Winter 2015 hasn’t been too horrible so far, and many homeowners have been using their fireplace or wood burning stove to keep their heat pump from running so often. It’s time to consider a mid-season chimney inspection to make sure things are operating as smoothly as possible. Call Lou Curley’s Chimney Service at 610-626-2439 any time to discuss any potential problems you may be having with your chimney.

Let’s look at several reasons to consider a mid-season chimney inspection:

Birds and Animals: Temperatures have been very cold recently and we’ve had little snowfall. This means that nests, dens, and burrows aren’t as well insulated against the colder temperatures, as snow generally insulates during very cold weather. The chimney is very warm and a tempting spot to live during cold snaps.

Peace of Mind: Blockages and flue damage can occur at any time throughout the year. If you use your chimney often, the risks of damage increase. Take a look up the flue to make sure everything looks straight and smooth. If you see any cracks, blockages, or damage, call us! Any type of blockage or damage in the flue creates the opportunity for dangerous gases and smoke to enter into your home.

Creosote: Frequent fireplace or wood stove usage creates creosote more quickly. There is no way to avoid creosote buildup within the flue. Creosote cleaning logs are designed to reduce the amount of buildup, but they do not act as a substitute for a professional chimney cleaning. Creosote buildup leads to chimney fires and a very dangerous situation for your family.

Freezing Rain: Water is very hard on your masonry chimney. We’ve had a lot of rain recently, and your chimney has soaked in some of it over time. Freezing water expands and creates a dangerous situation for your masonry. Look for cracks or any other damage to the exterior of the chimney. Call us if you see anything that needs attention.

The CSIA (Chimney Sweep Institute of America) recommends that homeowners schedule at least one chimney inspection per year for chimneys that are rarely used. More frequent use would require more frequent inspections to ensure the safety of the structure of the home as well as the inhabitants. You can perform unofficial inspections on your own as part of your regular maintenance routine, but make sure to follow the CSIA guidelines as well.

Inspecting and familiarizing yourself with your fireplace or wood stove and chimney is extremely important because you need to know when changes occur. For example, as we mentioned above, chips or cracks in the masonry must be repaired as quickly as possible; this means they must be noticed as quickly as possible. Astute homeowners often notice cracks between official inspections, so they are taken care of before any major damage occurs.

Lou Curley’s Chimney Service is located in Drexel Hill and serves the surrounding counties. Call us any time at 610-626-2439 to schedule a chimney inspection or cleaning, or to discuss a potential problem with your chimney.