Frequently Asked Questions

by | Jun 29, 2022

Here is some of our most Frequently Asked Questions about Jiminy Chimney, Fireplaces inside and out. From common issues and problems to safety and cleaning, we have the answers! We are close as the phone at 847-893-0063 for any questions you might have that aren’t answered in our frequently asked questions, so give us a call!

What are some common problems with a fireplace?

Fireplaces and chimneys can bring a lot of value to a home during the cold winter months. However, they can also present the homeowner with a variety of problems and potential dangers that require regularly scheduled maintenance and inspection.

How do you build a fire in a fireplace?

Building a fire in a fireplace is not a difficult task. However there may be some things you need to consider in choosing the right type of firewood and getting the fire started properly.

How do I know if my fireplace is safe to use?

A fireplace can make a home warm and inviting in the winter months, but it is important to remember that fire can be dangerous. Annual fireplace and chimney inspections can help to keep your fireplace safe and avoid chimney fires.

Can a fireplace be remodeled or restored?

Just like any part of your home, a fireplace or chimney can be remodeled, restored, reconditioned or rejuvenated. Your aging fireplace or chimney could have some hidden structural problems or leaks caused by moisture or weather damage. Refreshing or remodeling a chimney can give your fireplace a new life and rejuvenate a valuable part of your living space.

Can I add a fireplace to my home?

Adding a fireplace and chimney to your home is possible in many cases, depending on the layout of your home and its proximity to other nearby structures. A full inspection by a trained professional will ensure that you have thought through all of the requirements and regulations of constructing a fireplace and chimney that will be a safe addition to your home. 

How often should you have your chimney cleaned?

We recommend that homeowners schedule chimney cleaning and inspection annually at a minimum. With regular inspection and cleaning any problems that might be developing in your chimney can be discovered early so that they do not develop into a bigger problem that will be more expensive to repair.

How often should I get my chimney inspected?

Chimney inspections are recommended annually along with sweeping and scanning the chimney and fireplace. An annual schedule will allow any problems to be caught early before they become more expensive to resolve.

What are the different levels of chimney inspection?

There are three levels of chimney inspection, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA):

A Level 1 chimney inspection is an annual inspection including a brief overview of the chimney and fireplace system to ensure proper function and that the system is free of cracks and debris or anything else that might cause a problem in the proper function of the chimney.

A Level 2 chimney inspection is required whenever any changes are made in the chimney system. Changes might include a change to the fuel type (e. g. wood burning to gas insert), any change to the flue (e. g. relining the flue), replacement of an appliance in the chimney system (e. g. gas insert, damper, chimney cap), upon malfunction of the chimney system or damage to the chimney system, or upon sale or transfer of the property. Building fires, chimney fires, earthquake or weather damage are all indicators that a Level 2 chimney inspection is warranted.

A Level 3 chimney inspection is recommended whenever a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection encounters hidden or serious hazard or whenever special tools are required to access hidden or difficult to access areas of the chimney system.

How do I know if my chimney is damaged or needs to be repaired?

Your chimney should be repaired whenever it is damaged. There are many things that could cause your chimney to be damaged, including weather, winter freeze/thaw cycles, crumbling masonry, chimney equipment failure, flaking masonry or crumbling mortar, water damage or water stains in and around your chimney and fireplace. Αny of these issues might indicate the need for repair to the masonry or mortar, repair to the bricks or internal structure of the chimney or to the fireplace or firebox.

Chimney Damage Indicators

Chimney Repair Services

Water Damage & Waterproofing

What are the parts of the chimney and fireplace?

the lock top Chimney and fireplace repair has some unusual terms that may not be apparent to those unfamiliar with chimneys and chimney repair services.

