Spring Cleaning Checklist for Your Chimney
As winter finally moves on along and spring arrives once again, it’s the season when many people start getting active. One great active move you can make every spring is taking a few minutes to look over your chimney and fireplace.
Winters are hard on these structures, particularly if they’ve been used a lot in the cold season just ending, and especially if you’re using them to burn wood. A chimney and fireplace inspection includes some tasks virtually any homeowner can perform, as well as a few that are best left to the professionals.
Here’s a checklist to follow
1. Chimney cap: Make sure it fits securely and has no draft obstructions from any kind of debris.
2. Chimney crown: Check for cracks, which can allow water to seep in and cause plenty of damage.
3. Chimney exterior: As with the crown, inspect the entire outside of the chimney structure for cracks and crumbling masonry/brick. You can buy special sealant to cover very small cracks, but larger cracks could mean that the chimney is seriously compromised and needs professional repair.
4. Chimney flashing: This is the material that seals the gap between the chimney and the roof. Look for damage and faulty seals that can let in water.
5. Flue: You won’t be able to adequately inspect the inside of your chimney, so call in a certified chimney sweep. This person will use specialized equipment to determine the level of creosote buildup and any structural damage that might be present. The technician also can clean your chimney.
6. Damper: Make sure the damper opens completely and closes completely. Over time, these units begin to wear and need replacing.
7. Firebox: Your firebox should be free of cracks and rust. Either of these signs could point to a serious problem for which you should consult a professional.
Is your chimney leaking?
The problem with leaks in a chimney is that homeowners often don’t catch them before costly damage has occurred. Here are some signs of leaking. If you see any of them, address them right away or call someone who can.
· White patchy areas on bricks
· Any kind of foliage/growth sprouting in mortar cracks
· Dust, small chunks or any other sign of brick and mortar deterioration
· Rusty areas
· Discoloration of a brick or a section of bricks
· A musty, damp smell
· Water in the firebox
Spring is a good time to get this inspection taken care of, especially when looking for leaks. Upcoming rainy weather and storms will only make the problem worse, so don’t delay in scheduling repair work, if it’s necessary.
Northeastern Chimney of West Hartford, Conn., services the entire region with professional inspection, cleaning, repair and maintenance of all manner of fireplaces, chimneys and stoves. Arrange an appointment this spring to have us take a look at your fireplace and chimney. We’ll provide an expert recommendation on what’s necessary to get your system into tip-top shape for the coming year. Call us at (860) 233-5770.