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Chimney Inspection is an Important Part of Having a Safe Chimney

Each season, it is imperative that you have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional. There are several areas both inside and outside of the chimney and fireplace the technician will check and clean. If any of these areas show abnormal wear or damage, the technician will recommend a course of action. Here are some areas that may require restoration upon inspection.

Chimney restoration will help keep your chimney safe

  • Chimney Liner – over time, the liner of the chimney can become damaged from regular use. In addition, the liner may be damaged from outside issues, such as water in the system that can cause structural damage. Your technician will present the best alternatives based on the type of flue you currently have and the extent of the damage.
  • Firebox – this is probably the area of your fireplace and chimney that takes the most significant damage every season due to the high temperatures. The technician will check for things such as loose or damaged bricks as well as warped or cracked panels if it is a prefabricated fireplace.
  • Chimney Cap – this small piece of the chimney plays one of the most important roles in protecting your chimney. If you do not already have one in place, the technician will more than likely recommend installing one. If it is damaged, it must be replaced or fixed. This prevents things like water and birds from getting into your chimney, but also prevents embers from leaving the chimney and potentially causing a fire.
  • Dampers – the damper basically opens and closes your chimney from the outside air source. If the damper is damaged, you may not be able to open the flue when it is in use, causing a backdraft of smoke into the home. If it is stuck open, you are paying to heat the great outdoors. Either way, this needs to be fixed or replaced if damaged.
  • Waterproofing – by treating the chimney with a waterproofing agent, the chimney will deflect damp elements, such as snow and rain, rather than allow them to penetrate the brick. This can save the homeowner significant money down the road in repairs.

Why a Chimney Restoration May Be In Your Future

Most homeowners will have several indications by just looking at their chimney to see it is in need of restoration. These can include spalling or flaking of the brick and mortar as well as loose bricks and sometimes even missing bricks.

Chimney restorations are sometimes necessary

What you can’t see though might be the best indication that restoration of the chimney might be in your future. This is why we recommend a video inspection during the annual inspection process that is recommended by the National Fire Protection Association and Chimney Safety Institute of America. We are able to see what is going on inside the chimney from the firebox to the top of the flue and take detailed pictures so you are aware of the condition of your appliance from top to bottom and inside and out.

What we know from experience is that wood stoves and traditional fireplaces are subject to creosote buildup as well as other debris coming into the chimney if it has an open flue or any damage at the crown or chase. Allowing water in the system is one of the most damaging elements because masonry chimneys are susceptible to absorbing water and the inner working of all chimneys are made of metal, which in time will rust.

While restorations of a chimney can be costly, we cover all the options with homeowners so they are well informed and know what they are getting and why. The real expense comes when nothing is done about a broken system.

If the outer chimney is damaged beyond repair, it will need to be partially or fully rebuilt. There really is no other way to restore a masonry chimney but to relay the masonry components. If it’s the inner liner that is damaged, there are options depending on the type of liner you currently have and the total amount of damage. This is best discussed with your trusted chimney professional as they will have the information for your particular type of issue and the right options.