Our Company Blog

Video Inspections After a Chimney Fire

Many homeowners are surprised by the findings of a chimney inspection. Without the eye and expertise of a trained and experienced professional, some issues may go unnoticed for months or years. Since a large part of the chimney system remains unseen, many homeowners won’t recognize a fire hazard!

Flue Fires Explained

Video Inspections After a Chimney Fire - Shreveport LA - New Buck Chimney ServicesA fire needs oxygen, fuel, and ignition in order to light and to burn. In a chimney, the sides of the flue become covered in soot and creosote which serves as a fuel. With adequate oxygen and ignition from the heat or sparks of the fire, the creosote can ignite fairly easily. However, you’d be surprised how little oxygen is available to the accidental chimney fire. Flue fires often burn out on their own due to lack of oxygen. You may have fire damage without ever knowing there was a fire!

Chimney Fire Damage

Many chimney fires happen quickly and burn out before a homeowner knows it happened. Creosote is made up mostly of tar, so it burns fast and feverishly. A flue fire of any size often results in broken and cracked flue liner and displaced, missing, or damaged mortar. Commonly, the first flue fire causes this type of unseen damage, then the next flue fire may utilize this damage to ignite other materials from the home, resulting in a catastrophic house fire.

Signs of a Fire

It can be difficult to recognize a flue fire, but it’s important to have it assessed and repaired.

There are two types of flue fires:
Free burning fires- Free burning fires are loud as a roaring train or airplane. They are a loud blaze that is obvious and flames or billowing smoke comes out the top of your chimney with dense smoke and a noticeable smell.
Slow burning fires- Slow burning fires often go undetected, burn slowly, and quieter. Signs are dense smoke from the chimney and a hot smell.

What to Do

If you detect a fire in your flue, you can smother it by cutting off the oxygen supply. Close the damper and vents that allow air into your fireplace or appliance. The lack of oxygen will smother the fire and allow you to have the damage assessed before lighting another fire. If you close the damper and your fire is burning in an open hearth, you must leave the house in order to avoid smoke inhalation. It is important to leave the house and call 911 to avoid loss of property or life. If you can do so safely, you can also spray water onto the roof around the chimney. Do not put yourself in harm’s way.

If your chimney has experienced a fire it’s important to call professionals to inspect the damage. A level 2 CSIA inspection will assess the entire chimney system, reporting on damage, big or small. This damage will have to be repaired before you use your fireplace again.

Spring is a great time to schedule your inspection and give yourself time for repairs before burn season. New Buck Chimney Services is happy to do a video inspection if you’re concerned about a fire.

Call New Buck today or make an appointment online.

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The Importance of Covering Your Firewood

It takes a lot of hard work to use wood for home heating fuel. Whether you’re cutting, hauling, and splitting the wood yourself, or buying from a local supplier, you are using your time, money, or both, to prepare for winter each year. The last thing you want is for your wood to take longer to season, due to exposure to snow and rain, or for your seasoned wood to become too wet to light a fire and to burn properly when you need a fire!The Importance of Covering Your Firewood Image - Shreveport LA - New Buck Chimney

Wet Wood

There are two types of wet wood—wood that has been rained or snowed on, and the surface hasn’t dried enough to burn properly, and freshly cut wood that hasn’t dried enough (from the inside) to burn properly. Moisture in and on your wood can keep a fire from burning as hot as desired, can cause fuel to burn incompletely, can increase the amount of creosote produced by the fire, and can be a pain in general. It’s best to cut wood, allow it to season, and to keep it dry so that it’s ready when you need it.

Seasoning Your Firewood

You should leave your wood exposed to air and sunlight while allowing it to properly season, but once it’s dry, it should be covered. You should not pack unseasoned firewood into a tight space or shed to dry. Not only will the airflow not be adequate for drying, but the sunlight will not be able to reach the wood either. If you are concerned about precipitation while your wood is drying, you can use a gravel bed for your stack of wood, to keep it out of standing water, and stack it bark side up to allow the water to runoff instead of penetrating the fleshy wood. Once the wood is ready to burn, you can move it into a woodshed or shelter without worrying about air circulation.

