Homeowners are often quick to perform the necessary repairs to make and keep their homes beautiful. However, it’s easy to overlook one structural component that not only involves beauty, but safety as well: the fireplace chimney. Though the prevention of smoke or fire damage from a filthy chimney is the number one consideration, there are other good reasons to invest in a professional chimney inspection.
As most homeowners know, creosote, a flammable, tar-like by-product of wood burning, can build up quickly in any chimney. Though the buildup depends on the frequency with which the fireplace is used and the type of wood burned, it’s safe to say that in just one season a chimney can become a potential hazard. A professional chimney inspection easily reveals the problem, and the cleaning is efficiently performed.
Another good reason to have a chimney inspection is to spot problems in the mortar, bricks, and roof flushing. Though most people associate chimney inspection with just cleaning, the inspector is also able to spot cracks in brick mortar that can lead to serious problems. Also, any interior and exterior brick damage is also surveyed to maintain the integrity of the chimney as a whole. At roof level, where the chimney exits from the attic, inspectors are also able to check for problems with the flushing, which are the materials used to fill in the space between brick and roof. Damage to any of these components can lead to structural safety problems over time.
Chimney and flue cleaning is a safety step, but also corrects improper burning in the fireplace. Many homeowners notice over time that the smoke from a fire begins to vent less efficiently. During or after a relaxing winter fire, the smell of smoke may become particularly noticeable. These are signs that shouldn’t be ignored since they are probably due to a buildup of creosote or other debris.
To be on the safe side, it’s best to have a yearly chimney inspection. These are often best performed in the spring and summer months so that identified problems can be fixed before fireplace season begins. This regular preventive maintenance has the additional benefit of saving money in the long run.
This year, when the snow begins to fly, relaxing near a fireplace will be even more pleasurable with the reassurance that the chimney is in working order.