Timely chimney repair and maintenance is the only way to ensure that your entire fireplace system is running optimally and safely. Here are some common chimney problems and what should be done about them.
After years of use, the bricks and mortar that were used to build your chimney can begin to deteriorate and lose their strength. If you notice small cracks in the mortar or crumbling brick, you need to arrange for a structural inspection.
Left alone, cracks and crumbling will get worse, eventually allowing significant amounts of damaging water into the system. Minor chimney repair work might consist of sealing the chimney with a water-proof coating. When more extensive damage is present, missing sections of brick and mortar may need replacing through tuckpointing. In advanced cases, the chimney may need to be rebuilt.
Damaged chimney cap
A chimney cap sits atop the chimney opening to block rain water and prevent debris such as leaves and twigs from getting into the flue. Caps also keep small animals from entering the chimney and building nests. If the mesh of the chimney cap is damaged or missing, trouble is sure to arise. Chimney caps can be repaired or replaced, depending on the level of damage.
When debris, animal nests or the animals themselves who have died remain inside your chimney, you’re going to have air-flow issues. A clean flue allows smoke and toxins to escape; a blocked flue can send these harmful agents into the house.
Smoke in the house is no fun, but the carbon monoxide (CO) within the smoke can be deadly. CO is an invisible and odorless gas that can cause serious harm or death to humans and pets. Even after your chimney is cleaned of obstructions, you should have a working CO monitor near your fireplace as an added safety precaution.
The sticky tar-like substance created by wood smoke is called creosote. Over time creosote can build up inside a chimney and obstruct air flow. Worse than venting problems, creosote is highly flammable and is the cause of the majority of chimney fires. Small fires may ignite and go out on their own. A large fire can destroy a house. The solution is professional cleaning.
Inspection and cleaning
Virtually every fire-safety organization in the United States recommends annual cleaning and inspection of fireplaces and chimneys. Certified chimney sweeps have the equipment and training to thoroughly clean chimneys and inspect for signs of early damage throughout the entire system.
You can perform periodic visual inspections to spot certain kinds of chimney damage, but only a professional is able to do a comprehensive analysis and find problems before they’ve gotten out of hand. When chimney repair is necessary, a trained technician should be brought in.
Chimney Solutions of Indianapolis offers professional chimney cleaning, chimney repair, chimney rebuilding and chimney inspection services. We can help with all manner of chimney issues you may be having. Get your questions answered or schedule an appointment by calling (317) 757-6979.