It’s Time to Call a Chimney Sweep
As well-built as most chimneys are, none of them will last forever without a little special care, cleaning and maintenance. Masonry damage, faulty components, issues with drafting, excess creosote – all this and more can cause a chimney to run inefficiently and be unsafe.
If your chimney is showing any of the signs below, it’s time to bring in a professional.
Smoke backing up into the house is no fun. Neither are fires that burn sluggishly or logs that never combust completely. If you’re experiencing these and other drafting problems, your flue may be full of various
You can prevent most draft obstructions with a quality chimney cap to keep debris out of the flue. With a missing or severely damaged chimney cap, all manner of obstruction-causing material can enter your
Common obstructions include leaves, twigs and other tree debris; the nests of small animals such as birds, rodents, squirrels and the like; and small animals themselves who die in the flue, unable to escape.
A professional chimney sweep can remove these obstructions and solve drafting problems.
If your chimney is leaking, you have a problem that needs to be addressed right away before extensive damage is done to the chimney structure and possibly the house.
Chimneys can leak because of damaged bricks and mortar, faulty roof flashing, a missing/damaged chimney cap or chimney chase top, a deteriorated chimney crown and other reasons. Signs of a leaky chimney
- Water in the firebox
- Dampness on the ceiling and walls near the fireplace
- White stains on the exterior chimney masonry
- Musty odors coming from the firebox
- A rusted damper that won’t fully open or close
Solving a chimney leak starts with a professional chimney inspection to determine the cause of the problem so that the proper repairs can be made.
Chimney fires come in all sizes – not all of them are full-on events that lead to mass destruction. But even smaller fires that start and go out on their own can cause severe damage to the chimney masonry, the chimney liner and parts of the home adjacent to the chimney.
Most chimney fires are caused by the igniting of excess creosote, which forms in the chimney every time a wood fire burns. Creosote should be cleaned out once a year by a CSIA-certified chimney sweep. You can help to prevent a fire by burning only dry (seasoned) hardwoods and never burning anything except proper firewood – i.e., no clothing, pressed board, plastics, clothing, furniture scraps, etc.
There are three common signs of a chimney fire you should be aware of:
An odd ticking sound
Excess dense smoke coming from either end of the chimney
The sound of rumbling, like from a faraway train
If you notice any of these, call 911 immediately and put out the fire in the firebox, if safe to do so. Then contact a local chimney sweep company for a professional chimney inspection and any needed repair work.
The goal of a chimney inspection is to spot trouble before it becomes dangerous and expensive to fix. Annual inspections along with chimney cleaning are the best ways to keep your fireplace and chimney running safely and optimally all season long.
Magic Mountain Chimney Sweeps of Frederick, MD, is on call year-round to help with all your chimney cleaning, repair and inspection needs. Call us at (301) 695-6991 for quick service and exceptional results.