This winter has been very mild so far. Now that we’re approaching mid-late January and seeing lower temperatures, your chimney is likely seeing a lot more action. It’s so easy and cost efficient to light a fire to knock the chill out of the air and make sure everyone is nice and cozy. But don’t forget to schedule your post-winter chimney inspection and cleaning early to prevent delays in scheduling. We’re already receiving calls regarding March and April chimney cleanings, so call soon to schedule your appointment. Here are some of the things we discover during a post-winter chimney inspection:

  • Debris: Snowstorms and birds often leave debris behind in the form of sticks, leaves, and small pieces of trash used in nests. Debris buildup can create a blockage in the flue and eventually lead to chimney damage.
  • Rust: Rusty chimney caps, flashing, or dampers are a direct result of damage to the chimney cap itself and an abundance of water. We haven’t seen a lot of snow yet, but it’s still early.
  • Interior Damage: The flue can take damage if the chimney gets too hot or if a piece of debris falls down into it and cracks it. Many things can cause damage to the flue, so it’s extremely important to have it inspected at the end of the burning season. Relining isn’t always necessary, but it’s always a possibility.
  • Exterior Damage: The exterior of the chimney sees a lot of changing weather throughout the winter. This winter has been an exception as far as temperatures and ice are concerned, but we’re starting to see the temperatures drop now. Ice can still form in the masonry and cause it to crack if it hasn’t been properly waterproofed.
  • Shifting: Structural problems within the roof and chimney can cause the chimney itself to shift. Shifting puts more pressure on other parts of the structure and weakens them over time.
  • Creosote: Creosote is the tar-like substance that builds up in the flue over time. It is created from unburned wood particles, humidity, and smoke, making it extremely combustible. Creosote is the primary cause of chimney fires in the United States.

Areas that Need to be Inspected

Every area of the chimney and wood burning appliance needs to be inspected at least once per year. The CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) recommends that a chimney and wood burning appliance be inspected at least two to four times per year depending on the amount of use it sees. Here are the primary areas we cover during an inspection and cleaning:

  • Cap
  • Crown
  • Flue
  • Structure
  • Flashing
  • Damper
  • Firebox
  • Hearth

The chimney isn’t a maintenance-free part of your home; it’s a functional piece of equipment that needs proper care in order to continue to function properly. An after-winter inspection and cleaning will help ensure that your chimney will provide another year of uninterrupted service. Call Lou Curley’s Chimney Service at 610-626-2439 if you’d like to schedule an appointment with one of our CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps for your post-winter chimney care.