Michigan Chimney Repair: What NOT To Burn In Your Fireplace

The weather in Michigan is getting colder, which means it's almost time to start warming up the fireplace. As you prepare for this season, it's important to understand what you can and cannot burn in your home. We have handled a number of brick repair and chimney repair projects in the past as a result of burning the wrong items in a fireplace. You can avoid such catastrophes with the tips below.

Gift Bags And Wrapping Paper

Your fireplace may seem like a convenient place to throw gift wrap after a birthday party or holiday celebration, but that is never a good idea. Wrapping paper is extremely flammable. It ignites faster than the chimney can handle, which means that the flames will start spilling out of the front of the fireplace. Even with a screen in front of your fireplace, the flames will be too large to contain. Not only will this damage your walls, carpeting, mantle, and other home elements, but it will also put your family at risk. When it comes to gift wrap, trash it – don't burn it.

Styrofoam Packaging And Packing Peanuts

Another item you may be tempted to throw in the fireplace is Styrofoam packaging, like what you might get in a box for a new microwave or television. Packing peanuts can also be a nuisance to throw away, so you may decide that the fireplace is a good alternative. The problem here is not so much the speed in which the foam burns as much as the chemicals it emits when it does burn. These chemicals are incredibly toxic and bad for the environment. Most of them will go up through your chimney, but some will float inside your home. You may also have pieces of black, burnt foam in the air, which will be a big hassle to clean up.

Pizza Boxes And Cardboard Boxes

Pizzas boxes are clunky and they take up a lot of space in a trashcan. The same can be said for cardboard boxes, like the ones you may use when you move or get food from the store. These are not items you want to put in the fireplace because they burn quickly. Much like with the wrapping paper, the flames can come out of the front of the fireplace and put your home in danger. The best thing to do is to break down the boxes and make them as small as possible for the trashcan.

If you need chimney repairs or chimney cleaning in Michigan as a result of burning the wrong items in a fireplace, contact Brickworks Property Restoration at (586) 868-3234.

Complete chimney rebuild.  Shelby Twp. 

Customer had a chimney fire in one of the flues.   All new Belden frost white brick and complete new flue system.   Hammer and Daryls team did an excellent job.  Thank you guys.

Chimney rebuild Oakland Twp

Hammer, Ricky and Daryl. Long day but great job

chimney sweep

Top 4 Reasons To Hire A Chimney Sweep

chimney sweepIn order to keep your chimney performing its best, you need to clean it regularly. The frequency of your chimney cleaning will depend on how often you use your fireplace, but the Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that most chimneys be cleaned at least once a year. While you could choose to do this on your own, there are a number of advantages that come with hiring a chimney sweep to complete your cleaning for you. Listed below are the top 4 reasons to hire a chimney sweep so you can determine if this is a wise investment for you.

Get A Professional Inspection With Your Cleaning 

A chimney sweep does more than just clean your flue. He is there to assess the state of your chimney and alert you if any repair work is needed. An annual chimney inspection will ensure that your chimney is repaired at the first sign of trouble, which you can save you a significant amount of money in repairs and energy bills later on. The chimney sweeping will practically pay for itself.

Identify Problems In Your Chimney Installation And Construction

During the inspection your chimney sweep performs, he will review how your chimney was installed and constructed. Your flue may not be the right size for optimum output levels, or your liner may not be sufficient for your fireplace, stove, or furnace. Whatever the case may be, you can get the professional advice you need to correct current and future problems with your chimney when you get it cleaned.

Have Your Chimney Cleaned With The Right Equipment

Chimney sweeps have the tools, equipment, and expertise necessary to ensure your chimney is properly cleaned and maintained. They know what it takes to clear out a chimney safely without causing damage to your brickwork, furnace, fireplace, etc. All of the masonry experts here at Brickworks Property Restoration are trained with the best equipment on the market, so you know your chimney is being well taken care of. Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed.

Avoid Safety Hazards Associated With Chimney Sweeping

Chimney sweeping often involves getting up on roofs, ladders, and high-rise equipment that could put you in danger. Professional chimney sweeps know how to use this equipment to complete their work safely and effectively. They will make sure your chimney is thoroughly cleaned while you remain safe on the ground. There is no reason to put yourself or your family at risk.

home mold prevention

Use Chimney Repair For Home Mold Prevention

home mold preventionChimney repair is an important part of home maintenance, but most people do not realize just how many benefits come from this service. Did you know that chimney repair can be used for home mold prevention? It's true – by fixing and sealing your chimney on a regular basis, you can protect your family from the extensive health problems associated with mold spores. Let's take a look at how your chimney impacts mold development in your home so you can see the true value of fast-acting brick and mortar repairs.

Dangers Of Mold Spores

Mold growth can lead to a slew of health problems, including:

  • Nasal Stuffiness
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Skin Irritation
  • Eye Irritation
  • Fungal Infection Of The Lungs
  • Other Respiratory Symptoms

People with asthma, COPD, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and similar respiratory conditions are more likely to react poorly to mold spores, but even people without these conditions can be sensitive to mold. Rather than figuring out which group you fall into, you might as well do all you can to prevent mold from forming in your home.

