5 Maintenance Techniques for Avoiding Chimney Fires

A fireplace is a wonderful addition to any home. However, without proper fireplace and chimney maintenance, a fireplace can prove extremely dangerous. Indeed, chimney fires occur more often than many homeowners realize, and chimney fires can range widely in size and scale. Some are hardly noticeable, while others can lead to house fires, massive property damage, and even personal injury or death. Given that fact, it’s important for everyone with a fireplace to check out these five maintenance techniques to prevent chimney fires:

Get Your Chimney Inspected & Cleaned

One major contributor to chimney fires is a substance called creosote. Creosote is a natural byproduct of burning wood, and this dark, oily substance will collect inside the walls of a chimney over time. The problem, of course, is that creosote is extremely flammable. So even if creosote isn’t the cause of a chimney fire (as it often is) its presence can add to the damage. The best way to deal with creosote is to contact a professional for regular inspections and maintenance.

Add a New Lining

Even small holes or cracks in the lining of your chimney can cause dangerous gas leakages and/or chimney fires. Often, these cracks are subtle, which is why it’s important to install a product like HeatShield, for instance, to restore the integrity of your chimney lining.

Burn Dry, Seasoned Wood

Wood that’s wet or that hasn’t been properly seasoned will burn differently than wood prepared specifically for a fireplace. Of particular concern is that “wet-wood” fires produce a lot of smoke. And more smoke means more creosote build-up, which in turn translates to a greater possibility for hazardous fires.

Manage Your Fires Responsibly

Unsurprisingly, bigger fires present a greater risk than smaller, well-maintained fires. What’s more, it’s never a good idea to use combustible liquids or materials to start a fire. Even burning something like newspaper will increase the likelihood of a chimney fire. Keeping your fires small, and only using high-quality wood will help prevent destructive outcomes. Lastly, never leave a fire unattended.

Remove Blockages

Good air flow is key to safe and efficient chimney usage. Therefore, anything that blocks air flow within a chimney –– from creosote, to twigs, to birds nests at the top –– can affect its performance. Using creosote-remover powder in between inspections is also a smart way to reduce the risk of chimney fire. (Note, using products like creosote-remover powder should not be considered a substitute for regular inspections and cleanings.)

The Bottom Line

If you’re concerned about the safety of your chimney or fireplace, then don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional! At Brickworks, we have years of experience inspecting, cleaning, replacing, and repairing chimneys and chimney accessories. Our team members are skilled professionals who will ensure that your home-improvement project goes as smoothly as possible. Remember, maintenance and preventative measures will not only protect your home, but they’re also extremely cost-effective. Don’t wait until you have a problem with your chimney to address it –– be proactive and make the call today at (586) 330-4887!


Brickworks - What Does a Chimney Sweep Service Provide?

A good, professional, reliable chimney sweep service will clear your chimney of glazed creosote build-up and thereby ensure years of worry-free fireplace use.  When creosote builds up in your chimney, the next fire you burn in your fireplace could ignite.  While a chimney sweep service provides a clean and safer chimney, the real service that a chimney sweep provides is peace of mind.  This is exactly what Brickworks Property Restoration strives to do for each and every client we work with.

Why is a Chimney Sweep Important?

Like any fire that occurs in your home, a chimney fire can be catastrophic.  The fires you burn in your fireplace release gases and create soot that builds up on the interior walls of your chimney.  The more you burn, the more likely it is that you can have a fire in your chimney.  For a long time, the work of clearing chimneys of creosote build-up was not only thankless, but unreliable.  There is still a lot of bad press about some chimney sweep services that swindle their customers without doing much cleaning of their chimneys.  With Brickworks Property Restoration, however, you will work with a company that prioritizes excellent customer service and employs an amazing product that eliminates the build-up of creosote.  This product is called Poultice Creosote Remover, or PCR.  We apply the PCR, as a poultice, directly to the creosote build-up, which is absorbed by the PCR.  A day or two after application, we will then clear your chimney and flue of all creosote build-up.

Brickworks Property Restoration can provide you with regular chimney sweep services to ensure that it remains in good condition.  We recommend a thorough cleaning approximately every four years, and we can recommend a number of practices for the most efficient burning of wood, which will prolong the life of your chimney and minimize the risk of a chimney fire.  If you notice that you have a larger amount of soot in your fireplace, it could be an indication of build-up in your chimney.  This makes your selection of a chimney sweep all the more important.  Not all chimney sweep services are created equally.

Full Service Chimney Sweep Company

We are a full-service chimney service.  While clearing chimneys of creosote is the most important service any chimney sweep can offer, there are associated services that we provide, which help to ensure the long-term well-being of your chimney.  Our services include:

If you would like more information on our chimney sweep services or would like to schedule a time for us to provide one or more services, call Brickworks Property Restoration at (586) 868-3234 and we will be happy to help you.


When is the Last Time your Chimney Was Checked for Structural Integrity?

The chimney of your home may not be an area that you stress about frequently, but it is in fact a very important part of your residence. When is the last time that your chimney was checked for structural integrity? If it has been a very long time or if it has never been checked, there’s no better time than now. The first important step is to find a reliable, affordable and experienced chimney expert that can properly evaluate your chimney’s structural integrity. There’s no better choice for you as a homeowner than our dedicated team at Brickworks Property Restoration.

Maintaining your Chimney

A study completed by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) found that 36% of residential home fires are caused by creosote buildup, which is found in chimneys where wood is burned. There’s no better way to ensure that this buildup doesn’t occur in your home than to have your chimney checked regularly for its structural integrity. This is not the only thing that you need to consider when evaluating your chimney. There may be brick damage that has developed over the years that needs to be addressed. At Brickworks Property Restoration, we are committed to finding the perfect match for your existing chimney so that you will not be able to tell that a repair was completed by our team.

Guarantee the Best Brick Match

When it comes to strengthening the structural integrity of your chimney and repairing any brick damage, our repair specialists guarantee that your new bricks will be a perfect match. To make sure this is the case, we utilize the most up to date color chart to provide you with the most ideal brick match. Additionally, we have access to 15-20 masonry supply yards to find the perfect brick match. Before completing the repair, we will always bring 2-3 brick samples to your home to make sure that you are comfortable with the brick that is chosen.

Free Chimney Check

There’s no better time than now to check the structural integrity of your chimney. To make this easier for our potential clients, take advantage of the free chimney check that our team at Brickworks Property Restoration offers. All you need to do is call in the request and we’ll let you know the state of your chimney.

So, if it has been a long time since your chimney was last checked for structural integrity, it’s time to do something about that! To request a free, no obligation chimney evaluation, give our staff at Brickworks Property Restoration a call today at (586) 868-3234.


Why Does My Chimney Smell in the Summer?

If you are noticing a strange smell coming from your chimney or fireplace during the summer, it is very likely due to deposits of creosote, a natural byproduct of wood-burning that may have built up on the walls of your chimney. People tend to notice the smell in the summer because of higher humidity outside meeting the cooler air of central air or window air-conditioning units. The airflow in your house tends to draw down the air in your chimney.

Causes of Odor Coming From Your Chimney
Though creosote build-up is the most common culprit, it is not the only one. Creosote deposits whose scent is making its way into your home is often described as smelling like asphalt or bad barbecue. If the odor you are smelling is not creosote, it could be something as simple as leaves that have fallen into your chimney that are decomposing. Or, if the odor you are smelling is musty and dank, it could indicate that water is sitting in the smoke chamber of your chimney. A more offensive smell like animal waste could be caused by mice, rats, birds, or other animals getting into your chimney and using it as their own personal restroom. And lastly, a smell that you cannot ignore could be a sign of a dead animal in your chimney.

The moral of the story, of course, is that it is extremely important to have your chimney properly maintained. At Brickworks Property Restoration we offer exceptional chimney sweep services. We’re trained professionals with deep ties to our community, which means that we are invested in doing a good job for you. If the smell coming from your chimney is due to animal infiltration or water, we will fix the problem quickly and thoroughly. If the smell is due to creosote deposits, we will also fix the problem, but you should be aware that this fix could well prevent a fire in your chimney the next time it is used. When creosote builds up on the walls of your chimney, it becomes a severe fire hazard. Creosote is a natural byproduct of burning wood, but the only reliable way of removing the creosote buildup is to hire a qualified professional team, like those of us at Brickworks Property Restoration, to do the job.

