Tuckpointing: Why is it Needed on Chimneys?

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Tuckpointing and Why is it Needed on Chimneys?

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If you have a fireplace and chimneyneys?, as you probably know, you have a beautiful design feature which increases the value and appeal of your home and provides opportunities for enjoyable moments by a cozy fire.  But did you know that all masonry chimneys need repair at some point?  The mortar joints become damaged due to harsh weather conditions, particularly excessive amounts of water.  Moisture can even damage rock masonry, when water gets in due to weakened mortar joints.  “Tuckpointing” is a repair process which stops the destructive process and provides numerous benefits.
Is Tuckpointing Necessary?
While bricks on a chimney last about a century, mortar has a much shorter lifespan.  Depending on how exposed the masonry is to excess water and other harsh conditions, mortar lasts about 25 years.  It’s sometimes highly recommended that homeowners install a cricket, which is a compact diversion roof that prevents the chimney from being deluged in rainy weather.  The layout of the roof and the position of the chimney affect how much or little water drainage contributes to erosion of the mortar joints.
When mortar joints become damaged, the most cost-effective action that a homeowner can take is to repair affected areas via tuckpointing.  The alternative is to allow the mortar joints to deteriorate to the point that the chimney collapses, which makes a complete rebuild necessary–of course, the cost of a rebuild is far greater than the cost for repairs.
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How is Tuckpointing Done?
The basic idea behind tuckpointing is that damaged mortar is removed, and it is replaced with fresh mortar.  Tuckpointing a red brick chimney involves the following basic steps:
  • Grounding or routing out the old mortar at a uniform depth.
  • Filling in red mortar in the newly routed grooves.
  • Cutting thin strips down the middle of the red mortar, to form grooves.
  • Filling in the grooves with a mortar color which matches the original mortar on the outside of the structure.

 

 

 

 

Benefits of Tuckpointing

The appearance & stability of the chimney is seemingly brand new after tuckpointing has been completed.

Tuckpointing is really a crucial procedure, to preserve the life of a chimney.  Some of the benefits of performing needed  tuckpointing on chimneys follow:
  • Corrosion of the mortar joints is stopped.
  • Structural stability of the chimney is restored.  Failing to repair mortar joints will result in a weak chimney structure which will eventually begin to lean or collapse.
  • Tuckpointing helps to prevent water from entering into the chimney system.  If the mortar joints are not repaired, water will seep down the chimney and sometimes between the chimney and the flue lining.  Moisture can do a serious amount of unseen damage, such as cause mold, mildew, and rotting wood.  Moisture can also cause the ceiling and wallpaper around the chimney to become stained.
  • Tuckpointing is far more cost-effective than a complete tear-down and rebuild.  The procedure allows you to avoid the expense of completely replacing the chimney structure.
  • Your chimney’s masonry materials are restored to their original condition.
  • The value of your home is improved when the masonry is in top condition.fireplace brick repair St. Cloud, fireplace cleaning St. Cloud, local chimney sweeps St. Cloud, furnace duct cleaning St. Cloud, mortar repair St. Cloud, dryer duct cleaning cost St. Cloud, chimney inspection St. Cloud, chimney masonry repairs St. Cloud, chimney sweeping St. Cloud, cleaning dryer vent duct St. Cloud, dryer exhaust cleaning St. Cloud, dryer vent cleaning cost St. Cloud, dryer vent service St. Cloud
One of the best reasons to contact our chimney professionals is so that you can be confident about the advice you are given.  The chimney sweep profession is currently unregulated, which means that anyone can set up shop to perform the work, even if they have no experience or knowledge.  It also means that scammers work hard to dupe consumers into paying up front for repairs they say are necessary, and then the work is never done.  We will provide a reliable assessment and answer any and all of your questions about your chimney and venting systems and about tuckpointing and why it is or is not needed on your chimney.

