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Fix Winter Masonry Damage

Winter Masonry Repair Photo - Seattle WA - Pristine SweepsWhen winter snow and ice begin to melt and winter weather turns to spring, it can be hard to detect winter damage. Most of the chimney system is hidden, especially to the untrained eye, so unless there are noticeable changes to the system. The best way to diagnose winter damage is to schedule your annual CSIA chimney inspection now. Only a certified chimney expert knows the signs of winter damage, is familiar with the Seattle climate, and knows when best to makes repairs before they become a problem.

Common Winter Damage

At Pristine Sweeps our technicians often diagnose winter damage that ranges from minor, seemingly cosmetic damage like staining, to serious structural damage like spalling and deterioration.

Spalling Masonry

When water penetrates the masonry during winter it undergoes a process called the freeze/thaw cycle, resulting in serious damage. First,the water penetrates the masonry and freezes, causing it to expand and damage the bricks and mortar. It then thaws, moving further into the damaged masonry and repeats the process. This type of water damage should be repaired before spring rains and summer humidity appear. Pristine Sweeps repairs spalling chimneys through a process called tuckpointing in which a certified expert removes mortar and bricks piece by piece and replaces it with new mortar of equal consistency, strength, and color. Pristine Sweeps specialize in masonry repair and all of our masonry work is backed by a five year labor warranty.

Damaged Cap or Crown

Serious snow accumulation can take a chimney crown from a tiny crack to a gaping hole during a full winter of freezing temperatures. A chimney cap, however, when installed correctly should withstand normal winter weather, but sometimes animals and high winds can loosen the caps, causing leaks and winter damage. Pristine Sweeps offers chimney cap repairs and installation that can return your chimney to full protection from weather and wildlife.

Chimney Leaks

Many issues with the chimney can result in chimney leaks. Leaks are best avoided because they don’t only damage your chimney, but can also stain, rust, weaken, and damage materials in your home including ceilings, walls, floors, coverings, and more. A chimney expert from Pristine Sweeps is able to diagnose and repair damage from chimney leaks, but also correct the problem that made the leak possible. The last step to chimney leak repair is to waterproof the chimney to avoid an occurrence later. This is a simple preventative measure that can save homeowners substantially in the future.

The best way to diagnose and repair chimney leaks is to have the chimney inspected at the end of winter. This gives you ample time to make repairs before burning season returns in the fall, and means you can spend the summer knowing that your chimney is taken care of.

Call Pristine Sweeps today at 206-574-8414 and have your chimney assessed for winter damage.

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

Gas Logs Need Service Too

Homeowners who look for the convenience of a push button or switch start, a clean fireplace, and low-maintenance appliance often opt for gas logs. They are easily installed and maintained. However, like every other fire appliance in your home, they cannot be neglected or forgotten.

Gas Logs Need Service Too Image - Seattle WA - Pristine SweepsProfessional Services for Gas Logs

  • An annual inspection.
    An annual inspection includes: assessing the connection to the fuel source, the soundness of the ventilation system, and the safety of all aspects of the fireplace.
  • A thorough cleaning.
    Gas logs are made of ceramic and refractory materials that create the aesthetics of a real fire. Having said that, the science of creating this “magic” can be affected by dust, dirt, and other debris. During a cleaning, the fireplace technician will clean the burners on the surface of the logs that release the gas to make the flame. If these become clogged, it won’t just affect the look of your fire. Consequently, it becomes a fire hazard! The ventilation system, whether chimney or vent will also be cleaned, along with the fireplace.
  • Professional installation and repair.
    It’s vital that you have your gas log set installed and repaired by a professional. In addition, one that is trained and experienced in fire science. Plus, knows how to properly connect the appliance to its gas source. There are some outdoor products that use propane that are easily installed by the homeowner. This is not to be confused with a gas log set! Only a certified chimney sweep can assess your chimney for use with gas or create an alternate route of safe ventilation.

What You Can Do

  • Schedule annual inspections.
    This may be the only time a professional has access to your gas log set. Most importantly, a fireplace and chimney expert will notice a problem before you do. It’s always easier and less expensive to catch a problem before it becomes a disaster.
  • Keep the fireplace clean and clear of debris.
    Also, a good rule of thumb is to clean the fireplace monthly, opening and cleaning the glass door, if it has one. Clean the fireplace screen, sweep the area, and wipe the logs with a clean rag. Be careful not to leave pieces behind!

What is the best way to prevent damage caused by fire, carbon monoxide intrusion, gas leaks, and excessive condensation? It is having your gas log set serviced regularly, just as you would any other heat appliance. A fireplace adds value to any home, and gas is an extremely convenient option, but must not be neglected.

Pristine Sweeps installs and services gas logs in the Seattle area, paying attention to local codes and industry safety standards. Call today to hear about our preventative maintenance and gas log upgrades today! Dial 206-574-8414 or request an appointment online.