Types of Wood Coverings

Many homeowners still prefer the traditional woodshed, but this isn’t a requirement. If you have a tarp or other plastic covering, you can adequately cover your wood pile so that it’s dry when you need it. You can also stack your wood on your porch. Still, others store up to a week’s supply inside the house (though this isn’t recommended due to the possibility of bugs and rodents that a large pile of wood may bring to your living space). There are many ways to build a shelter that is just the right size for a woodpile. A lean-to is a great option for homeowners who have limited space or who may want to avoid the code stipulations of their city for building a structure. A lean-to generally protects the woodpile on three sides, while leaving an open side to allow easy access when necessary. Find more interesting options for storing wood online and even ask your wood supplier.

If you think your wood is the cause of your chimney woes, call New Buck Chimney Services and ask the professionals. Schedule an appointment with the fireplace experts today.

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Having Issues With Your Chimney Damper?

Your chimney is a complicated system of parts, pressure, and temperatures that work together for a purpose. If any part of the chimney system stops working, the system fails to vent your fire properly. One important part of the chimney system that sustains damage over time is the damper. It often goes unnoticed until it stops working altogether, because it’s hidden from view. What causes a damper wear-down, and what prevents erosion?

How the Damper Works

Having Issues With Your Chimney Damper - Shreveport LA - New Buck Chimney ServicesThe damper is an important part of the system that generally sits at the throat of the chimney. However, top-mount dampers sit at the top of the flue. It opens and closes in order to allow for easy lighting, and to allow airflow up and out of the flue. The damper will ideally have a tight seal when closed, and a firm position of both open and closed. When the damper is worn down due to environmental exposure, use, or physical damage, it may become less effective (with a faulty seal), or stop working altogether (when rusted and stuck in one position).

The Danger of a Damaged Damper

A damaged or faulty damper prevents the fire from venting out the chimney. Even if the damper is stuck in a partial position of open, the fire and ventilation will be less effective because air will not flow smoothly up and out. A damper stuck in the closed position will obstruct airflow completely, causing your fire to struggle to stay lit, and pushing all the smoke and hazardous gases directly into your home! This is a recipe for disaster–and a hospital bill.

Prevent Damper Damage

Most damper problems occur due to neglect. When the chimney isn’t cleaned regularly, the damper becomes coated in chemical byproducts of the fire, which corrode the damper assembly over time. It also clogs, which keeps it from opening and closing fully. Other chimney problems affect the damper as well. A chimney leak can allow your damper to rust and weaken. Spalling masonry or falling clay tiles can damage it physically as well. Just like with the rest of the chimney system, routine maintenance can prevent most of the costs and damage that can occur during the life of your chimney.

Schedule a chimney sweep and inspection and you can rest assured that all of the parts of your chimney system are in good shape. A comprehensive chimney care company like New Buck Chimney Services can gauge your damper wear-down and pinpoint a cause as well.

Have your damper replaced before it causes a major issue for your household. If you are experiencing a smoky fireplace, and troubleshooting hasn’t resolved it, you need to stop using it and call a professional today. If you or a family member has inhaled smoke, seek medical attention.

A faulty damper can be a serious thing–for your chimney and your health. Don’t neglect either one! Let New Buck Chimney Services have a look. Call us today!

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Why Mortar Gaps Can Be Dangerous

Do you have gaps in your mortar? This type of occurrence is a common issue over time, even in well-made chimneys. Spalling is a broad term used to describe masonry damage. Cracks in concrete, potholes on roadways—these are examples of spalling. Your chimney is affected by weather in the same way. Masonry is porous, but this makes it susceptible to damage over time, and this damage can put your home in danger if it isn’t corrected.

How the Chimney Works Mortar Gaps Can Be Dangerous Image - Shreveport LA - New Buck Chimney

Your chimney works because of the science of airflow. Heated air rises up the chimney and escapes any way that it can. The porous properties of masonry allow for the gases to escape easily, allowing vapors to pass through the masonry. These vapors and gases are harmful, so it’s important that they’re vented out of the house, and the chimney is designed in a specific way to allow this. Each part of the chimney system has a job to do. The damper can help light a fire, control a flame, and open or close the flue. The cap prevents weather and animals from entering the top of the flue. The flashing and crown protect the rest of the chimney exterior from water penetration. The most overlooked part of the chimney system is the flue liner because it is hidden from view.

