Rebuild leaning chimney in Washington DC

 damaged chimney in Washington DC

BEFORE

The owners of this home in Washington DC hired our Washington DC chimney repair team to rebuild their leaning chimney in Washington DC.  Above is a picture of the chimney.  You can see that the chimney is leaning towards the house.  This occurred because the mortar joints had deteriorated. The mortar joints had deteriorated over time from moisture getting into the chimney.  It is possible that the moisture may have come from the concrete crown and worked its way down the chimney or it may also be from the condensation of the flue gasses in the chimney or both. In this particular case, I believe it’s a result of both.  This project reminded me of a previous rebuild.  

 chimney demolition in washington dc

 

Here we are starting the demo and taking the chimney down. The leaning chimney could not be corrected without rebuilding it. 

 installing chimney liner in DC

 

Once the chimney was rebuilt we installed a stainless steel liner for the fireplace and the gas boiler and water heater in the basement. We install the liners after the brickwork, so they are not in the way while we are laying the bricks. During the demolition of the chimney, we removed the old terracotta flue liners to make room for the stainless steel liners.

 insulating installed chimney liners

 

Once the liners were installed, we insulated around the liners with a minimum 1″ of Premier Mix poured insulation which is a mixture of vermiculite and Portland cement. This plus 4″ of solid masonry is required for the liners to meet the manufacturers UL Listing for zero clearance.

 

 

 

In the basement, we installed two stainless steel tees inside the wall for the water heater and gas boiler to hook up to.

 

 

We parged the smoke chamber of the fireplace with Chamber Tech 2000 to seal any gaps and to correct the corbelling bricks.

 

 

Once the liners were installed, we completed the rebuild by pouring a new floating cast concrete crown and installing new copper counter flashing that is tucked into the mortar bed joints of the chimney. The chimney will be painted at a later date along with the rest of the house.

 

AFTER!!!

The chimney has been completely rebuilt including the liner, crown, and caps.

 

 

5 Reasonswhy it is best to install a gas fireplace

 gas fireplace

Using a gas fireplace provide an affordable, convenient way to add warmth to your home.  Many homeowners in Washington DC have made the wise decision of having a gas fireplace installed in their home.  There are plenty of reasons why you should make the investment – and when you understand the benefits, it’s all the more reason to have one in your home.

1. Gas fireplaces are better for the environment

A gas fireplace allows you to go green as opposed to using a central furnace or HVAC system. You don’t use all of the rooms in your home to the same level, and there is no reason for you to pay to heat your entire home, including the rooms that remain unoccupied. A gas fireplace allows you to heat the room where everyone is located. In some instances, this can cut your electric bill by 20 to 40%.

2. No brick chimney needed

There is no chimney necessary when you opt for a gas fireplace. When you are looking at installing a fireplace, this needs to be a primary consideration because installing a chimney could be cost prohibitive. Modern technology makes it possible to have a fireplace without the need for a chimney area a single pipe can be run to ensure that the gas vents to the outside and this reduces the cost of installation dramatically.

3. You control the intensity fo the fire in the fireplace

When you have a gas fireplace, you also get to control the fire, including the heat and flame. This means you are going to have to stack firewood into the fireplace and hope for the best. There will be various controls that allow you to determine the intensity of the embers as well as the height of the flames.

Many units provide you with a remote control. This allows you to control the ambiance and warmth of the fire without having to get up from where you are seated. This adds even more convenience and control.

4. Gas fireplaces are easier to cleanup

You’re also going to have an easier cleanup when you choose to go with a gas version. This is because there will be no need to clean out a chimney or get rid of and half-burnt logs. In fact, there will be no need for firewood at all, and this is going to make it easier for you to obtain heat and at a lower cost as well.  Overall, gas fireplaces are easier to maintain.

It’s an Investment to Your Home

When you opt for a gas fireplace, it’s an investment into your home. It has the potential to increase the value of your home. You’re also going to be able to decide on how the fireplace looks, with such decisions to make as:

  • Size of fireplace
  • The number of controls
  • Overall style

Whether you are looking for something rustic or modern, you will be able to find it. It offers up more options than if you were to go with a traditional wood-burning fireplace.

It’s important to understand the reasons for having a gas fireplace so that you can make a more informed decision as to what to install in your home. Gas fireplaces are environmentally friendly, easy to clean and operate, and there are plenty of different styles available in the marketplace.

Gas Fireplace Maintenance Tips

Nothing beats an evening of relaxing in front of your gas fireplace. Best of all, this type of fireplace requires far less cleaning and maintenance work than typical wood fireplaces.  If you fail to conduct proper gas fireplace maintenance, however, you may deal not only with poor efficiency but also a significant safety hazard.  Homeowners in DC who do not properly maintain their gas fireplaces ultimately find themselves needing Washington DC fireplace repairs.  

Keep your gas fireplace clean, safe, and functional by following these simple tips:

Clean your fireplace glass and check for damage

 

Whether you use your fireplace daily or forget it even exists, it is imperative that you clean it at least once each month. During this time, you can check for common problems and follow up with a professional, if necessary.

  • Use a high-quality glass cleaner and a soft cloth to buff both sides of the fireplace’s glass surface. If you wait too long, a cloudy effect may occur — and it could become permanent. 
  • Clean away any buildup of dust or dirt you find inside your fireplace.
  • Determine where the gasket is located and check if it is cracked. If there is any damage to the gasket, contact a chimney repair professional and have it replaced immediately. 
  • Check any bolts that hold the fireplace’s doors in place. If these are not fastened tightly, replace them. You may otherwise risk carbon monoxide entering your home.
  • Clean debris such as dust, dirt, cobwebs, or leaves from the fireplace’s vent. 

Checking and cleaning your gas fireplace should not take long, especially as compared to the cleaning process for a wood-burning fireplace. Regular cleaning is equally important for both types of fireplaces, however, as it improves efficiency and keeps you aware of potential safety hazards.

Have your chimney cleaned

gas fireplace maintenance chimney sweep

In addition to checking your fireplace once a month on your own, you should have a chimney sweep at least once each year. Regular professional maintenance can ensure the utmost safety and efficiency. Experts can determine where inefficiency occurs, why, and how it can be fixed. Additionally, repairs may address these issues:

  • Problems with the thermocouple
  • Problems with the pilot flame
  • Faulty control valves
  • Gas leaks

In addition to having your gas fireplace checked, it’s important to schedule a full chimney sweep each year. The better you maintain your fireplace and chimney, the longer you’ll be able to enjoy your beautiful and functional fireplace.

 

How to install a chimney cap

 how to install chimney cap

On occassion homeowners will have to replace their chimney caps.  This most commonly results from the caps blowing off. The best option is hiring a professional chimney repair service.  Most companies include chimney cap installation as part of their available chimney repairs.  Using a professional installer provides the added benefit of discovering unknown problems at their early stages. However, some homeowners prefer to install the chimney cap themselves.  This article was created for those do-it-yourselfers who want to install their chimney caps.  Here you will find information that you need to know about how to install a chimney cap. 

There are several options available for replacing a chimney cap:

  • Fit over a flue
  • Friction fit
  • Multi Flue Cap

Fitting The Chimney Cap Over One Flue

The most common type of chimney cap is one that fits over a single flue. This doesn’t involve any tools special tools. However, it does require you to be on top of your roof.  Do not attempt to do this if you are not 100% comfortable with heights.  The single flue chimney cap should cover between one and three inches of the flue. There should also be at least five inches between the top of the chimney flue and the chimney cap lid so that there is proper air flow. Once the positioning is where it should be, the screws should be tightened from all sides.

Using a Chimney Cap with a Friction Fit

There are sometimes chimney caps that fit in with a friction fit.  Friction fits are common when there is a metal flue.  Using a chimney cap with a friction fit can be challenging.  As a result, it is best to have a chimney technician install it for you.  If you choose to do it yourself It is important to make sure that the cap you are installing has been approved for use on the chimney model.  Steer clear of parts that are not created by the original manufacturer.  If the original parts are not available, it is best to have a chimney expert.  The expert can use their knowledge to select the proper after market part.  

The cap should be placed firmly into the metal flue. From there, it is sealed into place with silicone sealer.

If there are two or more concentric pipes, also known as air-cooled flues, you will need a special type of chimney cap. This will allow the cooling air to flow sufficiently from pipe to pipe.  Once again make sure that you use caps from the caps manufacturer. 

Installing a Multi-flue Chimney Cap

The multi-flue cap is the most challenging type of cap.  Multi-flue caps are commonly found on masonry chimneys.  These caps extend across the entire chimney crown. This is different from a single flue cap which only covers the flue.  The cap can be anchored on top of the concrete crown.  They come in a variety of styles.  The challenge comes from the fact that proper installation requires the installer to put the cap into position, pre-drill holes in the concrete and then mount the cap.  If the holes are not drilled properly, the cap can blow off.  

There are many people who have attempted to install their chimney caps.  In some cases, it went well.  In others, the cap blew off, or the chimney experienced new damages.  There is a real benefit to hiring a professional.  Many homeowners choose to include chimney cap replacement in combination with a cleaning.  If you decide to do it yourself, it is important to consider all of the aspects of the job and be willing to call a technician to take care of it if you run into difficulty.  

Before you get started on any aspect of the installation, be sure you:

  • Take the time to identify the type of chimney cap you have
  • Identify the flue your chimney has
  • Use parts from the original manufacturer
  • Review any instructions that may have come from the manufacturer

Have all of the supplies you will need, which should be minimal regardless of what kind of cap you have. Then, follow the instructions and your cap will be in place in no time at a

 Gas Fireplace Safety & Maintenance: What You Must Know

 gas fireplace safety

Having a gas fireplace can be an incredible luxury for any homeowner, especially during those cooler months of the year. Furthermore, many homeowners also enjoy the fact that gas fireplaces require less care, cleaning, and maintenance than a traditional wood-burning fireplace. Ease of maintenance is one of the common reasons why homeowners install gas fireplaces.  Still, there are some important steps all owners should take to maintain proper gas fireplace safety and prevent gas fireplace repairs.

Schedule Annual Fireplace Inspections

The single most important thing you can do to prolong the safe use of your gas fireplace is to schedule an annual fireplace inspection and cleaning with a reputable professional chimney repair company.  This is a great way to have all the components of your gas fireplace checked out to ensure everything is in safe working order—and to have any necessary small repairs made before they become more expensive and problematic.

Specific aspects of your fireplace a professional should check during an inspection include:

  • smoke flumes and vents
  • gas line
  • ignition system
  • fans (where applicable)

You can also find additional info about when a chimney cleaning is needed here.  

Check the Exterior Vent Monthly

Your gas fireplace most likely has a vent somewhere on the exterior of your home; this vent has an important responsibility of carrying any smoke and carbon monoxide from a fire safely out of your home. Inspection of this vent should already be done by a professional as part of your annual inspection. 

It is never a bad idea to exercise additional precautions. Once a month, check the exterior vent for yourself and make sure it’s clear of any debris or obstructions that could otherwise pose a carbon monoxide risk to your household. And of course, always keep at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home.

Clean Out Fireplace and Glass Regularly

Proper gas fireplace safety also requires homeowners to clean out your fireplace monthly. Since it’s not wood-burning, this task shouldn’t be too time-consuming.  Still, taking the time to get rid of any cobwebs or other debris is a good idea.

You should also use a quality glass cleaner to wipe down the inside and outside of your fireplace screen, which will keep it from becoming stained or otherwise permanently discolored. This is a small part of gas fireplace safety that will allow you to continue enjoying your fireplace to the fullest extent.

Don’t Ignore Signs of Problems

Finally, should anything ever seem “off” about the operation of your gas fireplace, call a professional chimney repair company and stop using your gas fireplace right away. Always go with your gut instinct and do not ignore a potential problem. When it comes to the safety of your gas fireplace, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Some potential “red flags” to be on the lookout for include:

  • ·         odd smells coming from your fireplace
  • ·         difficulty getting pilot light to ignite
  • ·         smoke coming from your fireplace

By taking the time to maintain your gas fireplace properly, you can enjoy safe operation for many years to come!