A. The national safety standard is the best way to approach the problem. "Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. All cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary" according to The National Fire Protection Association standard 211. Keep in mind that even if you have an unused or infrequently used chimney, animals can nest in the flue. Also, other problems could make your chimney unsafe to use.
A. Below is a list of a few things that affect how fast and how much creosote can build-up:
A. Wood never burns completely. The smoke is partially made up of unburned gases and tar-like liquids, which can form condensation along the sides of the chimney flue and stovepipes. This condensation can become a combustible crust called creosote.
A. Creosote can cause many problems for the wood burner. Creosote is corrosive to common chimney materials such as mortar and steel. When Creosote builds up it insulates and reduces the efficiency of your fireplace/wood stove. Most importantly, creosote is extremely flammable and poses a likely fire hazard.
A. First, you should open the damper very carefully. Always wear eye protection (goggles are best, but safety glasses may be used), and then, using a flashlight, carefully look up the chimney flue for the black-colored creosote build-up along the walls. If a build-up of 1/4" or more is present, cleaning is needed. Stovepipes can be checked by first allowing the stove and pipes to cool and then carefully removing them from the thimble in the wall or the back of the stove. This process can be messy, so beforehand you should cover the immediate area with a drop-cloth before you remove the pipe. Again, if a build-up of 1/4" or more is present cleaning is needed.
A. This topic is fairly extensive. Please see our Smoking Problems section.
A. Creosote deposits in the chimney are the cause of this odor. When the air conditioning is turned on and the humidity is higher during the summer the smell is usually stronger. Thoroughly cleaning the chimney will help but more often than not doesn't fix the problem completely. You can try commercial chimney deodorants that generally work well, and many people try putting baking soda or kitty litter in the fireplace. The reason behind this problem is air being drawn down the chimney from outside by a lower air pressure inside the house. Try introducing another source of air into your home somewhere else. A top mounted damper which seals tightly can also reduce this flow coming from the chimney.
A. Yes! Even with a gas furnace debris or animals that decide to move into a new home inside it can block your chimney. The new generation of furnaces can also cause problems because your chimney flue may be configured for older furnaces.
A. Cleaning is necessary because your gas logs will deposit carbon to your fireplace and chimney. You should also have inspections performed to check for gas leaks.
A. Yes, the staff of Pyramid Masonry will need access to both the inside and outside of your home in order to perform a proper inspection and cleaning.
A. The staff of Pyramid Masonry will take all necessary steps to insure that your property remains as clean or cleaner than it was when we arrived. We guarantee it.
A. Pyramid Masonry is equipped to handle these problems. You may need a chimney cap or top-sealing damper to prevent water from running down your chimney. Masonry repairs such as repairing or replacing the crown wash on top of your chimney, tuck pointing deteriorated mortar joints, removing and replacing damaged bricks, or rebuilding a portion of your chimney may be necessary. The solution could also be as simple as resealing the flashing where your chimney meets your roof or the outside wall of your home.
A. Pyramid Masonry can install replacements parts for pre-manufactured fireplaces. We simply need to inspect your fireplace and find out the manufacturer in order to obtain the right parts for your fireplace.
A. All you really need to do is look at your chimney or fireplace for a few signs that a repair is needed. Are there missing or crumbling bricks? Is the mortar between the bricks uneven, deteriorated, or missing? Are visible cracks present in the bricks or mortar? Any of these things would be good reason to call Pyramid Masonry to provide an estimate for the necessary repairs. If you looked and still aren’t sure, just call us. We would be happy to inspect your chimney and fireplace.
A. The source of this problem is most likely an incorrectly sized flue liner being used to vent your new furnace or water heater. One possible solution is the installation of a properly sized liner, which will prevent the gases inside the flue from cooling enough to allow condensation.
A. Pyramid Masonry can recommend a solution for these stains specific to your chimney upon inspection. This problem may require us to tuck point the mortar joints, install a new liner, or if necessary, rebuild the chimney. Efflorescence, the whitish stain, is generally found on a chimney which serves your furnace and is caused by gases escaping the chimney flue through cracks or gaps in your chimney lining.
A. Yes. Dryer ducts can become clogged with lint or debris from animal nests. Pyramid Masonry can use specialized equipment to clean the ducts