Do you have one of the 5 Most Common Chimney Problems?
A chimney is not the low maintenance feature many people think it is. The handsome addition of a fireplace and chimney means taking on a whole set of responsibilities. To ensure that the wood-burning heat source doesn’t start a house fire or in any other way endanger your home and family, an annual chimney inspection is essential. Some common chimney problems are: chimney obstruction, creosote, brickwork problems, chimney crown and cap, and cracks in the flue.
Chimney obstruction or blockage is caused by numerous things, including obstruction of the chimney draft. If a chimney doesn’t have sufficient height, for instance, an ambient updraft can prevent smoke from going up and out of the chimney the way it’s supposed to. Negative air pressure caused by a house that’s too airtight can draw smoke into the home.
Chimney blockage is dangerous; it can cause toxic fumes such as deadly carbon monoxide to enter the home.
Contact our chimney professionals if you are experiencing some form of obstruction in your chimney. We can help you determine what the problem is, whether it’s a bird’s nest, chimney deterioration, leaves, an ambient updraft, an excessive amount of soot or creosote, or something else.
Whenever wood is burned in your fireplace, smoke goes up the chimney and flammable creosote is deposited in the flue lining. Creosote is a mixture of a black or brown tar and soot, which is a fine carbon powder. There are three forms of creosote, all of which can cause a dangerous chimney fire. Thousands of house fires caused by dirty chimneys occur every year.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that chimneys be inspected annually and one reason is to make sure there isn’t a hazardous buildup of creosote which needs to be cleaned.
A neglected chimney can lean, crumble, and completely collapse. Maintenance is needed to ensure that water doesn’t penetrate the chimney system. Tuckpointing is one of the procedures our chimney professionals frequently perform, in which damaged mortar is removed; the new mortar gives the chimney the stability and protection it needs. There are times when brickwork becomes so damaged because of moisture that the bricks also need to be replaced. Making repairs is, of course, far less costly than having to completely replace a collapsed chimney.
Chimney Crown and Chimney Cap
The top of your chimney is a chimney crown unless you install a chimney cap, which is recommended. If the chimney crown becomes cracked, it needs to be repaired so that moisture doesn’t get into the chimney system. Moisture is the biggest enemy to the chimney system and can cause damage to the masonry, lining, firebox, damper, ceilings and walls in your home, and more. Chimney caps also protect the chimney from moisture but also keep out animals and other debris, but they sometimes need to be replaced.
Cracks in the Flue
Chimney linings are subjected to a lot of stress, including heat and deposits of flammable substances. If moisture combines with the creosote, the lining can deteriorate. When a lining is cracked, it needs to be replaced before using the fireplace again, since the lining is what protects the combustible parts of the home from catching fire.
It can be difficult to determine whether a flue is in good condition. We use a camera which shows every detail of the flue, from top to bottom; we can provide you with assurance, whether it’s assurance that the flue is in good form or whether it’s assurance that the lining indeed does need to be replaced.
It’s normal for homeowners to forget about the fireplace and chimney when it isn’t being used, but it’s important to be intentional about ensuring that the wood-burning system is safe to use by scheduling an annual inspection. Our licensed professional chimney sweeps can answer all of your questions. Why not schedule an inspection and cleaning today?
Northeastern Chimney, Inc
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110