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Protect Your Chimney With A Chimney Cap

Do you know what the number one cause of issues with your fireplace and chimney system is? If you’re thinking creosote build-up, think again. How about obstructions, such as nests, dried papers, dried twigs, and leaves, or even dead animals? Nope.

Using the wrong type of wood or wood that hasn’t been cured long enough? No and no. The thing that can, over time, cause the most damage to your chimney is simply this: water.

The Damaging Effects of PrecipitationProtect Your Chimney With A Chimney Cap Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney

Rain is such a great thing when we need it… It leaves the ground green and the air smelling fresh. But rain can damage your chimney. It wears away at the brick and mortar and, if your chimney structure isn’t stable, can get in the cracks and trickle into the actual fireplace. Even a slow, indiscernible leak can cause big problems as it wears away at the interior of your chimney. If you happen to notice that the wallpaper or paint around your fireplace is starting to peel or flake, chances are you have a leak.

Other elements of your chimney can be damaged as well. Things that may happen include water trickling down, your dampers could rust, the wood surrounding your fireplace could rot, or your hearth support could collapse. By leaving the damage unrepaired, you could be looking at major chimney repairs, and that’s hard on the old pocketbook!

Protection From Rain, Sleet, and Snow

You may wonder how to protect your chimney from the effects of precipitation. After all, you can’t stop the rain from falling! You can, however, add protection to your chimney by installing a chimney cap. A chimney cap is designed to keep rain out of your chimney and to keep flying sparks or embers from getting out of your chimney and onto your roof. It has the added benefit of keeping animals out as well!

A chimney cap fits over the top of your chimney, shielding the interior from the wearing effects of precipitation. It is very important that you get the right sized chimney cap to fit your chimney so that if doesn’t interfere with draft while still keeping critters and precipitation out. So is it possible to find a chimney cap that fits your chimney exactly? You bet it is!

Custom Fitted Chimney Caps

You may worry that you won’t be able to find the perfect fitting chimney cap for your chimney. We at Owens Chimney Systems have the solution to that problem: we don’t just sell chimney caps, we manufacture them as well. We offer a wide variety of styles and sizes so that you know you have the perfect chimney cap for your chimney. If you’re not 100% sure what would work best for your home, we can offer expert advice to make sure you’re satisfied.

If you’re in the market for a chimney cap, whether as a replacement for a broken cap or because you don’t have one, Owens is the business to call. From choosing a cap to installation, we can offer you a quality experience that’ll leave your chimney protected.

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

Dangers of Using Your Fireplace Without an Inspection

There are definitely some things that you shouldn’t put off. If you put off getting your tires changed, you might end up on the side of the road with a blow-out. If you put off getting your roof fixed, you end up with lots of leaks. But if you put off getting your chimney inspected, there are several dangers you might face.

Chimney FireDangers of Using Your Fireplace Without an Inspection Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney System

One of the dangers of not having your chimney inspected on an annual basis is a chimney fire. There’s more than one way that you could be facing this danger. The big thing you usually associate with causing a chimney fire is creosote build-up. Creosote makes a mess, there’s no doubt of that, but that’s not the only problem with this black, nasty substance that’s left on your chimney’s interior in the wake of the smoke escaping your chimney.

Creosote is extremely flammable and leaving it in your chimney fire season after fire season is just asking for a chimney fire. This can sometimes be a roaring, crackling, terrifying fire which causes a house fire, but more likely, it can be something that takes place that you don’t even realize is happening. This is a dangerous situation because there could be structural damage that needs to be addressed and you don’t even realize it exists.

Another danger of not having that chimney inspected is fire because of obstructions. If you don’t get your chimney inspected, you could have dry nests, dried leaves, and twigs, or even just paper and other garbage left in your chimney, and when you light a fire, any random spark could cause a chimney fire.

Structural Damage

Have you ever brought your car into the garage because you just can’t figure out what’s wrong with it? Everything looks good to you, but it just isn’t running smoothly. The same can be said of your fireplace and chimney system. Although it might look just fine, your chimney could have suffered damage from a hidden chimney fire, from severe weather conditions, or just from everyday wear and tear. If you have structural damage, you could have leaks, which will just cause more damage, both to your chimney and to the interior of your home. Not only this but if your chimney is too damaged, you could be allowing dangerous carbon monoxide to build up in your home rather than escaping through the chimney. And if there’s damage on the outer edge of your chimney, you might just have falling bricks to watch out for!

Don’t Neglect Your Inspection

The simple solution to these problems is just this: call Owens Chimney Systems today and schedule your annual inspection before the fall rush hits. Don’t get caught with an unsafe chimney when you could have our CSIA certified professionals checking out all the cracks and crevices, making sure that no dangers are left undiscovered.

