While living in an older house certainly has its charm, there is quite a bit of maintenance involved. Your electrical and plumbing systems may need to be replaced at some point, and your fireplace and chimney should also be updated to meet modern building codes. If you have not used the fireplace very much, all sorts of problems could be lurking there or in the chimney that may end up being hazardous if you were to light a fire. As recommended by national fire safety organizations like the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), you should always have your chimney system professionally inspected before lighting the first fire of the year, especially if it has not been used in a while. At The Mad Hatter, we place safety as the top priority when inspecting chimneys and know what to look for to be sure everything meets modern standards. We would like to tell you some of the things we look for during an inspection to see if an older chimney is up to current building codes.
How sound is the structure of the chimney?
To ensure there is no structural damage to the fireplace and chimney, the certified chimney technicians at The Mad Hatter will look for any major cracks as well as crumbling bricks and mortar. Any leaning or imbalance of the structure can also be signs that the chimney is in danger of a structural collapse.
Is the chimney tall enough?
A chimney should be at least three feet taller than the roof, according to codes set by the NFPA. Additionally, the chimney needs to be at least two feet taller than any roof surface within ten feet. These height guidelines were created by the NFPA as a way to prevent fires caused by hot embers and sparks jumping out of the chimney onto a roof.
Is the chimney lined?
All modern building codes set a requirement of lining a chimney at the time of its construction. But, if your home was built in the early 20th century, your chimney may not even have a liner. A liner is an essential component of a chimney because it protects your home from high temperatures and the byproducts of combustion. If you have no liner or need to replace a damaged chimney liner, The Mad Hatter is happy to assist you by installing a new chimney liner.
Are there blockages of the flue?
If you have not used your fireplace in quite some time, bricks, leaves, and other debris may have fallen inside the chimney to create a blockage of the flue. Furthermore, birds and animals may have nested inside your chimney and left behind nesting materials that can also block the flue. When a chimney flue contains blockages, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is increased as this toxic gas is unable to exit safely out of the chimney. Our certified chimney techs will ensure your chimney is blockage-free.
Be sure your older chimney meets modern standards. Contact The Mad Hatter today to schedule a chimney inspection.