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How often should my chimney be cleaned?
How long will it take to clean my chimney and is there any MESS?
The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA
) recommends a yearly inspection and cleaning and repairs done as necessary. Freestanding woodstoves or fire place inserts used to heat the home should be inspected and cleaned if needed every year. Regular, open fireplaces need to be maintained and cleaned on a consistent basis as well. Usually, a cleaning is needed for every cord of wood burned or at least 2-3 years.
Do you install chimney caps? How much?
It usually takes about an hour
to clean most masonry chimneys
including setup of tarps, vacuum and tools, cleaning the chimney
, and reloading our truck when completed. We guarantee absolutely No Mess
in your home. Pre-fab fireplaces
typically take about 35-45
min. Woodstove inserts
can take from 1-3 hours,
depending on how often they are cleaned, the type of wood burned, and the way the stove is operated. (Choaked down to slow smolder type burning will produce more creosote taking longer to clean.)
There is no mess. We have tarps, vacuums and brushes to clean your chimney without making a mess in your house.
Can you do repairs?
Yes, We supply Stainless Steel and Copper Chimney Caps
that carry a lifetime guarantee. A cap will keep out birds, animals, leaves, twigs, and rain. Rain that enters from an uncovered flue does most of the damage in a chimney by getting into the mortar joints inside the firebox causing them to become weak and deteriorate. The single flue cap chimney cap starts at $125. This includes the cap and installation, and our prices are based on size needed to fit your chimney/flue properly. Multi-flue caps (covering more than one flue) start at $225 installed and go up depending on size needed. Custom caps are priced according to size and material used (i.e., Stainless Steel or Copper). Call 919-772-8110 for more info.
I have rust stains on the top and running down the siding of my chimney. What causes this and what can be done about it?
YES, we repair fireboxes, replace lost or damaged damper blades, or install top mount dampers
if a replacement blade is not available. We also repair crowns, replace rusted chase covers, install chimney caps, and apply water repellent treatment to chimneys. If you are having problems with your chimney, we can most likely find a workable solution. Call Chimney Keepers with your problem, we want to help! 919-772-8110
What is a chimney liner?
Pre-fab fireplaces have a metal covering (chase top
) to prevent water from entering the interior of the chimney structure. The chase top is usually made of a cheap galvanized sheet metal. Over the years, the metal coating wears off from sun exposure, rain and other forces. Most tops have a low spot that holds water as well. When pine straw and leaves blow around some are bound to get stuck in the water that has collected during rain, snow, and ice storms. Pine straw and certain leaves are very acidic when they are decomposing especially when sitting in water. The acid breaks down the galvanized coating and you soon get bare metal.
After a while the metal starts to rust and when water runs off the top during a rain it carries the rust down the side of your beautiful siding causing a stain that gets bigger over time. You may even hear water dripping on the inside of your chase after a rain event as the rust has pitted the metal allowing water to seep through. Then you know you have a problem. The rust stains on the outside of a chimney are the first clue that there is a problem as it can take several months for the metal to pit enough for water to seep through. The time to act is when you first notice rust stains not when you hear water dripping.
The best way to fix the problem is to remove the old rusted chimney chase top and replace it with a new one. We use and recommend stainless steel for its strength and ability to resist rust. You can use the regular galvanized metal which is the cheapest but not as long lasting. The cost difference is usually $250-$300 less than stainless steel. We now have a product called ColorClad. It’s the same metal used for the nice looking metal roofs you see and you can get in colors. ColorClad chase tops have a 25-year warranty against rust. This is a good alternative to Stainless Steel and much better than galvanized. Plus, it less costly than stainless steel.
Oh, another thing, the stainless steel top has a lifetime warranty against rust, corrosion and manufacturing defects. The galvanized cap only comes with a 6-month warranty against rust and manufacturing defects. On the other hand, ColorClad has a 25-year warranty, is better than galvanized, and is less costly than Stainless. You can get it in a color of your choice (most get it to match the trim of the house): white, sand, brown, black and more. Sounds like a easy choice to me!
