With the holiday season upon us and each day the weather getting a little bit colder, we here at Professional Chimney Services, your Houston chimney cleaning professionals, wanted to pass on some tips on getting your fireplace and chimney ready for the winter.

There are many reasons why a property owner might call us, including removing tar or creosote from their chimney walls. Over time smoke, water, gases, unburned wood particles form a thick tar that accumulates on all of the components of your chimney. Not only have we been trained in the best techniques in removing that sticky tar or creosote buildup but we also have the specialized brushes which are used to take it off.

We’ll also check the mortar between bricks and tuckpoint for loose, cracked or chipped (spalled) bricks which may indicate serious water damage problems. Over time, moisture may have gotten into the chimney and started deteriorating the interior brick. If the problem is too widespread, you might have to have the whole chimney replaced.

In some cases we might have to perform a repair known as tuckpointing. Tuckpointing refers to the process of cutting out deteriorated mortar joints in masonry walls to a uniform depth and filling in those joints with fresh mortar. Tuckpointing is very important to keep out water, humidity and moisture, preventing more damage to the chimney. By removing the old and damaged mortar and replacing it with new mortar a protective seal is formed, helping preserve the bricks from further damage and avoiding even more costly future repairs

Also, we’ll inspect the fireplace damper in order to make sure that it opens and closes properly. Brick or stone fireplaces include a “throat damper” just above the firebox which is an iron or steel frame with a plate. It opens by pushing a handle or turning a knob. Not all fireplaces have a damper so if you don’t find one don’t be alarmed. When the damper is open, it draws the warm air out through the chimney. It’s always best to keep the damper closed when the fireplace isn’t in use in order to keep the heat inside your house. And that’s why it’s a good idea to have a damper that functions properly.

We recommend to our clients that they have their chimneys inspected twice a year, once in the fall and again in the winter, depending on its age. This way their sure have a safe fire the next time they decide to light their fireplace.   We’re getting into our busy season and want to be able to inspect your chimney and fireplace as soon as possible. So the sooner you can book an appointment, the better!

At PCS, we take the time to make sure that chimney works the way it should by following the accepted Certified Chimney Professional guidelines.  PCS, your Houston chimney cleaning pro’s, Keeping You Safe, Keeping You Warm!