 

To schedule a chimney inspection, cleaning, repair & build out.  Or have a dryer vent that needs cleaning & repair, duct cleaning & repair, contact Sweep Dreams Chimney & Ducts today at (320) 252-6242.

 

 

*Re-posted by: My Chimney at https://www.mychimney.com/blog/about/what-is-tuckpointing/

Wood Stove: What You Need to Know

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A Wood Stove is a closed metal box with a high-temperature clear ceramic window that burns wood logs to create heat.  A Wood Stove can be a free-standing unit, or it can be a ‘fireplace insert’ which sits inside of a traditional fireplace.

A Wood Stove is different than a wood-burning Fireplace, which may have glass doors, but is not a closed metal box.  And it is different than a Pellet Stove, which also has a closed metal box, but rather than burning full logs, a Pellet Stove burns special pieces of formed wood material called “pellets.”

Many homeowners who are concerned about rising oil, gas, and electricity prices have wood burning stoves to help reduce their heating costs, others like the aesthetic value of a wood stove.  A wood burning stove must be properly installed and maintained to ensure safe operation.

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Routine Care Task

Clean and inspect stove and stovepipe

Priority

Chimney fires can be very dangerous, and this task helps to prevent them.

Timing:

June (yearly)

How To Prevent

A professional chimney sweep will thoroughly clean your fireplace and chimney and will check for defects.  Or you can do the work yourself, if you have the proper brushes and vacuums and don’t mind the mess or hassle.

The tasks include:

Inspect for creosote deposits in the flue.  If greater than 1/8″ in thickness, then the chimney flue should be cleaned.

Check the firebox for damaged brick or mortar.dryer vent cleaning service Sauk Rapids, dryer vent service St. Cloud, fireplace cleaning St. Cloud, local chimney sweeps St. Cloud, furnace duct cleaning St. Cloud, chimney inspection St. Cloud, chimney sweeping St. Cloud, cleaning dryer vent duct St. Cloud, dryer exhaust cleaning St. Cloud, dryer vent cleaning cost St. Cloud

Check the damper for operation and snug fit.  Also inspect for cracks, pitting or rusted-out sections.

Check the flue for broken or damaged bricks on the flue liner.  Cracking is a sign that there has been a flue fire and is a potentially serious problem.

Benefits

  • Health & Safety
  • Avoiding Unscheduled Repairs
  • Maintaining Value
  • Energy Savings

The benefits of this task are high, as it helps prevent dangerous and costly chimney fires.

 Costschimney inspection St. Cloud, chimney sweeping St. Cloud, cleaning dryer vent duct St. Cloud, dryer exhaust cleaning St. Cloud, dryer vent cleaning cost St. Cloud, dryer vent cleaning service Sauk Rapids, dryer vent service St. Cloud, fireplace cleaning St. Cloud, local chimney sweeps St. Cloud, furnace duct cleaning St. Cloud

The cost of this task is moderate, and requires the scheduling of a qualified chimney sweep.

To schedule a chimney inspection, cleaning, repair & build out, or dryer vent cleaning & repair and duct cleaning & repair, contact Sweep Dreams Chimney & Ducts today at (320) 252-6242.

 

 

Re-posted by: Home Wizard

 

Fireplaces: Homeowner’s Checklist

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Fireplace (wood-burning)

A wood-burning Fireplace is a traditional fireplace which may, or may not, have glass doors.

Chimney fires can occur when creosote builds up on the inside of the chimney flue.  Creosote is a black or brown residue which comes from the smoke of burning logs in the fireplace.  Creosote is highly flammable and, if allowed to build up, can catch fire and burn at temperatures approaching 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.  These temperatures can crack flue liners and allow heat to ignite nearby wood or other combustible materials.

A wood-burning Fireplace is different than a gas Fireplace, which uses either natural gas or propane as the fuel source, and whose ‘logs’ are fake.

