if he tries to make a run for it.

Put the trap quietly into the fireplace. Then just leave the room and try to keep things as quiet as possible. Once the squirrel gets in the trap, you can get the trap, bring it outside, and let him go. If it’s a bird, open the dampers so that the bird drops down into your fireplace. Open the fireplace doors, and lightly throw a cloth over it. This will calm the bird enough that you can gently bring it outside and let him fly free.

The Best Option

The best way that you can deal with critters in your chimney is to prevent them from getting in in the first place. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America website, a chimney cap is the best line of defense when it comes to keeping animals out of your chimney.

Call in the Pros

Now is the perfect time to look into installing a chimney cap – before the springtime breezes lure those animals into your chimney. Call Owens Chimney Systems today to set up an appointment to have your chimney inspected. We offer you the best advice and service when it comes to installing a chimney cap or manufacturing a completely custom chimney cap – and we can take care of the rest of your chimney needs as well!

Published by James Owens on April 26th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments

Causes of a Smelly Chimney

There’s nothing as nostalgic as the smell of a wood fire on a cool, early Spring evening. It conjures up images of a crackling fire in a beautiful fireplace. Unfortunately, the smells that come from your fireplace aren’t always that pleasant. In fact, there are several factors that can cause bad odors to emanate from your fireplace. Most of the time, it’s a quick and easy fix to get your fireplace smelling great again. The first thing you should do? Check with the professionals at Owens Chimney Systems!

Causes of a Smelly Chimney Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney SystemsWhat Can Cause Chimney Odor?

Blockage.

There are several things that can cause blockages: animals or birds building nests, paper or twigs or dry leaves blowing into your chimney. The solution to this problem is obvious. Simply remove the blockage. Depending on the placement of the blockage, you may be able to do this yourself. This is especially true if it’s close to the top of the chimney opening. If the blockage is more complex or isn’t in a place that you can easily get to, you’ll need to call in the experts from Owens Chimney Systems. Not only can they get the debris out of your chimney, they can also offer suggestions to help keep these things out, such as adding a chimney cap to your chimney.

Downdraft.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America states that oftentimes a real problem is that there is air being drawn down your chimney . This means that there may be a pressure issue in your home. When your fireplace isn’t in use, a downdraft can occur that will force bad smells caused by creosote build-up into your home. Creosote is the by-product of burning a fire in your fireplace. These by-products can include tar fog, unburned wood particles, water vapor, smoke, and gases. These flow up your chimney and condense onto the walls of your chimney. Consequently, this can cause a nasty smell that can flow into your home. There are some simple approaches to take, such as burning votive candles in the fireplace when it’s not in use. However, a more permanent solution is to hire Owens Chimney Systems technicians to give your chimney a thorough cleaning.

Ashes . . . yes, ashes!

What is the simplest thing to look for when you’re looking for the cause of odor? The ashes that are left after you burn a fire. These ashes can leave a musty scent in the room. You should clean these up on a weekly basis to help control the odor. You can also sprinkle your carpets and furniture with baking soda. Afterwards, let it sit for an hour and vacuum it up for a quick, fresh-smelling fix-up.

Call the Professionals.

Chimney odors are not a problem that can’t be fixed. Check out these issues, but remember: the best way to solve a problem is to stop it before it happens. Call Owens Chimney Systems to set up an annual inspection and sweeping. You’ll get great tips to keep your fireplace clean and smelling great!

Published by James Owens on April 12th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments

Owens Manufactures Custom Chimney Caps

Custom Chimney Caps Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney SystemsIf you own a chimney, you know how important it is to have your chimney inspected and cleaned on an annual basis. Not only does this make your fireplace run more efficiently, it is also important to make sure that there isn’t too thick of a creosote build-up. Creosote is not only extremely flammable, but if it stays in your chimney during the damp spring days, it can cause an odor that can permeate into your home. But there’s one more important component to your chimney that your fireplace and chimney specialists will be looking at, and that’s your chimney cap. Your chimney cap may be in a state of disrepair, or, believe it or not, some chimneys don’t even have a cap. This is one important piece of your chimney and fireplace system that you don’t want to overlook.

