Several things can plague the average fireplace and chimney. You have to keep in mind that these are not maintenance-free install it and forget it accessories to your home. They are fully functional heating producing appliances that need regular cleaning and inspections to ensure they are still working as intended. Here are eight common problems we find during routine chimney inspections.
Creosote – This is the number-one thing we find. Unfortunately it is one that you cannot avoid if you use the fireplace at all. The only fireplace that doesn’t accumulate creosote is a dormant one. We are CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) Certified Chimney Sweeps, so we can safely get rid of creosote buildup within your flue.
Cracks – Masonry cracks over time. The chimney crown and structure are often masonry, which is a porous material. Water seeps down into the holes and tiny cracks, and creates larger cracks over time. The best way to avoid masonry cracks is to waterproof the chimney regularly.
Obstruction – Small animals and birds often seek refuge in the chimney to build nests and protect their young from danger. They do not understand that your chimney is not necessarily a safe place for their family. We often find nests where birds, mice, squirrels and other small animals have lived at one point through the summer months.
Water Damage – The chimney stands several feet above the top of your home, so it catches all of the elemental damage that Mother Nature can throw at it. It is subject to water damage over time. We can apply a waterproofing solution to help protect your chimney from water damage.
Damaged Cap – The chimney cap is designed to protect the chimney from unwanted visitors without obstructing the flow of smoke and gases from the fireplace below. A damaged chimney cap may not allow smoke and gases to escape freely and may allow small animals or birds access to the chimney. You can usually see damage to the cap when you perform a visual inspection.
Damaged Crown – The crown is usually made of cement. Again, cement is porous and subject to water damage and more damage from the freeze-thaw cycle that we experience throughout winter. Proper repair and waterproofing will save the crown from future problems.
Damaged Flue – The flue is the lining inside the chimney. It needs to be smooth and clean in order to work properly. Damage to the flue could push smoke or carbon monoxide back into your home and create a deadly situation.
Damper Problems – The damper controls the flow of smoke out of the chimney and air into the firebox. A few things can cause it to malfunction; damage to the damper itself, water and rust, and too much heat. We’ll help troubleshoot the problem and repair it for you.
Schedule Your Chimney Inspection before Winter
Winter weather is just around the corner. We’re busily helping homeowners prepare and make sure their chimney and fireplace are up to doing the work that lies ahead. Most of the chimneys we inspect and clean are in good shape. These eight common issues found during chimney inspections aren’t generally related to a single home, unless it is a very old home that has never been inspected or cleaned. Call us at 610-626-2439 to schedule a chimney cleaning and inspection before winter weather sets in. You’ll be glad you did when you can sit safely and comfortably by the fireplace knowing that you did your part.