4 Common Chimney Problems You Shouldn’t Sweep Under the Rug
Fireplaces – and chimneys, in particular – are responsible for a large number of house fires every year. Most of these disasters could have been prevented by taking a few smart steps. The smartest step homeowners everywhere can take is to schedule annual inspections of their firebox and chimney system. In addition to preventing fires, inspections can spot damage before it becomes a very costly problem.
The reason so many fireplaces have safety or structural issues is because the actual problems often can’t be seen. It’s an “out of sight, out of mind” thing. It’s easy to just go along with your life when there are no obvious reasons for alarm. But problems with chimneys and fireplaces usually don’t go away. Rather, they usually get worse if left unattended.
4 common problems with chimneys
Let’s look at four issues that happen regularly and what to do about them.
- Creosote. As wood burns and smoke rises, a sticky substance called creosote attaches to the walls of the firebox and flue system. Highly flammable, a creosote buildup can create blockages and a tragic house fire. While you can tell how much of this substance is building up on the firebox walls, only a trained inspector with the right equipment can determine the level of buildup within a chimney. A certified chimney sweep can inspect and clean the entire system, restoring safety.
- Debris. Over time, a number of things can wind up in your chimney. These include small, unfortunate four-legged critters and birds, the nests that birds make, twigs, leaves and anything else that can fit. Significant blockage can result in smoke backtracking into the home and create intense and unsafe heat within the system. Bring in a skilled chimney maintenance team to rid your chimney of unwanted collective clutter.
- Moisture. Rain is unavoidable, but rain can cause many problems in a chimney. Leaks eventually can begin and cause significant damage. Odors and rust also are not uncommon side effects of moisture. Over time, water damage can lead to very expensive repairs and rebuilding. A chimney system should never be open to water, and you can make sure yours isn’t with regular service and inspections.
- Settling. Houses settle. We’ve heard the noises and noticed the occasional stair step that has started to creak. What we often don’t notice is the effect settlement has on a chimney. Cracks can develop that will allow smoke and carbon monoxide to enter the home, and that can lead to health problems. This is another important reason to schedule annual inspections – to catch the problem in the early stages.
A fireplace system contains a large number of components, all which must be in good shape to give optimal performance. While a homeowner may be able to spot certain damages or compromises to the system, only an experienced chimney professional will be able to go through the entire system to ensure it’s working safely and at maximum efficiency.
If it’s time to have your chimney and fireplace checked, Northeastern Chimney of Connecticut is ready to help. We’re conveniently located in West Hartford. To schedule an appointment or get your questions answered, give us a call at (860) 233-5770.