Chimney Sweep Services
Not all chimney smells indicate major problems. But if there is a chance that the smell coming from your chimney could be bigger than you may realize, we want you to know you have a professional nearby who will respond to the problem in the best possible way. Give us a call at 586-868-3234 and we will be happy to come out and take a look at your chimney.


Repair Your Chimney with Safe, Effective Heat Shield® Services

Have you ever asked yourself how your chimney actually works? Chimneys have been a common household fixture since the 16th or 17th century. A chimney provides warmth and nostalgia for many homes today. However, chimneys do have their fair share of problems. Most notably, a chimney fire can occur when too many creosote deposits disrupt the airflow. At Brickworks, when your chimney is in need of repair, we want to properly fix it as safe and effectively as we can. That’s why we choose Heat Shield® for almost all of our chimney repairs.

What is Heat Shield®?

Heat Shield® is a coating that helps protect your chimney from excessive heat. It is a revolutionary method that has been used in the past for industries that create things that reach extreme temperatures, like space crafts or automotive devices. Recently, it has been greatly utilized in chimney repair, ultimately providing safety, functionality and cost effectiveness to every chimney that we repair at Brickworks. Heat Shield® relines the flame retardant concrete and completely seals and restores your chimney flue to full functionality.

How is it Safe?

There are many things that can cause a chimney fire and Heat Shield® helps prevent them all. It is the safest method of chimney repair and the most cost effective as well! Whether your mortar joints in your chimney are misaligned or the build-up of too many hazardous deposits are present, Heat Shield® is made to correct those issues and allow for proper ventilation in your chimney. This gives every homeowner peace of mind knowing that every time they light their chimney, the fire is able to be properly ventilated.

How Does it Improve Function?

We know that Heat Shield® is safe and cost effective, but does it really help? Heat Shield® allows our certified chimney repair professionals to keep the existing foundation of your chimney, repair it and add Heat Shield® to increase the airflow. Alternatives to this method would be steel liners and other restrictive measures that can be expensive and still decrease the airflow within your chimney. Optimum airflow ultimately improves the function of every chimney and allows proper ventilation to occur.

Brickworks only wants to repair your chimney with safe, effective Heat Shield® services that will give you peace of mind. For more information about Heat Shield® or our chimney repair services at Brickworks, give us a call today at (586) 868-3234.


Why You Shouldn't Paint Your Brick Chimney | Chimney Repair Detroit, MI

If you do not like the appearance of your brick, you may be tempted to paint it. In theory, this will modernize the exterior and make it fit the theme of your home. However, painting your brick chimney might do more harm than good. Here are some reasons to avoid painting a brick chimney.

Your Bricks Need to Breathe

The temperature inside your chimney is different than the temperature outside your chimney. This creates moisture buildup, like steam from a hot shower. The moisture goes into the bricks and escapes through the pores. If you have paint on the bricks, the moisture has nowhere to go.

What Happens When Moisture Gets Trapped in Bricks

Painted bricks trap moisture because their pores are no longer exposed. The same issue can occur with improper brick sealants. Some sealants are designed to have some breathability, protecting the brick without completely masking it. Other sealants are made to act like clear paint, which is not what you want for your home.

The trapped moisture will attack your mortar first. The mortar will start to break down, damaging the structural integrity of your brickwork. This may lead to extensive brick damage later on, or it may cause your chimney to crumble altogether.

The Right Way to Paint Brick Chimneys

The information above doesn't mean that you cannot paint your brick chimney. You just need to go about it in the right way. Talk to a chimney repair company like Brickworks Property Restoration about your plans. We will send one of our brick repair experts to your home to examine your chimney and create a path for the smoke and moisture to follow. This is similar to using gutters to collect water from your roof. As long as the moisture has somewhere to go, it will not damage your brick.

