Neglected masonry chimneys present a lot of problems for homeowners. They can become unsafe to use, pose a fire risk, cause damage to adjacent home building materials and send dangerous gases into your home while the fireplace is in use.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent all these problems. Here are three tasks that will help keep your masonry chimney safe and efficient all year long.
Task #1: Have your chimney inspected once a year
Chimney systems may not look complicated, but a lot can go wrong with them that the average homeowner might not notice. A licensed chimney inspector knows your system inside and out and knows how to spot early signs of damage and malfunction.
Basic annual chimney inspections cover all visible areas of the chimney and its components such as the chimney crown, cap and flashing. More involved inspections use video imaging to see deep into the flue and sometimes require removal of parts of the chimney structure to zero in on damage.
Your chimney inspector will give you a report telling you exactly what has been found and the recommended course of action to solve the problem.
Task #2: Schedule annual chimney sweep services
If you use a wood-burning fireplace, it’s very important that your chimney flue be professionally swept (cleaned) once a year. Chimney cleaning focuses on the removal of creosote and obstructions.
This substance is created when logs burn. It adheres to the walls of your chimney liner and is highly flammable. Licensed chimney sweep companies use a variety of tools and equipment to safely remove creosote buildups and greatly reduced the chances of a chimney fire.
If your chimney has no chimney cap or has one that’s damaged, debris can enter your flue and cause a drafting obstruction. Leaves, twigs, small-animal nests and dead small animals can block the flow of smoke and send deadly carbon monoxide and other combustion gases into your home. Chimney cleaning technicians will clean out this debris – and they’ll install a chimney cap if you don’t have one.
Task #3: Have repair work done when it’s needed
Damage to chimneys and their components doesn’t get better on its own. Rather, it progresses to the point that the chimney is no longer safe to use or live around.
Repair projects chimney technicians regularly undertake include:
- Leaky chimney repair
- Chimney liner repair/installation
- Brick replacement and mortar tuckpointing
- Resolution of drafting/venting issues
- Chimney crown repair/rebuilding
- Chimney cap repair/installation
- Chimney flashing repair/replacement
- Fireplace damper repair/installation
- Firebox repair
- Smoke chamber parging (surface-smoothing)
As you can see, a chimney system has quite a few areas where trouble can start. By having repairs made to these areas as soon as damage is uncovered, you’ll keep the problems from becoming serious or dangerous, and therefore, avoid expensive masonry chimney repairs.
Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS, encourages homeowners with fireplace chimney systems to follow the guidelines presented here for safe and efficient operation.
We’re on call year-round to help with chimney inspections, CSIA-certified chimney sweeping and all types of chimney and fireplace repairs. We take pride in our work, and your safety and comfort are our most important objectives.
Get your questions answered or schedule an appointment by calling (913) 236-7141.