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What Is a Chimney Cricket or Saddle?

What is a Chimney Cricket - Atlanta GA - Old Hat Chimney ServiceMany people have no idea what a chimney cricket is, but, for some chimneys, this water leak preventive tool is a necessity. Is your chimney situated on a slope of your roof? If so, you may have a problem with water pooling where your exterior chimney meets the roof. Is your chimney wider than 30 inches? This is another factor that allows water from rain and melted snow to accumulate around the base of your chimney on the roof. When water pools in this area, the bricks and mortar of your chimney are in danger of that water penetrating into those masonry materials to cause deterioration and damage. The inside of your home can also be at risk for water damage. If you answered yes to the questions above, you can trust Old Hat Chimney Service to solve this problem. As part of our customized flashing services, we can build and install a chimney cricket to protect the base of your chimney from being surrounded by accumulated water. Since many of our customers are unaware of this type of chimney flashing, we would like to share with you some information from the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) that explains more about chimney crickets.

What exactly is a chimney cricket?

A miniature roof constructed from aluminum, galvanized steel, or stainless steel, a chimney cricket can be installed on the rear of your chimney. With a peak that keeps water and debris away from your chimney, this piece of flashing protects your chimney from water leaking into its bricks and mortar.

How can a chimney cricket keep water out of my chimney?

With a ridge on the top, a chimney cricket is constructed with angled sides that direct water from rain and melted snow away from your chimney so that no pooling occurs on the roof around the base of the chimney. Not only does pooled water put your chimney at a greater risk for water leaks, this water can also freeze in the winter to form an ice dam. This can create even more water accumulation on your roof around your chimney because an ice dam can keep water from flowing down the roof, which can cause water to leak into other areas of your home. To prevent an ice dam from forming on your roof, Old Hat Chimney Service recommends installing a chimney cricket to direct water away from your chimney and down your roof. As mentioned earlier, you should seriously think about adding a chimney cricket to your flashing system if your chimney is located on a downward slope of your roof or is wider than 30 inches.

Why is it so important to prevent water penetration of my chimney?

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), water penetration is the biggest enemy of your masonry chimney because how much deterioration and damage it can do to the bricks, mortar, chimney liner, and the walls and ceilings of your house. A professionally customized and installed flashing system including a chimney cricket can protect your chimney from water penetration as well as save you money on expensive repairs due to water leaks.

Want to know more about chimney crickets? Contact Old Hat Chimney Service to learn about our custom chimney cricket and other flashing installation services to keep your chimney safe from water penetration.

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Buying or Selling a Home? Schedule a Level 2 Chimney Inspection

Real Estate Chimney Inspections Before Bying or Selling a Home - Atlanta GA - Old Hat Chimney ServiceWhen you are either buying or selling a home, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) requires that you have a Level 2 chimney inspection performed by a professional chimney technician. At Old Hat Chimney Service, our chimney technicians have been certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). During the CSIA certification process, our chimney sweeps were trained to inspect chimneys using the standards of the three levels of inspections defined by the NFPA and have performed many inspections of every level. If you are selling your home, we can help you assure potential buyers that your chimney and venting system functions properly and safely. If you are buying a home with a fireplace, you can trust Old Hat Chimney Service to provide an extensive inspection of its chimney. When it comes to the safety of yourself, your family, and your home, you want to be certain the fireplace and chimney system works as it should without any dangerous hazards. We are often asked by our customers what makes each level of chimney inspections different from the others, so we would like to share with you the details of each level of chimney inspection.

LEVEL 1 INSPECTION

The most basic level of chimney inspection, a Level 1 inspection is what you will typically receive during your annual chimney inspection. Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps will check the installation and connection of your heating appliance, ensure that there are no blockages of your flue, and check all of the readily accessible portions of the chimney structure and flue. Readily accessible areas mean places that can be reached for inspection without ladders or tools.