If you need a chimney repair due to previous brick damage, we provide that service as well. We work with 15-20 brick supply yards near Metro Detroit, MI, so we can find the best possible match for your brick and mortar. No matter when your home was constructed, we can find a replacement that's right for you. Contact us at (586) 868-3234 to schedule your no obligation chimney repair consultation.

 


Spring Chimney Preparation Tips For Michigan Homes

When most people think of preparing their home for spring, they plant flowers outside or get the patio furniture from the garage. However, your chimney needs just as much prep work as anything else. Protecting your chimney from rain, humidity, and other acts of nature will keep it looking and functioning its best. Here are some spring chimney preparation tips for Michigan homes.

Clean The Creosote From Your Chimney

Creosote is a black substance that builds up in chimneys over time. It mostly forms in the winter months when the warm air from your fireplace meets the cold air outside. This causes condensation and the development of a tar-like solution that can smell and reduce your chimney's efficiency. With the winter months coming to an end, it may be time to get a new chimney sweeping. Call Brickworks Property Restoration at (586) 868-3234 to schedule an appointment with a local chimney sweep.

Watch For Rust Damage

Rust damage can occur on any metal components of the chimney, primarily the flashing around the base and the cap on top of the chimney. The metal is treated to stand up against precipitation and moisture in the air, but it can still develop rust after years of exposure. Rust will impact the structural integrity of the flashing, so you want to get it removed as quickly as possible. Thankfully, these types of chimney repairs are quite common and inexpensive.

Invest In Brick Sealant

Brick sealant is great for spring weather in Michigan because it protects bricks from moisture, rain, sleet, humidity, and more. Exposed bricks are made to be durable, but they are also vulnerable to constant exposure to moisture. This is especially true if the water is constantly freezing and thawing like it does in the late winter and early spring months. Brick sealant creates a barrier around the bricks that will prevent water from seeping in, saving you from costly repairs later on.

Get A Chimney Inspection

If you have not scheduled a chimney inspection to go with your chimney cleaning, you may want to do that. The inspector will check for potential leaks in your chimney so you can fill in gaps before they cause problems. If you leave these damages unattended to, you may find yourself dealing with a flood of water in your chimney this spring. The chimney repair experts at Brickworks Property Restoration are here to help you every step of the way.


Increase Energy Efficiency Of Your Fireplace: Chimney Repair Michigan

Your fireplace is a source of warmth in the winter, but it can also be a path for cold air to enter your home. If your fireplace is not set up correctly, you may not fully benefit from the warmth it provides. In this guide, we will look at some ways to increase the energy efficiency of your fireplace so you can enjoy a cozy winter.

Close The Damper When The Fireplace Is Not In Use

If you're not using your fireplace, make sure the damper is closed. Otherwise, warm air from your home will travel up and out of your fireplace. If your damper is old and warped, you may want to get it replaced so it can create a tight seal in your chimney. Our chimney repair company in Michigan can install a new damper for you so you can save money on winter energy bills.

Get Professional Chimney Sweeping

Chimney sweeping serves several purposes. It eliminates soot and oil buildup inside your chimney, and it gets rid of odors caused by creosote. Once the chimney is clean, a chimney sweep can inspect the brick and mortar to make sure there aren't any damages that need to be repaired. Chipped bricks and old mortar create gaps around your chimney, which will leak air into or out of your fireplace. The repairs are usually pretty simple, and they will pay for themselves in energy savings.

Use Your Fireplace Doors

If you have doors for your fireplace, use them! The heat from the fire will be directed through the vents, so you will still get all the warmth. The doors preserve the flames and maximize the longevity of the fire, so you don't have to constantly get new logs for the fireplace. The doors can double as energy protection when the fireplace is not in use because they prevent air from going into the fireplace. This, combined with the damper, will protect your chimney from letting warm air escape.

Close Interior Doors When Using The Fireplace

Close off any doors that lead to other rooms, such as bathroom doors or bedroom doors. These openings will give the warm air more space to travel in, which limits the heat you feel from the fireplace. If you close off the doors, you can ensure that the warmth of the fire goes exactly where you want it to.

To schedule a chimney cleaning or chimney inspection, contact Brickworks Property Restoration at (586) 868-3234.