How Chimney Repair Contributes To Home Mold Prevention

Mold spores develop in areas of high moisture because mold needs water to grow. When excessive moisture is available, the mold has more to feed on and it grows even faster than normal. Cracks in your chimney's bricks and mortar can let in rain and moisture from your home's exterior, which could lead to mold in the future. Simple processes like tuckpointing and brick sealing can drastically reduce the moisture leaks in through your chimney, which simultaneously cuts back on your mold development.

Warning Signs Of Mold To Watch For

If you are worried about mold forming in your home, watch do these signs of mold spores so you can get treatment right away:

  • Visible Mold Spores, Typically Black Spots And Speckles On Walls, Ceilings, And Floors
  • Trouble Breathing In Your Home, Particularly In cooking Areas And Bathrooms
  • Musky Smells And High Humidity Levels
  • Strong Asthmatic Reactions

The best way to control mold is to prevent it from ever forming. Get a chimney inspection from Brickworks Property Restoration right away to check for problematic leaks before they ever turn dangerous. We can repair your chimney and keep your home well-insulated for years to come. With the right home maintenance over time, you may never have to worry about mold development inside your house.

Protect Your Chimney From Spring Storms

spring stormsA damaged chimney is a portal for rain, insects, moisture, and other problems in the middle of spring storms. If you want to protect your home and the integrity of your chimney, it is important to invest in chimney repairs before the rainy season hits. Michigan has an average rainfall of 33.42 inches per year, and every one of those inches could put your bricks and energy bills at risk. Here are a few ways you can protect your chimney from spring storms.

Get A Chimney Inspection

One of the first steps in preserving the structure of your chimney is getting a chimney inspection from masonry experts in your area. A professional will come out to your property to assess the current state of your chimney. If there is any noticeable damage or deterioration, your inspector can provide a quote on the spot for the repairs. Then you will know what it will take to get your chimney back in good condition.

Note: If you live in the Metro Detroit area or one of our other service areas, we will gladly come out to your home to conduct a free chimney inspection. Call (586) 868-3234 to learn more.

Seal Your Bricks

With brick sealants, you can shield your bricks from excessive water and help the rain drain right down to your roofing. Water has a tendency to wear down bricks over time, so sealing will preserve your masonry as long as possible. Think of this like wax for your car. It will not last for the entire lifetime of the bricks, but it can add years to their lifespan and save you a ton of money in chimney repairs down the road.

Invest In Tuckpointing

Tuckpointing is a process that replaces old, worn mortar with new mortar, color matched for a seamless appearance. If you invest in tuckpointing throughout the lifetime of your chimney, you can preserve its insulating abilities and minimize damage to your bricks over time. Tuckpointing will also help your home in the winter because it will keep the heat from your chimney inside your home, rather than letting it seep through the cracks. This is a simple, affordable, and effective way to protect your home from spring storms and cut down your energy bills at the same time.

Prepare for spring before it gets here and you will be set up for success no matter how much rain may fall.

Chimney Damper

How Different Types Of Dampers Impact Your Chimney

Chimney DamperDid you know that there are different types of dampers out there, and that each of them have a different impact on the overall abilities of your chimney? Chances are you just know how to open and close your damper when your fireplace is not in use. That is all most homeowners know how to do, if they even know that much. Nevertheless, having the right damper on your chimney could have a major impact on your heating bills, your chimney repair bills, and the lifespan of your chimney. Do we have your attention now?

Let's take a look at how different types of dampers impact your chimney.

Throat Dampers

Throat dampers are probably the most common forms of dampers in chimneys today. They are situated at the bottom of the chimney to regulate air flow. While these dampers are great for insulation purposes, they will not last forever. They will eventually warp and rust, which will make their insulating efforts ineffective. If you have an older chimney with a throat damper, it may be wise to invest in a new one.

Top Mount Dampers

Top mount dampers are situated at the top of the chimney, and they're great for providing an extra layer of protection from birds. Top mount dampers are preferred by most chimney repair experts because they do not have as much of a chance of warping or rusting. These products can still be subject to damage over time, but they are not as likely to wear down as throat dampers. They are just as easy to control as throat dampers, but they last much longer.

Chimney Balloons

Chimney balloons are the least common options on this list, but they can still act as a damper when the fireplace is not in use. All you have to do is fill it with air when there is no fire going so that the warm air from the home does not escape. When you want to have a fire, simply deflate the balloon and pull it out. This damper solution is a bit more of a hassle than the others, but it works well for temporary situations while your damper or chimney needs repair.

Consider all of your options when investing in a chimney damper, and you will be able to save some money on your heating bills.

Remove A Bird's Nest From A Chimney

How To Safely Remove A Birds Nest From Your Chimney

Remove A Bird's Nest From A ChimneyBirds will make a home in just about any tight, quiet space they can find. That is why you see so many birds' nests in store signs and light posts. If your chimney is not properly caped, you may find yourself hosting a bird's nest in your home. This can be a problem if you need to use the fireplace, and the noise alone will surely drive you crazy after a long day at work. Before you start poking around in your fireplace for relief, check out this guide showing how to safely remove a bird's nest from your chimney.

