Friday, October 28, 2011

Average: To Be Or Not To Be?

According to the Komo Forecast, we've had a fairly "normal" month as far as weather goes. The unusual part of this past week was obviously 3 days of sunshine. (We're not going to see a 4th day, according to their site). Additionally, we're going to see some wind gusts in the Puget Sound area.

The question to ask yourself at this point is simple, "Is my masonry/ chimney up to the test of a change in weather?"

Sometimes, you don't notice a problem with your masonry or the structural integrity of your chimney until the weather has already damaged it. It's free to schedule an estimate with Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC, if you know you need something done in the way of repairs or rebuilding.

We also can schedule a 20-point safety inspection for you (call for pricing).

You don't want to have a "just average" chimney during the winter months. You want to be sure that it's built for stability and endurance, as well as ensuring that it's properly maintained.

Call Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC today to schedule a cleaning, inspection, and/or estimate (360) 691-9828.

Monday, October 24, 2011

45 And Not Exactly Holding

This morning on the radio, I heard that it was 48 degrees Fahrenheit in Seattle.

Here at the office, it was only 39 degrees.

Since that time about 3 hours ago, the temperature has only come up to about 45 degrees, and based on the forecast, it's really not going to stick around long.

It appears that we're barely going to be hitting the low to mid 50s for the rest of this week, and every day except today and tomorrow, we have rain expected.

That being said, what condition is the masonry on your property? Maybe you have a retaining wall, or some dry stacks with illumination at the front of your driveway? Have you checked it lately? If you see moss, crystallization, etc., it's in need of help.

Call Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC today to schedule an estimate of repairs before the rain comes on strong! Estimates are always free. (360) 691-9828

Friday, October 21, 2011

What Do I Do If....

This post is similar to an FAQ post.

Basically, we receive several questions a week about various curiousities, general questions, and problems.

The bottom line of this post is given to you now: Call us to schedule an annual cleaning and 20-point safety inspection of your chimney/ fireplace ASAP. All of these questions can be answered after we've cleaned and inspected your chimney/ fireplace.

What Do I Do If.....

....I notice some crystalization on my chimney?

That's called efflorescence. It's an indication that water is somehow intruding on the structural integrity of your chimney. It needs to be taken care of right away, especially before the winter comes on strong. If it's not taken care of in a timely manner, it can lead to deterioration of your masonry. We can schedule a free estimate for you if you're noticing crystalization, and we'll be able to tell you specifically how to fix it, what it will take, and how much it will cost.

....I see smoke coming into my home when I light a fire?

That could be a number of things, or a combination or problems. A possibility is that the top mount damper isn't open. Another answer could be that there is a clog somewhere. The only way to really know for sure and have it fixed accurately is to schedule an appointment for a cleaning & inspection and we'll give you a free estimate of repairs to solve the problem(s).

....I want to light a fire, but I haven't had my chimney/ fireplace cleaned and inspected this year?

It's really not a safe choice to make. We recommend an annual cleaning and inspection for any chimney/ fireplace/ insert. You never know when something could sneak up on you - like creosote - and start a fire you don't want, or damage your masonry work.

.....I see moss on the outside of my chimney?

It's probably a result of moisture, and a lack of protection (sealant) on your chimney. That can easily be cleaned by us, and we can seal the chimney for you as well.

.....I'm pretty sure we've had a chimney fire recently, but how do I know for sure?

The long and short of it is to have us come do a cleaning & inspection for you. We'll be able to tell you if there's been a chimney fire, and what needs to be done to fix the problem(s).

Call Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC today to schedule your annual cleaning and inspection. (360) 691-9828

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Won't Be Long...

.... Before we start hauling out our heavy winter jackets, boots and gloves.
As you can tell from this picture I just took this morning, the clouds are rolling in. There might be a thin layer of blue sky above the clouds, but it's definitely cold outside. The last several mornings, my arrival at the office has been accompanied by temperatures in the high 30s to low 40s.
This morning was no exception.

According to the forecast for the remainder of the week (from Komo 4 News), we're supposed to be seeing showers off and on throughout the weekend.. Not  a big threat, but an important note to make is that the temperatures are steadily dropping.

