Archive for July, 2012

Is Water Running Down the Chimney?

July 19th, 2012

If you are having a problem with water running down the inside of your chimney and accumulating in the fireplace, then you need to read this post.

The problem probably stems from a bad crown on top of a masonry chimney.  Usually the crown is a top made from concrete that is angled to shed water (it overhangs the brick portion to keep drips from running down the chimney sides).  This structure surrounds but does not encase the clay flues.  The problem of water leaking usually comes in older homes.  Before the mid-1980s, chimney crowns were simply sloped washes put together with leftover mortar.  These crowns can crack and deteriorate, which leaves gaps around the flues.  This is what causes the leaking.  Some people believe adding chimney caps will solve the problem, but if you have a bad crown that might not be enough.

The solution?  If you are comfortable going up on your roof, head up and check the crown.  Use polyurethane to caulk any cracks or gaps you find.  If you’re n

ot comfortable on the roof, call a pro.  Check in the yellow pages under “Chimney Sweeps” and make sure he’s certified.


Are There Snakes In Your Chimney?

July 10th, 2012

To remove a snake already in your chimney, you must first find it.

 Your local chimney sweeps daily task, it seams, is to remove both dead and alive critters from chimneys. Sometimes all we find are the parts left behind, like a snake skin or a birds head.

Venomous snakes and snakes that are just really, really big. Venom, however, is transmitted by the direct action on the part of the predator. There are only about 20 types of venomous snakes in the US., out of over 110 species. Venom’s of the pit viper contain peptides and proteins. The venom leads to damage of vascular cells and red blood cells.

Viper bites can be deadly and normally are very painful. Elapid bites are extremely lethal and antivenin treatment is a must if bitten. Vipers, rattlesnakes, and other members of the family of snakes known as the ‘pit vipers’ have special pits located between their eyes and nostrils. The pits are used to sense minute temperature changes as infrared rays, as an aid in location warm blooded prey such as rodents.

 Snakes are actually responsible for keeping crop yields at an acceptable level and preventing spreading of diseases by killing rats. Snakes such as the non-venomous rat snakes are excellent at doing this. Snakes are found in a huge range of colors, form bright to dull. Brightly colored snakes are usually venomous, their coloration serving as a warning to predators, while dull colored snakes use their coloration for camouflage. Snakes are generally solitary creatures and have little to no interest in humans. In fact, most of the truly venomous snakes do not even make their homes in the United States.

Snakes are beneficial in that they eat pest insects and rodents, helping to control the populations of animals that can be nuisances to humans. Only about one-tenth of all snakes are venomous, and not all of the venomous snakes are dangerous, or even deadly to humans. Snakes are ectotherm, which means they regulate their body temperature by taking heat from their environment or by giving off heat. Because their body temperature is affected by environmental temperatures and varies with surrounding conditions, snakes are inactive during hot seasons (aestivation) and cold season (hibernation). Snakes are an integral part of the food web in any environment. As a predator, they are important in maintaining the fitness of the animals they prey on.

Your best defense from wild animals in your chimney is a quality chimney cap. Call your certified chimney sweep for details.



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