Chimney Sweeping In Michigan Reduces Fireplace Odors

"Why does my fireplace stink when I'm not using it?" This is a common question we hear from homeowners in Metro Detroit, MI. There are several potential causes of fireplace odors, and each cause has its own unique solution. Here we will explore how chimney sweeping and other services available through Brickworks Property Restoration can help you control your fireplace smell.

Why Is My Fireplace Smelly?

One of the most common causes of smelly fireplaces is a buildup of creosote. This is a chemical that is emitted when a fireplace is running. The smell may be worse on hot or humid days, like during the summer or right before a fall rain storm.

Another cause of fireplace odors is air coming in from small cracks in the chimney. If you have air channels in your brick or mortar, odors from outside can seep into your home. Depending on the air quality in your area, it could make the whole house smell just as bad or worse than it does outside.

Moisture coming into the fireplace can also cause it to smell. This could be the result of cracks in the chimney or an insufficient rain cap at the top of the chimney flue. The water will make the smell of the creosote much more potent, and it can also make the fireplace smell like mildew. Either way, you'll end up with an unpleasant odor in your midst.

How To Fix A Stinky Fireplace

The first step in getting rid of fireplace odors is to invest in a thorough cleaning from a professional chimney sweep. Brickworks Property Restoration in Metro Detroit, MI offers full-service chimney sweeping to get your fireplace working and smelling its best. Our chimney sweeping process will remove the excess creosote in your chimney and significantly reduce the odors coming out of the fireplace.

In addition to getting your chimney swept, you should consider getting a chimney inspection to check for cracks and areas where moisture and air can get in. If you need tuckpointing, brick repairs, or anything else along those lines, you can get them now so you don't have to deal with as much odor in the future.

Creosote can absorb into masonry, so a thorough chimney sweeping may not be enough to fully remove the smell. There are deodorants you can buy for your chimney to eliminate the leftover odor, or you could use products like baking soda and cat litter. We can go over all of these solutions and others during your professional chimney sweeping.


Wood Burning Tips From Chimney Repair Experts In MI

Fireplace

Want to get the most out of your wood burning fireplace? We don't blame you! One of the biggest reasons why people buy homes with fireplaces is so they can enjoy the warm glow of the fire on a cold Michigan day. This can become an expensive and labor-intensive task if you don't approach it the right way though. Check out these wood burning tips to keep your fireplace running strong.

Only Burn Dry, Seasoned Firewood

The wood you use in your fireplace should go through about a year of curing before it's good to use. This gives the wood plenty of time to dry out so it burns well. In order to test if the wood is ready to burn, smack two pieces together. They should make a loud cracking noise. If the noise you hear sounds more like a thud, there is still moisture in the wood that needs to be dried out.

Do Not Burn Non-Wood Materials

Never throw plastic, magazines, wrapping paper or other trash in your fireplace. Many of these items release toxic chemicals in the air as they burn. The same goes for painted wood, plywood, or particle board. While these objects are flammable, they are not designed to go into a fireplace. Using inappropriate burning materials could cause the fire to be out of control, putting your property and your family at risk.

Store Wood Slightly Above Ground

Do not stack your wood directly on the ground. It will absorb moisture from the soil, and it will not have access to air circulation to keep it dry. Ideally, you should store it in a sheltered area that still has plenty of air circulation, like on a covered patio. If you do not have a place to store the wood like that, make sure to cover it on days when it is supposed to rain or snow in Michigan.

Bring In What You Need

Fireplace wood should be stored mostly outside. Only bring in what you need and one backup batch so most of the wood can stay outside in the air. The moisture drying out of the wood will get released into your home, which will cause it to feel humid and muggy. Most of our chimney maintenance clients have firewood storage near their doors so they can easily get to their wood without having to bring it all inside.

Keep Your Chimney Clean

Having a well-cleaned chimney ensures that your fireplace is working properly. It's just like getting an oil change for your car or cleaning out your dryer vent. Brickworks Property Restoration offers affordable chimney sweeping in Metro Detroit, MI, along with a wide range of chimney repair and brick restoration services. Call us today to keep your fireplace in tip-top shape.