  • Chimney Capthe chimney cap sits at the top of your chimney, just above the crown over the flue. The chimney cap keeps rain out of your chimney.
  • Chimney Crown – the chimney crown is a solid slab of concrete that sits on top of the chimney masonry and serves to keep water from running into the chimney system. The crown is beveled to allow water to run off the chimney outside the chimney liner.
  • Chimney or Brick Spallingcrumbling brick or cracked and flaking masonry is said to be spalling when moisture seeps into the brick and mortar and then goes through the freeze/thaw cycle. This freeze and thaw of the water and moisture damages the bricks and mortar and can cause cracking, crumbling, and flaking.
  • Tuckpointing and Chimney Mortar – tuckpointing, repointing, or brick pointing, is a finishing process in the bricklaying process that finishes or repairs the mortar joints with a narrow ridge of lime putty or a fine lime mortar. this procedure helps to maintain the integrity of the brick structure and seals out moisture.
  • Smoke Chamber Parging – parging refers to a coating of mortar that is applied to the brick in a smoke chamber to provide for a smooth surface. In case of uneven surface, the CSIA recommends parging.
  • Chimney Flashingchimney flashing creates a waterproof seal around your chimney, where it joins your roof to protect from water pooling and penetration. The chimney flashing is a first line of defense against water penetration. When the flashing fails and allows water in the flashing should be repaired to maintain the integrity of the chimney system. 
  • Chimney Liner or Relining – the chimney liner is the flexible tube that connects your stove pipe to the inside of your chimney. The liner might need to be replaced if it is damaged or worn.
  • Chimney Damper – the chimney damper closes off the chimney to keep conditioned air (warm or cool) from escaping through your chimney when the chimney is not in use. The damper should be opened before you start a fire in order to let the smoke out.
  • Lock-Top Dampers – the lock-top damper seals tight to prevent any air from passing through your chimney or any animal invasion through your chimney.
What are your service locations?

Chimney repair near me, chimney service and fireplace service can be found throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. We provide chimney services, fireplace maintenance, chimney inspection, chimney sweeping, chimney and fireplace inspection, and maintenance services. Call to schedule a cleaning or inspection or to make an appointment. We recommend your inspection or cleaning in the fall, before the fireplace season begins. However, we can help you meet your New Year’s resolutions or get your fireplace cleaned in time for Valentine’s Day.

Our Service Locations

Which type of fireplace is best?

There are four primary types of in-home fireplaces:

  1. Wood burning fireplace
  2. Gas fireplace – employs a gas fireplace insert connected to a gas line to deliver natural gas or propane to the firebox.
  3. Electric fireplace
  4. Wood-burning stove – these stoves sport many advantages over an open fireplace due to its energy efficiency and long burn rate. Sub-types include catalytic wood stove, non-catalytic wood stove. Wood burning stoves require a unique form of installation and can employ fans to circulate warm air into the home.

Each type of fireplace meets a different need for fuel type and convenience. Each type requires unique forms of maintenance, cleaning, and inspection. Wood burning stoves are regulated under the EPA’s mandatory smoke emission limits to limit smoke emissions to 4.5 grams of smoke per hour (g/h) (link).

Outdoor fireplaces and firepits have become fashionable as outdoor dining areas and kitchens along with outdoor living areas and outdoor spaces have become popular for friends and family to gather, often with a fire to keep guests warm. Outdoor living has spawned an entire industry with outdoor seating, tables, and other accessories. Some people have turned their outdoor space into a dream with highly appointed furnishings to complement their seasonal and, at times, year round outdoor lifestyle. Others take advantage of their outdoor living areas on special holidays or only in the Fall.

Where can I find a professional chimney sweep?

Chimney sweeps should be professionally trained and certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. Your chimney carries smoke and other toxins out of your home and collects a buildup of soot, creosote, and other potentially dangerous substances on the internal surface of your fireplace and chimney structure. A professionally trained chimney sweep understands how to properly clean and inspect your chimney to maintain safety regulations.

How dangerous is a clothing dryer vent fire?

Clothing dryers and the dryer vent should be cleaned annually to clear out any lint and debris that build up in the vent area. Lint build up could lead to a home fire or backup of lint into your dryer, that could lead to a clothing dryer fire. A dirty dryer vent might not seem too ominous, but failure to maintain dryer safety or perform regular washer/dryer care could lead to a potentially dangerous clothing dryer fire.