LEVEL 2 INSPECTION

The level you need when buying or selling a home, a Level 2 inspection is also required after you add or remove a heating appliance, after upgrading to a heating appliance of a different type, input rating, or efficiency, before relining or replacing the liner of your chimney, and after an operations malfunction or other event that likely damaged the chimney. This level inspects all accessible areas of the chimney, including the attic, crawl space, and basement. The chimney sweeps from Old Hat Chimney Service may have to move or open doors and panels as well as use special tools, such as a video camera.

LEVEL 3 INSPECTION

If there has been an incident such as a chimney fire that damaged your chimney and must be investigated, a Level 3 inspection is necessary for safety reasons. This level of inspection may also be needed if our certified chimney sweeps find or suspect any hazards in a Level 1 or 2 inspection that require further examination. All non-accessible areas are included in this level of inspection, and these areas may require the destruction of the chimney structure to be able to reach.

If you are buying or selling a house, contact Old Hat Chimney Service. You can be guaranteed our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps will perform a top-notch Level 2 chimney inspection for you.

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Summer Is a Great Time to Update Your Fireplace with a New Insert

Update Your Fireplace With A New InsertWere your winter heating costs higher than you expected? Summer is an excellent time to update your fireplace with a new wood-burning insert, which will help you save money and energy next winter. You will also be more conscious of the environment as the latest wood-burning technologies have transformed these inserts from the emissions-heavy models of the past into clean burning and energy-efficient units. Old Hat Chimney Service sells and professionally installs wood-burning fireplace inserts, and we would like to share with you the advantages of these heating appliances if you are considering updating your fireplace this summer.

A wood-burning insert promotes economical heating.

Costing about a third less than natural gas, electricity, or oil, wood can be a very economical fuel. Even better, if you are able to cut your own wood, your winter heating supply can be free. The informational website eHow claims that a new wood-burning fireplace insert will reduce your heating costs up to three times compared with a furnace or a boiler. You will also save money from the high efficiency of this appliance. When you burn a fire in an open fireplace, you lose the majority of the heat out from your chimney; however, when you use a wood-burning insert, you retain up to 80% of the heat from the wood’s energy into your living space.

A wood-burning insert is environmentally friendly.

A great way to make your home greener is to use a renewable heating source. Even though burning wood releases carbon dioxide into the air, it is actually part of a balanced carbon cycle as the wood you are burning uses carbon from the air to grow and live. Scientists have developed wood-burning technologies to allow you to use this heating fuel with emissions that are so low that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggest consumers use these inserts to reduce pollution.

A wood-burning insert provides an energy backup.

A great advantage of using wood to heat your home is not having to worry about having heat whenever your electricity or natural gas goes out due to a winter storm. Furthermore, heating resources can be scarce or become incredibly expensive in our times. When you use a wood-burning fireplace insert, you are free from oil, natural gas, and electricity to heat your home.

A wood-burning insert gives you the atmosphere of a wood fire.

Do you love the sight, sound, and smell experiences a wood fire provides? Although gas-fueled heating appliances try hard to create a realistic flame, you cannot get that scent of wood burning and the sound of a crackling fire from a gas fire. With its cozy and warm ambiance, a wood-burning fireplace insert will satisfy your desire for a natural fire with no worries of pollution.

Considering updating your fireplace this summer with a wood-burning insert? Contact Old Hat Chimney Service to find out more about the options we offer.

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I Think Lightning Has Struck My Chimney

Lightning Struck Chimney - Atlanta GA - Old Hat Chimney ServiceIn the Atlanta area Old Hat Chimney Service calls home, severe thunderstorms are a common occurrence every summer. Since a chimney extends from a rooftop, lightning is most likely to strike that part of a home. After a bad summer storm filled with lightning strikes, we typically get calls from customers who think lightning may have struck their chimneys. To prepare you for this possibility this summer, we wanted to share with you some information about the dangers lightning strikes can pose to your home and what you should do if you think lightning struck your chimney.

What types of damage can a lightning strike do to my home?

direct lightning strike poses three possible types of damage to a home:

FIRE

Since lightning releases an electrical current when it strikes, it can easily ignite a fire if it hits wood or any other flammable building material. Roofs and attics are most commonly affected by this danger. When lightning strikes a chimney, its current can travel through a home’s wiring system to completely burn up the wires in the home.

