Chimney liners and masonry can begin to degrade over time, causing the accumulation of creosote, a potential human health hazard. The presence of creosote and other blockages in the chimney can cause your fires to burn less efficiently and increase the risk of chimney fires. A chimney inspection not only keeps your family safe from the threat of chimney fire or carbon monoxide poisoning, it also helps to identify broken bricks or waters leaks, as well as the presence of any birds or animals living in the chimney and any foul odours emanating from the chimney. A new chimney or major repairs to the existing structure can be very expensive. It is therefore recommended that you book a basic chimney inspection every year.
You may have recently bought a home with a chimney, or not serviced your chimney for quite some time, so therefore the first step is to assess the health of your chimney by hiring a home inspector. Without looking, the inspector won’t be able to see the condition of your chimney and offer repair or replacement advice. During an inspection, the home inspector will climb up on the roof to make sure that the chimney, downspouts, skylights, shingles, and roof flashings are in good shape. They will look for areas vulnerable to water incursion and examine the chimney carefully to make sure that it is structurally sound. If the home inspector needs to take a closer look, they may engage the assistance of a professional chimney sweep and together recommend a chimney clean or repair. Although occurring less frequently, blockages in chimneys connected to gas fires can lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide and other harmful gases.
If a problem with your chimney is noticed early, then it will be easier, and cheaper, to fix. As you enjoy your roaring fires during the winter, creosote builds up in the liner of your chimney. This creosote build-up can produce a sour odour that over time can become noticeable in your home. The build-up of soot and creosote in a chimney reduces its diameter and restricts its flow capacity. In addition, ice, snow and rain can find ways to enter your chimney during the winter months. The moisture that builds up from these elements can cause corrosion in your chimney liner and often lead to a damaged liner. Bats, birds, and small animals can also make their nests in chimneys – either for convenience or to stay out of the cold during the winter months. A spring inspection and clean will identify and remove any potential problems. If a chimney is used regularly, it may be necessary to sweep it more often. So if you skipped your spring inspection, book one before the coming of winter. A home inspector together with a professional chimney sweep will advise you on the optimum cleaning schedule for your chimney.
There are various measures you can take with your fireplace that will help keep your chimney clean. Ensure to burn only dry seasoned wood and remove ashes and fire debris from your fireplace regularly. When you clean your fireplace, only use products made for this purpose as household cleaners can leave a flammable residue. Let your fires burn out naturally; water makes ash pasty, which is harder to clean out, so only use water to put out a fire in an emergency situation. Don’t attempt to clean your fireplace if embers are still burning; wait at least 12 hours before cleaning with a vacuum or broom. Place the fire debris in a bag and leave it outside your garbage bin for 24 hours to ensure all heat has been fully extinguished.
A clean chimney is an efficient and cost-saving chimney, so the less heat you lose through an inefficient or defective chimney, the lower your utility bills will be. So keep the heat in and protect the value of your home and the health of your family by booking your next home inspection.
Building Pro Inspections will deliver a quality inspection that will exceed your expectations. We offer flexible scheduling and an inspection report that is clear, concise, and provides a comprehensive understanding of your home. Call Building Pro Inspections today.