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What Makes A Good Chimney Crown?

Your chimney crown plays a big role in keeping your masonry safe. It helps send water away from the sides of your chimney so that it won’t soak into your brickwork and break down your system. It also plays a part in preventing things like the freeze/thaw process down the line, and it keeps your mortar in good condition too.

All in all, a strong and sturdy crown can do a lot for your structure. Unfortunately, many homeowners realize too late that their chimney crown is not built properly in the first place. In these cases, repair work or rebuilding is necessary. The team at A-1 Chimney Specialist is here to help! So, what makes a good chimney crown? Learn more below, then reach out to us today!

Sturdy Materials

masonry chimney Most crowns were built from cheap mortar mixes, but they break down much quicker. Crowns that aren’t built from the appropriate materials simply will not stand the test of time. You’ll find yourself constantly needing to invest in repair work. This is one case where paying a little more for proper construction now will save you lots of money down the line! A good crown is built from a concrete and mesh/fiber mix. This ensures your crown is tough and strong, no matter the weather outside.

A Smooth Slope

The crown is supposed to send water out and away from the sides of your structure, so it should be sloped and smooth to ensure rain and snow can slide off easily. We’ve come across crowns that are flat, which isn’t very effective. In these scenarios, water simply pools on top and eventually wear things down prematurely.

Thick Dimensions & A Slight Overhang

Thickness is a key part of keeping your crown strong and stable for a long time. It should be at least two inches thick to keep it from crumbling, cracking, or breaking down. Along with this, it should hang slightly past the end of your chimney to ensure water doesn’t simply fall all over your brickwork, which would defeat the purpose of the crown altogether!

A Proper Seal

Sealing your crown with something strong yet vapor permeable will keep it safer over time. It also minimizes the risk of experiencing extensive water damage. Paints and cheap sealers from the hardware store are known to trap moisture inside, which only makes matters worse. However, our products guarantee you the protection you’re looking for while allowing the structure to breathe. Ask us about our waterproofing services today!

Not Sure Where You’re At?

Not sure what state your crown is in? Then it’s time for an inspection. Our team is CSIA certified and ready to help you out every step of the way. Schedule your appointment today to beat the fall rush!

How Does A Fireplace Damper Work?

Eager to familiarize yourself with your chimney’s anatomy? Knowing the ins and outs of your system and how it all works together to provide you warmth, comfort, and countless cozy evening indoors is beneficial in many ways. If you have any questions or inquiries regarding the state or function of your chimney or its parts, please feel free to ask the CSIA certified sweeps here at A-1 Chimney Specialist!

For now, let’s focus on one specific piece that plays a big part in helping your fireplace function safely and efficiently – the damper.

What Is A Damper?

masonry chimney with metal capThe damper is a device that seals your chimney when your fireplace is not in use. It works to help better control your indoor temperatures, saving you energy month-to-month. It also works to prevent cold downdrafts from sweeping through your home in the wintertime.

The damper also has a purpose of helping to get your fire going. You can easily open it so that you can enjoy your fireplace without smoke and dangerous fumes entering your home. You can also adjust it to control the size or strength of your fire.

Throat Dampers vs. Top-End Dampers

There are two main types of dampers: throat dampers and top-end dampers. Throat dampers tend to be more common, but top-end dampers are becoming more popular recently as homeowners realize all of its many benefits. So, what’s the difference? Throat damper sits in the lower portion of your chimney. They’ve done an effective job over the years, but there are a few problems that have come up.

First of all, the air is known to seep in through their metal-on-metal seal, which defeats the purpose of a damper in the first place. This can leave you struggling to keep your energy bills in check, and your HVAC system will need to work harder too. Another problem is that they are more prone to rust, which can lead to inefficiency or inhibit it from opening altogether. Debris, twigs, leaves, and other materials can also enter through the top of the chimney and put extra weight on the damper, making it hard to open when it’s time to light a fire.

Top-end dampers

Top-end dampers, on the other hand, form a tight seal with a rubber gasket right at the top of your chimney. There is no need to worry at all about the outdoor temps interfering with your home’s aesthetic. They are also able to work alongside your chimney cap to keep out animals, nesting materials, and other outdoor debris that can clog up your chimney or obstruct airflow.

When it comes to energy savings, maximum efficiency, and overall better protection for your fireplace, there’s no doubt that top-end dampers outweigh the throat dampers. Consider making the switch, and start reaping the benefits today!

What Is Counter Flashing?

If you own a fireplace, then you know how important it is to keep your chimney in good condition. Fortunately, the team at A-1 Chimney Specialist, we have the tools to ensure and protect your chimney for many years. A great place to start is your flashing.

All About Flashing

rainbow behind a houseIn general, flashing consists of pieces of metal that cover the area where your roof meets your chimney. Why does this spot need special attention? Well, your roofing materials and chimney materials expand and contract at different rates, so often times there is a sizable gap through which water could enter. Water can take a big toll on your masonry in a hurry. A chimney without flashing in place will face quite a bit of damage over time.

Base Flashing, Step Flashing & Counter Flashing

There are a few different types of flashing, and they all work together to give you the protection you need. Your base flashing is a single piece of metal that lines the base of your chimney and extends over the shingles. The step flashing is similar, only it is installed along the sloping edges of the chimney.

Once these pieces are installed, that vulnerable area between your roof and chimney is protected, but the base flashing itself needs to be protected, too. That’s where counter flashing comes in. These pieces are installed directly to your masonry, and they cover the top portion of your base and step flashing, ensuring water stays out for good.

