If you have a home with a chimney, you should know how it works, as well as understand even the rudiments of chimney repairs, cleaning and the importance of inspections. This information will help you identify problems if they occur. It will also help you to have a sensible discussion with your chimney sweep. If you live in an area where chimney use is a requirement during the winter months, you should definitely pay attention to the cleaning, repairs and of course, inspections of your chimney.
Chimney inspections should ideally be done at least once per year. These inspections help to identify potential problems before they occur. There are three types of inspections, normally listed as level one, level two and level three. A level one is a visual inspection for any obvious signs of damage or issues. This is also the easiest to do and therefore the most affordable.
A level two inspection is more detailed and requires the use of specialized equipment such as a camera to see into places you can’t see by just looking. This type of inspection is especially important after a severe weather or climatic event such as an earthquake. You should also get a level two inspection after purchasing a previously owned house.
A level three inspection is normally done only after major chimney damage resulting from a chimney fire. This type of inspection involves removing portions of the masonry and other components of the chimney so as to replace them.
The cleaning of your chimney should be done at least once annually or more often if your use your fireplace frequently. Before you use your chimney, you should get it cleaned. If you rarely use it, make sure to have it checked or nests, small rodents and debris. While you should get a chimney sweep, you can clean up the ash yourself. Remember that dirty chimneys do not work as efficiently as they should.
Repair jobs include fixing any holes or damage or missing bricks in the masonry. This may also require the replacing of chimney caps which help to prevent birds from building nests inside, and keep rainwater from getting into the fireplace.
In addition to the above reasons, making sure your chimney is in good condition should be part of your home improvement activities.
Give me a call at 610-626-2439 if you’re still not sure whether you need to worry about chimney maintenance. One of the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service can inspect your chimney to make sure it’s properly serviced each year. Armed with the information above, you can feel better about the safety of your family and home when you use your chimney.