Importance of a Chimney Cap

There are a couple reasons that having a chimney cap is important for the safety of your home. A chimney cap not only stops things from flying out of your chimney, it also stops things from flying into your chimney. When your chimney is left wide open, it’s easy for sparks from your fire to escape out and onto your roof or yard. And this can cause a roof fire or even a yard fire. The reverse is also true. When leaves, paper, twigs, or other debris fly into your chimney, they can end up causing a blockage that can also catch sparks from the fire. Not only this, but birds and other critters can fly into your chimney and set up nests. These nests stay in your chimney long after the animals are gone, and the dried nests are natural fire starting material.

Do I Need A Chimney Cap?

If you still need to be convinced of the importance of chimney caps, maybe the words of the Chimney Safety Institute of America will convince you. In their words, chimney caps are “probably the most inexpensive preventive measure that a homeowner can employ to prevent water penetration and damage to the chimney.” The National Fire Protection Association explains the many different types of chimney caps there are to choose from, from standard to draft increasing to draft master caps. Owens Chimney Systems has many styles and sizes of copper and stainless steel protective chimney covers to choose from, and they have experience and expertise to offer when it comes to recommending and installing these chimney caps.

Custom Made Chimney Caps

But not only does Owens Chimney Systems offer a wide variety to choose from, we actually manufacture our very own chimney caps so that you can know your chimney will have the exact chimney cap that will offer the best protection possible. These custom built caps will provide the most protection from outside elements like rain, wind, sleet, and snow that could get in and wear down the interior of your chimney. We offer multiple lid choices so that you can pick the style that best matches the architecture of your home, adding beauty and grace to the roofline.

Give Owens Chimney Systems a call today to find out more about our custom built chimney caps.

Published by James Owens on March 30th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments

The Dangers of Leaky Chimney Flashing

Your fireplace is beautiful and useful and your chimney is one tough piece of masonry. However, even these things can have issues. One of the more common problems that can occur with your chimney is water leaks. Is your chimney is leaking? If so, it can cause damage both to the inside and the outside of your home.

The Dangers of Leaky Chimney Flashing Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney SystemsDamage

Some of the damage that can occur to the interior of your home? Water stained walls and ceilings, rotting wall paper, and rotting wood that is connected to the fireplace. You may also notice that the doors to your fireplace might be rusting. In addition, the fireplace accessories that you keep next to your fireplace. These are all things that are visible to anyone on the inside of the house. Consequently, you may also see damage on the outside of your house.

You may notice that the mortar or the bricks on the outside of your house are decaying or crumbling. This damage is discouraging, but even more harmful could be the damage that you can’t see – the damage on the interior of your chimney. A professional chimney inspector will be able to determine if you have rusted damper assemblies, if your metal or masonry firebox assembly is damaged, or if you have collapsed hearth support. This could also cause a deteriorated central heating system. All of these things could be forerunners of some serious money spent in repair jobs.

What’s Causing the Leak?

Most times, the problems causing the leaks are the sheet metal flashings. Sheet metal flashing is located between the chimney and the roof which keeps the intersection tight. This intersection is a likely place for leaks to occur. Many times, according to the This Old House website, the flashing leaks because it wasn’t properly installed in the first place. Not only can this be a problem, but flashing, like anything else, can deteriorate over time. So, how do you stop leaks caused by flashing issues? Have your chimney inspected on a regular basis by CSIA certified professionals like ours at Owens Chimney Systems.

Chimney Flash Repair

If your chimney inspector tells you that your flashing is rusted through, or if it was improperly installed, falling out, or damaged in any other way? Then you may be advised to have new flashing installed. Another time to have new flashing installed is if you are re-shingling your house. This helps to ensure that the flashing will last as long as the new roof.

Call the Experts

Some people may try to tell you that this is a job you can handle yourself. However, unless you’re an experienced contractor, you’ll want to leave this to someone who really knows how to do the job right. The professionals at Owens Chimney Systems are CSIA certified. Plus are trained in all the latest technology and techniques. We are locally owned and operated, so our community is important to us. Call us today and we’ll get the job done right!

Published by James Owens on March 10th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments