Chimney Inspection and Repair Keep Your Fireplace Working Safely - Have Your Chimney Assessed Yearly
By Matt Gallo
Your fireplace offers cozy warmth to heat your home in winter, but did you realize that it can also be very dangerous to your home and family? Cracked linings, deteriorating mortar, and creosote buildup are all common problems that can lead to health and fire hazards. These problems may be hidden from your casual glance, but a thorough inspection by a professional chimney sweeper will reveal these issues. That's why annual chimney inspections are so important. With prompt repair, you can get your fireplace back in great working order and enjoy it safely for years to come!
An inspection is a simple, noninvasive visual assessment of the key elements of your fireplace and flue system. We recommend having a chimney inspection as part of your annual cleaning. Your chimney sweep will check for cracks, deterioration, or other problems with the flue, crown, brick, mortar, and flashing as well as the firebox and damper. Sometimes a video inspection is conducted to ensure there are no problems in hard-to-see areas. If problems are detected, it is important to have them addressed promptly. Issues involving cracks, mortar, and weather-based damage will get worse the longer they are left uncorrected.
Cracks, leaks, and other problems can lead to house fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, and potentially dangerous situations, so it's important to follow up your chimney inspection with all necessary repairs. Chimney repair is always a job for professionals, so be sure that you use a qualified technician for complete, correct repair to keep your house and family safe. Common repairs include brick repointing, relining, and cap installation.
Repointing and Brickwork Repair: If the mortar in your chimney is eroding, it needs to be repointed. The mortar is essentially the glue holding the bricks in place, so if it begins to deteriorate, the bricks are no longer solidly held together--your chimney may crumble or collapse! Repointing ensures that the bricks remain in place and your chimney's structure stays sturdy. Missing or broken bricks should also be replaced to keep it looking and working great. Mortar repointing and brick repair not only address aesthetic issues, but they can also resolve chimney leaks and prevent deterioration.
Relining: Many older chimneys are lined with fireproof tiles or clay, but these materials can crack because of chimney fires and other problems. Once cracked, your liner can no longer do its job of protecting your chimney from extreme heat and preventing carbon monoxide leakage. This tile or clay liner should be replaced with a modern stainless steel lining for optimum protection.
Caps: Chimney caps keep water and animals out of your flue. Both can cause major damage and prevent your chimney from drawing correctly, so it's important to have a cap installed. We highly recommend screened caps to keep birds, bats, and other animals out.
If your fireplace is damaged, it's also important to have it repaired immediately. While many fireplace repair issues are simply aesthetic, you don't want to take any chances! Structural and other safety risks are possible with a damaged fireplace, so be sure your chimney professional inspects and repairs your fireplace as well as your chimney.
For safe fireplace function, have an annual fireplace and chimney inspection. By following through with all recommended repairs, you can rest easy knowing that your fireplace and chimney pose no danger to your home or your family!
Matt Gallo is a home improvement specialist and the Internet marketing manager for Prospect Genius, a leader in affordable marketing solutions for local businesses.