All homeowners should be aware of the dangers that can lurk inside their chimneys. Many deprioritize chimney maintenance in favor of other, more easily accessible household chores. This is a huge no-no! Your chimney may appear fine on the outside but could be damaged extensively on the interior, and you would be none the wiser. Routine chimney maintenance is the only way to go if you want the added peace of mind when you go to light a fire during the colder months of the year. The chimney pros at The Mad Hatter are ready to handle your chimney repair needs.
Damaged Flue Liners are no Laughing Matter…
Damaged flue liners are a definite red flag problem, one that needs to be repaired before you can safely burn anything in your fireplace. Your liner performs the following main functions:
- It protects your home and anything capable of burning from the heat within the chimney. The more heat that is allowed to transfer to those combustible items, the greater your chances of a house fire (and no one wants that).
- It protects your masonry from the highly corrosive flue gases, which are acidic in nature. If allowed access to your masonry, these gases would speed up the erosion of your mortar joints, which would allow these toxic gases into your living space (and no one wants that).
- It helps to facilitate the exhausting of combustion gases. If you flue is damaged or incorrectly sized, it can allow excess creosote to build up, thereby increasing the likelihood of carbon monoxide buildup as well.
As you can see, a damaged flue liner has somewhat of a domino effect with each subsequent domino becoming more and more dangerous than the last.
Leaky Chimneys are an Accident Waiting to Happen…
A leaky chimney is equally as dangerous as a damaged flue liner because it increases the likelihood of additional issues developing. Another negative with leaky chimneys and water damage is that it’s often not noticeable until it’s too late. Water has a way of damaging things from the inside out.
All masonry chimney materials (with the lone exception being stone) will suffer hastened deterioration as a result of extended contact with water. The freeze/thaw process only accelerates the deterioration, as there is more water in the masonry to freeze and expand. The additional water can also wreak havoc on your steel and cast iron components as well.
If you’re considering the application of a semi-permeable waterproofing agent as a means of preventing additional leakage, it’s important to remember that fixing the cause of the leak first, as well as the already-damaged components, is an absolute must.
Dishing the Dirt on Dirty Chimneys…
According to NFPA 211, chimneys, fireplaces, and vents should be inspected at least once a year, at which time cleaning, maintenance, and repairs should be done if necessary. This national safety standard clearly outlines the correct way to approach the problem. The CSIA recommends that you have your masonry fireplace cleaned when ¼” of sooty buildup is present (or sooner if there’s any glaze present in the system).
Even if you don’t use your chimney very much and think there’s no need to have your chimney cleaned, how can you be certain that something hasn’t decided to take up residence in there. The answer is simple: you can’t!
A dirty chimney is an unsafe chimney. Any time creosote deposits are present, the potential for a chimney fire exists. A hot fire in your fireplace could easily ignite the creosote into a roaring chimney fire in little to no time at all. Many times, homeowners can have a chimney fire without ever knowing it happened; this greatly increases the chances for additional chimney issues down the road, as your chimney’s venting abilities can be severely compromised.
With regular care and maintenance, you’ll be able to keep the cost of chimney repairs down and, at the same time, ensure that your chimney will provide you and your family with years of safe and worry-free service. We understand that you have options when it comes to chimney maintenance companies, which is why we put such an emphasis on the customer. Give us a call to schedule a sweep and inspection for your home today. We believe that once you experience our customer service first hand, you’ll realize the only company that makes sense to choose is The Mad Hatter!