Know The Law

According to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, it is illegal to move or remove an active bird's nest in your home – even if it is in a bad location or creating a health risk for your family. This law is not widely enforced, but it is something to make note of. If you know there are eggs or baby birds in your nest, you will need to leave it alone until all of the birds have left the nest.

Block Off The Entry

Since you are not allowed to move an active nest from your chimney, you will need to ensure that it is not active. This means blocking off all gaps in the top of your chimney so that the birds cannot get in. It is best to do this early on so they do not lay eggs and make a large nest to remove.

Break Up The Nest

Once you know that the nest is no longer active, you can use metal rods of varying sizes to break the nesting material apart. Wear safety goggles and a mask when doing this because debris and dust will be falling down with every poke. Depending on the size of the nest, it may only take one or two pokes to get the nest to fall down.

Sweep The Chimney

After all of the nesting material is out of the chimney, call in a chimney sweep to clean out everything and get it ready to use again. You may also call a professional chimney cleaner to remove the nest for you if you do not want to do it on your own. As long as you abide by the law and avoid trying to smoke out the birds with fire, you should be able to clear the bird's nest out of your chimney.

Mixed Mortar To Make Your Historic Home In Detroit

Will My Chimney Repair Match My Historic Detroit Home?

Mixed Mortar To Make Your Historic Home In DetroitIf you have a historic brick home in Detroit, you have to undergo special maintenance solutions to keep your home sturdy and strong. The materials used in newer homes have not gone through the same wear and tear as your home, so they do look as weathered, faded, and aged. In the case of chimney or brick repair, this may cause you to question just how obvious the repair will be. "Will my chimney repair match my historic Detroit home?" It all depends on whom you work with…

Multiple Supply Yards Mean Multiple Chances For A Perfect Match

Most chimney repair companies in Detroit only work with one or two supply yards. At Brickworks Property Restoration, we work with 15-20 supply yards at any given time, giving us a much broader selection of bricks to choose from. No matter how rare or weathered your bricks may be, we have the resources necessary to find a seamless match for you. That is the benefit of having extensive options to choose from. The more choices there are, the better the match is going to be.

On-Site Samples And Brick Comparisons

Another way we ensure you have a perfect or near-perfect match for your bricks is by bringing samples from the supply yards directly to your home. We also take bricks from your home to the supply yards to get the best possible match we can find. Some masonry repair companies rely on photos to do their matching, but pictures can distort the color and texture on a brick. We bring in the real thing to get the best comparison possible.

Mortar Color Matching

Bricks aren't the only components you have to worry about with chimney repair projects. You also have to think about the color of your mortar. Will the new mortar blend well with what you currently have on your home? We offer up-to-date mortar matching to get our mortar as close in color as possible. If there are any noticeable differences in coloration, they will fade after a little bit of sun exposure. We strive to ensure that our chimney repairs go unnoticed to everyone but you. You'll get the repair work you need without worrying about a giant eye sore.

If you work with quality brick repair experts like the ones at Brickworks Property Restoration, your chimney repair can in fact match your historic home.

How To Prepare Your Chimney For Winter

Before the winter months come barreling in, it is important to prepare your chimney to go to work. This will ensure that your home stays warm and toasty through the day to day chills. The preparation process is easier than you might think, and it could save you a ton of money on your heating bill. Check out the guide below to learn how to prepare your chimney for winter.

Get A Professional Chimney Inspection

In a professional chimney inspection, someone from Brickworks Property Restoration will come out to your home and look over your chimney from all angles. We will check for signs of cracking, leaking, damage, etc. If there are any issues that indicate a need for chimney repair, we will let you know what the repairs are, how urgent it is to get your chimney repaired, and how much the project will cost.

Note: You can be a big help in the chimney inspection process. If you have noticed any drafts, odors, or leaks coming from your chimney, point them out to the inspector so he knows what to look for.

Clean Your Chimney

If you have not had your chimney cleaned since last winter, you may need to clean it again before this winter hits. This will make sure that your chimney works at maximum efficiency. If you do not have the tools to clean your chimney on your own, you can hire a chimney sweep to get the job done for you. Assuming that your chimney has been fairly well maintained, this process shouldn't cost you a lot of money. Best of all, it will reveal damage and drafts in the chimney you might not notice when it's dirty.

Close The Damper

When you aren't using your chimney, keep the damper closed. This will prevent warm air from escaping your home through the chimney. Of course, you want the smoke to clear out when you are using the chimney because that could be damaging to your breathing. When you are using your central heating unit though, close the damper until you are ready to light a fire again.

Gather Firewood

This is less of a chimney prep tip and more of a general suggestion. Fall is usually the best time to buy firewood because it is not in high demand yet. You can get a good price on wood that distributors have been hanging onto all summer, and you'll be able to beat the crowd of fireplace owners that need wood in the winter. Start stocking up for winter, and you will be nice and toasty when the cold fronts hit.