Summer is coming to an end. Before you know it, hot summer nights will give way to the type of chilly fall night perfect for a crackling fire in your fireplace. The end of summer, before the weather turns, is the perfect time to think about maintenance for your chimney.

Regular maintenance and cleaning is extremely important in keeping your fireplace working well and safely. Even a fireplace that looks clean should have an annual inspection by a chimney professional, who may be able to spot issues that you wouldn’t notice.

One thing certified chimney sweeps look for is creosote deposits. Scrubbing a chimney for creosote, which forms naturally during wood burning fires and is highly flammable, greatly reduces the risk for chimney fires. This is one case where regular maintenance is key. The more layers of creosote buildup, the more dangerous it becomes.

Another top safety concern with fireplaces can be carbon monoxide leaks. When your chimney flue is blocked, toxic gasses are prevented from exiting and can then be forced back down into your home. Leaking gasses can also be caused by damaged chimney liners. Regular maintenance of your chimney will ensure that any blockages or cracks in the liner are found while they are small, and before they become a big problem.

Aside from safety, regular maintenance is paramount to maximizing the useful life of your chimney. Water can damage chimney masonry, especially through freeze/thaw damage. Freeze/thaw damage is caused when water seeps into bricks and mortar, and then freezes when the weather gets cold. When it thaws it can cause cracks and loose brickwork. Having an inspection done regularly can also be a great way to find out when you need to renew the waterproofing on your chimney.

Regular maintenance checks are also a great time to check the health of your chimney cap, or install one if you don’t already have one in place. Chimney caps prevent things like debris and small animals from entering your chimney. Keeping your chimney cap in good condition will prevent costly repairs down the line. Give us a call here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service at 610-626-2439 and we’ll schedule an appointment with one of our CSIA Certified chimney sweeps to ensure that your chimney is clean and in proper working order.