View Looking Out From Inside Dryer Machine As Young Woman Does Laundry

Laundry Efficiency and Dryer Vents: Everything You Need to Know

Homeowners expect that their damp clothes will come out of their dryers nice and dry. But it doesn’t always work that way. As with all things, it’s the efficiency of the drier that determines how dry your clothes will be once you take them out of the machine.

If you’re noticing that your clothes are taking longer and longer to dry, then you may well have an efficiency problem. All machines require some maintenance to keep them operating at their highest level, and dryers are no different. In most cases, it’s the dryer vent that’s responsible for the decreased effectiveness.

In this post, we’ll run through some key things you need to know about dryer vents and how they impact the drying process. And remember — if your dryer vent isn’t working as well as it should, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Six Penny Chimney. We can provide the cleaning services you need to keep your dryer vent in tip-top condition.

Efficient Dryer Vents Work Better

The dryer vent isn’t there for decorative purposes. It performs a highly important role in the overall functionality of the drier. But it can only play that important role if it’s able to do its job correctly. If it becomes clogged with debris and other unnecessary materials, then it’ll be less effective at removing heat and moisture from the drier. This will result in your clothes taking longer to dry, as well as potentially some other more serious problems, such as damage to your machine and fire.

They Keep Your Costs Down

Driers require a fair amount of energy to dry clothes. For most homeowners, it’s a worthwhile expense that they’re all too happy to pay. However, with energy bills rising all the time, it’s important to take steps to minimize energy and keep the costs down. The most noticeable impact of unclean dryer vents is a decrease in efficiency. In other words — the machine will require more time to dry your clothes. And the longer your machine is running, the more energy will be required, and the higher your monthly will be. In an age when it’s more important than ever to get a handle on expenses, maximizing drier efficiency is essential.

They Protect Your Clothes

You wouldn’t voluntarily wash and dry your clothes using methods that may cause harm to the clothing. Yet that’s what many homeowners do when they dry their clothes using a drier that is in need of maintenance. Heat causes the quality of clothes to break down over time. In well-functioning driers, this process takes a long time because the drier uses an acceptable degree of heat. When the dryer vent doesn’t work as well as it should, more heat is required to dry clothes, leading to quicker breakdown. If you want to wear your much-loved clothes for as long as possible, then it pays to ensure that you’re drying them correctly.

Prolonging the Life of Your Dryer Machine

Your drier will work ineffectively if the vent isn’t clean, but it won’t work at all if the motor dies. Dryer vents that are clogged mean that the machine has to work harder to dry the clothes, and if it has to work too hard, then there’s a chance that the dryer motor will stop working. At that point, you’ll need to replace the motor — which can be expensive — or outright replace your machine, which always won’t be cheap. By investing in your drier’s maintenance, you’ll be doing your bit to prolong the life of your machine.

It Pays to Be Aware of the Condition

Most people don’t think about their dryer vent on a regular basis. But it’s not recommended to go too long without paying it some attention. In the worst-case scenario, a clogged dryer vent can cause a fire, which could lead to unthinkable damage. For that reason, it’s best to schedule cleaning at least once a year.

Get Dryer Vent Cleaning Services in Northern Virginia From Six Penny Chimney

Your dryer vent won’t stay in tip-top condition all on its own. Over time, it’ll become full of debris, lint, and other materials that cause blockage and minimize the efficiency of the machine. You can take a proactive approach to your dryer vent by working with us here at Six Penny Chimney. We offer dryer vent cleaning services that can help prevent the issues associated with poor dryer maintenance. To schedule an appointment, please call 703-491-8697 or contact us to get started.


An outdoor air conditioning units has been installed on exterior facade of new house

How an Upgraded HVAC System Saves you Money

HVAC systems regulate indoor environments, ensuring heating, cooling, and ventilation are all balanced. However, an outdated HVAC system can soon become more of a hindrance than a help. A system that’s inefficient or constantly experiences problems can cause you nothing but trouble. If your HVAC system is driving up your bills, always needs costly repairs, or might even be affecting your home and health, it could be time for a new one.

Upgrading your HVAC system has the potential to save you a lot of money. When you replace part or all of an older HVAC system with more modern technology, you could start saving right away.

How You Can Save Money with an Upgraded HVAC

The initial cost of upgrading an HVAC system might be off-putting. But don’t let it discourage you from thinking more long-term. You could soon get your money back by saving in multiple ways.

Improve Energy Efficiency

An older HVAC system is likely to be much less efficient than today’s options. Energy efficiency has come a long way, even in just the last 5 or 10 years. If your HVAC system is getting a bit long in the tooth, it could definitely be time to upgrade it. Today’s HVAC products are much more efficient, which is great for the environment and for your bank account. More efficient heating and cooling appliances cost less to run. You could quickly start seeing your energy bills go down with a new system.

Take Smart Control

Upgrading your HVAC system could also allow you to harness the power of smart technology. This is another excellent way to be more efficient with energy and save plenty of money. Smart tech gives you more control over your HVAC system. What that means is that you are better able to decide when it’s on or off, what the temperature is, and even which rooms are heated or called. And you can do it all from your phone or another smart device.

Cut Down on Repairs

If your HVAC system is old, you could find it starts to experience more and more problems. It might break down more or refuse to do what you tell it to. A couple of small repairs might not seem like a big deal. But if you keep having to call out someone to fix problems for you, your costs can become bigger. To avoid this problem, it’s definitely worth considering an upgrade. It might seem as if it’s the more expensive option, but it could be cheaper in reality. Long-term, you will likely save yourself money as you won’t have to keep paying for repairs on your new HVAC system.

Avoid Health Problems

There are multiple reasons why it’s essential to manage the temperature and humidity in your home. One of them is for your health. If your home isn’t kept at the right temperature or the air quality is bad, it could affect your health in several ways. This is especially true for people who have existing health problems, particularly issues such as asthma or eczema. An upgraded HVAC system can improve air quality and keep your home at a comfortable temperature too. You could save money on medical costs by creating a healthier home.

Protect Your Property

Poor control over the environment in your property can also begin to affect its structure too. If it’s too cold or too humid, or even too warm or dry, you might start to notice some problems. Mold, damp and other issues could arise if your home environment isn’t regulated properly. But you could prevent these issues with an upgraded HVAC system that is efficient, clean and well-maintained. That means you can reduce costs related to fixing these problems.

Get Government Discounts

When the cost of installing new HVAC equipment is a concern, government incentives can be a good way to cover the costs. You can access federal programs to save money and some states also offer their own incentives. Two options are energy efficiency credits and Residential Clean Energy credits, which are both federal incentives to help you save money on energy-efficient home upgrades and clean energy equipment. Home improvement upgrades include furnaces, water heaters, central air conditioners, and more. Clean energy equipment includes air source heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, and biomass stoves and boilers.

Talk to Sixpenny About Maintaining Your HVAC System

Maintain your HVAC system with help from Sixpenny. Our services include chimney and furnace flue cleaning, as well as air duct cleaning from our expert team in Woodbridge, VA.

Contact us to get started.

An image of a roof with different chimneys

Prevent Chimney Water Damage With Our Complete Guide

Your chimney is an integral part of your home heating system. However, the fact is that it is susceptible to damage just like anywhere else in your home.

When this damage takes place you can be sure that the efficiency of your chimney will be compromised. You need to make sure that at all times you are protecting your chimney from water damage.

This is critical for its longevity. If you’re looking for a guide on how to make sure that your chimney is always up and running, take a look at the following.

Prevent Water Damage in Your Chimney

Inspect Regularly

Regular inspection of your chimney is a must. Both the interior and the exterior will have to be eyeballed to make sure that there are no damages that can severely impact its functionality.

With this inspection, you’re going to be looking for cracks, discoloration, and missing mortar. Since this can be a little treacherous and you don’t want to suffer any broken bones, it’s always best to hire a chimney professional to inspect for you.

A good inspection annually will ward off any problems ahead of the colder seasons.

Install a Chimney Cap

A chimney cap is a vital piece of equipment that you’re going to need to install and make sure is in good condition. You’re going to need to keep rainwater, debris, and animals out of your flu.

You don’t want them building a nest in there and making a comfy home to raise their family and entertain their friends. It may sound way off, but if you don’t fix things up, this is exactly what is going to be happening in your chimney.

It’s a good idea to choose a cap that has meshed sides and will keep birds and other critters out of the way. Cap needs to be able to prevent water from entering but they should also make air flow easily through the chimney.

Inspect Your Flashing

Another thing you need to do is to make sure that you’re inspecting your flashing. If you are a little confused about what the flashing is, it is a metal piece that seals the joint between the chimney and the roof. Needless to say, you want to make sure that this area is securely attached.

The last thing you want is for it to be sporting rust or becoming loose. Problems will start to pile up if this happens.

You have to make sure that it is fixed as soon as possible to prevent any water from seeping in and causing damage.

Water can be sneaky in this area and you have to make sure that it is not slowly seeping in without your knowledge. You don’t want any jaw-dropping surprises that can also be costly.

Masonry Repairs

If you’re having masonry issues you need to jump on these right away. They are not that difficult to spot. Those cracks and deteriorating water joints are like a dam waiting for water to fill up and totally damage the structure of your chimney.

So, this is not a DIY project. The repairs that you need to do should only be done by a professional mason. This is the only way to ensure that the repairs are lost for a long time. You don’t want to have to be digging into your piggy bank, to fix them all the time.

Waterproofing Sealant

Your first line of defense is to make sure that you are applying waterproofing sealant in the correct place. The exterior of the brick or masonry of the chimney is a perfect place to do this. The protective coating will give an effective barrier against water penetration.

Remember that the chimney needs to breathe and a good protective coating allows this. Make sure that the sealant you choose is specifically designed to use on the chimney and be sure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to a “T”.

If you don’t it could be disastrous. A sealant is for protection so choose wisely with the help of a professional. This will ensure the best results.

Prevent Chimney Water Damage With Professional Chimney Cleaning & Repair Services in Woodbridge, VA

Chimney water damage will never be a problem for you if you rely on our expert service. We have a team that knows how to make sure that water damage is prevented or dealt with swiftly.

This ensures that you don’t dig deep into your pockets to exact extensive repairs. We pride ourselves on affordability and expertise. Get in touch with us today, we are here to help!


6 Reasons You Need Duct Cleaning

In today’s homes, where indoor air quality is as crucial as outdoor air quality, the importance of clean air ducts cannot be overstated. Duct cleaning, often an overlooked aspect of home maintenance, plays a vital role in ensuring a healthy, comfortable, and energy-efficient living environment. Like the veins of a home, air ducts circulate air throughout, impacting everything from air quality to energy costs. Here are six compelling reasons to prioritize duct cleaning in your home.

Ensuring Optimal Air Quality

A Respite from Allergens and Irritants

The air ducts in your home can become a haven for various allergens and irritants, including dust, pet dander, pollen, and mold spores. These contaminants, when circulated through the HVAC system, can significantly impact the health of residents, especially those suffering from allergies or respiratory conditions. Regular duct cleaning removes these harmful particles from your indoor air, reducing the risk of allergic reactions and respiratory issues. The process is particularly important in regions with high pollen counts or in homes with pets, where the likelihood of allergen accumulation in the ducts is higher.


Combatting Persistent Odors

Air ducts can accumulate a myriad of odor-causing particles, such as tobacco smoke, cooking fumes, and pet odors, leading to a lingering mustiness in the home. These odors can be particularly tenacious, resisting typical household cleaning methods. A thorough cleaning of the ducts is often the only way to eradicate these odors completely, ensuring a fresher and more pleasant indoor atmosphere. This aspect of duct cleaning is essential for homes that have been exposed to smoke or have a history of pets, as these odors can become deeply embedded in the ductwork over time.

Boosting System Efficiency and Longevity

Elevating Air Flow Efficiency

When air ducts are clogged with dust and debris, the airflow within the HVAC system is impeded, causing the system to work harder and less efficiently. This not only leads to increased energy consumption and higher utility bills but also places undue stress on the HVAC system. Clean ducts ensure that air can move freely, enhancing the efficiency of the system and potentially leading to significant energy savings. This aspect of duct cleaning is particularly beneficial in climates with extreme temperatures, where HVAC systems are heavily relied upon.

Prolonging HVAC System Life

A clean duct system reduces the strain on your HVAC unit, thereby extending its lifespan. When the system doesn’t have to overexert itself to heat or cool your home, it undergoes less wear and tear. This not only translates to fewer repairs but also delays the need for a costly replacement of the HVAC system. Regular duct cleaning, thus, becomes a prudent investment in the long-term health of your home’s heating and cooling systems.

Cultivating a Healthier Living Environment

Mitigating the Spread of Germs

Unclean air ducts can be a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and other microbes, which can then be circulated throughout the home. In light of health concerns, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of clean air in preventing the spread of illness has gained unprecedented attention. Regular duct cleaning can play a significant role in minimizing the circulation of these microorganisms, fostering a healthier living environment for all occupants.

Promoting Overall Cleanliness

The cleanliness of your ducts directly impacts the overall cleanliness of your home. Ducts laden with dust and debris distribute these particles throughout your living spaces, settling on surfaces and necessitating frequent cleaning. By keeping your ducts clean, you reduce the amount of dust and dirt in your home, making it easier to maintain a clean and tidy environment.

The Importance of Professional Duct Cleaning with Six Penny Chimney

In light of these reasons, it’s clear that duct cleaning is not just a maintenance task but a crucial component of sustaining a healthy, efficient, and comfortable home. Sixpenny Chimney offers professional duct cleaning services that cater to all these needs. Our expert team is equipped with advanced tools and extensive experience to provide thorough and effective duct cleaning, ensuring your home enjoys optimal air quality, enhanced system efficiency, and a healthier living environment.

We invite you to explore our range of services and learn more about how Sixpenny Chimney can assist you in maintaining a pristine home environment. Visit our website to discover more about our offerings and how we can help you achieve a cleaner, healthier home. Choose Sixpenny Chimney for your duct cleaning needs and breathe easier in a home that’s not just clean, but holistically healthy.


Asthma Sufferers Guide To Clean Air In The Home

When you have asthma, clean air isn’t just a luxury; it’s a necessity. With potential triggers lurking in every corner of your home, creating a safe home free from asthma riggers is critical. In this guide, we’ll share simple, effective strategies that can make a significant difference in improving the air quality in your home to keep your asthma at bay.

Understanding Asthma Triggers

Before diving into solutions, it’s important to think about the triggers that might worsen asthma symptoms.

Common household triggers include:

Dust Mites: These are tiny creatures that thrive in bedding, carpets, and upholstery. They feed on dead skin cells and can quickly multiply, increasing the risk for asthma flare-ups.

Pollen: Often entering homes through open windows or being brought inside on clothing or pets, pollen can be a major irritant. Its microscopic size means it can be easily inhaled, triggering asthma symptoms.

Mold: Mold grows in damp areas, especially in places like bathrooms and basements. As it reproduces, mold releases spores into the air which can be harmful when inhaled.

Pet Dander: This refers to the tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, and other furry animals. Additionally, proteins from their saliva, urine, and feces can also trigger asthma symptoms.

Smoke: Whether it’s from cigarettes, fireplaces, or even some candles, smoke can irritate the airways of asthma sufferers. Inhalation can lead to inflammation and narrowed airways.

Household Chemicals: Many cleaning products, paints, and even fragrances contain chemicals that can irritate the lungs. When inhaled, these chemicals can exacerbate asthma symptoms.

Once you’ve identified potential triggers, you can take steps to minimize their presence.

Strategies For Cleaner Air

Reduce Dust Mites

Wash bedding weekly: Regular washes with hot water help remove dust mites in bedding.

Use allergen-proof covers: Since mattresses are hard to wash, encase them with allergen-proof covers.

Vacuum regularly: While vaccum cleaners help deep clean surfaces, ensure your vacuum has a HEPA filter to trap tiny particles.

Minimize Pollen Exposure

Keep windows closed: Especially during high-pollen seasons, it can go a long way to keep the windows and doors closed.

Shower before bed: This removes pollen from your hair and skin.

Dry clothes indoors: Hanging your clothes outside can attract pollen.

Prevent Mold Growth

Address leaks promptly: Dampness encourages mold growth, so fix any leaks no matter how small.

Use extractor fans: Especially in high-humidity areas like bathrooms and kitchens to reduce moisture.

Regularly clean and dry: Pay attention to bathrooms, basements, and other damp areas.

Manage Pet Dander

Groom pets regularly: This reduces loose fur and dander.

Clean living spaces: Regularly vacuum and wipe down surfaces.

Designate ‘pet-free’ zones: Consider keeping certain areas, like bedrooms, off-limits to pets.

Limit Smoke and Chemical Exposure

Maintain a smoke-free home: Absolutely no cigarettes, if you or your guests smoke, make sure it is done outside.

Opt for unscented products: This includes cleaning supplies and personal care items.

Use natural cleaning agents: Think vinegar, baking soda, and lemon instead of chemicals with harsh fumes.

Additional Air Quality Boosters

Air Purifiers

Investing in a good air purifier can make a world of difference. Look for those with HEPA filters that can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns.


Certain plants, like the spider plant or peace lily, are known to improve indoor air quality. They absorb toxins and release oxygen, creating a healthier environment.

Regularly Replace Air Filters

Central heating and cooling systems circulate air throughout your home. Ensure their filters are changed regularly to prevent dust and allergens from being blown around.

The Role Of Chimney And Vent Maintenance

A part of clean air in the home that’s often overlooked is the maintenance of your chimney and vents. These can be sources of allergens and irritants if not properly cleaned and maintained.

Chimneys: Without proper cleaning, chimneys can accumulate soot, debris, and creosote. This not only poses a fire risk but can also degrade indoor air quality when you use the fireplace.

Vents: Ducts and vents are highways for dust, pollen, and other irritants. Regular cleaning ensures they don’t spread these allergens throughout your home.
Incorporating routine chimney and vent cleaning into your home maintenance can significantly benefit asthma sufferers by reducing potential irritants.

Let the Professionals at Sixpenny in Northern Virginia Help

Achieving clean air in your home is a combination of daily practices, regular maintenance, and sometimes seeking professional help. For areas like chimneys and vents, it’s essential to rely on professionals who understand the intricacies involved. At Sixpenny Chimney, we’re committed to ensuring your home remains a safe haven for your lungs. With expert chimney and vent services, we help reduce potential asthma triggers, allowing you to breathe easier and live better. Reach out today, and let’s work together to make every breath in your home a clean one.

White washer and dryer in unfinished basement laundry room

The Importance of a Clean Dryer Vent

With the continuous advancement in technology, dryers have become a significant part of most households, drying bedding, linens, and clothes. A typical residential dryer works two to ten times a week.

After regular use, the dryer vent, a tube running from the dryer to outside your home that removes moisture and hot air, will accumulate lint and debris, which could lead to clogging and other complications. This post discusses the importance of cleaning your dryer vent.

Why You Need to Clean Your Dryer Vent 

Keeps Clothes Looking Good Longer

Whenever you load clothes in the dryer, they lose a tiny fraction of their quality as the extra heat will deteriorate fibers within the clothes, slightly stretching them.

You can do little to counter the process since clothes eventually wear out. However, you can slow it down by regularly cleaning the dryer vent.

A dirty, clogged vent will make your dryer inefficient, as it will have to run longer to remove all the water altogether. So when you use the machine, it will subject your clothes to prolonged wear and tear, reducing their quality.

Lower the Risk of Dryer Fires 

Lint, which regularly accumulates inside dryer vents, is highly flammable and can easily cause a massive house fire. 

A National Fire Protection Association report states that clothes dryers account for an estimated 15970 house fires yearly. Also, up to 80% of the fires are caused by clogged dryer vents. 

By clearing all the debris and lint build-up in the dryer vent, you ensure there is nothing to spark fires that can cause severe damage.

Save Energy

While working, dryer vents will collect dust and debris. When the debris accumulates, it occupies more space in the vent, leaving little room for air and heat to pass through. 

Consequently, your dryer will have to work harder to complete its tasks, consuming more energy, which means a higher electricity bill.

You can significantly reduce your power costs by cleaning the dryer vent. An open vent provides enough space for hot air and moisture to move freely, placing zero pressure on the appliance.

Lessen Wear and Tear on Your Appliance

Regularly cleaning your dryer vent increases the lifespan of your machine. When there are alot of obstructions, lint, and other particles stuck inside your vent, they strain parts of the dryer by causing faster wear and tear.

In some instances, the particles can block the vent entirely and lead to fires since the hot air won’t have an outlet to pass through.

Also, the cleaning will reduce the money spent on repairs, as the machine will run optimistically longer.

Keep Allergens at Bay

A significant downside of a dirty or clogged dryer vent is that it captures water flowing from the wet clothes. Over time, the water accumulates various allergens, such as dust, mold, and more.

Unfortunately, these allergens will spread from the vent to other parts of your home, and inhaling them could make you develop a cough, congestion, or rash. The condition can be detrimental, especially for persons with respiratory challenges.

Avoid the Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

There are electric and gas dryers; if you use the latter, a clogged vent could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

While working, gas dryers produce small amounts of carbon monoxide, which gets passed out through the dryer vent. However, a clogged vent means the toxic gas could flow back through the pipe into the house, creating a hazardous environment for you and your family.

Once in the body, excess carbon monoxide will deprive vital organs of oxygen, cause loss of consciousness, and lead to death through suffocation.

Ensuring your dryer vent is clean prevents such incidents as the air will flow smoothly.

Enables Faster Drying Times

The more lint and other materials accumulate inside the vent, the less air it can pass. This means it will take the machine longer to dry clothes, for the clogging can prevent bedding and clothes from drying thoroughly after one cycle, forcing you to repeat the process. 

On the other hand, a clean dryer vent will let out the heat and moisture faster, thereby drying your clothes faster.

How Often Should You Clean the Dryer Vent?

We recommend cleaning once a year for a household with two or five people. But you can schedule cleaning every six months if you have a large family, eight or more people.

Get Your Dryer Vents Professionally Cleaned in Northern, VA

Are you in Northern Virginia, Looking for a professional to handle your dryer vent, chimney, and gutter cleaning? Sixpenny Chimney has been doing so for years and has mastered the art. Contact us for a quote today.

A Chimney with ciimney damage on top of a house

Homebuyer Beware: Spot These 6 Signs of Chimney Damage Before You Buy

Owning a home is a dream most people have and work towards. While shopping around for your ideal home, you must have a checklist to ensure you pick one that meets all your needs and is safe for you and your family.

Top on the house checklist you need to assess is the state of the chimney, as buying a home with a damaged chimney can lead to extra costs in terms of repair. Below are six signs of chimney damage to look out for before you buy.

Six Signs of Chimney Damage To Look Out For Before You Buy:

1. Deteriorated or Cracked Mortar Joints

Worn-out mortar joints vastly increase the level of moisture leaking into a chimney. During the cold seasons, especially winter, the water that seeps in will freeze, then expand, leading to more damage to the chimney.

Once the cracks form, they let heat and smoke escape in areas they shouldn’t. But the most significant risk is the probability of collapse when most of the bricks creating the chimney lose stability due to deep cracks.

Even when regularly maintained, mortar joints can still develop cracks from wear and tear. So patiently look at the chimney; if you observe spaces or gaps, the duct is damaged.

Sometimes, you won’t see the mortar joints from the exterior, but you can hire a professional to check the interior for you.

2. Smokey or Foul Smell

Creosote is the primary byproduct of burning wood, so if the previous homeowners used the fireplace frequently, chances are there is a lot of creosote clinging to the flue liner. You will realize such if you notice a smokey or foul smell indoors.

Unfortunately, creosote doesn’t only cause bad smells. Toxic gasses from burning wood require a clear pathway to clear safely. However, excess creosote will block these gases from clearing out, which affects your home’s air quality.

Plus, using a chimney with creosote buildup increases the chances of accidentally starting a house fire.

3. Spalling Bricks

Bricks are absorbent. So moisture will enter the brick masonry and slowly break it apart after a while. Similar to deteriorated mortar joints, this will be exasperated during the cold season, when water freezes inside these bricks.

Common causes of spalling include;

  • Use of low-quality components, particularly in prefabricated houses
  • Extreme weather
  • Old bricks
  • Using high-powered washers while cleaning the masonry

If considering an old home, thoroughly check for spalling bricks in the chimney. Such places have been exposed to the elements for an extended period; hence the bricks may be worn out

4. Worn-out Flashing

Chimney flashing refers to a metal sheet that acts as a watertight seal between the roof and the chimney. Flashing doesn’t easily get damaged, but after a long period of use, it will also get worn out.

If you notice rust in spots between the flashing and the roof, it indicates water damage. Water dripping into your home’s roof can lead to mold, wood rot, and other issues.

Corners are especially vulnerable to such rust, so check them thoroughly. You can repair slightly worn-out flashing. However, experts recommend getting a new one.

5. Paint and Wallpaper Damage Near the Chimney

When you notice paint or wallpaper peeling close to the chimney, it’s a sure sign that it is damaged. The mortar or brick in the interior may have cracked or chipped, or the flue liner could be faulty. 

In some instances, the problem could arise if the previous homeowners installed a gas fireplace and failed to buy the recommended flue liners.

6. Shaking Flue Tiles 

Inside a chimney, you will find a flue liner that directs air flow up and outside the house and protects the bricks from heat.

A faulty flue liner can cause a lot of harm, including poor air circulation inside the house, and the heat will damage the bricks.

If you see tiny slices of the flue liner in the firebox, it’s an indication of shaling complications.

Unfortunately, most liner problems aren’t easy to detect for an average homebuyer, as the ladder runs through the chimney. Hence, once you pick a house, you must inspect it using a certified and professional chimney sweep.

Professional Chimney Cleaning, Repair, and More in Northern Virginia

Chimney problems worsen over time and may cause severe damage to your home or life-threatening issues for you and your family. That’s why you must buy a home with a perfectly working chimney.

We at Sixpenny Chimney can do chimney inspections for you and carry out regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure it always works optimally. Call us for a quote today.

types of gutters

4 Types of Gutters That Will Transform Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Most people overlook gutters’ role in a house’s appearance, especially in the curb area. This post looks at the four types of gutters you can use to make a statement and enhance your home’s curb appeal.

4 Types of Gutters:

1. Half-Round Gutters

These gutters have a curved lip and semicircular design. It’s because of their round design that they also feature circular downspouts. 

Half-round gutters are available in 6- and 5-inch widths. A majority of houses built before and up to 1960 have these gutters. So, they work well in brick or historic houses.

Some local regulations may require installing half-round gutters if you live in a historic neighborhood.

Pros of Half-Round Gutters

  • They are suited for areas that experience heavy rainfall and are highly durable.
  • They possess a traditional, attractive design that will boost your house’s curb appeal.

Cons of Half-Round Gutters

  • More susceptible to debris accumulation
  • It can be expensive and challenging to install

2. K-Style Gutters

These types of gutters are the most popular as they are easy to install, especially if you like DIY. K-style gutters are similar to half-round gutters, for they come in 6-to-5-inch widths. The difference is that K-style gutters have rectangular downspouts.

Thanks to their flattened backs, you don’t require brackets to nail K-style gutters on your fascia boards. However, it’s more difficult to clean these gutters as their inner angles collect debris easily.

Pros of K-Style Gutters

  • An affordable and standard option
  • They don’t require brackets to place on fascia boards.

Cons of K-Style Gutters

  • They have an angled profile which makes them challenging to clean.

3. Box-Style Gutters

These are oversized gutters specifically designed to deal with heavy rainfall. Box gutters come in 8- or 7-inch widths, though some can go up to 10 inches. 

Because of their vast size, experts recommend box-style gutters for large roofs. So, you will find them mostly on industrial or commercial buildings.

Additionally, you can’t hang box gutters on a roof’s edge. Instead, you will require a high back section under your roof’s shingles. Therefore, you can only install these gutters when the house is still under construction.

Pros of Box-Style Gutters

  • More durable compared to other designs
  • Abel to withstand heavy rainfall

Cons of Box-Style Gutters

  • Expensive to install 
  • Minimal aesthetic appeal

4. Custom Fascia Gutters

These are customized gutters that have a contemporary seamless look. You will need to work with a professional to install fascia gutters. The professional will create a personalized system using a long aluminum piece. The aluminum is tailor-made to meet your roof’s pitch and home measurements.

Also, it’s worth noting that fascia gutters cost almost twice the price of K-style or half-round gutters.

Pros of Custom Fascia Gutters

  • Can handle heavy rainfall 
  • Securely attached to your house’s fascia boards, so they can’t fall off easily.

Cons of Custom Fascia Boards

  • Hard to install 
  • Require frequent cleaning

Gutter Materials

Aluminum Gutters

They are rust-resistant, lightweight, and easy to use if you enjoy DIY. Aluminum gutters have a 20-to-30-year lifespan, though they are more likely to develop cracks.

Copper Gutters

Extremely durable, copper gutters don’t bend, rust, or warp when faced with severe weather conditions. Also, they give your house a unique look. However, copper gutters are costly, and you will need a professional to install them.

Zinc Gutters

These are the easiest-to-maintain gutter options. Zinc gutters have an inbuilt sealing patina that prevents the formation of cracks and scratches.

Due to their study nature, you avoid frequent gutter repairs in their up to 80-year lifespan.

Vinyl Gutters

Vinyl gutters are cheap and straightforward to install, making them a favorite among DIYers. Made from PVC and plastic, vinyl gutters have a short lifespan compared to other systems; they can last 10 to 20 years.

In addition, these gutters deteriorate fast, more so in wet climates. If you live in highly humid areas, it would be preferable to consider metal gutters like copper or steel.

Galvanized Steel Gutters

Compared to aluminum gutters, galvanized steel gutters are sturdier and more durable. However, you will need a professional to install them, as they require soldering. These gutters do well on houses that experience a lot of rainfall and hot seasons. 

Galvanized steel gutters can last 20 to 30 years, though they can quickly develop rust if you don’t maintain them correctly.

Let the Professionals at Sixpenny in Northern Virginia Help

Consider the information above to decide which gutter style and material best suits your home’s design and needs. Also, it’s better to involve a professional as it would ensure proper gutter installation.

We at Sixpenny Chimney have well-trained professionals ready to help you choose a gutter style, handle the installation and do regular maintenance. Contact us for a quote today.

Several birds sitting in a gutter on top of a roof as one of the common gutter problems homeowners face.

6 Most Common Gutter Problems to Look Out For

Rainwater gutters provide a simple yet necessary solution by preventing water from running off rooftops while it rains. They also protect the foundation and walls of your building from getting damaged by rainwater.

However, you can face many structural and safety issues when gutters stop functioning correctly. So, to avoid such a scenario, we have outlined six of the most common gutter problems you can check for and how to solve them early on.

6 Most Common Gutter Problems Homeowners Face with Solutions

1. Blocked Gutters

While gutters are primarily designed to catch and direct water running off the roof, they also, unfortunately, hold other materials in the process. These materials include twigs, leaves, and other items blown by the wind into them, and when these items build up after some time, they cause blockages.

Once your gutters are blocked, they won’t be able to drain the rainwater effectively and will start overflowing.


Get a ladder and check where there is a blockage in the gutter system; this could be in the hopper head or downpipe. After identifying the material, proceed to remove all of it, then pour some water to check that it flows smoothly.

2. Sagging Gutters

Gutters will start sagging when they have too much weight inside them that the support brackets can’t manage. The excess weight can result from blockages, snow build-up in winter, or improper system installation.

Experts advise that gutters support brackets are installed at least 1 meter apart or closer if you are in an area experiencing heavy snowfall or with a steep roof. Also, support brackets should be 150mm after any stop end, joint, or bend.

When your gutters lack sufficient support brackets, you will encounter frequent sagging.


Remove all the debris present, as they cause blockage and add unnecessary stress on supports and joints.

Install snow guards to prevent snow from accumulating in the gutters. When you let the snow increase, it can become surprisingly heavy. So, installing the guards will hold off the snow mounds and allow the melt water to run undisturbed.

You should also add more support brackets to hold the gutters firmly in place.

3. Plants Growing in Gutters

Once you see flowers, weeds, or grass growing in your gutters, it’s a sign they haven’t been cleaned for a long time. When debris like soil and rainwater mix, it creates an ideal environment for plant growth.

The plants will cause a blockage and even attract squirrels, mice, birds, and rats.


Clean the gutters regularly to reduce the chances of soil or debris building up to host wayward seeds.

4. Incorrect Gutter Fall

If all your gutters are perfectly level, there won’t be any gravity to push water to the downpipe when it rains. So, some water could remain on the channels after rainfall instead of flowing down.

Worse yet, when there is heavy rainfall, the gutters won’t be able to drain the water quickly, and they will overflow. If you have observed that your gutters are constantly overflowing, yet, they aren’t clogged; it might be due to an incorrect fall.

A gentle fall into the downpipe will increase the gutters’ capacity and help prevent such issues.


Take out all the support brackets and install each so that they gently angle down the gutters to the downpipe.

5. Inadequate Guttering

If your gutter system isn’t correctly sized to meet your property needs, it could be why you always have issues like overflows, clogging, and flooding.

Your roof’s surface area, slope angle, and rainfall intensity in your area all determine the style and size of the gutter required.


Try and increase the system’s capacity by ensuring it has a sufficient fall or add more downpipes. However, doing so can be costly, so replacing the current system with a new one that’s correctly sized is a better option.

6. Water Freezing in Gutters

During winter, when the temperatures are low, water in the gutters will condense into ice. Once water shifts to ice, it expands and then when there’s heat, and the ice melts into water, it contracts.

The repetitive cycle of expanding and contracting can damage your gutters by distorting their shape, splitting joints, and loosening push-fit brackets.


The only option here is to pour warm water into the gutters so it melts away the ice. The problem is, doing so speeds up the contraction and will still affect the system.

Ideally, it is preferable to prevent the problem from arising by cleaning the gutters and checking that they gently slope to the downpipe to avoid water accumulating in them.

Sixpenny Chimney — Professionals in Gutter Repair, Cleaning & More

Hopefully, we have outlined common gutter problems you are facing and provided a solution for how to solve it. However, if you have difficulty cleaning or removing debris, contact Sixpenny Chimney in Northern Virginia today or give us a call at 703-491-8697. Our dedicated team is ready to handle all your gutter needs.

A smoking chimney on top of a residential house in northern virginia that would need chimney cleaning in different seasons.

Chimney Cleaning for Different Seasons: What You Need to Know & Do

gdurinAccording to NFPA, the National Fire Protection Association, you must clean your chimney at least once a year for it to function efficiently and safely.

That’s because even though we have four seasons a year, most people only use chimneys during winter when temperatures are at all-time lows and it’s cold. In the summer and spring, many chimneys lie dormant.

Let’s look at all you need to know about chimney cleaning for different seasons, why it’s important and more. But first, we’ll explore why you need to clean your chimney in the first place.

Why Clean Your Chimney?

Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

When debris, twigs, dirt, and creosote accumulate inside a chimney, they prevent it from adequately releasing smoke and toxins from fires. As a result, the fire will produce carbon monoxide, which is severely toxic.

Since carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible, it can be challenging to assess if its level has exceeded normal standards.

Avoid Chimney Fires

The more you use your chimney, the more creosote accumulates inside it, and since it’s flammable, you should clean it regularly.

If you don’t do so, the build-up could damage the chimney lining and could lead to a fire breakout.

Enhance Heating Efficiency

When your chimney is clean, it facilitates an efficient and thorough burn. Therefore, your house will have improved warmth and a comfortable atmosphere for you and your family.

What’s the Best Time to Clean Chimneys?

Experts recommend cleaning your chimney during the warmer months, especially in early spring and late summer. As you rarely use the chimney at such times, and doing so ensures that it will operate optimally once the cold season sets in, thereby lowering the amount of money spent on heating.

What to Know About Cleaning Your Chimney

If you decide to handle the chimney cleaning personally, you must know your flue height before beginning, and you’ll need a safe way to reach the roof, like a sturdy ladder.

Additional cleaning tools you will require include a power drill or screwdriver to remove the animal guard or rain cap — personal protective equipment (PPE) for your face and eyes to protect against soot and ash. Plus, a wire brush with extensions.

If the fireplace is large enough and you can fit inside, clean the chimney from the bottom up if you don’t want to climb on the roof. However, it will be extremely messy. It would help if you bought tarps to keep the soot from your furniture and floors. A medium-sized dustpan to collect the debris and soot at the bottom is preferable.

Pro tip: Instead of going through all the cleaning hassle, you can hire a professional and let them do it for you. Doing so early in the summer is better, resulting in a quicker turnaround time, as most cleaners will only have a few bookings.

Tips for Keeping Your Chimney Clean Throughout the Seasons

Use Real Logs if Possible

Studies show artificial wood produces more gases, resulting in faster creosote build-up. So it’s better to use real logs when you can.

Ensure Your Fire “Breathes”

Oxygen fuels fires, and sufficient oxygen facilitates proper gas combustion and less creosote production (plus the fire will be hotter).

Keep the flue open to enable excess debris and chemicals to leave the chimney; if your fireplace has doors like glass panels, open them to facilitate healthy air flow for the fire.

Warm Your Flue

When cold air from the outside meets warm air from your fireplace, it creates an imbalance and increases creosote build-up.

You can combat this by rolling a paper torch (old newspapers also work well), lighting it up, and holding it under the chimney flue until the air daft feels warm. After which, you can start a log fire.

Mitigate Cleanup Using Chemicals

Creosote removal powder, when used properly, can prevent its build-up after one or two fires.

Burn Only Seasoned Dry Firewood

Logs with moisture produce less heat and more smoke. Ensure you only use wood ideal for burning by letting it dry 6 to 12 months in advance. Additionally, you can buy a moisture meter to check a log’s moisture level before placing it in the fire.

Install a Chimney Cap

Every chimney should have a cap; the appliance with a mesh keeps birds, animals, and moisture out. It also functions like a spark guard preventing hot embers from catching the roof.

Let the Professionals at Sixpenny in Northern Virginia Help

Even though you might not use your chimney every season, it must have a proper cleaning and be taken care of during the different seasons for it to be functional when you need it most during the winter.

We at Sixpenny Chimney, located in Northern Virginia, can professionally clean your chimney and carry out regular maintenance. Feel free to call us at 703-491-8697 and request service with us or contact us online.