Heat Shield Ceramic Coating V.S. Stainless Steel Flue Liners

Sometimes, it feels like maintaining a property can be a full-time job. Tiny flaws and cracks can quickly turn into big problems if a property owner can’t fix them promptly. This is especially true when it comes to chimneys. A chimney is constantly exposed to some of the harshest conditions, including high temperatures, wind, harsh UV conditions, water damage, and corrosive chemicals. Over time, these elements can take their toll on even the sturdiest of chimneys. This is where ceramic coating and other chimney liners come in.

What is the Purpose of Chimney Liners and Ceramic Coating?

The purpose of ceramic coating and chimney liners is to protect the inner wall (clay flue liners) of the chimney from damage. This is important because the liners prevent harmful gases and chemicals from seeping into your home.

There are two main types of chimney liners: ceramic and stainless steel. This blog post will discuss the advantages of ceramic chimney coatings versus stainless steel flue liners.

Advantages of HeatShield Ceramic Chimney Coating

HeatShield is a ceramic chimney coating repair system that eliminates the hazards and draft problems caused by gaps, cracks, and spalling in otherwise sound masonry chimneys.

When professionals apply ceramic coatings such as HeatShield within a chimney, the coating seals and plugs all fissures and cracks, resulting in an even ceramic layer that provides the proper passage for smoke and any toxic gases to dissipate from the fire straight out the top of the chimney. Coatings also prevent further acid corrosion and protect your chimney from harm by keeping acidic gasses from causing damage to the masonry.

Ceramic coatings are an excellent option for those who want an easy and efficient way to protect their chimney. HeatShield is warranted for 20 years with proper maintenance.

Advantages (and Disadvantages) of Stainless Steel Flue Liners

Stainless steel flue liners are another popular option for chimney protection, and they come in rigid or flexible varieties. If you’re considering stainless steel flue liners, there are a few things to keep in mind.

On the plus side, stainless steel liners are durable and practical if installed and maintained correctly. However, they are also more expensive than ceramic coatings, and they require a higher level of expertise to install. They also need additional insulation: to safeguard the home’s combustible frame from excessive heat, it is important to always utilize high-temperature insulation with metal chimney liners.

Bottom Line

Both ceramic coatings and stainless steel flue liners have their advantages. Ceramic coatings are more affordable and easier to maintain, while stainless steel flue liners may be a better option for those who want a more durable solution especially if the chimney is unlined. Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your budget and your needs.

If you’re still not sure which chimney lining system is right for you, contact your local chimney care experts at The Irish Sweep. We will be able to thoroughly inspect your chimney and help you make the best decision for your home.

Crazy Chimney Sweep Tactics We’ve Really Seen

It’s always interesting to see the different tactics that chimney sweeps use in order to try and get business. Over the last four decades in service, our experienced Bay Area chimney cleaners at The Irish Sweep have seen it all – from the absurd to the downright dangerous. In this blog post, we’ll outline the crazy chimney sweep tactics we’ve really seen, plus the things that can go wrong in a home when you don’t work with an experienced Bay Area chimney cleaners.

Unorthodox Chimney Inspections

When we perform a professional chimney inspection, we do a photographic, documented camera inspection for our clients’ security and records. As experts, we know that the condition of the inside of a chimney can often be very different than what the naked eye can see from the outside – and it has serious implications for the safety of a home. After all:

  • Chimneys with blockages can contribute to poor indoor air quality or carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Creosote buildup can increase the risk of chimney fires and house fires.
  • Structural damage within a chimney can put it at risk of collapsing at any time, particularly in the event of an earthquake.

Many times on the job, however, we’ve encountered Bay Area chimney cleaners using a very different approach.

“I’ll Just Use My Phone”

A standard iPhone camera cannot capture the same level of detail as a professional-grade inspection camera, but that didn’t stop this chimney sweep. Rather than using a high-image-quality camera to inspect the chimney’s interior, we observed this chimney sweep dangling an iPhone down the chimney to get a look.

Needless to say, this was a major red flag for us. We knew that this chimney sweep would not be able to provide our clients with the level of detail and documentation that we could – and of course, we were concerned about the safety of their phone!

“X-Ray Vision”

Once, a member of our team heard a customer say the other “inspector” was able to see everything they needed regarding the chimney with their eyes. Needless to say, this is not a safe or reliable practice for inspecting a chimney!