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

Beat the Fall Rush and Schedule Your Chimney Sweeping Now

These last days of summer are so precious! It’s time to take one last trip to the beach before the chilly days of winter. In the midst of all the business, there’s one job that you best not neglect – getting your chimney inspected and cleaned before you’re ready to use your fireplace again!

What Will An Inspector Do?Beat the Fall Rush and Schedule Your Chimney Sweeping Now Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney

One of the things your inspector will be looking for is creosote. When you burn a fire in your fireplace, the smoke that is released up your chimney contains a lot of different substances:
“water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbon, tar fog and assorted minerals”. When the smoke hits the top of your chimney, where the bricks and mortar are cooler, the vapor condenses and forms creosote. Creosote is thick and sticky, or maybe even hard and a shiny substance which just happens to be incredibly flammable. If this substance gets to be an eighth of an inch or more, the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that you have your chimney cleaned.

Another thing that your chimney inspector will be looking for is obstructions of any kind that might put your chimney at risk for a chimney fire. If you’ve waited until the end of the summer to get your chimney cleaned, you might have several things in your chimney that could easily cause a fire. This includes debris or old papers that have blown into your chimney, dry leaves or twigs, or even bird or other animal nests.

Because your chimney is dark and out of the way of the wind, precipitation, and other predators, it makes an ideal place for an animal or bird to raise their young. When the happy family moves out, the nest remains, getting dryer and dryer. When you light a fire, a spark could reach that obstruction and start a chimney fire. It’s very important that these obstructions be removed so that your home and family stay safe and sound.

Chimney Fires

Did you know that your chimney can have structural damage? It looks like an incredibly sturdy structure, and it actually is. But over time, all things can have damage from wear and tear and weathering, your chimney included. Another little-known fact is that you can have a chimney fire without even realizing it. Your chimney inspector will also be looking for any type of structural damage that will need to be repaired before you use your fireplace.

Hire CSIA Certified Professionals

Now is the time to get a call in to schedule your chimney inspection and cleaning – before the big fall rush hits. Make sure you call CSIA certified professionals like those at Owens Chimney Service to make sure that you have top-notch service from highly experienced technicians.

Published by James Owens on August 18th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , | No Comments

Twenty-first Century Hearth Appliances

Fireplaces have been giving people pleasure for years. Early in our country’s history, homes were heated by crackling fires in the fireplace, but no one ever claimed that these fireplaces were efficient or even that effective. Over time, as furnaces became the way to heat homes, fireplaces became more of a luxury used as a place of comfort, but not used for heating a home. In recent years, however, fireplaces have undergone many transformations, and they are not only decorative but can add real value in the form of helping to heat your home.

Gas Burning AppliancesTwenty-first Century Hearth Appliances Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney

One trend in 21st-century heating appliances is using gas as a heat source. This can include gas stoves, gas inserts, or even gas fireplaces. But what are the benefits of using gas? One of the obvious advantages of gas as a heating source is convenience. You don’t have gather logs or clean up their mess after. Push a button and the flame appears. Gas is also a relatively cheap fuel source. For some people, the inexpensive convenience is great. But the best reason for burning natural gas is the effect that gas has on the environment.

According to Project Greenify, “the dirty truth is that wood burning fireplaces emit 28 lbs of particulate emissions per MMBtu(s) of heat output (soot and ash) as opposed to natural gas which produces up to 99% less (about .28 lbs/MMBtu). This means that natural gas fireplaces pose less of a risk of in-home air pollution or smoking out one’s neighbors as well.” In today’s world, this is something that everyone needs to take into consideration.

Converting Your Current Fireplace

The question that you might be asking is, can my current non-efficient fireplace be converted to a more money and heating efficient appliance? The answer is yes. Your fireplace can be converted to whatever type of fuel you’re interested in using: pellets, propane, or natural gas. A properly fitted insert causes your fireplace to actually facilitate combustion. This means you will be able to use your fireplace to actually heat your room without worrying about heat escaping up your chimney.

Call Owens Chimney Systems

If you’re looking to convert your fireplace to a more efficient heating source, call us at Owens Chimney Systems. Whether it’s adding a gas insert into a pre-existing fireplace or doing a total remodel by adding a gas fireplace or gas stove, you can count on us to give you great advice on what will work best in your home. And after you’ve made a decision, you can trust our professionalism and expertise to install your new product. Call us and you’ll soon be enjoying your fireplace without worrying about your money going right up to the chimney!

Published by James Owens on August 4th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , , | No Comments

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