The Flue Liner

The flue liner is like your skin. It is an important layer of protection within the chimney system. Besides the masonry itself, it is the largest part of the system, and it also affects everything. The liner’s smooth surface promotes airflow through the chimney system. Its durability protects the masonry from corrosive chemical byproducts that cling to its surface. It prevents heat from transferring to building materials and flammables in the home. The liner also keeps the toxic gases in their place—venting up and out of the house, protecting from smoke inhalation, respiratory distress, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Mortar Gaps and Your Liner

If your chimney has spalling masonry including mortar gaps and cracks, your family may be exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning. There is no way for you to tell if your family is exposed unless you call a professional to check out your flue liner. Why does your liner matter? Your chimney may have a clay tile liner, which means that every tile is laid next to the other. The space between the clay tiles can allow toxic gases and high temperatures through the space left by the damaged mortar, creating a carbon monoxide or fire risk. Clay tile liners are safe and effective. Masonry is safe and effective. When the two aren’t maintained properly or repaired promptly, the result can be dangerous and costly.

Prevention is Key

When you schedule your annual chimney inspections, as recommended by industry professionals, homeowners insurance providers, and the national fire safety standards, you will not be surprised by chimney damage or dangers. The best way to prevent a problem such as spalling masonry or chimney liner issues is to have an inspection by a qualified professional.

New Buck Chimney Services inspects chimneys, relines chimneys, repairs masonry, and more. Call us today and find out what we can do for you.

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It’s Not Too Late for Your Chimney Sweep

Have you been enjoying a fire in your fireplace since autumn with no problem? It’s quite possible for homeowners to use a fireplace for months or years without maintenance to the chimney system. This is because the chimney will continue to work (with decreased efficiency), and the homeowner may not notice. Eventually, the chimney will become too damaged to use, or result in a devastating flue fire. In mild climates, like here in Louisiana, homeowners may think they use the fireplace too little to worry about a fire. This couldn’t be more wrong. All it takes to ignite a flue fire is a fire (heat), a dirty chimney (fuel), and airflow (oxygen)—and it only needs one chance. You can bring down the risk of fire substantially by taking away one of the requirements of the fire. Clean the chimney, and there will be no fuel to ignite in the flue.

Cleaning Away Creosote It’s Not Too Late for Your Chimney Sweep Image - Shreveport LA - New Buck

You may not know that you have fuel in your chimney flue. The fact is that every wood-burning fire produces creosote, which rises up the flue with the smoke, and then coats the entire flue system as it goes. Creosote is made up primarily of tar (a highly flammable substance). It is sticky and will continue to accumulate on the flue walls until it becomes a serious obstruction. Furthermore, creosote can heat to a type of boiling point, causing the water to evaporate, leaving only an extremely flammable fuel in your flue called glazed creosote. Glazed creosote is more difficult to remove than ordinary creosote and soot. It is also a problem because a creosote buildup will obstruct airflow, dropping efficiency, causing the heated air to stall in the flue, leading to fire.

What to Expect

When you schedule a chimney sweep with a professional, you can expect the entire chimney system to be cleaned, from chimney cap to firebox—including creosote removal. Also included in a standard New Buck chimney sweep:

  • A thorough scraping of the chimney cap
  • A thorough brushing and scraping of the firebox
  • A thorough brushing of the damper and smoke shelf
  • A thorough brushing of the chimney liner
  • A vacuuming of the smoke shelf
  • A complete level 1 inspection

Trusted Chimney Experts

Best of all, when you schedule a chimney sweep with New Buck Chimney Services, you establish care with the trusted chimney expert. New Buck offers installations, repairs, maintenance, and more. We want to be your comprehensive chimney care experts year-round. Your chimney system will be cleaned, and you can rest assured that it is safe for another year of use. Depending on how you like to use your fireplace, you may have four or five months of fireplace use before the off-season.

Make an appointment with New Buck chimney Services today, or call 318-674-2825.

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Protect Your Family from Carbon Monoxide

 Carbon monoxide (CO) is often called “the silent killer”, because it is odorless, colorless, and you will not realize you are being exposed to it. In fact, carbon monoxide exposure accounts for 500 deaths per year in the US alone simply because people are unaware they are being poisoned. Carbon monoxide can come from gas stoves, fires, boilers, water heaters (gas powered), and more. When these appliances aren’t maintained properly or vented properly, a carbon monoxide emergency may result. Protect Your Family from Carbon Monoxide - Frierson LA - New Buck

Signs and Symptoms

The reason carbon monoxide poisoning often goes unnoticed is because the symptoms mimic those of a common cold or flu: a dull headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a life-threatening medical emergency. A slow exposure can cause permanent organ damage, and a fast case can cause death and brain damage quickly. As soon as you suspect a carbon monoxide exposure, seek medical help immediately.

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

You can prevent carbon monoxide exposure in your home and protect your family from devastating injury or death.

  • Schedule routine chimney maintenance so that your chimney system works correctly, venting these hazardous gases out of your house. Routine chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections keep your system working properly.
  • Never light a fire in a fireplace that has not been inspected for safety. If you own a new home, do not assume that it was inspected during the home inspection. Realtors and sellers may install a new gas appliance to spruce the place up before a sale, and it was never properly installed or inspected.
  • Keep the damper open while a fire is burning in your fireplace. The damper will block airflow through the chimney and prevent proper ventilation of the fire. If your damper is open and your fireplace is still pushing smoke into your living space, it should be assessed by a professional.
  • Have your chimney system repaired by professionals only. Do not attempt to make your own repairs or installations.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home and check them monthly. Change the batteries twice a year when the time changes or if they need replacing during one of your monthly checks.

It is up to you to protect your family from carbon monoxide exposure. Maintaining the heat systems in your home is half the battle. When you have a carbon monoxide detector installed, you can give your family precious time to evacuate the house before poisoning takes place. Leave the house and seek medical care to be sure, and do not return until the house has been assessed and necessary repairs have been made.

If you have concerns about carbon monoxide exposure or you’re uncertain of the last time your chimney system was inspected for safety, call the professionals today. New Buck Chimney Services can handle all of your chimney needs in Shreveport and surrounding areas. Make your appointment today.

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Stainless Steel Vs. Clay Tile Liners

All of the parts of your chimney system are important for safe and efficient chimney function year after year. Your chimney liner is like a human’s skin. It’s one of the largest parts of the system, has an important purpose, and is often neglected and mistreated.

Why Line Your Chimney? Stainless Steel Vs. Clay Tile Liners Image - Shreveport LA - New Buck Chimney

No matter what type of chimney liner you use, it is essential that it is maintained so that it’s in good shape. Chimney liners line your chimney from top to bottom. It can change the size of your flue so that it’s appropriately-sized for new appliances. It also keeps your family safe.

  1. Your liner protects your masonry from corrosive gases.
    The byproducts of a fire are corrosive to masonry. Without a liner, your masonry is in constant contact with corrosive creosote which can lead to damaged masonry and leaks.
  2. Your liner contains the heat from your fire.
    As the chimney vents the fire, it also holds heat that can affect the materials of your house. Over time, constant or periodic heat applied to beams can weaken them, leading to a structural issue or fire hazard.
  3. Your liner keeps carbon monoxide from affecting your air.
    An appropriately installed chimney lining system keeps the carbon monoxide inside the flue. Without a liner, carbon monoxide can escape through the porous masonry and poison your family.

Types of Liners and Their Use

Homes with old masonry chimneys probably have clay tile liners. These are appropriate for use with wood fires only because they cannot withstand the moisture produced by a gas fire. They are cheap and easily installed but do not last. Clay tile liners need periodic maintenance such as re-lining and joint repairs in order to keep working safely.

Newer structures and systems that have been re-lined may have stainless steel liners. Stainless steel liners are a popular option because they should last 80 years with proper maintenance. They are also appropriate for use with all fuel types, so they’re a great option if you’ll likely convert in the future.

HeatShield® Cerfractory Flue Sealant

HeatShield proprietary Cerfractory® technology is a combination of ceramic and refractory material which can be applied to a damaged flue liner to restore it completely. In fact, HeatShield® can fully restore a clay tile liner, and it will afterward be safe for all fuel types. HeatShield® Cerfractory Flue Sealant can repair joints in a lining system, resurface it, or line it completely through an easy process by a certified technician. If you need a liner repair or installation, give us a call.

Signs You Need a Repair

If your masonry chimney feels hot to the touch or if you find flakes or pieces of clay tile liner, you may need liner repair. If your chimney doesn’t have a liner, you need a liner installation. Your chimney system is not safe to operate without one.

New Buck Chimney Services is experienced and trained in HeatShield® product use and installations as well as installing stainless steel liners. Whether you want a repair, a replacement, or installation, New Buck Chimney Services can be your chimney solution. Call us today to schedule your lining services!

Benefits of Having Your Chimney Swept

Even mild Louisiana is seeing cool temperatures this December, and you may be building fires for more than just the holiday ambiance. When it’s time for burn season, make sure your fireplace and chimney are clean and ready for a fire. When your chimney is clean your fireplace will work properly.

A Clean Chimney Works Properly Benefits of Having Your Chimney Swept Image - Shreveport LA - New Buck Chimney

Both the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommend routine chimney sweeps and annual inspections for the safest and most efficient chimney system.

  • When the system is clean, the air flows properly from the fireplace through the smoke chamber, up the flue, and out of the chimney. But if the fireplace and flue are coated with soot, creosote, and ash, it slows the airflow, which drops the efficiency of the chimney system.
  • When the chimney is less efficient, the air stalls in the flue, exposing the chimney lining, masonry, and creosote to high temperatures.
  • A drop in efficiency can cause the wood in the fireplace to burn less efficiently. The result will be that you have to burn more wood than you should to reach the desired temperature.
  • Chimneys that aren’t swept regularly often result in a stinky or smoky fireplace—sometimes both!

A Clean Chimney Saves You Money

Because a clean chimney is an efficient chimney, you will save money when you schedule chimney sweeps regularly. You will burn less wood when your chimney works properly. Your chimney will produce less pollution in the air outside your home, and less particulate pollution, odors, smoke, and ash on the inside.

Chimney sweeps are not a gimmick, a scam, or a once-every-decade job. This service is important for prevention, and can save you hundreds in routine services, and thousands in possible damages. When you keep your chimney clean, you will need less service appointments. When a certified expert gets a look at your chimney system, you’re less likely to experience a hazard, potential fire, possible injury, loss of property, or even death.

A Clean Chimney is an Enjoyable Chimney

Your chimney is likely the focal point of your home. Families like to use the fireplace as a backdrop for holiday festivities, gatherings, and even family photos. When your chimney is swept, you don’t have to worry about the ash buildup sneaking into your photos. You will have a big, warm, and beautiful flame for your enjoyment, and won’t be bothered by odors, smoke, or have difficulty keeping your fire lit.

At New Buck Chimney Services, we offer the best services for our neighbors in the Shreveport area. When you schedule with us your chimney sweep includes: a thorough scraping of the chimney cap, brushing and scraping of the firebox, brushing off the damper and smoke shelf, brushing of the chimney liner, vacuuming of the smoke shelf, and a complete level 1 inspection.

You can schedule yours now, and rest assured that your chimney is safe for use through the winter, and won’t need another inspection for 12 months. Treat yourself to a clean fireplace this holiday season. Call New Buck Chimney Services today!

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Upgrading the Look of Your Fireplace

This is the time of year when many homeowners begin to reassess the look of their home. As clutter is cleared away for holiday décor and room is made for guests, homeowners might discover there is just something off about that old fireplace.

If you live in the Shreveport area, you don’t have to have a whole new fireplace installed in order to give your hearth a facelift. In fact, New Buck has many options to get you back to the fireplace of your dreams!

Brick and Stone WorkUpgrading the Look of Your Fireplace Image- Shreveport LA - New Buck Chimney

The masons on staff at New Buck Chimney Services have the experience and training to build a new hearth exactly to your liking. Whether you’re looking to add a mantel to your existing fireplace, or recreate the entire existing hearth, we can help. New Buck uses appropriate fire-safe products that will keep your hearth safe and lasting. When you start the process with New Buck, we can recommend a wide variety of brick and stone so that your new hearth complements your home décor and your personality.

Stain Removal

If your chimney has experienced a leak in the past, there may still be stains on your masonry and we can help remove them! This process can be done to exterior masonry as well as interior. A clean chimney can be just what your fireplace needs this season.

Glass Doors

Not only can you upgrade the look of your fireplace by adding glass doors, but it also improves the efficiency of your open masonry fireplace. Glass doors prevent drafts, heated air loss, and are safer than an open fireplace. When you have glass doors installed, they are safe, fitted to the fireplace opening, and long-lasting. The ambient heat from the fire still heats the room through the glass and can help you control the heat during holiday gatherings.

Installing an Insert

A sure-fire way to upgrade the look of your fireplace is to install a new one. An insert is a closed unit that is retrofitted directly into your existing fireplace. It connects to your chimney and may require a new liner to compensate for the capacity of the insert. Inserts come in a variety of fuel types—pellet, wood, and gas—and they all install directly into your fireplace, are highly efficient, and give your fireplace a facelift. Inserts come in a variety of styles from contemporary to traditional and everything in between.

No matter what type of hearth you have, or what type of fuel you burn, there are always options to improve the look of your fireplace. At New Buck Chimney Services, we strive to be Shreveport’s chimney experts so that our neighbors and our community stays safe. Do not attempt to make changes to your system without the help of a professional. You can decorate around your hearth, but practice fireplace safety at all times. For all of your hearth needs and questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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How Often Should a Chimney be Inspected?

Homeowners who have a fireplace might not know there are still professionals out there that sweep and inspect chimneys! These routine services keep chimneys safe, efficient, and long-lasting.

CSIA Inspections Explained

You only need a chimney inspection every 12 months, and the kind of inspection you need, depends on what’s happened in those 12 months.How Often Should a Chimney be Inspected Image - Shreveport LA - New Buck Chimney

  • Level One – This inspection is required every year when there has been no change in the use of the chimney and no expected change. This level includes all readily accessible portions of the chimney system and requires no special tools.
  • Level Two – This inspection will be recommended if a level one inspection shows a concern. It is required if any changes are made to the system (installation, repair), a natural occurrence affects the system (earthquake, fire, tornado), and when the property is sold or transferred. If you are buying or selling a home with a chimney, it should have a level two inspection. This inspection includes everything in a level one with the addition of hidden parts of the chimney in attics and crawlspaces.
  • Level Three – This inspection is recommended to identify a serious hazard found in a level one or two inspection. It includes everything in a level one and two inspection in addition to the removal of certain components of the structure (ceilings, walls) and chimney system to access the hazard.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), annual chimney inspections keep your chimney working safely and efficiently. Routine maintenance including sweeps and inspections also extend the life of your chimney, prevent major damage, and help you stay within the safety regulations of municipal codes as well as your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Benefits of a Chimney Inspection

When you schedule a chimney inspection annually, you don’t have to worry about your chimney’s safety during burn season. In fact, you can prevent damage by remembering your annual inspection.

  1. Prevent Winter Damage
    Even small cracks can allow water that will damage the masonry through winter. If you schedule a chimney inspection before burn season, your chimney sweep will identify and address weaknesses, issues, and hazards before more damage is caused! Minor masonry repairs are quick and affordable.
  2. Prevent Water Damage
    Just like winter damage, cracks and voids in the masonry, shifting in flashing, and deteriorated crown or cap can lead to water damage. This is 100 percent preventable when it’s caught by a technician during an inspection and repaired.
  3. Raise Efficiency
    When your chimney is functioning properly, you can guarantee that your chimney works better. Airflow will be more optimal, fuel will burn more efficiently, and heat output will be higher. You’re also less likely to experience a chimney fire when your chimney is working efficiently.

If you haven’t scheduled a chimney inspection in the last calendar year, you should do so as soon as possible. There is still time to have it done before winter! New Buck Chimney Services offers sweeping and inspections year-round for those who have to schedule during the winter, spring, or summer as well! It’s our goal that our customers in the Shreveport area have a safe and comfortable fireplace.

Call New Buck today and ask a chimney expert about your annual inspection. Contact us online today.