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 Routine Care Task

Clean and inspect fireplace chimney

Priority

Chimney fires can be very dangerous.  This task will help prevent them.

How To Prevent

Typically a professional chimney sweep will thoroughly clean your fireplace and chimney and check for defects.  Or you can do the work yourself if you have the proper brushes and vacuums and don’t mind the mess or hassle.

The tasks include:

•Inspect for creosote deposits in the flue. If greater than 1/8″ in thickness, then the chimney flue should be cleaned.

•Check the firebox for damaged brick or mortar.

•Check the damper for operation and snug fit.  Also inspect for cracks, pitting or rusted-out sections.

•Check the flue for broken or damaged bricks on the flue liner.  Cracking is a sign that there has been a flue fire and is a potentially serious problem.dryer vent cleaning service Sauk Rapids, dryer vent service St. Cloud, fireplace cleaning St. Cloud, local chimney sweeps St. Cloud, furnace duct cleaning St. Cloud, chimney inspection St. Cloud, chimney sweeping St. Cloud, cleaning dryer vent duct St. Cloud, dryer exhaust cleaning St. Cloud, dryer vent cleaning cost St. Cloud

Benefits

  • Health & Safety
  • Avoiding Unscheduled Repairs
  • Allergy Control

The benefits of this task are high, as it helps prevent dangerous and costly chimney fires.

Costs

The cost of this task is moderate, and requires the scheduling of a qualified chimney sweep.

To schedule a chimney inspection, cleaning, repair & build out, or dryer vent cleaning & repair and duct cleaning & repair, contact Sweep Dreams Chimney & Ducts today at (320) 252-6242.

 

 

Re-posted by: Home Wizard

 

Facts About Gas Fireplaces

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A gas fireplace can be a very clean, energy-efficient way to heat your home, while adding a special charm. Whether you have one, or are thinking about getting one, here are some safety tips and maintenance tasks you should consider.

Types of Gas Fireplaces

There are three different types of gas fireplaces, and each has its own set of advantages and operating needs: Fireplace Inserts; Direct Vent Fireplaces; and Vent-Free Fireplaces. Each type can have additional features such as fans which circulate the heat into the room, automatic thermostats, remote controls, etc. And most will operate during power failures, which is a nice plus (although the electric fan will not work until the power comes back on).

If you are thinking about getting a gas fireplace, here’s an important tip: if you enjoy watching the flames, then do not get one that is too high of capacity (BTU/hour heat rate) for the size of your home, otherwise, because they are so efficient, it may only need to operate for a short while and then shut off after quickly bringing your room up to temperature.

Fireplace Inserts

Gas Fireplace Inserts are installed in the opening of an existing wood burning fireplace, and they are vented throughfurnace duct cleaning st. cloud, dryer vent service st. cloud, dryer vent installation st. cloud, dryer vent cleaning service sauk rapids, clothes dryer vent installation st. cloud, cleaning dryer vent duct st. cloud, class a chimney installation st. cloud, chimney video inspection st. cloud, dryer duct cleaning cost st. cloud, dryer exhaust cleaning st. cloud the existing chimney with a special vent pipe that carries the exhaust to the outside. Depending on the particular model of insert, the combustion air can either come from a pipe layer which is around the exhaust pipe, or it can come from inside of your home (it is more energy efficient to have a style that uses outside air), and some models have outside air vents.

 

Direct Vent Fireplaces

Direct vent fireplaces can be vented directly through an exterior wall, and do not require a traditional masonry chimney. Like fireplace inserts, direct vent gas fireplaces come in styles which can either bring combustion air from the outside, or from the room inside. And again, the models which use combustion air from the outside are more efficient, because you are not burning heated air from your home. These models can operate at or near 90 percent efficiency. Some models can even produce up to 45,000 BTU/hour, which can be as much as some furnaces.

Vent-Free Fireplaces

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Gas Fireplace Safety Tips

Have your fireplace inspected and serviced by a trained professional at least once a year. This is best done just before the heating season begins.

