We call them “routine” chimney inspections, but the truth is, no two chimney inspections are exactly alike, and none of them are perfectly routine. Each chimney has its own issues and finding them and keeping them from turning into dangerous, expensive problems is a job that should be performed only by a CSIA-certified chimney inspector. Here are some of the things we often find during a “routine” chimney inspection.
Excess creosote buildup
When wood logs burn, the smoke creates a substance called creosote that builds up on the inside of the flue. Creosote is highly flammable, so it’s very important to keep it to a minimum. Annual chimney sweep services will accomplish this. Your chimney inspector will let you know if there is excess creosote that needs to be addressed.
Another thing found during many chimney inspections is an obstruction that can be caused by twigs, leaves, airborne dust, animal nests and animals themselves who have died inside the chimney. Any drafting obstruction can cause smoke to back up into the home and carry with it dangerous gasses including carbon monoxide. A chimney inspector will recommend a thorough cleaning if draft-hampering obstructions exist.
When inspecting the chimney’s masonry, inspectors look for cracks in the mortar and loose bricks. Caught early enough, these problems can be repaired fairly easily. If there is severe damage to the masonry, your inspector may recommend tuck-pointing to replace missing sections of bricks or partial or complete chimney rebuilding. A chimney with significant damage to its masonry is unsafe to use or live around.
Damaged chimney liner
Chimney liners commonly are made from steel, clay tiles or a poured-in-place compound. Over time, all these materials can begin to crack and decay. A chimney inspector pays close attention to the condition of your chimney liner as it is the only defense the chimney masonry and nearby areas of the home have against the intense heat rising from the fireplace.
Cracked chimney crown
The chimney crown is the cement slab that covers the top of the chimney. When the crown is cracked, water can seep into the cracks and cause further decomposition. A severely damaged crown will allow water to get to the bricks and mortar beneath it, where it will begin a cycle of structural decay. Chimney inspectors will suggest the right repair work to restore soundness to your chimney crown.
Annual chimney inspections
If you use your fireplace regularly during the cold months, it’s a good idea to schedule annual chimney inspections prior to the start of the next burning season. A lot of things can happen to the chimney structure and its components during a year, and the only way to spot many of them is to have a certified professional take a close look.
A lot of the issues found during a chimney inspection, if ignored, can lead to severe water damage, structural damage or generally unsafe operating conditions. Fluesbrothers Chimney Service of Kansas City, KS, is ready to help keep your chimney safe all year long with certified, professional inspections, chimney sweep services and all manner of chimney repair and rebuilding. Give us a call at (913) 236-7141.