While it might be tempting to try and save a few bucks by working with a less-than-professional chimney sweep, it’s simply not worth the risk.

“I Can’t See it, But it Looks Great”

We have also heard from clients that a company performed a chimney inspection prior to cleaning the chimney. Of course, if a chimney is dirty, there will not be much to inspect – the clay flue liners and their related mortar joints will likely be covered in creosote and fly ash.

We always clean a chimney before inspecting it. This is the only way to get an accurate sense of what – if any – repair work may be needed.

“Under The Table”

Unfortunately, there are some unlicensed and inexperienced individuals who will try to do side work “under the table.” This is not only dangerous, but it’s also illegal.

In California, if someone isn’t licensed, then they can’t perform any repairs needed to make a chimney safe to operate. They must also be a licensed contractor to perform work over the amount of $600.00 for time and material.

Choose Bay Area Chimney Cleaners that Care

At The Irish Sweep, we always adhere to the highest safety standards. We are licensed and insured Bay Area chimney cleaners professionals who have been serving the area since 1982. If you’re in need of a chimney sweep, dryer vent cleaning, or other home services, don’t hesitate to contact us! We’ll be happy to provide you with a free estimate.

How Ceramic Coatings Make Your Chimney Safer, and 3 Other Benefits

If you’re like most homeowners, you probably don’t think about the chimney until there’s a problem with it. And by then, it’s often too late. A broken or deteriorated chimney can lead to all sorts of safety and efficiency problems in the home, from hazardous flue gasses leaking into the living space to an increase in our energy bills due to draft problems. But ceramic coatings can help prevent all that! In this blog post, we’ll explain how ceramic coatings make your chimney safer – and the many other benefits of using them.

How Does a Chimney Lose Integrity Over Time?

With time, even a lightly-used fireplace and chimney can start to deteriorate. Exposure to winds, extreme temperatures, and moisture can cause mortar joints to crack and separate, bricks to crumble or spall, metal dampers to rust through, and clay flue tiles to crack.

This deterioration can lead to all sorts of problems in our home. To stay ahead of damage and keep our chimney functioning efficiently, opt for a chimney inspection at least once a year. We can also prevent deterioration (and fix certain safety issues) by hiring professional services to apply ceramic coatings to our chimney.

How Do Ceramic Coatings Make Your Chimney Safer?

Applied inside a chimney, the ceramic coating seals any gaps or cracks. It covers an even ceramic layer that allows smoke and dangerous chemicals to escape straight out of the chimney’s crown. It also inhibits further acid corrosion and prevents damage that might result from it. This not only ensures that the chimney will continue to function properly but also gives us peace of mind knowing that no expensive repairs will sneak up on us.

Other Benefits of Ceramic Coatings

Lengthens the Chimney’s Lifespan

Ceramic coatings are designed to restore and repair the flue while protecting it against future damage. The heat-resistant, water-resistant, chemical-resistant ceramic surface decreases dangerous heat transfer that would otherwise damage an unreinforced fireplace.

Helps Prevent Chimney Fires

Poorly maintained flues and chimneys are one of the common causes of home fires. When creosote, a combustible byproduct of incomplete combustion, builds up in the flue, it can ignite and cause a dangerous chimney fire. Ceramic coatings help to prevent these types of fires by sealing and protecting the flue and preventing the buildup of creosote. The ceramic coating also makes it easier for the chimney sweep to clean the chimney!

Eco-Friendly and Cost-Effective Choice

Ceramic coatings are a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to protect a chimney. They are manufactured from recycled and natural materials, and are much more economical than rebuilding a chimney! Because the ceramic coating seals all the cracks and gaps in the chimney, often an increase in energy efficiency is noticed – which means we save money on our energy bill.

Our highly skilled experts offer a 20-year warranty on ceramic coatings. The coating will not crack or chip due to temperature changes and is highly resistant to water penetration, so you won’t have to worry about repair costs for a long time!

To learn more about the many benefits of ceramic coating, contact us today!

What Is Stage 3 Creosote and How Do You Deal With It?

Creosote is a toxic byproduct of burning wood. The black, tarry substance can build up in your chimney over time, and not only is it corrosive and damaging to the flue liner, but it also presents a serious fire hazard. In fact, a dirty chimney is the leading cause of chimney fires! In this article, we will discuss what leads to stage 3 creosote and how to deal with it.