If you’re moving into a newly constructed home, clean the area around the fireplace thoroughly of drywall dust and other debris before turning it on. Contaminants and dirt can damage the burner, fan, and motor. Before you turn on your newly installed fireplace, read the manufacturer’s instruction manual carefully. If you have questions, contact a heating contractor or contact the manufacturer directly.

Never modify your fireplace or the mantle before checking with a heating contractor.

Always wait for at least five minutes before lighting a pilot light that has gone out (to allow time for gas to dissipate).

Even if your gas fireplace is vented to the outside, consider putting a carbon monoxide detector in the room where your fireplace is located (see types, costs, and reviews of CO alarms).

If you notice unusual flames, odors or the smell of natural or propane gas, turn off your fireplace and contact a heating contractor or your local gas company.

Always keep your fireplace fan clean.

Always keep outside air vents clear of leaves, debris, ice, and snow.

Do not keep combustible materials such as newspapers, paint or other flammable liquids near the fireplace. In addition, keep furniture, curtains, and rugs away from the fireplace.

Keep children away from the fireplace. Even though the flames are behind glass, the glass can get very hot and can stay hot even after the fireplace is turned off.  Make sure children understand that the glass can burn them. Use a safety gate or screen to keep children away from the fireplace (helpful accessory: child safety fences).

Do not use the fireplace if the glass doors are broken or cracked.  Keep the gas turned off and refer to the owner’s manual for how you should proceed.

If you have a Vent-Free Gas Fireplace (which vents exhaust to the room they are in) then there are some special safety issues which you should be sure to address:

  • Be sure that the unit is not too large for the room that it is in, or it can dangerously remove too much oxygen from the room.
  • You must have either an oxygen depletion sensor (“ODS”) built into the unit or one in the same room it is in.
  • Don’t run your Vent-Free fireplace for long periods of time, as this can lead to oxygen depletion and carbon monoxide build-up

Gas Fireplace Safety Tips

Shown below are the routine maintenance tasks which you should be sure to perform on your gas fireplace.

As mentioned above, before each heating season be sure to have your gas fireplace inspected and serviced by a trained professional.

Things you will want to be sure they check are:

  • clean the glass and check for irregularities
  • inspect, clean and adjust pilot system
  • check and clean the control compartment
  • inspect entire venting system
  • check on/off switch and thermostat
  • check and clean blower (if applicable)
  • adjust the primary air shutter
  • check combustion chamber for any cracks
  • adjust the primary air shutter
  • check the valve pressure
  • inspect the heat-exchange area
  • verify the log positioning
  • check the tightness of all electrical connections
  • sweep and vacuum the firebox to remove any loose soot
  • replace ember material as necessary
  • conduct a gas sniffer test to detect any gas leakage

Be sure to check your room carbon monoxide detector regularly.

And never clean the outer glass if the glass is even the slightest bit warm because the pores in the glass will expand and draw the glass cleaner into the pores, which may cause the glass to become cloudy.

To schedule a chimney inspection, cleaning, repair & build out, or dryer vent cleaning & repair and duct cleaning & repair, contact Sweep Dreams Chimney & Ducts today at (320) 252-6242.

Home Fireproofing: Prevention; Detection; Action

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The National Fire Protection Association estimates that each year almost 400,000 homes catch on fire, and these fires claim the lives of 3,500 people and injure approximately 18,000 more.  And unfortunately, children are one of the highest risk groups for deaths in these fires. Keeping your home and family safe from fires involves focusing on three areas:  prevention, detection and emergency actions in the case of an actual fire.

PREVENTION

Prevention covers the steps you can take to make sure fires don’t break out in your home. So let’s take a look at the household danger areas that can be prone to starting fires.

