When working properly, a chimney is a wonderful asset to your home. When damaged or compromised, a chimney can become dangerous and lead to big expenses for major chimney repairs. Here are five common chimney dangers and how put a stop to them before they get out of hand.
Creosote starts to build up in your chimney flue whenever you burn wood in your fireplace. It can be flakey, solid, or puffy, but in all its forms it is highly flammable and is the cause of most chimney fires each year in the U.S.
A chimney sweep who’s certified through the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) can help prevent chimney fires and the internal damage caused by the acidic properties of creosote. Professional chimney cleaning is recommended once a year.
Flues that are full of debris such as leaves, twigs, and the nests of small animals can’t draft smoke and toxic gases efficiently. Any hindrance to drafting can send smoke and deadly carbon monoxide into your home.
If your fires are hard to start and maintain or if you notice smoke in your room, a chimney inspection and cleaning should be scheduled. To prevent drafting obstructions from entering your flue, have a sturdy full-width chimney cap installed.
For a chimney to operate safely and efficiently, its liner and the interior masonry must be strong and free of damage. Clay tile, stainless steel and poured-in-place chimney liners all can begin to crack and erode over time, usually without the homeowner knowing about it.
Damaged liners allow the intense heat from fires and acidic smoke to contact bricks and mortar as well as vulnerable home building materials. A broken liner can lead to major masonry issues and even a house fire.
Annual chimney inspections and necessary repair work will ensure that your chimney liner and chimney masonry remain safe and fully operational.
Chimney leaks can come from a variety of sources including cracked bricks, crumbling mortar, a damaged chimney cap, a broken chimney crown, and warped or missing roof flashing.
Once water has a free path into the system, significant chimney structural damage and damage to adjacent areas of the home is possible. Watch for signs of a leaky chimney: water in your firebox, white stains on the exterior chimney masonry, powerful odors coming from the fireplace, and damp or discolored areas on interior walls or ceiling near the fireplace or the chimney.
Certified chimney service professionals can find out why your chimney is leaking and make repairs to solve the problem.
Mold loves to grow in environments that are un-drafty, damp, and warm. Chimneys provide this exact environment. Mold is known to be potentially dangerous to the health of humans and animals, and the danger is compounded because you often aren’t aware of its presence.
A chimney inspection can detect the presence of mold in your flue. Regular chimney sweeping will reduce this hazard. In cases where mold growth is significant, you should contact a mold remediation company.
You can prevent and reverse these and other chimney dangers by staying on top of chimney maintenance tasks. The best move is to schedule annual chimney cleaning and inspections from a CSIA-certified chimney sweep and then have all needed repairs performed promptly.
A1 Chimney Specialist of Winchester, TN, and Huntsville, AL, is ready to help with all your chimney needs. Contact a certified chimney technician in Winchester by calling (931) 967-3595. In and around Huntsville, call (256) 285-4895.