What is Creosote and How Does it Build Up?

Creosote is a substance that develops as the byproducts of burning wood adhere to the inside of your chimney. The byproducts, including smoke, water vapor, gasses, particles of burned wood and tar fog, rise up the chimney as you burn your firewood. When they reach the cooler parts of the chimney, they rapidly cool and condense on top of each other until they form a black sticky substance known as creosote.

Stage 1 Creosote

The early stages of creosote buildup usually indicate that your chimney has not been cleaned in some time. This type of creosote is dusty, flaky, and relatively easy to remove with a chimney sweep.

Stage 2 Creosote

Stage 2 creosote is harder and blacker than stage 1. It is more difficult to remove, but must be dealt with before it progresses to stage 3.

Stage 3 Creosote

Stage 3 creosote is the most severe stage. It is more concentrated, tarry, and far more likely to cause chimney fires. Creosote also restricts air movement within the chimney and blocks parts of the air column. Surprisingly, this stage can develop in a single burning season, and should only be removed by a licensed chimney sweep, using specialized equipment.

Why is Creosote Buildup So Dangerous?

The biggest danger of stage 3 creosote is that it can cause chimney fires. When the buildup ignites, it burns very hot and may spread to other areas if not quickly contained. In addition, stage III creosote will damage or destroy your flue liner as well as the masonry within the chimney system.

What Can You Do to Prevent Creosote Buildup?

The best way to prevent creosote buildup is to have your chimney cleaned on a regular basis. Depending on the size of your fireplace, you should have it swept at least once a year. A good rule of thumb is to schedule a cleaning after 75 fires, or one cord of wood. Also, make sure you are using seasoned wood in your fireplace—freshly-cut wood contains a lot more moisture and causes more creosote buildup.

If it has been a while since you last had your chimney cleaned, contact us today to set up an appointment with one of our CSIA-certified technicians!

Here’s What to Do if You Have Stage 3 Creosote

If you have stage III creosote, do not attempt to clean it yourself. Contact a licensed chimney sweep and schedule an appointment for professional cleaning. The sweep will use specialized equipment to remove the creosote buildup and restore your chimney to a safe condition.

For more information on stage III creosote or any other type of fireplace or chimney service, give us a call at 510.521.4088!

How Often Do You Need a Chimney Cleaner/Sweep?

A favorite pastime of so many of us is sitting and telling stories around a crackling fire. When the fire dies down and the embers go out, though, there’s ash and soot to be swept up. That same soot can build up in the interior of your chimney and cause problems if ignored for too long. This points to the question: how often do you need the best Danville chimney cleaner or chimney sweep?

The National Fire Protection Association Recommends:

Standard 211 of the National Fire Protection Association states that, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” This once-a-year national safety standard is the recommendation that most chimney sweeps will give you.

What If I Don’t Use the Fireplace Often?

It’s easy to assume that you can leave your fireplace and chimney alone if you’re not lighting fires. However, chimney damage can occur from other external factors such as earthquakes, storms, and moisture. Without an annual inspection, you might be accidentally ignoring worsening conditions that may ultimately damage the structure of your home.

  • Structural Damage: Wet weather can weaken the joints of your chimney, leading to cracks or structural shifts. It can also let unwanted moisture into your home. If not repaired in a timely manner, damage may become so severe that the chimney collapses.
  • Pests: An unused chimney can be the perfect warm, dry place for insects and animals to settle into. Squirrels, birds, spiders, and even mice can crawl and nest in your chimney, wreaking havoc on its masonry.

Creosote Buildup Requires a Best Danville Chimney Cleaner

If you use your fireplace every so often during the colder months, you may have noticed a black, tar-like, shiny or fuzzy substance on the interior walls of the chimney. This substance is called creosote, a highly flammable chemical byproduct of burning wood. If you notice creosote buildup, call a chimney sweep before you light another fire, otherwise you might be looking at a fire a little larger than you anticipated.

5 Surprising Benefits of a Clean Chimney

  1. A safe and efficient fireplace
  2. Reduced smoky odors
  3. Discover chimney damage before a costly repair is necessary
  4. Prevent corrosion of chimney walls due to creosote buildup
  5. Prevents carbon monoxide inhalation and poisoning

The Irish Sweep Makes Chimney Maintenance Easy

An annual cleaning by the best Danville chimney cleaner like The Irish Sweep is an imperative step to proper chimney maintenance. Our technicians are proud of our 40+ years of experience servicing the Bay Area, and there’s no chimney problem we haven’t seen before! We can inspect the inside and outside of your chimney in detail to deep clean, discover damage, and recommend any repairs.