To get a cost estimate call us at 919-772-8110. Remember, Stainless Steel or ColorClad tops are good selling points in the future and provides good peace-of-mind today.
Currently, most masonry chimneys are built with terra-cotta clay tiles stacked and mortared inside the brick structure. These tiles serve as a gas-tight and heat-resistant insulator against the masonry structure. Without a liner, or with cracked and damaged liners, there would be heat transfer or actual seepage through the brick and mortar. A liner is a stainless steel tube inserted into a chimney to draft a furnace, woodstove or fireplace. The appliance will vent through that stainless pipe and use the existing chimney structure as an encasement. New liners are gas-tight systems insulated for highest efficiency. This can solve most drafting and safety issues of chimneys, flues that are fire damaged, or older unlined chimney flues.
How often should my dryer vent be cleaned?
What is the difference between a Pre-Fab fireplace and a Masonry fireplace?
Most dryer vents
should be cleaned at least every two years or so. This depends on the length of your vent, how many turns in it, and how often the dryer is used every week. Dryers that have short vents and little usage may be able to go longer than normal before being cleaned. On the other hand, if you have a large family and/or are constantly running the washer and dryer, then you might need to have the dryer vent cleaned yearly.
Cleaning the dryer vent can help prevent the possibility of a fire in your house or dangerous carbon monoxide buildup, in the case of a gas dryer, plus can save you money on electricity or gas cost. A clean vent pipe allows the dryer to move the proper amount of air through the system taking the humidity out of the clothes, caused by the heating of gas burners or electric elements in your dryer, thus allowing your clothes to dry quicker with less energy consumed. Take time to notice if your dryer is running longer with the same amount of clothes, it may be time to have the vent cleaned. And, with all the talk about power shortages, we all must do our part and make sure our appliances are operating at peak efficiency.
Speaking of energy savings, one of the best ways is with a programmable thermostat that will automatically raise and lower the temp in your home when you are away. They work by allowing the temp to rise during a summer day to around 80-81 while you are not home and, before you get home, you can program the thermostat to have the temp back to 78. Some other ways of saving energy is to set your A/C cooling temp at 77 or 78 degrees instead of 74 or lower, and during heating season try 68 instead of 70. You won’t notice the difference till the electric or gas bill comes. (If you need help figuring out how to spend all the money you saved give me a call! :-) I try to hang clothes out on nice days to get the FREE drying provide by Mr. Sun. I figure some things in life are free, you just have to take advantage of them.
Climbing down off my soap box now…
We often see the white vinyl vent coming out the back of bunch of dryers we service. This type of vent pipe is highly flammable and causes dangerous fumes if it catches on fire. If the lint catches on fire while the dryer is running it can blow flames into the vent pipe catching the vinyl connector between the dryer and wall on fire. It can also blow flaming balls of lint around in the area where the dryer sits and behind the sheetrock behind the dryer which causes the fire to spread faster. Hopefully, you could catch it soon enough so that the Fire Dept. gets there in time to keep the damage to a minimum. The washer/dryer area is one place we recommend putting a smoke detector to give an early warning about smoke or fire in this area. It’s also good to have an ABC-type fire extinguisher in that area handy in case you need one quick. That can be the difference between knocking down a small fire or having the house burn down.
We recommend and can replace the old white vinyl dryer vent material with the new flame-resistant silver UL listed flex.
Pricing for dryer vent cleaning starts at $129 for a one-story house with dryer venting down under the floor, and $139 for two-story with dryers upstairs and venting out high. This includes up to 25 feet of vent. Other guys give a low price but for only 5-6 feet of vent to clean. If the dryer is on bottom floor of home and vents out down low, this is considered a one-story price.
In addition, we are equipped to completely replace an old unsafe dryer vents with new sheet metal vents or metal flexible vents where needed in most cases. Call Chimney Keepers at
919-772-8110 today and get your dryer vent system serviced and cleaned.
What is the difference between vented and non-vented gas logs? What else is there?
