3 Common Chimney Problems

5 May 2016
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A fireplace adds warmth to a home like nothing else. Yet the coziness this feature brings can quickly become undermined if you're not vigilant about keeping your chimney up to snuff. If you have a fireplace that's been behaving oddly, or if it has just been a long time since your last chimney inspection, read on. This article will introduce three common problems that can affect the safety and performance of your chimney.

Creosote Buildup

The wood you burn sends more than smoke alone up your chimney. It also leaves behind deposits of soot and a substance known as creosote. Creosote, a form of tar, is especially dangerous because it is a flammable material. When creosote deposits build up to a great enough depth, they present a significant risk of chimney fire.

That's not all, however. Creosote deposits can also inhibit proper ventilation. If the buildups become thick enough, this may lead to carbon monoxide and other dangerous fumes entering your home. Luckily, the dangers posed by creosote can easily be avoided by having your chimney professionally cleaned on a regular basis.

Physical Obstruction

Chimneys may become gradually blocked over time by soot and creosote. On the other hand, they may become blocked seemingly all of a sudden by some sort of physical obstruction. From dead animals, to bird nests, to leaves from overhanging trees, such obstructions will cause a fire to eject its smoke right into your living space. Not only that, but they present a distinct threat of fire.

Physical obstructions are generally encountered in chimneys that haven't been used in a long time. Likewise, chimneys without proper chimney caps are at a greater risk of obstructions, because it is easier for natural detritus to get inside of them. In general, it is a good idea to have your chimney inspected for obstructions each fall before you've lit up the first fire of the season.

Cracked Flues

Flues, also known as chimney liners, are one of the most important parts of your fireplace system. Essentially, a flue is a second chimney inside of the chimney. They help to absorb the heat generated by all of that fire and smoke, thus providing a further protection against the risk of fire. Because they are the first line of defense, flues are susceptible to cracks and deterioration over time.

A damaged flue can be hard to detect. If the problem has become serious enough, you may notice small deposits of clay or mortar on the floor of your fireplace. Aside from this, regular inspections are the best way to ensure that your flue is structurally sound.

For chimney repair, contact a company such as Chimney Repair from Top Hat Chimney Sweeps and Repair