Schedule Our Best Danville Chimney Cleaner Now

Our services at The Irish Sweep can help maintain and enjoy a wood-burning chimney and fireplace all winter and for years to come. We take great pride in offering our Bay Area chimney cleaning services to the resident community and the local Bay Area.

To schedule an appointment with our team, call us at (510)521-4088, or use this simple contact form by clicking here.

Here is a little known fact about creosote: It oxidizes. Creosote that was not able to be removed at the time of the last service appointment will actually change chemical composition, rendering it a substance that can now be removed. It’s never too late to schedule a chimney cleaning!

Orinda Chimney Cleaning Services : Truth About Spare the Air Days

After another hot dry summer season with raging California wildfires and ozone pollution, it might feel like sitting beside a cozy fire at the fireplace over the Holidays are a long way off. Yet the Holidays are just around the corner! Your friendly local Orinda Chimney Cleaning Services can help.

Fireplace Safety

It is perfectly safe to have a wood fire if safe burn practices are followed. Staying aware of Spare the Air days and regularly getting the chimney inspected and cleaned can allow us to enjoy our fireplace this winter.

7 Safe Burn Practices:

  1. Burn seasoned wood, or wood that has been dried for at least one year. This significantly reduces smoke than fresh, “wet” wood.
  2. At no time burn plastics, garbage, paper, or other harmful substances.
  3. On no occasion use a liquid firelighter to start a fire in the fireplace
  4. Get a chimney inspection and cleaning annually.
  5. Keep flammable materials like curtains and furniture a safe distance from the fireplace.
  6. Make sure that nobody sits so close to a fire that clothing could catch fire
  7. Check the local Spare the Air alerts before burning.

When can we have a cozy fire?

A family gathering over the Holidays is often cozier and more memorable with a lovely traditional fire burning. We can use our fireplace when an alert has not been issued. Most people don’t realize that Spare the Air days are normally few and far between. In 2021, there have only been five no-burn days so far.

Understanding Spare the Air Days

In the Bay Area, there are two major air pollutants to pay attention to: ozone and fine particulate matter. When these pollutants are in high concentrations and deemed unhealthy for long-term exposure, a Spare the Air alert will go into effect.

  • Ozone is the primary ingredient in summer smog. It comes from a reaction between sunlight and pollutants emitted by refineries, cars, power and chemical plants, as well as other industrial facilities.
  • Fine Particulate Matter are small particles which can travel into the lungs. Fine particulate matter comes from vehicle exhaust, chemical reactions to pollutants and other materials. Wildfires can cause particulate matter to travel hundreds of miles.

Did you know….

In the Bay Area, mandatory Spare the Air Days begin on November 1st and end on the last day of February of any year?

Check the Bay Area’s current air quality on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District organization’s website.

How Can The Irish Sweep help?

Regular chimney cleaning and inspection services help preserve the structural integrity of the chimney. If a fireplace hasn’t been used over the summer, perhaps a squirrel or other creature has made its home there!

4 Main Reasons for a Chimney Inspection and Clean

  1. Prevents carbon monoxide poisoning
  2. Prevention of chimney collapse- both the summer and winter months can be harsh on the integrity of the chimney. A dry climate along with heat and strong winds over the summer can harm the integrity of the cement and brickwork. Add in the fact that earthquakes, no matter how small can create tiny fractures in the brickwork. A chimney inspection can be a proactive way to detect this and prevent further or costly damage.
  3. Reduces the likelihood of chimney fires from dust residues and creosote build-up
  4. Reduces the chance of the house smelling smokey

We are your friendly local Orinda Chimney Cleaning Services.

Schedule an Orinda Chimney Cleaning

Our services at The Irish Sweep can help maintain and enjoy a wood-burning chimney and fireplace for years to come. We take great pride as being your neighbor offering Orinda chimney cleaning services to the resident community and the local Bay Area.

To schedule an appointment with our professional Orinda Chimney Cleaning team, call us at (510)521-4088, or use this simple contact form by clicking here.

Enjoy the crackle of a yule log in a roaring fire this Holiday season.