POWER SURGE

An explosive surge of lightning can destroy the electrical wiring system in a home and even affect non-electronic appliances that are connected to that system. Even if a lightning strike does not hit the home but does ground close by, a surge will be produced that can be large enough to affect the electrical system.

SHOCK WAVE

This is the type of lightning damage that most often affects a chimney. Lightning strikes produce explosive shock waves that we hear as thunder. At close range, these shock waves can easily fracture the masonry materials of your chimney and cause cracks and other structural damage which makes your chimney unsafe to use.

What should I do after lightning has struck my chimney?

If your chimney has suffered structural damage from lightning, your homeowner’s insurance will most likely cover the needed repairs. Contact Old Hat Chimney Service to schedule a professional chimney inspection to send to your insurance company with your claim. You should also take note of the date and time of the lightning strike, how you discovered the damage, and any other information and details that you feel are pertinent to the event. Being able to quickly and easily provide this information to your insurance agents will help your claim go more smoothly.

If you think lightning has struck your chimney, contact Old Hat Chimney Service as soon as possible. We can professionally inspect your chimney and give you the information you need to provide to your homeowner’s insurance company.

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Is Your Chimney Leaning?

Is Your Chimney Leaning - Atlanta, GA - Old Hat Chimney ServiceWhen properly constructed with adequate support, masonry chimneys can last for a lifetime. Unfortunately, not every masonry chimney is built correctly. If a chimney does not have sufficient footing, it can begin to lean away from the building to which it is attached. If you have noticed your chimney leaning, you may be in need of repairs for safety reasons. Inadequate footing, along with other causes for its leaning, can lead your chimney to eventually collapse if these issues are not corrected. Old Hat Chimney Service can inspect your chimney to determine why it is leaning. Once we know what is causing your chimney to lean, we can repair the problem to make your chimney stable and safe to use again.

Tell me more about chimney footing issues that can cause a masonry chimney to lean.

If a chimney has been added after the building was constructed, there is a possibility that the chimney footing was placed on soft backfill that later settled and became unstable. Bad soil can also lead to the instability of the footing. The chimney footing itself can be the cause of a leaning chimney. If the footing is undersized, the chimney will not be sufficiently supported and can start to lean. It is possible that the footing does not project enough past the chimney base to support its weight. The footing could have also been cast too thin, which can cause it to break apart.

What are some other causes of a leaning chimney?

Spalling damage from cold weather can cause a chimney to lean. When water leaks into bricks and mortar, the moisture trapped within the masonry materials freezes and expands. When the water thaws, the bricks and mortar break apart due to the expansion of the water trying to escape. Spalling also causes the mortar joints of your chimney to deteriorate, and the bricks become loose and can fall out. Other things that could cause a chimney to lean are missing or inadequate lateral support tying the chimney to the building and mechanical damage to the chimney from falling tree limbs.

How can a leaning chimney be repaired?

To determine exactly how to repair a leaning chimney, Old Hat Chimney Service will inspect the chimney to see what caused the leaning. If the leaning has been caused by inadequate footing, we can make the footing more stable by using slab-jacking or helical piers. We will then reline the flue and align, stabilize, and repair any cracks in the fireplace box and hearth. If spalling damage or fallen tree limbs have caused bricks to fall out which creates instability, the masons from Old Hat Chimney Service can repair the missing bricks with masonry techniques such as tuck pointing. Many times, a leaning chimney must be demolished to rebuild a new chimney because the movement of the chimney makes it a flue gas and fire hazard, especially if the chimney has moved significantly away from the building. Often, the leaning area will be confined to the part of the chimney from the roof surface to its top, and we can remove and rebuild the chimney in this location. No matter the cause or situation, you can trust Old Hat Chimney Service to solve the problem of a leaning chimney.

Is your chimney leaning? Contact Old Hat Chimney Service to schedule an inspection from one of our certified technicians.

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