The quickest way to tell is by the chimney outside. If it’s covered in wood or vinyl siding like the house it is most likely a pre-fab. Pre-fab fireplaces
are installed on site from UL-listed components made in a factory, while a masonry chimney is constructed on site by brick masons. A pre-fab chimney has a metal pipe flue to vent smoke out of house. Pre-fabs are smaller and some have blowers built in. All pre-fab fireplaces are UL listed. The pre-fab chimney is encased in a wood chase covered by a metal chase top to prevent water damage and provided with termination cap on top.
A masonry/brick chimney is built on site using brick and terra cotta tile for liners and is more expensive to build and maintain. Most masonry chimneys do not have chimney caps installed, allowing water and animals to get inside the structure and sometimes inside your house. A pre-fab fireplace can be removed if damaged and replaced with a new unit for less cost than rebuilding a masonry chimney. Pre-fab fireplaces are not any more or less safe than masonry fireplaces. They are just different. But both will help keep you warm, and they are romantic!! Call 919-772-8110 for more info.
You sell gas logs but can you run the gas line for me?
There are several different types of gas logs. We deal with the most popular types, vented and non-vented or heating logs. The differences between these two log sets is very technical. But to boil it down, vented-type logs
can only be used in fireplaces with a working chimney that meet current codes. The damper is locked open upon installation and must be kept open when burning. Placement of the logs can be changed to make the fire look different. The flame has a more orange look and soot is more prevalent in the chimney. A chimney cap is HIGHLY recommended when using either type of log set to prevent water and other debris from falling on the log set. Water can rust the burner and grate and can also damage the logs in a short amount of time.
Non-vented logs can be used in fireboxes, when approved, with or without a chimney flue and still meet current building codes. The damper (if there is one) is only cracked open (1/4″ to 3/8″) allowing most of the heat to enter the living space. If you are using a vent-free fireplace, a window needs to be cracked open during use to allow for fresh air into the home. Once vent-free logs are set up they must stay in this configuration throughout their life. The flame is more blue with yellow tips and these logs produce no soot. In some cases, they don’t look that great in the fireplace. However, most of the newer models have come a long way in the looks department.
To find out more info about the good and bad of un-vented logs read this in-depth article at hearth.com.
We are now handling Regency Fireplace products. They offer a nice-looking, direct-vent alternative to vent-free logs without the indoor air pollution problems. These units produce a good amount of heat and, with blowers, can provide enough heat for medium-sized houses for less than regular gas logs. And, yes they do work during an ice storm with no power for the fan. You still get good heat circulation through the vents and lots of heat off the ceramic glass front area. I have several customers with Regency gas inserts that did just fine with no power. Visit Regency-Fire.com to find out more.
We are not able to run the gas lines into fireboxes at this time. Call your local gas company, or look in the yellow pages under “Gas Lines” to find several companies that provide this service. I recommend getting at least 2-3 different price quotes before deciding on one company. After the line is installed ,we are able to hook up your new gas logs.
My chimney has white stains on the brick. What is this?
The white stains or powder-like material is often the result of water penetration of the chimney. During a rain, snow, or ice storm, water is absorbed by the brick and mortar crown. In the case of snow or ice, the freeze/thaw cycles can enlarge the cracks on the top of the chimney mortar crown allowing water to enter the structure this way. The chimney will soon saturate with water. As the chimney dries, lime and salts from brick and mortar are pushed out of the pores of the chimney. Wood in contact with the chimney can also absorb water, and in most cases, starts to rot. This is a common problem that we can help prevent. The cost of this service depends on many factors. Call us for more info or to schedule a visit.
What can be done to prevent the white stains on my brick?
Can I get replacement glass for my fireplace doors?
The first step is a visual evaluation of the chimney crown, mortar joints and flashing. Often we find the crown has cracks caused by shrinkage of the mortar during construction. These start out as hairline cracks but get bigger over the years from freeze/thaw cycles and the natural expansion-contraction that occurs during the spring and summer seasons. If the chimney has darkened from mold and mildew, we recommend cleaning the surface of the brick with a power washing. This opens the pores of the brick and cleans off mold and mildew deposits. We apply a layer of CrownSeal
on the mortar crown, sealing the cracks but remaining flexible to allow for expansion-contraction cycles. Afterwards, we apply the water repellent product ChimneySaver® with a low pressure sprayer. Both products have a 10-year warranty, and we have confidence in their ability to perform as stated.
