Is Your Chimney and Fireplace Ready for the Cooler Weather?
Fireplaces are an ideal way to heat your home during the winter. Not only does it add to the aesthetics of your living space, but it also helps cut down on heating costs during the colder months of the year. But it’s crucial to ensure that your fireplace is safe before lighting the first fire of the season.
During the latest reporting period from 2012-2016, home heating appliances were the second leading cause of residential structure fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). That’s why homeowners need to make sure their chimney and fireplace are ready when cooler weather arrives.
Before winter kicks in, it’s essential to have a chimney professional perform a complete interior/exterior inspection. Most homeowners will need a basic level I inspection. During the review, the technician will examine the masonry for signs of spalling, water leaks, and other issues that could weaken the structure. The chimney crown and cap will also be examined since they play a vital role in preventing water, animals, and debris intrusion. The technician will also look for excessive creosote buildup that is a precursor for chimney fires. At the end of the inspection, the technician will review its findings and recommendations with the homeowner, which may include repairs and cleaning.
Annual chimney cleaning is essential, especially if you use wood fuel. Chimney cleaning will get rid of creosote, soot and other residues from the interior walls of the chimney, flue liner, and components such as the damper, firebox, and smoke shelf. These chemicals can rust metal parts inside the chimney requiring premature replacement of the damper and other parts if they are not regularly cleaned. For best results, it is highly recommended that homeowners hire a qualified chimney sweep to clean the chimney.
Putting off chimney repairs can increase health and fire safety risks and can lead to more expensive repairs down the road. Many common repairs like spalling, cracked, or missing bricks can be easily fixed when caught early. A chimney inspection will let you know which repairs you need to make. Make your repairs in the spring or summer, and your chimney will be ready for winter.
Most residential chimneys are made of brick or stone bonded with cement to form a compact and durable structure. However, water is its nemesis. And it can have disastrous effects. The constant battle of winter weather can soften the masonry. You may notice tiny holes and crevices in the bricks and gaps in the joints where mortar used to be. In extreme cases, you may observe pieces of brick on the ground or even entire bricks missing from the chimney.
Waterproofing can help protect your chimney from water intrusion. Once any necessary brickwork is repaired, your chimney professional may recommend waterproofing. The waterproofing agent forms a protective shield to prevent moisture from being absorbed into the porous material. Waterproofing should be re-applied every 5 to 7 years to maintain its strength.
Let Magic Mountain Chimney make sure your fireplace and chimney are safe and ready for winter. One quick call is all it takes to schedule a Certified Chimney Sweep® for your annual chimney inspection and cleaning.