As you can see, all three parts work together to help your chimney stand stronger and sturdier for the long haul. All in all, flashing plays a big part in your structure’s safety, and it helps you run your fireplace as safely and as efficiently as possible with every burning season. Ready to get yours installed? Then, call our team of experts to help. Our CSIA certified crew is qualified, and we are confident that we can handle any and all of your flashing needs with ease.

Not A Do-It-Yourself Job

Flashing can seem like a simple task, especially if you are a notoriously successful do-it-yourselfer. However, it is actually a lot more complicated. Getting a tight seal is the only way to guarantee water will not enter, and we would hate to see a homeowner gain a false sense of security, only to face a waterfall in their chimney a few weeks later.

Every chimney is also unique, so it is important to ensure each piece is customized specifically to your structure. Call on our experts from the start and save yourself the stress and financial strain that comes with addressing chimney damage. Reach out to us at 931-967-3595 today!

Small, But Mighty: The Many Benefits of A Chimney Cap

If you own a fireplace, then you are well aware of it’s aesthetic, warmth and comfort. Unfortunately, many miss out on these cozy nights indoors because they didn’t invest in regular maintenance.

Contrary to popular believe, your chimney faces damages in every season, not just winter. Between spring rains, summer storms, and the sleet and snow of winter, protecting your fireplace is truly a year-round job!

One piece of equipment that plays a vital role in keeping your chimney in good shape is the chimney cap. The chimney cap sits at the top of your flue, and comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, so finding the appropriate fit for your system should not be a problem. Ready to learn more? Read up the benefits of a chimney cap below, then call our crew. The A-1 Chimney team is eager to help!

Preventing Water Damagedecorative black chimney cap

Without a well-fitted and properly installed cap in place, your chimney liner and firebox will wind up facing all kinds of leaks and water-related damages. When water enters an open chimney, it breaks down the liner and pools on the smoke shelf, triggering all kinds of decay, rot, rust, stains, and deterioration throughout your entire structure.

As you can imagine, these issues are costly and time-consuming to fix, so why not take every possible step to avoid them altogether? A chimney cap is effective, affordable, and quick to install, so reach out to our experts today to learn more.

Avoiding Animal Entry

No one wants birds, racoons, squirrels, bats, or any other visitors setting up a home for themselves in their chimney but, unfortunately, this scenario isn’t always easy to avoid. Who can blame them for wanting to raise their babies in your warm, strong structure?
Ensure they aren’t given easy access by having your chimney cap installed as soon as possible – you won’t regret it!

Keeping Out Dirt, Twigs & Other Debris

Clogs in your flue can lead to issues with draft and airflow, which inhibits your fireplace from working efficiently and puts you at a higher risk of experiencing gas leaks and house fires. If leaves, twigs, and other materials blow into your flue (or are carried in by animals building a nest), your fireplace will be unsafe for use until everything is removed.

Chimney caps keep all that debris outside, so you can light fires with the peace of mind you deserve.

Blocking Downdrafts and Stopping Sparks

If harsh winds are blowing outside, you may be prone to get some chilly downdrafts swooping in through your fireplace. A chimney cap helps to prevent these. On the flip side, they keep stray sparks and embers from moving up and out of the flue where they could potentially land on your flammable roofing materials. It’s a win-win!

Ready for our team to take a look? Call today.

Keep Birds Out Of Your Chimney With A Bird Screen

As birds reappear in the sunny springtime, homeowners love to watch them outside, as it is an enjoyable and pleasant experience. Birds are lovely creatures, but that does not mean you want them in your chimney and home. Unfortunately, they are often drawn to this specific area of most homes.

However, the team at A-1 Chimney Specialist is ready to provide solutions that will last for the long haul. Learn more about the importance of preventing animal entry below, then contact us to install a bird screen for you today.

The Dangers Of Nesting Materials

birds flying above chimneyA big reason to keep birds out of your chimney is due to the flammable nature of their nesting materials. Leaves, twigs, grass, and other materials like this can easily catch on fire and spread flames inside your chimney. This will cause a lot of damage to your brickwork and chimney liner, and it encourages the spread of flames to your roofing materials and adjacent woodwork, as well.

Along with this, nesting materials cause blockages. When your system is clogged up, smoke and other gases cannot escape and your family could face serious ailments as a result. One of the biggest threats is carbon monoxide, which is known to be fatal. Why take any chances? Do you best to avoid obstructions in your flue by investing in a bird screen today.

Finally, consider how the smells and sounds associated with these creatures could affect the aesthetic of your home. They leave behind foul-smelling feces, and all too often the birds themselves get stuck and pass away. This could easily lead to unpleasant issues throughout your living space, which are easily preventable with a bird screen in place.

Invest In A Solution Today

Bird screens are great at keeping unwanted visitors out, but they are not the only tool for this job. Both a chimney cap and a top-end damper work well for keeping out birds, raccoons, and other woodland creatures too. They also work to help prevent downdrafts, leaks, and debris buildup, too. If you are having issues with your chimney cap or if your throat damper needs an upgrade, reach out to our team right away.

Are The Birds In Your Flue Protected?

If you have birds in your chimney and you are eager to get them out, do not act too quickly. Some species, like the chimney swift, are federally protected and removing them or their young could land you in some trouble. If you find yourself in this predicament, your only option is to wait until the birds migrate, after which you can remove the abandoned nest. Ready to get started? Reach out to our team today!

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