Our Company Blog

Causes of Chimney Odors

Summers in the Shenandoah Valley can be very hot and humid, and this weather can lead to chimney odor problems. You might have thought you could forget about your fireplace and chimney over the summer until unpleasant odors have invaded your home. Fortunately, Blue Ridge Chimney Services can help you. Over our years of working on chimneys in the area, we have experience with solving stinky summertime chimney issues, and we know how to find the causes of the odors and correct them. We would like to tell you more about what causes smelly chimneys and how we can keep your home smelling fresh and clean.

CreosoteCauses of Chimney Odor Image - Shenandoah Valley, VA - Blue Ridge Chimney

Creosote develops naturally during the combustion process of burning wood as a residue that sticks to the inner chimney walls. Not only is this compound so dangerously flammable that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) names it as a leading cause of chimney fires, creosote is also very smelly. Its strong acrid scent gets worse in humid conditions, which can make your home smell like burned barbecue. Blue Ridge Chimney Services can easily solve this problem by professionally sweeping your chimney to remove all of the creosote. Your home will smell better, and you will have removed a dangerous fire hazard.

Water

If you do not have a chimney cap on top of your chimney, you could have standing water in your firebox, and this could cause a musty smell in your home. If leaves and other debris have mixed in with the water, the odor could be even stronger. You really want to keep water out of your chimney as it can cause a lot of damage. It could even lead to mold growth in your chimney. Blue Ridge Chimney Services has a wide variety of chimney caps that we can help you choose from, and we offer professional installation services to guarantee your chimney is protected.

Wild Animals

Unfortunately, birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other wildlife will choose chimneys to build nests in due to a lack of trees in the area, and a family of critters in your chimney can cause a lot of unpleasant odors! The worst case scenario is when an animal dies inside a chimney. To avoid this situation, you need to keep wild animals and birds from being able to enter your chimney by professionally installing a chimney cap on top of your chimney. Make sure the chimney cap is equipped with mesh metal sheeting on the sides that will prevent wildlife from getting inside the chimney.

Keep your home smelling sweet this summer! Contact us at Blue Ridge Chimney Services today to schedule your appointment for your annual professional chimney sweeping and inspection.

By Elizabeth Guy on July 24th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Converting a Wood-Burning Fireplace to Gas

If you are looking for ways to cut back on your heating costs, you may want to consider updating your traditional wood-burning fireplace.  You can do this by converting it to a gas hearth appliance. Not only are newer gas fireplaces more economical to use, but they are also much more convenient. You will not have to bring in firewood from outside storage, and you will not have as many clean-up chores after each fire. To help you get started on this home improvement project, Blue Ridge Chimney Services would like to tell you what you need to know when converting a wood-burning fireplace to gas.

Gas LineConverting to a Gas Fireplace Image -Shenandoah Valley, VA - Blue Ridge Chimney

One of the first things you will need to know when converting a wood-burning fireplace to gas is whether or not there is a gas line connection to your home. According to The Extreme How-To Blog, it can be very expensive to install a new gas line. However, if you do have an existing connection, it is relatively inexpensive to have this line extended to your fireplace.

Type of Appliance

When converting a wood-burning fireplace to gas, you have a few options of gas hearth appliances from which to choose. If you want to update the look of your old fireplace, a gas fireplace inserts can be installed into the existing fireplace opening. Not only will this give your hearth a new appearance, but you will also be provided with a larger amount of heat. You also have the choice of installing a set of gas logs. This is a perfect selection if you want to keep the look of a traditional hearth. Gas logs are available in two types: vented and vent-free. Blue Ridge Chimney Services is happy to tell you more about the differences between these two types to help you decide which one would work best for your home.

If you would like to improve the energy efficiency in your home and save money on your heating costs, converting your traditional wood-burning fireplace to gas is a great idea. Not only will you get more heat for less money, you will love the convenience of starting a fire from your couch by pushing a button on a remote control. To learn more about gas fireplace appliances, contact Blue Ridge Chimney Services today. Our staff is here to help you get started on this home improvement project. We’ve served the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for years and are dedicated to providing the highest levels of customer service. Call 540-217-2030 today to speak with us!

By Elizabeth Guy on July 10th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Why Does My Chimney Stink?

Just when you think it is time to forget about your chimney for a few months, you start noticing unpleasant odors coming from it through your fireplace into your home. Unfortunately, smelly chimneys are quite common in the summer. Over our years of working on chimneys in the Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Chimney Services is accustomed to getting calls from our customers asking us why their chimneys are so stinky. We know exactly what causes chimney odors, and we also know how to get rid of those causes and make your home smell fresh and clean again. Here are some of the most common culprits behind smelly chimneys and how we can get rid of these stinky issues.

CreosoteWhy Does My Chimney Smell Image - Shenandoah Valley, VA - Blue Ridge Chimney Services

You may already know that creosote is so highly flammable that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has named it as a leading cause of chimney fires. Not only is this residue dangerous, but it is also very stinky, and the heat and humidity of summer can worsen its strong, acrid odor. Creosote forms naturally during the combustion process of burning wood, and after a long winter, you could have quite a bit of creosote accumulated on the inner walls of your chimney. Blue Ridge Chimney Services can prevent your chimney from becoming a fire hazard and keep your home smelling sweet by sweeping your chimney in the spring or summer. We will be sure to remove every piece of creosote to keep your chimney safe and clean.

Water

One way to tell if you have water leaks in your chimney is when a musty odor invades your home. Water can leak into your chimney in different ways, and Blue Ridge Chimney Services knows how to keep water out of it. Not only does moisture in the chimney cause an unpleasant smell, but it can also create extensive and expensive damage. We provide chimney cap sales and professional installation services as well as customized flashing construction and repair services. We can also find and repair any leaks you may have to keep your chimney working safely and efficiently.

