Out of all the components of your chimney, your firebox receives the most wear and tear. Over time, you might notice cracks in your firebox. Even if they are small, you shouldn’t ignore these cracks. If left unaddressed, the cracks can lead to further damage and safety risks. Here’s why these firebox cracks appear and what you should do if you notice them.
The most common reason for these firebox cracks is extensive wear and tear. Fireboxes are usually constructed with high-quality masonry that is designed to withstand high temperatures and smoke exposure. However, even the best fireplaces can start to wear down with years and years of frequent use.
These cracks can also start to appear if your fireplace isn’t constructed properly. While this is rare, it can happen, especially in older homes. Another common reason for firebox cracks is water damage. Water can make its way in through your chimney, especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of rain and snow. The moisture can then erode the masonry in your firebox, causing a crack.
Cracks in your firebox should be addressed as quickly as possible. This isn’t something you can fix on your own – you’ll want to contact a chimney professional as soon as you can to schedule a repair. If cracks are not repaired, they will continue to get larger and eventually cause your fireplace to crumble.
You shouldn’t use your fireplace if you notice a crack in the firebox. The firebox is designed to keep heat, smoke, and harmful chemicals from escaping the fireplace. If the heat and smoke can escape from the fireplace through a crack, it increases the risk of an accidental fire somewhere else in your home. Cracks in your firebox also increase your risk of carbon monoxide exposure.
There are ways to prevent cracks in your firebox and extend the life of your chimney overall. The first way is to make sure you are using your fireplace properly. Don’t use paper or trash to build your fires – you should only use logs and kindling that are specifically designed for fireplaces.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re scheduling regular inspections and maintenance for your chimney. It’s easy to miss the signs of chimney damage on your own. A professional chimney sweep can catch problems early on and perform the necessary repairs to keep your fireplace in good condition. It’s especially important to get a chimney inspection when you move into a new home, as you can’t guarantee that the previous owner will have kept up with their fireplace inspections.
If you live in Southern Middle Tennessee or the Tennessee Valley and notice a crack in your firebox, A1 Chimney Specialists can help! Give us a call at (931)-967-3595 (Tennessee) or (256)-285-2895 (Alabama) to schedule an appointment.