Like most devices that function through a series of parts and components, fireplaces and their chimneys usually will tell you when something’s wrong before it becomes serious. The problem is, most homeowners don’t know exactly what to do to fix problems when they arise. This is why we have chimney sweeps – trained, certified professionals who understand fireplace systems inside and out. Here are five signs that tell you it’s time to give one of these technicians a call.
1. Fires that don’t burn completely
If fires burn sluggishly and are hard to even get started, it means there’s a problem with air flow. When built correctly and when clean, a fireplace/chimney structure will provide just the right amount of air to burn wood logs optimally. Too little air means insufficient burns, and too much air can cause fires to go out. If inefficient burning is your problem, a chimney sweep can find out what’s happening and fix it.
2. Odors coming from the fireplace
Odd smells is another sign of an air-flow problem. Normally, a burning fire should produce a pleasant odor. If there’s an issue with updraft through the system, the naturally strong odors in the chimney will fall back into the home. More of a concern is carbon monoxide entering the room. This gas is created by burning wood, and it’s invisible and odorless – and very deadly.
3. Creosote in the chimney
The smoke byproduct known as creosote can’t be stopped, but it can be cleaned. You may be able to put your hand up into the chimney and feel some of this sticky substance. Several months of fireplace use can create enough creosote to cause a serious chimney fire – or a catastrophic house fire. While you may be able to detect a little creosote, only a certified chimney sweep can remove it safely. This is why all fire-protection agencies recommend annual chimney cleaning by professionals.
4. Smoke in the house
Odors and hard-to-start fires are one thing, but actual smoke backing up into your house is quite another. In this case, there is a significant obstruction inside the chimney that must be dealt with immediately before another fire is started. Obstructions can include huge amounts of creosote as well as flying debris (twigs, leaves, etc.) and animals and their nests. If you’ve got smoke in your house, you need to call a chimney sweep.
A damper that is damaged will be unable to regulate air flow in the manner expected by the manufacturer of the fireplace/chimney system. Air will flow correctly when the damper is fully open. If the damper catches or is broken and cannot open completely, you’ll likely experience incomplete burns and smoke in the house. A chimney sweep can quickly repair or replace your broken damper.
When trouble is brewing in fireplaces and chimneys, Chimney Solutions of Indianapolis is ready to help. We provide professional cleaning, inspection, repair and maintenance of all types of fireplaces and stoves and their components. Get your problem fixed now by calling (317) 757-6979.