Avoid common safety hazards by conducting maintenance for your fireplace and chimney on a regular basis.
Common Items for Maintenance for your Fireplace and Chimney
Fireplaces add warmth and character, but they take cleaning and repair. Maintain them safely.
When you burn wood, you know smoke goes up the chimney, but Creosote also moves inside the chimney liner. Creosote is black tar, and when it combines with the fine powder, it colors the smoke from the fire. Some of this substance is fine, but there are several forms of creosote and some of them are dangerous. Creosote, when left unattended, becomes flammable and can cause chimney liner fires. These fires can quickly take over the house and burn the entire living space down. Not only can creosote be a fire hazard, but it can also prevent the proper venting of the chimney's system. That means dangerous fumes could run through the house instead of going out of the chimney as they should. Carbon monoxide, a silent killer, is odorless and can take over the house quickly without anyone ever knowing it's there. Have a chimney cleaning done by a professional on a regular basis so the creosote can be removed from the lining. Proper removal takes certain tools to ensure all of the flammable deposits are gone.
Chimney Cleaning For a Blockage
Creosote is one of the ways a chimney can get blocked up, but it is not the only danger. If you haven't used the fireplace in a long time, there could be other items blocking the chimney and you would never know. Blockages can be caused by leaves, bird nests and other debris. If you haven't used your fireplace in quite some time, fireplace repair and maintenance is a good idea. Have a professional check the fireplace and chimney before you start using it so you can get all debris cleared from the area first. Even if you use your fireplace, these annual inspections are a good idea. It doesn't take long for a blockage to occur, and maintenance for your fireplace and chimney keep your home safe. Shining a flashlight up the chimney yourself can show a blockage if there is something large in the way, but it won't always show you smaller items if you don't know what to watch for. When in doubt, leave the inspections to the professionals so your safety doesn't come into question.
Cracks in the Flue
When fireplaces are put into homes, the chimney lining is part of the initial building process. The most common type of lining is clay tile. Tile isn't nearly as durable or long-lasting as stainless steel, which almost never has to be replaced. It is a good idea to know what type of lining you have inside your chimney. Linings take a lot of heat and stress, and if they are not made of steel, they can deteriorate and show damage over the years. You will want to ensure that your flue lining is intact because when it can be dangerous when it’s damaged. A cracked flue can cause a fire to spread from the chimney into combustible portions of the home and start a fire in the house. They can also expose the home to carbon monoxide and other dangerous gases. If you know the flue in your chimney is cracked, you should not use the fireplace until it is fixed.
Fireplace Repair for Issues with Brickwork
Masonry within a chimney can last for a century if the mortar remains in good condition. Once the mortar starts to deteriorate, however, the entire system is exposed to moisture, which can lead to issues within the brickwork. The best way to keep the bricks in good shape is to keep moisture out. That often means replacing the mortar when it is obviously damaged and deteriorating. When you have your chimney cleaning and inspection, ask that the professionals take a look at the mortar while they are cleaning. If any of the mortar is cracked or damaged, it is easier to fix it now than to let moisture settle in and cause damage to the brickwork as a whole. If you are proactive about protecting the mortar in your bricks, you may not have to go to the expense and trouble of replacing old brickwork with new options. The process soaks up a lot more time and money than simple mortar replacement.
Chimney Cap and Crown
The chimney cap and crown are the first two lines of defense against any weather elements that come your way as part of maintenance for your fireplace and chimney. If either of these items is damaged in the weather, you could see moisture coming into your chimney and causing all sorts of issues. Once moisture settles in, fireplace repair is the only resort because the chimney will be unsafe to use in the meantime. While you want to use your fireplace when it's cold or when you want the warm look of a cozy fire, it is important to stay on top of maintenance in these areas. Chimney maintenance goes hand in hand with fireplace safety, and it is very important to the integrity of your home. If you want to use your fireplace and chimney in the safest manner possible, regular inspections, cleanings and maintenance checks are the only way to go.