Why should we choose CHIMNEY KEEPERS as our chimney professional?
Yes, we now have a great source where we can provide high-temp tempered glass for fireplace doors. We need length, width, and thickness of glass and if the glass is enclosed in a full frame or has exposed edges. Turnaround time is 9-12 business days.
We can also get super high-temp ceramic glass made especially for woodstove inserts and freestanding models. Visit our replacement glass page for more info.
Do you have references?
Because that is exactly what we are — Professionals. Chimney sweeping is a very straightforward, simple maintenance process, but there are aspects of chimneys and venting systems that are very technical. Ongoing training is needed to provide accurate evaluation reports and building codes are always changing. Chimney Keepers is a current member North Carolina Chimney Sweep Association (NCCSA
). This helps us keep up to date with the latest changes in our industry and code changes at the state level. We carry business liability insurance for your protection. We are locally owned and operated, have been in business for over 20 years, and the owner of the company will be the one performing/completing your chimney/fireplace service. Call us for more info or to schedule an appointment, 919-772-8110.
We can give you the names of past customers, realtors and property management companies we have performed chimney services for in the past if you desire. Please call and let us know in advance. We will be happy to let you hear all the nice things our customers are saying about us!!
What can I do about the birds in my chimney?
The chimney swift, a colony bird from South America, spends the summer in your chimney nesting, raising their young and getting ready for the long flight back to the forests of Peru. Chimney Swifts on average eat several times their weight in flying bugs such as mosquitos. Being a colony bird they will return to the same chimney they hatched in each year. We start seeing the birds in this area mid- to late-April. They stay until mid-Sept and are usually gone by the first cold snap. We like to wait until the birds are gone or between nesting activity to put out the “No Vacancy” sign.
These birds can have 1-2 nestings a year, depending on weather and other factors. The hatching period usually lasts 4-5 weeks with a 1-2 week period between hatchings. We recommend cleaning the chimney to remove the bird debris and any flammable material that may be in the chimney area. Next step is to install a stainless steel chimney cap. This will prevent birds, squirrels and other animals from entering the chimney along with rain and leaves. From then on your bird and small animal problems are solved, and you are the hero. So, make that call today to schedule your appointment. 919-772-8110
Way the By, after we install a chimney cap on your house, be sure to tell your neighbor about us as the birds that were in your chimney will head for the closest uncapped chimney. I have worked my way around cul-de-sacs installing caps as the birds moved from house to house. ( I love my job!! lol)
What areas do you service?
Can you remove live animals from my chimney?
We provide quality service in the following areas: Angier, Apex, Cary, Clayton, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Holly Springs, Willow Springs, Raleigh/ N. Raleigh areas, as well as areas east and south of Garner (Smithfield, Selma, Benson, etc.). Please call and inquire, 919-772-8110.
For Wake Forest, Durham and areas north and west towards Roxboro, area, please call:
Steve Sterling at Carolina Chimney 919-562-7668 or
Dudley Hampton at Mr. Soot Chimney 919-874-0300
Be sure to let them know Chimney Keepers sent you!
Where is good general info on chimney and fireplaces?
Removing live animals from a chimney is a specialized service in which we recommend a local provider. In some cases the services can be performed the same day while others need to have humane traps set to lure the visitor out of the chimney for evacuations. Southern Wildlife
performs animal removal and covers the area from Raleigh to Chapel Hill and north to Durham. Be sure to let them know Chimney Keepers sent you. The phone number for Southern Wildlife is (919) 796-1829, Alex Freeman.
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These are just a few of the answers to the most common asked questions.
Feel free to call or email us with a question not covered by our FAQ section. We pride ourselves in Customer Service and are standing by to answer your questions. To schedule an appointment, please call us at 919-772-8110.