Wild Animals

Sometimes birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other wild animals mistake chimneys for trees and build nests inside them. This could lead to a critter getting stuck inside your chimney, which could be a very smelly situation. Not only can the odor of the animal’s waste be unpleasant, but the smell of a decomposing animal is even worse. Blue Ridge Chimney Services can keep this situation from ever occurring by installing a chimney cap with metal mesh sides on the top of your chimney. These sides make it impossible for any critter to get inside your chimney at all.

Keep your home smelling fresh and clean this summer. Contact us at Blue Ridge Chimney Services today to schedule an appointment for your annual professional chimney maintenance services.

By Elizabeth Guy on June 26th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

The Most Common Chimney Masonry Problem and Its Solution

Masonry chimneys are built to last a lifetime. However, the bricks and mortar joints can suffer from damage and deterioration over time. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), water causes the largest amount of chimney masonry problems. Bricks and mortar are naturally porous. This means they can absorb water from rain, ice, and snow. Unfortunately, this can lead to erosion damage.

The Most Common Chimney Masonry Problem Image - Shenandoah Valley VA - Blue Ridge Chimney ServicesOver our years of working on chimneys in the Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Chimney Services has learned how important it is to repair damaged chimney masonry. Once your bricks and mortar joints have started to crack, more water can get into the chimney. This type of damage leads to serious structural damage. This includes the collapse of the entire chimney. We would like to tell you a bit more about the most common chimney masonry problem and the solutions we provide!

SPALLING: THE MOST COMMON CHIMNEY MASONRY PROBLEM

The majority of chimney masonry damage occurs in the winter months. This type of deterioration is called spalling. Whenever the temperature drops below freezing, any moisture trapped inside the bricks and mortar joints of your chimney will freeze and expand. As the weather warms back up, this water thaws. Its force can cause the chimney masonry materials to break apart and crack, or spall. Repeated cycles of freezing and thawing over a long, cold winter can lead to major deterioration if left unrepaired. You may end up with bricks and mortar joints becoming loose and falling from the chimney. The holes and gaps left behind will allow water from the heavy spring and summer rains to easily get into your chimney and home to cause even more troubles.

TUCKPOINTING TO REPAIR DAMAGED CHIMNEY MASONRY

Our chimney technicians at Blue Ridge Chimney Services have been trained in chimney masonry construction and repair techniques. We can fix any spalling damage that may have occurred over the winter. We use tuckpointing to remove damaged bricks and mortar joints. Afterwards, we replace them with masonry materials that match your existing chimney. We use a customized Portland cement-based mortar mix that we make to be as similar as possible in color and composition to the existing mortar. You can trust us to restore the integrity of your chimney’s structure.

WATERPROOFING

Blue Ridge Chimney Services can apply a waterproofing agent to your masonry chimney that will prevent spalling damage in the future. We only use waterproofing formulas that are 100 percent vapor-permeable. This is to keep gases and vapors from getting trapped inside the bricks and mortar joints and possibly causing more spalling damage. Your chimney will be guaranteed to have a barrier against water penetration for at least a decade!

If you have any damaged chimney masonry, Blue Ridge Chimney Services can restore the integrity of your chimney’s structure. Contact us to schedule an appointment today for our professional chimney masonry repair and maintenance services!

By Elizabeth Guy on June 12th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Chimney Health Hazards You Should Know About

You may not realize the dangers that could be lurking within your chimney. Flue blockages, creosote, and cracks in the chimney liner are difficult to see, and they can all lead to hazardous situations, including chimney fires and carbon monoxide leaks.Chimney Health Hazards Image - Shenandoah Valley, VA - Blue Ridge Chimney Services

This is why it is so essential to have your chimney professionally swept and inspected at least once a year. At Blue Ridge Chimney Services, safety is our top priority, which is why we would like to tell you more about chimney health hazards.

CARBON MONOXIDE LEAKS

Known as the “invisible killer,” carbon monoxide can invade your indoor air without you realizing it. Carbon Monoxide is not only odorless but tasteless. This poisonous gas is produced every time you light a fire in your fireplace, and several chimney issues can be responsible for causing it to leak into your home.

A professional chimney inspection can spot these issues, which include cracks in the chimney liner and debris blocking the flue. Blue Ridge Chimney Services also highly recommends that you install carbon monoxide detector alarms throughout your home to alert you if a high concentration of this toxic gas is present in the air you are breathing. Carbon monoxide poisoning has symptoms that are similar to those of the flu, so it can be hard to diagnose. If you continue to breathe in more carbon monoxide, it can be deadly, so be sure to install the detector alarms.

CHIMNEY FIRES

Creosote forms naturally during the combustion process of burning wood. This residue sticks to the inner chimney walls and can accumulate into large deposits. This is dangerous because creosote is so flammable that the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has named it as a leading cause of chimney fires. All it takes for creosote to ignite into flames is the internal temperature of the chimney getting hot enough. Large amounts of creosote can fuel a large chimney fire that could spread throughout your home and endanger your life. When Blue Ridge Chimney Services sweeps your chimney, we will make sure to remove every bit of creosote. We want to keep your chimney from being a dangerous fire hazard.

Chimney damage can also cause soot to be forced into your home and cause respiratory problems. Keep your family safe by contacting us at Blue Ridge Chimney Services to schedule an appointment for your annual professional chimney maintenance services today.

By Elizabeth Guy on May 26th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment