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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?


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.


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

How A Chimney Cap Can Benefit Your Home

Home Benefits of a Chimney Cap Photo - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney SystemsThe different parts of your chimney and fireplace system all work together to ensure that you can build a warm, inviting, crackling fire. One important part that shouldn’t be overlooked, yet often is, is the chimney cap. A chimney cap can save you headaches and repair bills by protecting your chimney and your home from the dangers of fire damage, and the qualified technicians at Owens Chimney Systems have the know-how to get you the chimney cap you need.

How A Chimney Cap Can Benefit You

There are two main reasons that a chimney cap is important for protecting your chimney. First, a chimney cap will help stop sparks from the fire from escaping from your chimney. Without a chimney cap, these sparks can land on your chimney and start a fire, or they can even fly onto your yard, and if conditions are dry, you could have a real disaster on your hands.
Another role that a chimney cap plays is to stop things from coming down your chimney. Enclosed spaces are perfect for building nests, and without a chimney cap, birds, squirrels, or other small animals can get into your chimney and make it their home. Dry twigs and leaves or other garbage could also blow down your chimney and cause an obstruction, and these obstructions could also catch a spark and start a chimney fire. A chimney cap will also keep other natural elements, like rain, sleet, and snow, from coming down your chimney.

Different Kinds of Chimney Cap

The next question to ask would be what kind of chimney cap is needed. The National Fire Protection Association gives several options. Standard chimney caps can be fitted over several different chimney types, such as square, oval, round, or even rectangular. If you have a flat roof, you can get draft increasing chimney caps, but you may need an adaptor to install this type of chimney cap if you have a masonry chimney. If you wish to increase the performance of your chimney flue, you might look at draft master caps, which will use wind to meet this goal, Older fireplaces might benefit from integral damper mechanisms to cause a better draft. Top sealing fireplace dampers can reduce downdrafts and heat loss. For help in making a decision on which chimney cap best suits your needs, talk to a chimney sweep company like Owens Chimney Systems, where our expert technicians can look at your home and give options that will best suit your needs. In fact, Owens Chimney Systems manufactures our own custom chimney caps, so you know your chimney cap will be exactly what your home needs.

Caring For Your Chimney Cap

Owens Chimney Systems offers top-notch chimney cap maintenance, inspection, repair, and replacement. If you need a new chimney cap or if you don’t have a chimney cap, they can recommend exactly the chimney cap that will meet your individual needs. They will be able to advise you on whether you can repair your existing chimney cap or whether a new one is your best option. Give us a call today and you will soon be able to rest easy, knowing that your home is protected from the elements and any unwanted visitors that might enter through the chimney.

Published by James Owens on February 25th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments

Hints That Your Gas Fireplace Isn’t Working Properly

A warm, crackling, cozy fire on a cold, snowy night is hard to beat. Can you imagine having a warm, crackling fire without the fuss and mess of cleaning up? That’s exactly what you have when you have a gas fireplace. Gas fireplaces have many advantages: they are easy to light, they are relatively mess-free, and they are quite energy efficient. Although relatively easy to maintain and stress-free, unfortunately, sometimes problems arise with gas fireplaces that need attention. When these things happen, it’s great to have a company like Owens Chimney Systems that you can turn to. When you call Owens, you can rest assured that any problems will be taken care of quickly and efficiently.

Pilot Light Isn’t Lit

Angie’s List reveals one possible reason your gas fireplace may not be working is that the gas might not be turned on. A good place to start is to make sure the gas is on. If your gas fireplace has not been used in a while, you may need to remove the air from the pilot tubing. Hold the pilot button down for a few minutes and let the air bleed out. This could be a simple fix to your problem. If this doesn’t work, it could be that there is debris between the spark igniter and the thermocouple. Make sure that this debris is cleared out. If that doesn’t take care of the problem, it could also be that the thermocouple is worn out and needs to be replaced. If that happens, give Owens Chimney Systems a call!Hints That Your Gas Fireplace Isn't Working Properly - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney Systems

Circuit Breakers

If your gas fireplace isn’t working, it could be that there is too much power running through your electrical system and this could be causing your circuit breakers to trip. Check out your breaker box and reset any tripped breakers.

Gas Issues

It could also be that your gas valve is not open, which means that your fireplace isn’t getting the fuel it needs to light. Make sure that this valve is open and in the on position. Also, if your gas fireplace is reliant on a propane tank, make sure that it is delivering gas to your gas fireplace. Check to make sure that one, the propane tank is switched open and two, that your tank has fuel in it.

Who To Call If There’s An Issue

Owens Chimney Systems also offers the best gas fireplaces, gas logs, and gas inserts in the business. They can handle the installation of your gas fireplace and advise you on which appliance is best for your needs. We can advise you on whether you need a vented or vent-free system, and what style will best suit your needs. Not only can they offer expert advice and installation, they can take care of any other issues that may arise.

You gas appliances need to be inspected, cleaned, and serviced on a regular basis. You should call Owens Chimney Systems for great service and knowledgeable technicians.