 

Cooking

The leading cause of household fires is cooking, particularly the stove top.  And here are several steps you can take to minimize your risk of kitchen fires. Grease accumulation can be dangerous. So keep your stove and oven clean, and also check your vent hoods, regularly clean your filters, and make sure that, if you have an exterior vent, there is nothing in it that impedes the airflow to the outside. If you have a gas stove, make sure your system doesn’t have any loose fittings, leaking valves, faulty pilot lights, or improperly stored flammable materials in areas nearby. Keep all flammables, such as dishtowels and curtains, a safe distance away from the stove. Don’t cook when you are very tired or under the influence of alcohol or medications; as you are more likely to do something careless that could lead to a fire starting. And never walk away from the stove until you have turned off the heat.

 

Heating

The second most common cause of fires in the home is heating. Furnaces, space heaters, fireplaces, and wood stovesfurnace duct cleaning st. cloud, dryer vent service st. cloud, dryer vent installation st. cloud, dryer vent cleaning service sauk rapids, clothes dryer vent installation st. cloud, cleaning dryer vent duct st. cloud, class a chimney installation st. cloud, chimney video inspection st. cloud, dryer duct cleaning cost st. cloud, dryer exhaust cleaning st. cloud all can present a risk of fire. In the winter months, when heaters are run most often, this is of particular concern. Make sure your furnaces get a yearly inspection and cleaning by a trained professional to catch any potential troubles before they start. If you use space heaters, make sure they stay at least three feet away from anything flammable, such as curtains or bed linens. Be certain to turn them off before you leave the room or go to bed. For fireplaces and wood or coal stoves, have them inspected by a service professional every year. Don’t store flammables such as newspapers or matches anywhere nearby, or have them too close to exposed rugs or wooden floors.  Clear them of ashes and unburnt debris on a regular basis.  Have glass doors or a wire mesh spark screen across the front of the fireplace to keep the fire safely contained.  And install a chimney spark arrester to prevent roof fires (see types, costs, and reviews of chimney spark arresters).

 

Smoking

Smoking is not only the third most common cause of home fires, it’s the top cause of home fire deaths. Almost a thousand people are killed each year due to smoking-related home fires, so it is important to exercise caution when smoking cigarettes in your home: don’t put yourself in a position where you could fall asleep while smoking; never smoke in a home where oxygen is used; And douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before dumping them in the trash. Or better yet, don’t allow smoking at all in your home.

 

Electrical and Appliances

When electrical systems fail they sometimes can result in house fires, but more often the danger lies in incorrectly installed wiring, or from the overloading of circuits and extension cords. Be sure to properly use and maintain your electrical devices. Do not overload your outlets or extension cords. Check the power cords on your appliances. Look for missing grounding prongs of the plugs, damage to the insulation, or frayed wires. Repair or replace them before continuing to use the appliance. Check your house wiring in unfinished areas for damage by pests. Be on the lookout for insulation that has been chewed through by rodents or insects. Check the hot coils of your clothes drying for an accumulation of lint or other flammable materials. Be sure to keep the lint trap, vent piping, and other areas of your dryer clear of lint, as it is very flammable.

 

Candles, Matches, and Lighters

Candles cause an estimated 15,600 fires in residential structures, 150 deaths, 1,270 injuries, and about $539 million in property damage each year. To use your candles safely, do not leave them unattended, or allow children to light them unsupervised. Store matches and lighters in a safe, nonreactive place where children cannot get to them. Always use stable candle holders made of a non-flammable material. Extinguish candles if you’re going to be leaving the room.

 

Gasoline and Combustible Chemicals

Gasoline vapors can explode with even a small spark. If you must store gasoline in your garage, use a special safety container specifically designed for gasoline. But never bring gasoline inside your house. Tightly seal the lids on all combustible chemicals and put them away in a cool location after using them. Store them in a safe place, with a lock if possible.

