Waterproofing to Avoid Efflorescence

efflorescence_on_brick

What is Efflorescence?

Efflorescence comes from a French word meaning “to flower out.” In chemistry, and in the real world, efflorescence is the loss of water (or a solvent) of crystallization from a hydrated or solvated salt to the atmosphere on exposure to air.

Where does it happen? 

While efflorescence can occur in natural settings it is most commonly seen on built structures. It is especially visible on porous materials like brick. If you do not know what efflorescence is, you may think that it is purely cosmetic. It will appear as a chalky residue on the outside of the brick structure.

What causes efflorescence?

Simply put, if you see efflorescence you have water intrusion. Once water penetrates the brick it will “flower out,” (remember the French definition?) Once water has entered your structure it will freeze and expand causes the integrity of the structure to come into question

What can you do to protect against efflorescence?

Although brick is very durable, extreme weather can have an adverse effect on it over time. Waterproofing your brick/veneer structure will help ensure that your brick work lasts as long as possible. Your brick and your home can benefit tremendously from waterproofing.

“Most sealants are made with siloxane, which chemically bonds to the material and prevents water from passing through it. This type of brick waterproofing sealant is clear, so it does not change the appearance of the building. In fact, rather than staying on the surface of the structure, brick sealant penetrates the material. It will need to be reapplied to older brick structures about every four to seven years, and newer buildings approximately every five to ten years.”

How to Start a Fire

Steps to Start a Fire in your Fireplace

How to start fire steps

1. Before you doing anything else and start fire, be sure to open the damper! You don’t want to accidentally fill up your house with smoke. Hold up a piece of burning, rolled up newspaper in the open damper for about 10 to 15 seconds by using the poker tool. Then light the tinder.

2. You’ll need three things to start your fire: Tinder, Kindling, and Fuel.

You can use small twigs, pine needles or pine cones as tinder. However, old crumbled up newspaper makes the very best tinder when starting a fire in your fireplace.

Kindling such as large twigs, small branches and splits of wood that range from 1/4″ to 1″ in thickness will do.

When fueling your fireplace only use well-seasoned hardwood such as ash, hickory or oak. If you really need to burn soft wood (cedar, fir or red pine) make sure that they are well-seasoned. Signs of seasoned wood are loose bark and cracks at the end of the wood. If you see bubbling liquids in the burning logs, DO NOT BURN!

3. To start the fire begin by arranging 2 (small to medium sized) pieces of firewood on the grate. Between the logs, place the tinder of your choice and cover it with several pieces of kindling.

Don’t be afraid to be generous with the kindling. Place two more pieces of firewood on top of the kindling and two more pieces of firewood at a right angle. Leave some spaces in between for air circulation.

Now you should have a nice burning fire, warming up your home!

Warm Fire Fireplace
 

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Why Should You Clean Your Pellet Stove Annually?

pelletPellet stoves are extremely efficient and can be plugged into a standard electrical outlet. Fans inside them maximize their efficiency. The fans deliver warm air back into the home, but also present a problem on the other side. Pellet stoves require more maintenance than traditional fireplaces and insert wood burning stoves because the fans push air and soot around to all of the nooks and crannies of your pellet stove. There are several parts to a Pellet stove which makes it prone to malfunction if not cleaned annually. The parts include: A hopper, an auger system, blower fans, main control box and a firebox. Pellets are loaded into the hopper and then the auger system moves them to the firebox where they are burned. Blower fans take in the cool air from the room to provide fuel for the fire, while another fan blows the warm back out into the room. An exhaust fan pushes the soot out of the back to a vent system known as a T-connection. This T-connection has a built in safety feature called the “catch can.” While this safety feature is a good thing (short term), the soot piles up and will eventually present a problem. Soot will clog the vent (T-connection) and will burn out the fan. Fan motors cause costly repairs for homeowners.

Having your Pellet stove serviced each year by a chimney professional is important and will ensure efficient operation. This kind of consumer vigilance will result in being able to enjoy the efficiency of your pellet stove for years.

How Do I Know If I Really Had My Chimney Cleaned Properly?

proper chimney cleaningProper chimney cleaning is very important. Mike’s Mobile Screen & Chimney Service trains our technicians to adhere by CSIA standards when cleaning your chimney. This means you, as the homeowner, will get unmatched service and a thorough cleaning and inspection. All of our chimney cleanings come with a Level I inspection. Our technicians start from the inside and inspect the firebox. At this time we will make sure your damper seals shut. If it doesn’t we will tape up the opening of your fireplace with tarps to avoid any mess to your home.

Once we have taken the proper precautions, and inspected the firebox, our inspection and cleaning moves to the roof of your house. Our technicians check for flashing, water damage, and the structural integrity of your chimney. Mike’s Mobile systematically checks your chimney and fireplace to make sure you have a complete inspection.

How Often Should I Have My Chimney Cleaned?

chimney_sweepSo how often should I have my chimney Cleaned? According to the National Fire Protection Agency (Source: NFPA), ” a yearly inspection and cleaning and repairs done as necessary. Freestanding woodstoves or fire place inserts used to heat the home should be inspected and cleaned if needed every year. Regular, open fireplaces need to be maintained and cleaned on a consistent basis as well. Usually, a cleaning is needed for every cord of wood burned or at least 2-3 years.”

Time to think about gutter cleaning!

gutter cleaning

Gutter Cleaning Services by Mike’s Mobile Screens and Chimney Services helps you to keep your gutters functioning properly and your home safe from water damage.

Although your gutters may not seem as important as your home’s roof, it definitely comes close. Properly functioning gutters direct water away from the structure of your home. Clogged gutters can cause water to collect around your home’s foundation, weakening the soil. Repairs made to a home’s foundation can cost thousands!

The American Homeowners Association states that the weight of water, twigs and other debris can loosen gutters and cause them to pull away from their attachments.

The National Center for Healthy Housing recommends cleaning your gutters at least twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. If you live in a wooded area, you may want to have your gutters cleaned more often.

Now get your head out of the gutters and call in the pros. Our insured and bonded technicians have the know-how and the experience needed to make sure your gutters are cleaned safely and effectively.

Have your gutters professionally cleaned by Mike’s Mobile today!

Call us toll Free (877) 520-3595

Don’t DIY Chimney Cleaning

Why You Shouldn’t DIY

Your Chimney Cleaning 

 

In the past few years there has been a lot of hype in regards to DIY (Do It Yourself). There are some websites and blogs such as Pinterest that say a homeowner doesn’t need a chimney sweep to perform a chimney cleaning and post videos that teach you how to perform a chimney cleaning.

Many posts online (such as Pinterest) say homeowners can clean out their own chimneys.

 

However there are certain things that homeowners’ shouldn’t take it upon themselves to do, such as cleaning their home’s chimney. There are some homeowners that may do a good job in maintaining their chimney but that’s only to a certain degree (no pun intended). Things such as creosote buildup, a damaged flue, live/dead critters, etc. can be overlooked when DIYing a chimney cleaning, which is why a chimney sweep needs to be called in.

3rd Stage Glazed Creosote

Damaged Flue Liner

 

Chimney Sweeps are certified trained professionals who while cleaning your chimney also look for anything that may be wrong with your chimney. They also use the proper tools and equipment needed to clear out your chimney completely without creating any new problems along the way.

So before trying your hand on chimney cleaning, call one of our professional chimney sweeps today at 1 877 520 3595! or schedule an appointment with us online at mikesmobile.com/chimney-services/!

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Why You Should Get Your Chimney Swept and Inspected

before-gamay

Getting your chimney swept and inspected are very important for your home. If you are using your fireplace, you should be getting a chimney sweep annually. This will prevent chimney fires as well as maintain your fireplace/chimney safe to burn in. The NFPA suggests that you get your chimney swept after each cord of wood that you burn and/or an annual safety inspection.

One way a chimney inspection can be beneficial is to find water intrusion. If your chimney, cap or flashing is not properly installed and sealed it can lead to a bigger mess. Water can get into cracks a spread. If water freezes, it will expand and further damage an area. If your flashing is not properly installed and sealed it can lead to severe damage on your roof. This can trickle down (excuse the pun!) and cause leaking. Take a look at the pictures to see what water can cause. There will be more articles about this to come! Stay tuned.

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Warning Signs Your Chimney Might Need Repairs

chimney inspection nfi csiaMike’s Mobile Chimney Sweep

Usually by the time the average homeowner notices a problem with their chimney, it has probably needed some repairs for quite some time. To avoid any future repairs (big or small) be sure to be on the lookout for these signs.  

  • Damaged Lining

Chimney Liner

 

Unfortunately, there are usually no obvious signs that a chimney liner is damaged. In some rare cases, you may notice broken masonry in your fireplace and the debris could be bits of a deteriorating flue liner that have fallen into the firebox. Because it is usually not obvious that a liner needs to be repaired, it’s important to have a reputable chimney sweep inspect your chimney’s flue annually. To avoid harmful hazards such as creosote on your liner and home, schedule a chimney sweep to remove the soot and creosote before it turns into Stage 3 and damages your liner.

  • Water Damage

Water Damage

 

From something as serious as crumbling masonry to something seemingly harmless like droplets of water, both are usually reasons enough to call over a professional chimney sweep to have a look at your chimney. A certified chimney sweep will also be able to inspect your flashing, the chimney cap as well as the crown which tend to be the common causes for a leaking chimney. Other signs of a leaky chimney include:

  Water stains on masonry, walls and/or ceilings.

  A musty odor coming from within the chimney,
   clogged cleaned-out area and/or wet ashes

  To avoid some water damage have your
    chimney waterproofed professionally.

  • Wear and Tear

Damaged firebox

 

The firebox/fireplace is usually the part of your home’s chimney system that receives the least amount of attention even though it withstands the most heat and abuse. If built with the incorrect materials or if affected by water penetration the masonry can be damaged which can be disastrous. In order to avoid disastrous damages to your firebox, assessing the firebox as part of your monthly home maintenance is the best way to stay on top of it. You can do so by removing ashes and by looking for cracks in your chimney’s masonry.  

For more information on other services Mike’s Mobile Screen & Chimney Service offers visit our website!

If you happen to realize that your home’s chimney does need to have some repairs done, schedule an appointment with us today at TOLL FREE NUMBER 1 877 520 3595!

Winter is Coming!

Chimney Sweeps – Winter is Almost Here!

 

Guess what time it is?!

It’s time to get your home’s chimney and fireplace inspected! Summer has officially drawn to a close and Fall has already begun! Which means your home’s heating appliances will be heavily used this upcoming Winter!

Do you know why it is important to have your home’s heating appliances ready before the cold season approaches?

Well it is recommended by the National Fire Protection Association that homeowners should have their chimneys cleaned and inspected annually. If you haven’t had yours swept yet, don’t wait until the very last minute to schedule your needed inspections and repairs! Here at Mike’s Mobile Screen & Chimney Service, we offer a full chimney services. Mike’s Mobile also does the following services to our customers including: chimney cleanings, inspections, repairs, fireplace rebuilds, masonry work and much more! Our company also serves the surrounding areas including: West Sacramento, Davis, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills, Rocklin, Folsom and more!

Click here for more information on our other services

Call Mike’s Mobile today and set up an appointment! (877) 520-3595