Chimney cracks inside chimney

Due to the recent earthquakes in Southern California there have been reports of chimney damage. Some of which you might not be aware of. Here is a video of cracks inside a chimney. If you think you might have damage, get your chimney inspected now before winter comes and you can’t use it when you really need to!

Why you should only used a licensed and insured chimney sweep

csiaMany chimney sweeps are not licensed, bonded or insured.  Sometimes companies hire “subcontractors” who also have no insurance or licenses.  It is not illegal for someone not to have a license if the work they do is under $500, however, there is a danger in having someone climb up on your roof with no insurance.  The danger is that if they fall and get hurt, they can sue you.

Today, a customer told me that he had a friend who had a chimney sweep fall from his roof and die. This was 15 years ago.  The homeowner was sued.

So before you let anyone climb on your roof, check if they have insurance.

Your chimney and earthquakes

Cracked fireplace earthquake damageToday parts of the San Gabriel Valley, the Inland Empire and Orange County felt a significant earthquake (7.1).  If you have an older masonry chimney and you felt a significant movement of your property, it is usually recommended that you do not use your fireplace until it is inspected with a video camera to make sure there are no hazardous cracks.

If the cracks are small, the cost to fix them is very reasonable.  If they are allowed to get larger with additional earthquakes, or rain coming into your chimney, or if you burn a lot of fires, you could have a house fire, or the chimney could deteriorate to a point where major repairs are needed. Read more

Masonry chimneys and fires

The pictures show the inside of a chimney which has cracks and also the outside and top with a cracked crown.

masonery chimney crown crackedSigns you have had a chimney fire:

You may have had a dangerous fire in your chimney which has compromised the structure of your chimney, and not even know it.  It is estimated that every year there are over 10,000 house fires caused by fires in a fireplace.  In the last two weeks, we have spoken to realtors in Orange County who reported they knew of homes that burnt down or were severely damaged due to undetected problems in their chimneys. Read more

Is your fireplace a fire hazard?

Rampart General FireplaceThis is the first in a series of articles to warn consumers about possible fire hazards in their homes.

Rampart fireplace crackIf your chimney looks similar to the one pictured, it is probably a Rampart General pre-cast cement fireplace.  These were manufactured in Santa Ana from the early 1960’s to the mid 1990’s.  There are whole communities of them in surrounding areas in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.  Unfortunately, due to the way they were manufactured, there are often hazardous cracks in the firebox and/or chimney which can result in a house fire if they are used.   Read more