 

DETECTION

The next aspect of fire safety is Detection.  Improving detection is about increasing your awareness of the potential for the outbreak of fire in your home, so that you can act quickly.  Examples include:

 

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Install smoke alarms on every floor of your house (see types, costs, and reviews of smoke detectors/alarms). There are two kinds of smoke alarms, photoelectric and ionization. For maximum protection buy some of both kinds, or if possible, buy “combination” detectors that have both kinds of sensors. Keep your detectors free of dust and replace the batteries at least once a year. If they begin making a chirping sound, that means their batteries are low and should be immediately replaced. If your detector is wired directly into your electrical system, watch for a blinking red light, as this indicates that the sensor is active. If it is not blinking, then it should immediately be serviced.

 

Monitored Home Security

If you have a monitored home security system, you might want to consider having your smoke alarms connected to your security system. Talk to your security company to see if you can have this done, so that you (and the fire department) can be notified when your alarms go off when you are not at home.

 

Flickering Lights

Keep an eye out for flickering lights, or intermittent power surges. These can be indications that you may have a short in the circuit, which can trigger a house fire.

 

Frequently Tripping Circuit Breakers

Note circuit breakers that trip, or fuses that frequently blow. This is almost always a sign of an overloaded circuit or another wiring issue, which should be solved before it can become a fire hazard.

 

EMERGENCY ACTIONS

Finally, we will talk about the actions you should be prepared to take in the case of an actual fire.

 

Escape Plan

First, make sure that everyone in your family knows what to do if there is a fire in your home. Prepare an escape plan and have your family practice it several times a year. Make sure all family members know not to put their lives in danger trying to save property, but instead just take the most direct way outside. And if they must exit through smoke, then drop to the ground to move beneath it and to try to cover their mouths to avoid breathing smoke directly in. Also, if a door feels hot to the touch, do not try to open or go through it.

 

Rope Ladders

If you have a two-story house, each bedroom should have a rope ladder easily accessible, so that your family furnace duct cleaning st. cloud, dryer vent service st. cloud, dryer vent installation st. cloud, dryer vent cleaning service sauk rapids, clothes dryer vent installation st. cloud, cleaning dryer vent duct st. cloud, class a chimney installation st. cloud, chimney video inspection st. cloud, dryer duct cleaning cost st. cloud, dryer exhaust cleaning st. cloudmembers can climb down the outside rather than be being trapped (helpful accessory: fire escape ladders).  Designate a meeting location outside the house and take attendance so that you can tell right away who has gotten out safely. This will keep people from endangering themselves going back to look for someone who has already escaped. If someone is missing, alert the firefighters. Do not re-enter the house once you have left it.

 

Stop-Drop-Roll

Make sure everyone in your family knows how to “Stop, Drop, and Roll.” If your clothes catch fire, drop immediately to the ground, cross your hands over your chest, and roll back and forth until the flames are smothered out. Cool the burned area with water and call for immediate medical attention for serious burns.

 

Fire Extinguishers

Be sure that high-risk areas of your home, such as your workshop or fireplace, have fire extinguishers nearby, and that each family members know how to properly use it to fight a fire. See that your extinguishers are inspected regularly and re-charged or replaced as needed (see costs and reviews of ABC fire extinguishers).

 

Stove Fires

It’s also useful to know how to deal with a small pan fire that may occur in your kitchen. Immediately suffocate the fire by placing the lid on the pan, turning off the stove, and allowing the pan to sit unmoved until the flames are smothered. Small grease fires can be put out by throwing baking soda on them. But never use water to put out a grease fire, as it will either explode into steam, which can also cause burns, or cause oils to splash and spread the fire.

 

SUMMARY

Now you know the three areas you need to focus on to fireproof your home: Prevention, Detection, and Action. We hope that this has motivated you to take the appropriate steps to keep your family and home safe from the dangers of fires.

To schedule a chimney inspection, cleaning, repair & build out, or dryer vent cleaning & repair and duct cleaning & repair, contact Sweep Dreams Chimney & Ducts today at (320) 252-6242.