After the last fire of the winter, we tend to forget about our fireplaces and chimneys during the warmer months. Ignoring your chimney during the spring and summer months is a missed maintenance opportunity. There are several things you should be doing each spring and summer to keep your chimney functioning and damage free.
Visually inspect your chimney
Your chimney takes a lot of abuse each winter. It endures the extreme heat of your fireplace and the bitterly cold temperatures outside. When you combine that with the snow, ice and sleet that has been pelting your chimney all winter, there is a big opportunity for damage to occur. Each spring, you should walk around your chimney and look for cracked or spalling bricks, crumbling mortar and discoloration. Make sure your chimney’s structure isn’t leaning to one side or away from your house. If you see any of these, you should call a certified chimney technician to inspect the chimney and recommend repairs.
Clean out your fireplace and inspect the fireplace and damper
Remove any ash from your fireplace after you have burned your last fire of the season. Ash can corrode your firebox and fireplace grate, and it shouldn’t be left in the fireplace all summer. As you clean out the fireplace, look for cracking in the fireplace and small chunks of clay tiles at the bottom of the firebox; that is a sure sign that your chimney liner is damaged. Open and close the damper to make sure it is functioning properly and hasn’t rusted or warped.
Check your walls and ceiling
Examine the walls and ceiling that are adjacent to your chimney. Discolored, warped or sagging walls or ceilings, or peeling wallpaper are signs of a chimney leak. Even the smallest discoloration should be investigated because allowing a leak to go unfixed can cause major structural damage to your home or chimney.
Inspect the top of your fireplace
If you can easily access your roof and your chimney, check the rooftop elements of your chimney. Make sure your chimney cap is firmly in place and undamaged, and that your chimney cap or chimney chase covered isn’t cracked or damaged. Make sure that the metal flashing where your chimney meets your roof is firmly in place and free of cracks or holes.
Consider a spring chimney sweeping
While many people wait until fall to have their annual chimney sweeping and inspection, spring can be an ideal time for this service. A spring sweeping removes corrosive soot and creosote from your chimney, preventing it from damaging your chimney during the summer. Creosote also can become stinky in the summer heat and fill your home with an unpleasant smell. A spring sweeping prevents that.
Fluesbrothers Chimney Service is your ally in maintaining your chimney and fireplace during the warm weather months. If you’re ready for your annual sweeping and inspection, or if you notice any signs of damage, call Fluesbrothers to schedule an appointment today!