Is Your Fireplace Installed Correctly?
Homeowners involved with the plans for a new home with a fireplace often don’t realize that proper construction of their fireplace and chimney is not a certainty. The fireplace-chimney system is complex. For the fireplace to operate properly, with combustion by-products exiting from the chimney, the structure must be built correctly. Unfortunately, many contractors fail to ensure that those involved in building the fireplace know what they’re doing. It is a common mistake to assume that builders have the knowledge and qualifications to build a chimney. If your fireplace smokes or if you have other related concerns, it’s possible that your fireplace and chimney system is not installed correctly. Fireplaces added after a home is built should also be installed by a professional, to ensure safe operation.
Examples of Poor Fireplace Installation
Our chimney professionals have come across many examples of poor fireplace and/or chimney construction. A typical mistake that bricklayers make is with chimney crowns. It is not unusual for bricklayers to use mortar for the chimney crown, but it should be made with concrete. There should also be mesh or reinforcing steel inside the cement, to help prevent cracks from forming in the crown. If there is no overhang of the chimney crown, the chimney is exposed to too much moisture, which is another common problem.
Chimney flashing is difficult to install correctly, and this is another common mistake made by builders. Faulty chimney flashing exposes the roof to moisture damage that can quickly result in the need for costly repairs.
If your chimney is too short, it may not meet height and fire safety clearances. A too-short chimney can sometimes be obvious because the draft is typically inadequate and the fireplace is smoky.
The Importance of Chimney Inspections
All of your questions about whether your fireplace is correctly installed or operating properly can be answered with routine chimney inspections. Our chimney experts understand chimneys and fireplaces from top to bottom. An inspection achieves much more than a chimney cleaning, though professional cleaning is also needed. With a cleaning, debris such as creosote, soot, and ash are removed using professional tools that can get the job done right.
During a chimney inspection, issues can be discovered that an untrained eye may never recognize as a problem. The sooner chimney and fireplace issues are discovered, the better, since any needed repair costs are less expensive when damage isn’t as extensive.
Technology is also used during a thorough chimney inspection. Some areas of the chimney cannot be observed with the naked eye. Our chimney experts are equipped with close circuit cameras that can check the condition of the flue structure. It is essential that the flue is undamaged because it protects combustible areas of the home from intensely hot temperatures. If flue damage is discovered early, it is sometimes possible to make repairs as opposed to getting a flue replacement or rebuild.
Not sure whether your fireplace is installed correctly? Contact our chimney experts today, for a professional assessment of your fireplace and chimney.