Category Archives: Chimney

House showing chimney inspections

Levels of Chimney Inspections

House showing chimney inspections

In 2000, the National Fire Protection Agency, otherwise known as NFPA, addressed chimney inspections. The NFPA established three levels of inspection–Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. This three-tiered system of chimney inspections can be confusing to homeowners, real estate agents, and even home inspectors. This is a brief explanation to clarify this important subject. […]

Money flying out of wallet

An open fireplace damper is like an open window

Money flying out of wallet

During these dog days of summer, many homeowners are making a very expensive mistake. Here in San Diego, homeowners are opening their SDG&E envelopes and getting sticker shock with astronomically high utility bills. What homeowners don’t realize is that by making a very simple change, they can save a great deal of money.   So […]

A chimney cap will prevent roof rats from entering a home

Roof rats love your chimney!

A chimney cap will prevent roof rats from entering a home

Even if homeowners don’t use their fireplace, there are still very important reasons to have a chimney cap. This last week, as a chimney sweep, I received a record number of phone calls from people who had critters in their chimney.  This time of year here in San Diego, during the rainy season, it’s not […]

Chimney cap askew on top of a chimney

Chimney Caps and Termite Tents

Chimney cap askew on top of a chimney

What do chimney caps and termite tents have in common? More than you think! Several times a year, the strong Santa Ana winds hit Southern California. These winds are something we San Diegans dread because it usually brings with it the threat of wildfires. But there’s something else that occurs due to these forceful winds. […]

The top of an unlined chimney

Problems with an Unlined Chimney

The top of an unlined chimney

As a chimney sweep, the most important part of a chimney that we inspect is the flue lining. In many older homes, there is no flue lining. This type of chimney system is referred to as an unlined chimney.  According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, “Never use a chimney that does not have […]

A masonry chimney on the exterior wall of a home

What is a Masonry Chimney?

A masonry chimney on the exterior wall of a home

Just like automobiles that have different manufacturers and models, the same goes for fireplaces and chimneys. Here in Southern California, there are primarily three different types of open fireplace systems–1) masonry chimneys; 2) prefabricated, factory-built systems; and 3) Rampart General Pre-Cast systems. Since I’ve already addressed Rampart General Pre-Cast systems in the past, this post […]

Young couple sitting next to fireplace

Wind Caps Solve Fireplace Smoking Problems

Young couple sitting next to fireplace

Enjoying a warm fire on a cold evening is one of the simple pleasures in life, but not when that beautiful crackling fire is accompanied by the eye-burning scent of smoke. There are a number of causes for fireplace smoking problems, many of which are easily remedied. If you live in an area prone to […]

3 Issues with Rampart General Pre-Cast Chimneys

Imagine this scenario: You have spent a great deal of time looking for that perfect home. You did your due diligence, had the proper home inspections and then made the single most expensive investment of your life. After moving in, you decide to get the chimney inspected and swept. The chimney sweep comes in and, […]

Young couple sitting in front of the fireplace with their dog

50 Tips For Enjoying Your Fireplace

Young couple sitting in front of the fireplace with their dog

There’s nothing better than a warm fireplace on a cold evening. Here are 50 quick and simple tips that will help you safely enjoy that cozy fire even more. IMPORTANT SAFETY TIPS 1. For an open fireplace, the glass doors must be in a fully open position. Once the fire has died out, close the […]

Fireplace odor like a campfire

Six Causes of Fireplace Odors

Fireplace odor like a campfire

There’s nothing better than a warm, cozy fire in the fireplace but there’s nothing worse than the “campfire-in-the-living-room” smell that can sometimes occur afterwards. Understanding some of the causes for a stinky fireplace will help prevent the problem. There are several key causes for fireplace odor issues.   1) Smoking Problems Sometimes a smoking problem […]

Close-up of the face of a sheep

Timing is Everything – Don’t be a Chimney Sheep!

Close-up of the face of a sheep

Sheep are best known for flocking and will run together as herds because there’s safety in numbers. This works great for sheep but works against homeowners for their home maintenance, especially in preventing fire hazards due to chimneys and fireplaces. It’s common knowledge that you never call for maintenance on your air conditioning on the […]