Published by James Owens on February 9th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments

Benefits of Using a Fireplace Fireback

Your fireplace offers warmth and comfort during snowy winter weather. In addition, it takes the chill out of nippy, autumn air. A fireplace can also be a focal point of beauty in your living area or any other room. However, fireplaces aren’t necessarily known to be efficient when heating large rooms. There is a simple solution to increasing the efficiency of your fireplace. Add a fireback!  They help with heating your room. Also, a fireback can add a pleasing element to a fireplace that may be starting to look rundown.

Benefits of Using a Fireplace Fireback Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney SystemsIncreasing Fireplace Efficiency

A fireback is simply what it sounds like. It’s a metal insert that fits in the back of your fireplace. The concept is not a new one. According to Ask the Chimney Sweep, firebacks were used during colonial times to protect the back of the firebox. This is because they were often susceptible to damage because of the building materials used at the time. In current times, advances in the structure and building materials of fireboxes have made them much less likely to be damaged. On the contrary though, the idea of using a fireback still remains popular. Rather than being used as a protective device, firebacks are now used to help your fireplace burn more efficiently.

The idea is simple: when you burn a fire in your fireplace, the bricks absorb a lot of heat. Because of this absorption, the heat safely dissipates and other materials in the construction of the chimney will not catch fire. If you were to install a stainless steel radiant fireback in your fireplace, this will allow some of the heat that would be absorbed by the bricks to reflect back into the room instead. According to experts, if you install a radiant fireback the efficiency of your fireplace can increase by almost 50%.

Decoratively Pleasing

According to an article published in the New York Times, fireplace firebacks are not only a simple way to increase efficiency. They can also be an inexpensive way to add a decorative touch to your room. You can, of course, purchase plain, stainless steel firebacks. However, you can also add to the beauty of your living room by purchasing a cast iron fireback. These provide protection for your fireplace. Plus, they also come in intricate designs that add to the attractiveness of your living area!

Stainless Steel vs. Cast Iron

Cast iron firebacks hold the heat longer than stainless steel firebacks. They are also much heavier than stainless steel, however, which makes them difficult to move. Plus, it may also cost much more than stainless steel to ship to your home. Having said that, either type of fireback is a great way to add to the efficiency of your fireplace.


Whether you are looking to increase the efficiency of your fireplace or add to the beauty of your room, a fireback may be just what you’re looking for. If you have questions about adding a fireback to your fireplace system, just give the experts at Owens Chimney Systems a call!

Published by James Owens on January 27th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , | No Comments

Protect Your Chimney With A Chimney Cap

There are many parts to the chimney – some that you could easily name and others that are a bit more obscure. There’s the hearth and the surrounding mantle, the firebox, the flue and the damper. However, there are less-known parts of the chimney that are equally important. One of these is the chimney cap.

Protect Your Chimney with a Chimney Cap Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney SystemsWhy Do You Need A Chimney Cap

A quality chimney inspector will look for a chimney cap during inspection. It’s not altogether uncommon for this important component of your chimney system to be missing because the importance is underestimated. There are two good reasons for you to have a chimney cap:

  1. A chimney cap stops things from blowing down your chimney. The wind can blow paper, trash, or dry leaves into your chimney, and these things can cause blockages in your chimney. Not only that, but your chimney is a perfect place for birds, squirrels, and other small animals to build nests. These nests and other blockages can catch sparks from your fire and cause a chimney fire to occur. And if your chimney hasn’t been cleaned lately, you could have a major creosote build-up in your chimney. This could cause a burning blockage to turn into a catastrophic fire.
  2. Not only are animals and garbage kept out of your chimney by a chimney cap, but so is precipitation. And when the snowy, sleety weather in North Carolina hits, a chimney cap will keep it out! According to wiseGEEK, moisture mixes with the creosote that can build up inside your chimney and this can eat away at the mortar in the firebox and flue. It can also cause rust to build up on the metal parts of the fireplace, such as the damper. So a chimney cap is really necessary!

The other reason that a chimney cap is important is because it keeps sparks from leaving your chimney and escaping onto your roof or the ground. Roof fire or, if conditions have been dry, a major ground fire that could harm not just your home, but other buildings in your neighborhood could result from these sparks.

Types of Chimney Caps

The National Fire Protection Association gives advice on what type of chimney caps are available. Each unique chimney shape requires it’s own standard chimney cap. Flat roofs require draft increasing chimney caps. You will need an adaptor to install this if you have a masonry chimney. Integral damper mechanisms result in a better draft and can be used in older fireplaces. On the other hand, top sealing fireplace dampers can reduce heat loss and downdrafts. To help you decide which cap is best for you, call the experts at Owens Chimney Systems.

Call Owens Today

Owens Chimney Systems knows what type of chimney cap you need, how to install it, and how to keep it in good repair. Trust the professionals at Owens Chimney Systems to care for your chimney cap and determine if it is working at its highest potential. Keep your chimney in great working order with the professionals at Owens Chimney System.

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