Prevent Costly Chimney Repairs with Preventative Maintenance
We’ve all heard the sayings, “A stitch in time saves nine,” and “Prevention is the best medicine.” These are smart sayings, and they apply well to your fireplace and chimney. While the more extensive job of complete annual inspection should be handled by professionals, there are things you as a homeowner can do to prevent costly repairs or even a fire down the line.
INSIDE THE HOUSE
Check the firebox. The inside of a fireplace is put through quite a workout every time you build a fire. Intense heat, over time, will cause damage – even to the best appliances. Inspect for joints that have become loose and masonry cracks, which can be repaired with refractory cement. Any cracks will allow heat to spread into surrounding wall areas, so every effort should be made to prevent this.
How is the damper? For safe operation, dampers should open and close without sticking or catching. Inspect for rust, pitting and cracks. Replace the damper if it is damaged in any way.
Condition of the flue. You won’t be able to perform a thorough inspection of the entire flue, but you can watch for signs of damage such as material dropping into the firebox. For your inspection, use a good flashlight and check for loose joints or other damage. If you’ve had a chimney fire or see evidence of moisture damage, you should order a professional inspection before using the appliance.
OUTSIDE THE HOUSE
NOTE: Never access the roof of a house if you can’t do so safely. Professionals have training and equipment to safeguard them, so if you’re not comfortable, don’t do it yourself.
Chimney flashing. The flashing is prone to wear, with rust being one of the first signs. Make sure the flashing creates a tight, waterproof seal. You can probably make minor repairs without needing to replace the piece.
Bricks and mortar. Look closely at the outside of the chimney from all angles, watching for loose bricks, joints and cracks. If the chimney materials are compromised, rain water can get inside and cause all sorts of expensive damage and deterioration.
Flue from the top. With a flashlight, look down into the flue from the top of the chimney. As with interior flue inspection, you’re not going to be able to see everything, but you can spot debris like birds’ nests, leaves, twigs or even the unfortunate dead animal. If you don’t have a chimney cap, install one.
Inspection and maintenance are both important parts of owning and enjoying a fireplace. These tips here are useful for most homeowners, especially if it’s been a while since a thorough inspection was performed. However, these tasks are no replacement for the services of a certified chimney sweep with experience in inspection, cleaning, maintenance and repair.
Chimney Solutions of Alpharetta, GA, serves the entire Atlanta region with expert chimney and fireplace services to keep your appliance working right and keep your home safe. Call us at (770) 771-5501 to arrange a service appointment.