Our Company Blog

Your Chimney Might Need Throat Repair

Chimney Throat Repair Image - Seattle WA - Pristine SweepsIn order for your fireplace to burn safely and efficiently, all its components need to work together. One chimney component that has a major impact on fireplace performance is the chimney throat. Despite being rarely mentioned and often forgotten, the chimney throat plays an important role in the drafting dynamics of your chimney system.

What is a chimney throat?

Located at the top of the firebox directly below the damper, the chimney throat is the space through which the smoke, hot air, and gas from the fire first pass as they draft up the chimney. Chimney throats should be built wide enough to draw up the byproducts of combustion from a fire, but not so large that air coming down the chimney pushes smoke back into the room.

To draw an analogy from our own respiratory systems, chimney throats are much like our own: they should be should be open, smooth, and streamline. Any blockages or narrowing to the chimney throat can disrupt drafting, causing smoke buildup, chimney odors, and other draft-related issues.

Reducing draft issues with throat repairs

Although it is just a small part of the overall chimney system, a number of draft problems can originate in the chimney throat. Chimney throats that do not have smooth sides, have been damaged, or were poorly installed can all cause draft problems. Smoke blowback and odors are two of the many draft problems that can occur with a damaged throat.

At Pristine Sweeps, we are proud to offer our customers Rumford chimney throats. Built with a streamline, squared off, flat throat, this throat design creates an easy and direct air flow for the byproducts of combustion. Rumford throats can be used to repair or replace your existing damaged chimney throat.

What about the damper?

Located at the top of the firebox directly above the throat, a throat damper can also affect your chimney’s ability to draft correctly and burn efficiently. Over time, the damper can deteriorate or become damaged due to overexposure to heat, rust from a chimney leak, or simple wear and tear from years of use.

A throat damper with an airtight seal is an important part of making sure your fireplace drafts correctly. A damper that has lost this seal can no longer stop the flow of conditioned and outside air between the fireplace and chimney. In addition to costing you extra in additional heating and cooling costs, it can create a negative pressure situation that affects burn performance and drafting. Having the damper repaired, replaced, or switching to a top sealing damper can prevent this.

Don’t put off your throat repairs!

While chimney throats are rarely discussed, they play in important role in your fireplace’s ability to draft correctly. By having the throat of your chimney repaired or replaced you can help eliminate draft problems such as smoke blow back or chimney odor. If you are in the Seattle area, contact Pristine Sweeps today for more information about throat repairs.

By Aaron Woodward | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

The Importance of Flashing

Reliable Flashing Image - Seattle WA - Pristine SweepsWhile flashing is used around your home to seal around doors and windows, its most important location might be on your chimney! Because of its location and function, it is important that homeowners have reliable flashing that will continue to protect their roofs and chimneys year after year.

What is flashing?

Chimney flashing is created when metal strips are layered with caulk and other water barriers on the joint between the roof and the chimney. This creates a watertight seal that protects the roof, chimney, beams, ceilings, and walls from water damage.

What causes damage to flashing?

Whether it’s caused by animals, the elements, or improper installation, flashing can be damaged and lost its watertight seal for a number of reasons. Below are a few of the most common causes of flashing damage.

Attempted animal entry: Animals, particularly raccoons, can bite and claw at flashing in an attempt to get into the chimney

Overexposure to the elements

Damage from storms, high winds, or extreme weather: Flying debris during a thunderstorm, high winds, or even serious ice storms can all damage flashing

House shifting or settling

Roofing repairs: Shingle repair or roof replacement can cause the flashing to be moved or shifted during the work. This can cause the watertight seal to be broken if it is not replaced.

Low quality materials or poor construction

Incorrect installation: Using too few layers or too many nails can all cause leaky flashing

Is my roof leaking – or is it my flashing?

Leaky flashing is often mistaken as a leaky roof; because both can cause damage to roofing materials, attics, ceilings, and walls, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two! However, before you spend the money on a new roof call a chimney sweep instead! A chimney inspection is significantly less costly than most roofing repairs, and a well-trained chimney sweep will be able to if the water damage is really from faulty flashing. Likewise, because flashing can be damaged while roofing repairs are being made, we recommend having flashing inspected any time repairs or changes to your roof are made.

The importance of reliable flashing

Flashing is not just a decorative addition to your roof and chimney; it has the important purpose of protecting your chimney, roofing materials, and home against water entry and damage. Because of this, it is important that flashing is well installed, built using the right materials, and regularly maintained so it can last for years to come. As all flashing is custom installed to perfectly fit each roof line, it can last for as long as 25 years when well maintained.

Flashing does more than just keep your chimney dry; it also protects your roof, attic, ceilings, and walls. If your flashing has not been recently inspected or you suspect it may be leaking, don’t delay – call Pristine Sweeps today to schedule an appointment to have your flashing inspected!

By Aaron Woodward | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment