Does Your Chimney Have one of These 5 Common Problems?
A fireplace and chimney are much-desired amenities among homeowners, but many people don’t realize that they are not exactly low maintenance. It is risky and dangerous to operate any type of wood-burning heat source without routine upkeep. For a chimney to operate as it is supposed to and keep your family safe requires cleaning and making needed repairs. Our chimney professionals have found that there are five common problems discovered during annual chimney inspections, none of which should be ignored. The most typical chimney issues that require cleaning or repair are: Creosote and soot, cracks in the flue damage, brickwork problems, chimney cap and crown, and chimney obstruction.
Creosote and Soot
Wood-burning can be a very messy business, especially if green wood is used in the fireplace. Even the cleanest burning fires result in deposits of creosote and soot in the chimney liner. Creosote is highly flammable tar that is dark brown or black in color, and soot is a carbon powder. Creosote has three different forms. The first level of creosote is easy to clean with basic chimney sweeping tools. The second level of creosote is more difficult to clean, and the third looks like tar has been poured down a flue and is extremely difficult to remove. The third level of creosote is the most dangerous because it can keep a chimney fire going, which can result in a damaged chimney liner and even a house fire. We have the necessary tools and experience to tackle every form of creosote.
Research shows that thousands of house fires occur every year as a result of a buildup of creosote in the chimney caused by a neglect of chimney maintenance. The hazards of creosote are among the reasons annual chimney inspections are recommended by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
A Damaged Flue Liner
The flue is the most important part of a chimney because it protects combustible objects near the chimney system from being exposed to the extreme temperatures caused by fires. The vast majority of masonry chimneys have clay liners, and they last for about 50 years, when installed properly. At some point, however, they must be replaced. The combination of creosote and moisture in particular causes the flue to deteriorate. If there is a chimney fire, it is not uncommon for the chimney flue to become damaged due to the intensity of the flames .
When there is even a small crack in the flue, the fireplace or wood stove should not be used again until the flue has been repaired or replaced. All it takes is one opening in the flue to cause nearby combustibles to catch fire.
Our chimney technicians can use a special camera to inspect the flue from top to bottom and ensure its sound condition or determine that a new liner is needed.
Mortar lasts only about 25 years at best; and if damaged mortar isn’t repaired, the result can be a chimney that crumbles, leans, and collapses. Deteriorating mortar exposes the masonry to moisture, which means that the moisture freezes and thaws repeatedly in winter, causing the masonry to flake off and break off.
Our skilled professionals perform a tuckpointing procedure which replaces damaged mortar and provides renewed structural beauty and stability to the chimney.
Chimney Crown and Chimney Cap
Both the chimney cap and the chimney crown perform the important function of keeping moisture out of your chimney system, and they are referred to as the first line of defense against moisture. If either becomes damaged, they should be replaced so that you can avoid costly and necessary repairs to your chimney.
The most dangerous thing about a blocked chimney is that it can cause deadly carbon monoxide fumes to go into your home. In fact, because this is possible, it’s crucial to install carbon monoxide detectors in your home; carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless, and invisible. By the time any signs of poisoning become manifest, it is often too late to avoid severe injury or death, especially among children.
Blockage can be caused by a bird’s nest, leaves, creosote, and other types of debris.
Contact our certified professional chimney technicians for an annual chimney inspection, to keep your chimney operating properly and safely.