This really isn't a big deal to most of us, so long as we've had our chimney and/ or fireplace inspected recently, as a means of keeping up on the annual recommended "check-up" on our masonry and fireplaces. Moisture is masonry's silent killer. As it gets colder outside, the rain will turn to snow. Snow + masonry + no annual inspection & cleaning and/or estimate for repairs = bad news.

Don't be one of the many who don't have an annual cleaning & inspection; call us today to set that up for you. We'll also do a free estimate for any repairs or maintenance that needs to be conducted before the cold season really hits, and we'll let you know in a clear, concise manner what needs to be taken care of and how it should be done.

Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC is your resource for all chimney, fireplace and masonry needs this fall and winter. (360) 691-9828

Monday, October 17, 2011

Unpredictable Weather

It may be sunny outside this morning, but it's sure not warm.

My weather app shows 43 degrees Fahrenheit with 87% humidity, and the dew point at 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

Yesterday was totally different. It started out sunny and even somewhat warm, and then around 12:00pm, the sky clouded over, and it got significantly colder out.

As we approach the end of the month, the weather is going to start to become more and more unpredictable. It might be sunny now, but it's probably going to get cloudy later, and possibly rainy.
With the dew point where it is currently, we could even see snow earlier than typically expected for the Pacific Northwest.

Simply put, we're going to be colder faster. It'd be nice to have our fireplaces all ready to go for the cold season, with no fuss.

Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC, is your resource for all chimney cleanings, inspections and masonry work. Currently we're running a special: when you book any cleaning, we'll include our 20-point safety inspection free of charge. That's normally a $50 value. Additionally, we'll do any estimate for any repairs or improvements that need to be done for free.

Call us today to schedule an appointment - before the weather really turns on us. (360) 691-9828

Thursday, October 13, 2011

If This Is What Your Window Looks Like, Imagine Your Chimney...

When I got out of bed this morning and went through the house opening the blinds, I found this on the window of my den.

Yes, folks; it's condensation.

Now, this is a result of water (in vapor form) which is an element of the air in any home. Essentially, the contrast between warm air in your home and cold air outside will produce condensation, because the house is designed to be sealed completely. But when the temperature of the glass drops, the dew point changes. When the dew point changes, we see condensation.

Now, imagine what your chimney looks like today. It's 39 degrees Fahrenheit this morning at my house and at the office. That means, it's already getting colder outside. If we had moisture-retaining clouds this morning, we could see snow. It doesn't have to be 32 degrees Fahrenheit to snow; the drier the air, the higher the chances are that it can be warmer and snowing at the same time.

Here's an example of a chimney that was really neglected:
Simply put, there was no care given to this chimney in a reasonable amount of time. You can see moss, evidence of efflorescence, and it's obvious that this structure is in desperate need of some tuck-pointing.
Don't let your chimney and masonry work end up like this!
Call us today to schedule your annual chimney cleaning & inspection! When we come out, we can give you a free estimate on any work that needs to be done to keep the integrity of your chimney and masonry throughout the winter season.

It's very important that you don't procrastinate on this. The longer you wait, the easier it is for moisture to sneak in and cause irreparable damage. Schedule your appointment now, while you still have a little bit of time to get repairs done if they are needed.

Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC (360) 691-9828

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Time to Winterize!

So far, Seattle has seen 11 straight days of rain since September 30th, and autumn officially began on September 23rd. In fact, Scott Sistek (meteorologist for Komo 4), just tweeted this morning: "Your odd weather stat du jour: ties 1997 record for having measurable rain for 1st 10 days of October."

That weather doesn't look good, folks. Especially for your masonry work on your chimney.

Moisture is the silent killer of masonry. Most people don't realize that your chimney and masonry work need to be adaquately protected for the autumn and winter seasons, especially here in the Pacific Northwest.

I get a lot of questions about what needs to get done on your chimney for the autumn and winter seasons, as well as what is necessary. Basically, this is what we - as an industry leader in chimneys & masonry - recommend:

1) Annual cleaning & inspection of your chimney & masonry. This will prevent creosote from becoming a hazard to your chimney, and it will provide you with an exact listing of any work that needs to be done to protect the life and integrity of your masonry and chimney.

