Total Chimney Care's Blog

We fix leaky chimneys!

Leaky chimneys can manifest in many ways inside your home. Whether it’s water pooling in your firebox, stains on your ceilings or walls, discoloration on the exterior of your chimney, or chimney masonry that’s rapidly deteriorating due to excess moisture. The professionals from Total Chimney Care can help. We fix leaky chimneys!

Flashing repair

Most of the time, when there are chimneys leak, the flashing is to blame! Chimney flashing surrounds the base of your chimney, forming a tight seal where the chimney meets your roof to prevent water from leaking in. Over time, your chimney flashing inevitably breaks. It can crack or corrode, forming holes which let water into your chimney. Often, when water stains appear on the ceiling or walls around your chimney, a leak around the chimney flashing is the issue.

Chimney crown repair

Chimney crowns seal off the layers of your chimney at the top. Constructed from concrete, they are extremely susceptible to form cracks due to freeze/thaw process. Damaged chimney crown allows water to leak through the layers of your chimney, causing damage to the internal chimney structure or to your home’s structure. The only way to fix this problem is to repair or reconstruct your chimney crown.

Tuckpointing

Like your chimney crowns, the mortar joints on your masonry chimney are also incredibly susceptible to break due to water absorption and the freeze/thaw cycle. When your mortar joints form cracks and begin to crumble, water then gain access to your chimney. When water makes its way through the cracks, this can weaken the chimney structure or cause water damage to the chimney’s interior. We recommend getting your chimney repaired through tuckpointing. This process removes the damaged mortar joints and reinforces your chimney with newly applied mortar.

Waterproofing

To protect your chimney from leaks in the first place, we can apply a waterproofing solution to your chimney! Chimney masonry absorbs water very easily, and when temperatures drop below freezing, the water within the masonry expands and cause cracks that lead to chimney leaks. When you waterproof your chimney with ChimneySaver solutions, your chimney’s masonry is protected from water absorption. ChimneySaver’s waterproofing solution prevents nearly 100 percent of water from being absorbed into your chimney’s masonry. They also work to allow your chimney to breath and exhaust the smoke and moisture generated by your fireplace at the same time.

Let us help!

If your chimney is plagued with leaks, call Total Chimney Care at 203-874-6772 to schedule an appointment today! Our experts can’t wait to fix your chimney leaks. We offer plenty of solutions to ensure the safety and efficiency of your fireplace by making sure your chimney crown, flashing and mortar joints are in good condition.

By Steve Sobczak on May 30th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Are you ready to light your fireplace?

Lighting Your Fireplace Image - Fairfield & New Haven CT - Total Chimney Care LLCTemperatures are dipping, and the holidays are almost upon us. This time of year has many homeowners lighting their first fires of the season. Before you use your fireplace for the first time this fall, you need to follow this checklist to determine: Are you ready to light your fireplace?

Have your fireplace swept and inspected.

If your fireplace hasn’t been swept or inspected since your last fire of the spring, you aren’t ready to light your fireplace. Your annual chimney sweeping removes dangerous creosote deposits, which can ignite a chimney fire or block smoke from exiting your fireplace if left unchecked. Your annual chimney inspection checks for any weaknesses, damage or blockages in your chimney that could pose a hazard when your fireplace is lit. Don’t light your first fire if you haven’t had your chimney swept and inspected!

Perform any recommended repairs.

If your chimney inspection turned up any needed repairs, don’t ignore them, no matter how small they seem! Even the smallest chimney issue can put your fireplace or your home at risk. Small cracks in your firebox or chimney liner can allow heat and smoke to enter your home, causing damage or a fire or sickening your family with carbon monoxide. Cracks in the chimney crown or exterior masonry can allow water to penetrate your chimney and your home and do damage. As tempting as it is to ignore recommended repairs when it comes time for the first fire of the fall, make sure you take care of chimney repairs before you use your fireplace.

Make any improvements.

Did last winter have you thinking about fireplace improvements? Did you consider a new damper to replace one that no longer sealed out cold air? Would you like to install an efficient gas fireplace insert to your existing hearth? Could your hearth’s masonry use some cosmetic work? It’s not too late to make improvements to your fireplace or chimney! You could still have a new fireplace insert, fireplace or heating stove installed to enjoy all winter long, or you could replace dated or aged chimney or fireplace parts that are no longer working optimally to improve the function of your fireplace and chimney this winter.

Waterproof your chimney.

Water is your chimney’s greatest enemy. It erodes your chimney’s masonry and can compromise its structure. It can rust your damper, fireplace grate and fireplace doors. It can even seep into your home and cause structural or cosmetic damage. You can save your chimney from water damage this winter by having your chimney waterproofed!

Call Total Chimney Care to Schedule an appointment today!

If your fireplace and chimney aren’t quite ready for fall, call Total Chimney Care to schedule an appointment today! We can clean and inspect your chimney, perform any needed repairs or desired improvements, or waterproof your chimney to protect it from moisture this winter. With Total Chimney Care, you can be sure that your chimney and fireplace are ready for the first fire of the fall!

By Steve Sobczak on November 25th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Keeping Water Out of Your Chimney

Waterproofing a Chimney

The chimney is the least thought about and most exposed to the natural elements of any house. Most brick houses are protected by a roof, yet the chimney sits above the roof and sometimes attached to the side of the house. The natural elements of rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain, and freeze/thaw cycles wear and tear on masonry and brick over time. Masonry is porous by nature, and over time without proper maintenance and care can render thousands in structural repair costs.

A certified chimney sweep can help you take preventative steps to keep water out that will save you money and headache in the future.

A certified chimney sweep can help you take preventative steps to keep water out that will save you money and headache in the future.

One procedure to ensure the longevity and structure of a chimney and masonry is waterproofing. Waterproofing masonry, especially something like a chimney, is no easy procedure and requires several steps. Most waterproofing of a chimney or masonry should be done by a professional to ensure proper techniques and is the soundest option. If you have any cracks in the masonry, have it inspected by a professional right away.

These steps must be taken and might help understand this procedure if it is suggested by a chimney professional:

  • Measure – material must be purchased to clean and seal the masonry, so proper measurement is required for these materials.
  • Cleaning – Dirt, creosote, mold and other contaminants must be cleaned off of the masonry properly before sealing. Special masonry cleaner is needed.
  • Masking – this is simply protecting areas of overspray of the sealer. Special care must be taken to secure drop cloths in proper areas.
  • Minor Chimney Repairs – some openings in the mortar might be too large for a general sealer and will need to be addressed separately. Any opening under 1/8” can be filled with Crack & Joint Sealant. Three to four days will be necessary to allow the minor sealant to fully cure. Any brick replacement or crack over 1/8” will need to be repaired by a masonry professional.
  • Apply Water Repellant – water repellent is sprayed on bricks and mortar using a pump garden type spray nozzle. Repellent is applied going from the bottom to the top moving side to side. A brush might be necessary to break the tension of the repellent to get it fully penetrate the masonry. The deeper the sealant can penetrate helps the longevity and effectiveness of the water protection. A second coat can be applied in as little as 3-5 minutes, but will also darken the look of the masonry. Fully dry time will be 2-6 hours depending on weather conditions. A long dry window of 6 hours of no rain is necessary.
  • Clean up – Drop cloths will need to be removed as well as the pump sprayer cleaned out with soap and water.

So the process may take a few days or more for minor cleaning, masking to be applied, minor repairs to be applied and cured, and a dry weather window. In the end, the waiting is worth it and a waterproofed chimney is a happy chimney and will last many years and better protected from the elements.

By Steve Sobczak on September 2nd, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment