The state of your chimney determines the health and safety of your home because chimneys vent the harmful air outside. If your chimney needs to be cleaned or repaired, you need to take steps to fix it. This is not the place for do-it-yourself projects. You should always hire a professional company like ours to do it for you to comply with your local building codes, your home owner’s insurance policy and more importantly, avoiding any kind of unwanted injuries to you or your loved ones. In any case, you need to be confident your home is safe for your loved ones, so you need to be able to choose the right chimney repair company that better suits your need. This can look like a daunting task but worry not. This article will help show you how to choose the right chimney repair company in the Howard County and Washington DC Metropolitan areas.
To choose the right chimney repair company, you need to do some homework.
- Edcuate yourself
Educate yourself about chimneys before your appointment. Having a basic understanding of chimney technology. This allows you to tell if the chimney expert is telling you the truth or just trying to sell you something. The more you understand the way your chimney works, the easier it is to see what needs to be done to keep it working.
- Do your research
Look for local companies that have about us pages like ours that give you a clear understanding of the what the company is all about.
- Find out what they have to offer
See what they offer and how they present their services. Do they provide information that helps you understand what they do, like blog posts or articles? Do they have the expertise you need?
- Read online reviews
Look at independent reviews of the company online. Ask your neighbors who they use and why they would use that company again.
- Ask questions
Contact the company and ask questions. What makes them different from other companies? How familiar are they with your local codes? Do they offer a free consultation and estimate?
- Make sure they meet industry standards
The best companies have high safety and quality standards. They also should be members of the leading chimney organization like the CSIA. This should be on their website along with any other certifications and associations.
- Ask about their training
Are the technicians regularly updating their training to keep up with industry changes? Do their technicians have certifications for fireplace repair in your jurisdiction? For example, let’s say that you live in Howard County, MD and you choose a company that also service Washington DC. Do they have technicians that are licensed in both states?
- Read their online reviews
Don’t make your decision for or against based on one negative review. Read all of the reviews and look for trends. If you see several reviews complaining about the same thing, then maybe that is their weakness. The same applies to strengths.
- Choose a company that focuses on long term solutions
Choose a company that recommends long term repairs over cheap temporary fixes. If you really should have a new chimney cap or liner, slapping some sealant on a crack is not going to fix the problem. A good chimney service will identify what needs to be done and tell you what it should cost. If you can’t afford the best option, they should be able to tell you the best options for your budget.
- Look for signs of personalized service
A chimney repair service should offer personalized service. This means that the team that comes to your home is backed up by management that supports their decisions in the field. You can trust what they say they will do because they are accountable to their home office. You should be able to contact that office with questions.
- Never choose a company that is overly focused on low prices
Look for companies that spend more time discussing the quality of their service than how their low prices. Companies that focus on offering the lowest prices tend to sacrifice quality.
A good chimney repair company will offer more than repairs. They should offer preventive maintenance as well as repairs. Since most chimney problems show up during the recommended yearly cleaning, it makes sense to look for a full-range chimney service company that can be trusted to partner with you in keeping your home maintained properly. That trusted partnership is the reason that choosing the right chimney services company is so important.
A gas fireplace is one of the easiest ways to add the appeal of flickering flames and warmth to your home. Gas fireplaces turn on at the touch of a switch or a preset temperature. They are clean, giving the heat benefits of a wood fire without the debris, ashes, or maintenance. In the Wasington DC Metro Area, installing a gas fireplace is a cost-effective way to keep your home comfortable whenever the weather outside is too cold for comfort. Gas fireplace are wonderful. However, they must be installed correctly or there could be serious problem. All Pro Chimney Service is committed to providing the best gas fireplace installation service in the region.
Why home owners choose All Pro Chimney Service to install their gas fireplace:
All Pro Chimney Service is a local family-owned company that knows the local codes and will comply with them.
All Pro Chimney Service is proud to be a member of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) and the Mid-Atlantic Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) and holds to the high professional standards these groups represent.
Our service technicians complete ongoing training and recertifications to ensure they stay aware of the latest trends, techniques and technology in the chimney industry.
All Pro is not captive to a specific fireplace manufacturer. As a result, our customers have a wide variety of options. Customers can select the style, color, features and functions that are the best fit for their home.
All Pro estimators work with customers with the customers interest in mind. Conversations are focused on what is best for the customer. The estimators listen to their customers and then use vast industry knowledge to make customers fireplace dreams a reality.
We can install all brands of gas fireplaces, even those we don’t regularly carry. Do you have a fireplace that you already purchased? We can install it.
You need a service that believes you should receive personalized attention and that you should be able to be as involved with the process as you want to be; even if you want to work alongside the service team to have a hand in upgrading your home.
There are a lot of reasons to want a gas fireplace installed in your home. In order to keep enjoying that gas fireplace for years, you need a service that meets the criteria listed above. All Pro Chimney Service meets every one of those requirements and we would love to show you what we can do for you. Call us, we are always ready to serve.
Call Today 301-750-3149
Springtime is often not the time that homeowners are thinking about chimneys but this is a good time of year for doing many maintenance tasks. Fireplace and chimney maintenance is essential regardless of whether you have a wood burning fireplace, pellet stove or gas fireplace. In fact, a spring chimney cleaning and inspection should be scheduled early to catch problems while they are small.
Eliminate fireplace odors
The smell of a wood fire is lovely while it is burning, but the scent of an uncleaned chimney and fireplace in the humidity of summer is not wonderful at all. A foul-smell can be a sign that you need chimney repairs.
- Professional chimney sweeps have the equipment and experience to remove ash and creosote without leaving a mess.
- A clean fireplace is an excellent location for your favorite scented candles to burn safely.
- Uncapped chimneys are holes in your roof for the rain to come in and mix with an uncleaned stack to harden residue and create odors.
Repair cracks that can lead to chimney leaks
The Mid-Atlantic spring is a series of freeze/thaw cycles. Water seeps into hairline cracks in your chimney, freezes, and widens those cracks so that more water can get in and freeze again. The recurring freeze/thaw cycle can split boulders. Imagine how much damage water can do to your chimney. Repairs should be an be scheduled before the summer rains start. Failure to do so can result in costly repairs.
- The cement crown is designed to shed water away from the chimney. If it is cracked, it will start to crack and cause leaks.
- Crowns can also be rebuilt or replaced.
- Mortar between bricks can be re-pointed, and a few cracked blocks can be replaced without rebuilding.
- Further damage to masonry usually requires that the chimney must be rebuilt.
- Waterproofing your chimney keeps the freeze/thaw cycle from occurring.
- Common causes of chimney leaks can be addressed, like inadequate flashing.
Keep critters away from your chimney
Did you know that chimney swifts are a federally protected species? They start coming into the area in late March and begin nesting in May. Early spring is the best time to take steps to prevent them from moving in. If there is a chimney swift nesting in your chimney, you cannot get rid of them. You must wait until they are done raising their young before removing the highly-flammable nest. Other unwanted visitors can include:
- Rats & Mice
How do these unwelcome visitors get in? If damage has occurred in your chimney cap or screen, they consider any opening an invitation. Birds and animals in chimneys and flues cause fires and keep carbon monoxide from leaving your home so it’s not something you can ignore even if you don’t mind sharing your space with wildlife. In most cases, animal problems can be prevented by installing a chimney cap.
- Check for signs of uninvited wildlife.
- Remove the wildlife following safety precautions (most people call an animal control service) and remember that chimney swifts are a protected species.
- Keep them out by installing screens and caps to your chimneys and vents.
Close The Damper
Many times the damper is inadvertently left open after the last fire of the winter is enjoyed. This can be a problem in the spring and summer:
- Open dampers can draw your expensively cooled air out of the room and up the chimney.
- Even with a screen, some unwelcome wildlife can make an appearance. Mice can fit in a hole the diameter of a pencil.
- A violent summer storm can rain sideways resulting in leakage that bypasses your chimney cap and flows past your open damper.
Make Renovations & Remodels Easier
Springtime is a good time to renovate or remodel your fireplace and chimney. As next winter approaches, everybody else will be suddenly scheduling chimney cleanings and fireplace installations. Chimney companies will take longer to schedule service, and in many cases, the prices are higher. Now is a good time:
- Think about the past winter. What did you wish you had in the way of fireplaces? Gas instead of wood? Insert or stove? A nicer view of the flames? An easier form of indoor heating? Now is a great time to see what would be involved in making that wish come true.
- Were you happy with your previous chimney cleaning experience? Check out testimonials of potential chimney services that can offer more than a quick swipe at soot.
- Ask for a professional estimate of the options that would work in your home and get a reliable estimate of the cost.
- Schedule your upgrades soon so they can be done in good weather and when it is most convenient for your summer plans.
If your home has an open masonry fireplace, you may want to consider having a fireplace insert installed. A fireplace insert is a fireplace contained in a metal box that converts your home’s inefficient, masonry fireplace into a gas, wood-burning, or pellet stove. Many homeowners in the Washington DC Metro Area find installing a fireplace insert to be a great option to increase energy efficiency while maintaining the natural beauty of a fireplace. For this reason, many chimney and fireplace companies like ours find fireplace inserts to be in high demand.
How does a fireplace insert work? In simplest terms, a fireplace insert consists of two parts: a steel shell and a firebox. The firebox is designed to contain a fire (and its heat) so that rest of the room is heated with minimal waste. The steel shell surrounding the box helps to improve efficiency. Together, these two components work to make your home’s fireplace safer and more energy efficient.
Types of Fireplace Inserts
There are many different types of fireplace inserts, though a few of the most common types include
Not sure which is right for your needs? Explore some details about each fireplace insert below.
Gas Fireplace Inserts
When you’re looking to convert your fireplace into an efficient and low-maintenance option, gas fireplace inserts are an excellent choice. Some of the key benefits of installing a gas fireplace insert in your home include:
- Unrivaled ease of use! Just flip a switch to get your fire started; no need to buy firewood or pellets.
- Low maintenance! No ashes to clean out after each use and no dangerous creosote deposits to worry about building up.
- More precise temperature control than a wood-burning or pellet fireplace.
- Environmental friendliness! Fewer pollutants released into the atmosphere.
If you’re considering a gas fireplace insert, it is worth noting that the cost of fuel to run your gas fireplace will likely remain higher than the cost of firewood or wood pellets, so this should also be taken into consideration as you make your choice.
Wood-Burning Fireplace Inserts
If you prefer the look of real wood burning and the classic “crackle” of a traditional fireplace, then simply installing a wood-burning fireplace insert could be a wise choice. Some of the top benefits of wood-burning fireplace insert installation include:
- Being able to retain the look and feel of a “real” fire.
- Achieving the smell of wood burning, which many people enjoy.
- Improved energy efficiency when compared to an open wood-burning fireplace.
- Added safety when compared to an open fireplace.
Furthermore, the cost of purchasing firewood tends to be much less expensive than paying for gas or even pellets for a pellet stove. Keep in mind, however, that you will need a place to store firewood inside or outside of your home, and you will need to clean out your fireplace after you use it.
Pellet Stove Fireplace Inserts
For a compromise in benefits between a gas fireplace insert and a wood-burning fireplace insert, a pellet stove insert can be a smart decision. Pellet stove fireplaces operate by burning small pellets of compressed wood for safe and energy-efficient home heating. Some of the critical benefits of a pellet stove fireplace insert are:
- A lack of creosote or other potentially dangerous build-ups.
- Environmental friendliness! Pellet stoves produce very little smoke.
- The energy efficiency of a gas fireplace with a more realistic look and feel.
- Easy maintenance.
Other Important Considerations for Fireplace Inserts
While there are indeed many benefits of having a fireplace insert installed in your home, there are also some important considerations worth keeping in mind before you schedule an installation. For starters, with most types of fireplace inserts, your home will need to have an existing and functioning chimney for safe ventilation of pollutants and gases created as a fire burns. If your home’s chimney is in disrepair, this is something you’ll need to address before an insert can be installed and operated.
Overall, installation of a fireplace insert in your home can be a great way to improve energy efficiency and make your home’s fireplace safer. Now all that’s left to do is decide on the type of insert that best suits your needs and find a reputable company to handle the installation!
The difference between a chimney sweep and chimney inspection is slight but crucial. Cleaning removes the deposits that have built up over time. Inspections are professional examinations of the installation, condition, and structure of your chimney. A professional chimney sweep in Washington DC always includes a basic inspection as part of the chimney cleaning. Chimney sweeps and inspections are both essential to maintaining the safety of your home.
How Often Should A Chimney Be Inspected?
According to the National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 (NFPA211), all fireplaces, chimneys, and vents should be inspected annually to make sure they are safe to use. That means they have no cracks or leaks, no deposits, and are clear of hazards. If the fireplace, chimney, or vent heavily used, it should be monitored more closely because heavy use is naturally going to create more potential for buildup of soot and creosote. All fireplaces must be cleaned every year including gas fireplaces. A cleaning will reveal whether or not a more enhanced inspection is required.
What Happens During Inspections?
Inspections should be done by a chimney sweep professional who is qualified, certified, and familiar with your local codes. They should protect your home with drop cloths in their work area and document what they are doing. Afterwards, you should have a detailed report and an estimate of any needed repairs.
There are three different levels of chimney inspection
- A Level One Inspection is verification of structural soundness and readiness for the use of the chimney. Cleaning should always include a level one inspection. The chimney tech should look for warning signs.
- A Level Two Inspection is commonly part of a real estate transaction. Most home inspectors do not have the skills or tools to inspect a chimney and fireplace properly. As a result, the buyer will hire a licensed chimney company to check the chimney. Level 2 inspections are also done when the homeowner is installing a new home heating appliance or changing the type of fuel. A level 2 inspection should include everything in Level One plus inspection of accessible areas. There should be a video scan of the flue system.
- A Level Three Inspection are required when something has been observed to indicate a need to go into concealed areas. The inspector has to go behind the walls surrounding the chimney and flue to check for damage and hazardous conditions. If this level of inspection is recommended, it is dangerous to ignore the advice.
What Happens During Chimney Cleaning?
- A professional chimney sweep will leave your home cleaner and safer than it was before.
- Since cleaning out soot and creosote is a messy job, they will use drop cloths in the work area to protect your home.
- All deposits and debris are removed from the flue system with tools designed for the task. The whole mess is removed from your home.
- A level one inspection is completed. If minor repairs can be done during the visit and you give permission, there is usually a discount for work done during the visit. Otherwise, an estimate of the repairs that will be needed will be given to you.
- The crew cleans up after themselves, and all that remains is a fireplace or stove in good working order.
Do I Need Both Inspections and Cleanings?
All chimneys should have a chimney sweep including a level one inspection every year. The sweep will determine if a higher level of inspection is needed. Following the advice of your chimney repair technician is essential. Complete any suggested repairs so that you and your family can be safe and warm. Annual chimney sweeps help prevent costly repairs.