It is incredibly important to keep your chimney in tip top shape. We all love warm fires on those freezing winter nights, but if chimney are not looked after properly, then you may have some big problems not to mention expenses on your hands in the near future.
One of the biggest problems, your chimney will face is the constant precipitation and other weather patterns that can beat against the masonry wearing it down over time. Too many cracks, holes and water absorption can make bricks exceedingly brittle resulting in a badly damaged chimney that can not only be frustrating but highly dangerous. There are many ways you can maintain your chimney that will help you in the long run.
Depending on the type of chimney you have, you may have certain types of maintenance that other chimneys will not require. If your chimney has a hearth stove, then you will want to make sure that the vent is properly connected to the flue of the chimney. Doing so will help reduce the amount of creosote buildup in your flue which is the number one cause of fires. If you have a metal chimney, then it is important that you only use solid fuel heaters. Any other material cannot withstand the heat in the wood burner.
Safety is critical and therefore, you should not vent more than one heating appliance through your chimney flue. The flue will not be able to accommodate both and so you will run the risk creosote buildup, flue deterioration and the even greater danger of carbon monoxide leaking into your home.
In addition to obvious safety precautions, it is also a very good idea to have a chimney inspection done at least once a year. You also should keep it free and clean from creosote buildup as too much will cause fires. As tempting as it might be to use chemical chimney cleaners, they do not do a very good job in reducing creosote. They are best avoided.
Ensure that your chimney has a flue liner as a lack of one could allow the brick to absorb the creosote. If you have one, but it is damaged in any way, it is important to get it replaced as they will allow heat to escape and creosote to buildup. Thick creosote, more than 1/8 of an inch, poses a serious risk to your household and the structure of your home as well.
Such replacements are best done by professionals and when they come to work on your flue, make sure that the flue they will be putting in has been tested by a recognized testing laboratory. It is also important to ensure that the person you hire to do the job knows what they are doing and the fire department approves of your choice of contractor.
If you take all the necessary steps to maintain your chimney in the first place, then you should run into very few problems. Hopefully, this information has been helpful for you and all the best in maintaining your chimney. Enjoy those cold winter nights sitting next to your warm fire place!