2) If you have a cleaning and inspection done, and we recommend getting something repaired or replaced, do it now. You don't want to wait until you're bundled up and still cold in your home, unable to use your fireplace because of repairs that are necessary to keep your fireplace and chimney in working order. Don't worry; we won't come out and give you an estimate on things that you don't need. We're straight-forward and honest, and our #1 priority is your safety during this cold season.

3) Even if you're unsure of whether it's time to get your chimney cleaned, at least schedule an inspection so that we can tell you whether you're ready for winter or not. We conduct a 20-point safety inspection that is very thorough, and we'll be able to tell you whether it's safe to light a fire in your fireplace or not, and if not, what work needs to be done before you do so.

Simply put, Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC is your resource for fall and winter readiness.

In addition to cleanings & inspections, we also specialize in complete rebuilds, partial rebuilds and veneers. Check out our website and other blog posts here for pictures and examples of our work.

Call us today so we can get an appointment scheduled for you. (360) 691-9828

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Days Without Sunshine

The number of days without sunshine in the Pacific Northwest are growing every week.

When you look outside, you see nothing but gray skies with clouds, or a few scattered showers.

This is pretty much how the rest of the year is going to look.

How does your chimney look? Most of us don't really know. We only know that it's there, and that it heats our homes during these chilly months.

Here at Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC, we want you to get the most out of your chimney and fireplace, especially during these months when we need it the most.

That's why we provide a 20-point safety inspection with all of our cleanings.

Call us today to schedule an appointment to make sure you're ready for the cold season! (360) 691-9828

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cold Season Approach FAQ

For today's post, I decided to include some Frequently Asked Questions regarding the cold season - which is coming on hard and strong.

Below are some common questions relating to chimneys, fireplaces, moisture, cold weather, etc., and my answers to them. I hope this helps shed some light on what you can do during the month of October to protect your home, and keep warm!

1) "I just had my chimney swept and inspected last year. Do I need to do it again this year?"
- Absolutely. Even if you didn't use your fireplace often, you never know when creosote could be forming, or moisture could be seeping in through your masonry work on the outside of your chimney. Basically, this is a safety precaution. Before you use your fireplace for the first time this season, you want to make sure it's in proper working order.

2) "Why is autumn a good time to get my chimney cleaned?"
- Excellent question! When it comes down to it, we generally don't use our fireplaces/ chimneys during the spring and summer months. After our heating source has sat dormant for a year, it's necessary to have it cleaned and inspected prior to use. Since this is the time of year that our fireplaces and chimneys get the most use, it makes sense to have the cleaning and inspection done now.

3) "I know my crown needs to be replaced, but how long can it last before I absolutely have to do it?"
-  The function of a chimney cap is essentially to protect the structural integrity of a chimney. There really is no telling how long a crown can last, especially having the knowledge that it needs to be replaced. To be safe, I'd recommend doing it ASAP if you know it needs to be replaced.

4) "I know your company does cleanings & inspections, but what exactly does the inspection include?"
- Another great question. Here at Powers Chimney & Masonry, LLC, we perform a 20-point Safety Inspection. This includes 4 sections: Fireplace, Chimney, Wood stove and Other Fire Safety. Everything from the ash container and damper to flue tiles and flashing, from brickwork to stove pipe condition and smoke detectors is checked. Also, currently we're running a special on this inspection: When you schedule any cleaning, we'll do this safety inspection for free (a $50 value).

5) "What do I do if I've already used my fireplace/ chimney this season, and I haven't had it cleaned yet?"- Not a big deal. We can still come out and clean and inspect it for you. This is the time of year when moisture can sneak in and cause structural damage to your chimney, which we want to prevent. We'll be able to tell you if your chimney and/ or fireplace needs any work, and can provide you with an estimate of any work that needs to be done.

Bottom line: Don't let the cold season sneak up on you. Call us today to schedule an appointment for a cleaning and inspection! (360) 691-9828