Is Something Wrong With Your Fireplace?
Generally in life, it’s best to not go looking for trouble. But when it comes to fireplaces and chimneys, spotting trouble early can save you a lot of money and keep your home safe. Many elements within a fireplace system can suffer damage or begin to operate inefficiently. Here are four of the more common problem areas.
1. Drafting issues
Are the bricks around your fireplace stained with smoke? Do you sometimes see smoke moving into the room? A fireplace that doesn’t draft properly is a dangerous fireplace. Smoke is no good for you, but invisible, odorless carbon monoxide, which is in the smoke, can be deadly.
Obstructions in the chimney – leaves, twigs, small animal nests, etc. – can cause drafting issues. So can a flue that’s the wrong size for the fireplace it’s attached to. With any drafting problem, you should have a professional chimney sweep perform a thorough inspection and chimney cleaning.
2. Creosote buildup
Another reason to have your chimney cleaned annually is to remove creosote that clings to the walls of your chimney liner. This sticky substance, formed when wood burns, is highly flammable and is the cause of the majority of chimney fires.
Certified chimney technicians have the correct tools and know-how to thoroughly remove creosote from your chimney. During this process, the technician also can closely inspect the chimney and fireplace to determine if any damage needs to be addressed.
3. Cracks in bricks and mortar
Over time, high heat and age itself can cause the materials that make up a fireplace and chimney to erode and crack. Small cracks on the outside of the chimney can allow water to get into the structure and cause significant damage.
Cracks or deterioration of chimney or fireplace materials that are in contact with parts of the house structure can release excess heat and cause a fire. Chimney inspectors are in business to spot damage early and get it repaired quickly.
4. Damage to components
Keep an eye on your fireplace damper, chimney cap, chimney crown and flashing. Damage to these and other components could mean serious problems are on the way, particularly when the damage allows water into the system.
Signs of chimney/fireplace problems
· Efflorescence: This is the name for white staining you might notice on the chimney, the bricks around the fireplace or within the fireplace. It means excess moisture is present. It’s not an immediate danger, but it could point to danger down the line.
· Water in the firebox: This is a classic sign of a chimney leak. If actual water is in the firebox, you know there’s a significant leak that needs to be repaired.
· Pieces of brick and mortar in the firebox: If this is happening, it means parts of the chimney are beginning to deteriorate. Don’t put off inspection and repair.
· Rumbling and ticking sounds coming from the fireplace: Let’s hope you never hear this, because it’s the classic sound of a fire in the chimney. If you do hear it, extinguish the fire in the firebox immediately and call 911 or your local emergency services.
The solutions to these problems and more is annual inspection and cleaning of your fireplace and chimney. Chimney Solutions of Alpharetta, GA, provides the very best in chimney cleaning, inspection, repair and rebuilding services. To arrange an appointment or get your questions answered, call (770) 771-5501.