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Proper Chimney Maintenance: How Often is Enough?

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Given the seriousness of the problems that can result from an improperly functioning chimney, the importance of its maintenance cannot be overstated. At a minimum, the chimney and flue need to be inspected once a year, more if the fireplace gets a lot of use. These inspections should be done by a professional who is trained to spot early warning signs easily missed by homeowners.

Chimney Maintenance Frequency - South Georgia - Homestead Chimney

Chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning are the most deadly of the problems caused by chimneys in bad repair. The first occur when combustible creosote builds up in the flue and eventually catches on fire. The latter, known as the unseen killer, continues to claim hundreds of lives every year, typically resulting from poor draft and inadequate ventilation. Having a simple CO2 meter and alarm can help you know if this becomes a problem. They are accurate and inexpensive and they save lives.

The most important function of a chimney is to vent the toxic gases released every time you build a fire. Chimney blockages by debris and birds’ nests are common in improperly covered and capped chases and flues and are the primary cause of inadequate ventilation. The chimney also serves as a barrier between what goes up the chimney, heat and smoke, from the rest of the home.

Heat and smoke can seep through cracks in mortar, widening them and making the problem worse and can potentially ignite. Furthermore, there is no shortage of fuel in most flues, with creosote in different stages forming on their walls. A trained professional will see early indications of these issues and deal with them accordingly.

A thorough inspection will involve both the interior of the chimney, the flue and the exterior. This includes the chase cover and chimney cap. Your chimney sweep will check for signs of rusting of the chimney cap and chase cover, accumulation of soot and tar in the flue, and myriad other potential problems. Well worth the expense when you think about what it saves you long term. Making sure the annual maintenance of your chimney is done by a qualified sweep will insure that your chimney does what it was built to do: keep your family warm.