As solidly as chimneys are constructed, if regular care and maintenance are neglected, they easily can become hazardous. If you have a home with an active fireplace, here are a few tips on how to care for your chimney.
You don’t have to be a licensed, certified chimney technician to know when your chimney isn’t in perfect shape. There are certain signs to watch for and then bring to the attention of a professional.
Crumbling bricks and mortar: These are signs that the chimney is suffering structural damage, often from water infiltration.
Dampness on walls and ceiling adjacent to the
Chimney: This isn’t necessarily a sign of chimney damage, but it could be. Have it checked out.
Water in the firebox: This sign means water is somehow getting into the chimney system. Left unattended, significant damage and dangerous operating conditions could result.
Chimney leaning to the side: A leaning chimney means there’s some kind of structural damage to the bricks and mortar. If you notice that your chimney is leaning, call a chimney repair technician immediately.
Strong, musty odors: Excess dampness in the flue can cause stronger-than usual odors when it mixes with soot and creosote. It’s important to know why the dampness exists, because it could be due to a leak within the system.
These are all common signs of chimney damage that should be addressed by a CSIA-certified chimney expert.
Annual chimney sweep
Wood-burning fireplaces add flammable creosote to the chimney flue every time a fire is burned. Because creosote can ignite and start a chimney fire, all fire-safety agencies in the U.S. recommend yearly chimney sweep services.
Some chimney fires are obvious; others are small and brief, often unnoticed by the homeowner. But
The sound of rumbling, similar to a distant train
An odd ticking or clicking sound
Excess amounts of dense smoke coming from either end of the chimney
An intense burning smell inside your home
If you notice any of these signs, call local emergency services and extinguish the fire in the fireplace, if possible.
Schedule annual chimney inspections
Chimneys that run year after year can become damaged to the point they’re no longer safe to operate. Water damage, structural damage and damage to the chimney’s various components all can create an unsafe chimney.
Fortunately, an annual chimney inspection can detect early signs of chimney damage and recommend the proper repair procedures before the problem becomes expensive and difficult to fix.
There are three recognized levels inspectors often increase their visibility with video technology that allows them to view still photos and live video of the chimney’s interior.Remember that chimney cleaning, chimney inspection and chimney repair should be performed only by experienced, licensed technicians who hold advanced industry certifications. While you as a homeowner can spot common signs of chimney damage, it’s not safe for you to attempt to repair it.
Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS, is here to help with all your chimney service needs. Our experts are CSIA-certified and have the tools and training to do the job right the first time. Call us today at (913) 236-7141.