Most homeowners are unaware of the maintenance their chimneys and fireplaces need in order to operate safely. Though there are some things homeowners should not attempt on their own, including cleanings and repairs, simple chimney maintenance is different. With the following tips and tricks, you can maintain your chimney, reduce the likelihood of future issues, and keep your fireplace working optimally.
Check Your Damper
Ensuring your damper opens and closes properly is important for a few different reasons. If the damper doesn’t close, your heat and air will escape through the chimney and drive up your energy bills. On the other hand, if the damper doesn’t open properly, smoke and gases will become trapped in your home. Check your dampers and make sure they open and close as they should, then call a professional if you see an issue.
Water can destroy your chimney, so it’s vital that you ensure it is waterproofed properly. You can add a water sealant to the outside part of the chimney to prevent water from absorbing into bricks and mortar and breaking them down over time. You can also install a chimney cover that will prevent rain from entering the fireplace while still allowing smoke to escape as it should. These things will go a long way toward keeping your chimney in good repair.
Have Your Chimney Cleaned
Homeowners who only use their fireplaces a few months out of the year should have their chimneys cleaned annually. Those who use their fireplaces for roughly half the year should have their chimneys cleaned twice. This can go a long way toward preventing the buildup of flammable creosote, which can catch fire and spread to your home. If there is more than an eighth of an inch of buildup inside your chimney, it’s time for a professional cleaning.
Inspect the Bricks and Mortar
Bricks and mortar can break down over time thanks to the effects of wind, acid rain, and erosion. Ensuring these are in good repair will prevent potentially catastrophic chimney failures. Simply inspect the outside part of the chimney and look for signs of crumbling or cracking. If you are experienced in masonry, you can repair any damaged areas yourself. Otherwise, you can contact a professional for further help in replacing bricks or mortar that are in disrepair.
Don’t Forget the Inspection
Though most chimney sweeps will perform a rough inspection during a cleaning, it is different from a thorough inspection. In fact, it is a great idea to schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning at the same time, and some companies will even discount these services if you do so. The professionals check the various parts of your chimney, including the bricks, mortar, damper, flue pipe, flashing, and more to ensure safe operation.
Chimney maintenance isn’t difficult, and for the most part, it’s about taking a look at the important components to ensure they are in good repair or functioning properly. Doing this can not only save you money in the long run, but it can also go a long way to keep you, your family, and your home safe.