Failing to prepare your fireplace and chimney for the conditions to which they will be subjected is surely preparing them to fail under said conditions. If chimney maintenance isn’t at or near the top of your to do list, it should be!
We really put our chimney systems through the wringer during the heating season; we owe it to them to have a thorough, annual inspection conducted after periods of heavy use so as to provide additional peace of mind that all things are as they should be. We encourage you to use the information provided herein and pass it along to your neighbors, friends and family.
Water is the enemy!
Not waterproofing a chimney opens the door to a multitude of problems. On the other hand, making the choice to waterproof your chimney enables it to repel up to 99.9% of water that could otherwise penetrate and harm all of your chimney system’s components.
The materials used to build most masonry chimneys experience hastened deterioration as a result of prolonged exposure to and contact with water. The freezing and thawing process — during which time water that has penetrated the various chimney materials freezes and expands — quickly deteriorates the overall construction of your chimney. Water in your chimney can also cause rust on steel and cast iron parts, ultimately weakening or destroying them.
Your chimney’s exterior is constantly battered by the weather. Harsh weather conditions can have a negative effect on your chimney. In addition, when water mixes with the creosote that is often present in a wood-burning fireplace, it will generate an extremely unpleasant odor that can fill your entire home. All of these things combined greatly compromise the overall structure of your chimney.
Chimney sweeping is a must!
Basking in the warmth of a roaring fire during the colder months is like a rite of passage for many. Winter isn’t complete unless there’s a fire burning in the fireplace. Much preparation goes into making this a reality. If you don’t put some thought into it before you light your winter fires, your enjoyment could very well be short-lived.
Dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires, which damage structures, destroy homes and injure or kill people; it can also lead to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning which can harm or kill people as well. Creosote becomes dangerous when it’s allowed to accumulate in your chimney. Although the buildup cannot be avoided completely, burning small, hot fires and using dry, seasoned wood can minimize the buildup.
Sooner or later, every chimney needs to be cleaned to remove creosote buildup. It’s highly recommended that you leave this task to a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. The frequency for your cleanings will vary based on the amount of use your fireplace receives, but it should never be any longer than a year between cleanings, as the likelihood of a clean chimney catching fire or producing deadly levels of CO is far less than a dirty one.
When you go too long without keeping up with those critical items on your honey do list, you can find yourself creating bigger home repair expenses for yourself. As many homeowners can attest, small problems can become big problems when routine maintenance is neglected.
The best way to maintain a fully functioning and safe chimney system is to hire CSIA-certified chimney pros like Ashbusters to ensure your maintenance is done right the first time, every time. We know we’re not the only chimney service in town; however, we believe we are the best and would greatly appreciate it if you would give us the opportunity to prove it!