My chimney stinketh!
Cincinnati has plenty of Rain fall, High Humidity, and cold weather dips where we burn hard and fast These elements can all work together to make the chimney stink. It’s time for a chimney cleaning.
Some homeowners might shrug-off the fireplace smell as most households have air conditioning. If you have the air conditioning on, then the fireplace won’t smell…right?
Not so fast.
First, glass doors are frequently found in front of the fireplace. How does the fresh air get in there? It doesn’t. Also, let’s say you have a screen in front of the fireplace, the cool air might linger in the fireplace itself, but it doesn’t go up the chimney. That’s where the smells build and linger.
5 Causes of Moisture Build-Up Inside of the Chimney
- Poor Ventilation: Air flow in the chimney is important to keep the moisture level down. When moisture builds, the musty smell occurs. But remember, the musty smell can be the start of something more like mold and mildew.
- Humidity: Cincinnati certainly has plenty of humid days. As the cool air stays in the fireplace, you can be sure the warm moist air is slowly moving through your chimney, sometimes just sitting there for longer periods of time.
- Chimney Cap: An old, broken or non-existent chimney cap causes the rain and snow to make its way inside of the chimney. With the rain coming at us horizontally lately, there’s certainly cause for concern with the rain making its way down the chimney.
- Rain and Snow: Speaking of weather elements, we want to try to keep rain and snow down to minimum in the chimney as it’s quite easy for the moisture to accumulate.
- Cracks in the Chimney: As we all know, as soon as there is a crack in the bricks and/or mortar, moisture just found a new entry point. Over time, it will continue to deteriorate and more moisture will build up and continue to open it up more.
The Smell of Moisture
So now that we know how moisture builds up and gets into our home, let’s talk about the musty smell.
- Creosote: If you have a wood burning fireplace, use it or not, there may be creosote deposits on the side of the walls or chimney liner of the chimney. Add moisture to the creosote and you get a musty, smoky smell that is quite unpleasant if left untreated. It is also dangerous because creosote is combustible.
- Mold & Mildew: Mold and mildew does have a musty like smell. This gets formed from a buildup of moisture that gets trapped.
- BBQ or Smoky Smell: This is not a fresh smell of a steak cooking on the BBQ, it’s more of the unpleasant stale burnt smell. One of my certified chimney professionals call it the “stinky sock” smell. This is often caused by soot or creosote sitting in the chimney. Mix it with moisture and it develops this not-so friendly smell.
So now that you know this is a bigger problem than you thought and the lovely smell won’t go away by itself, let’s discuss what a Best Cincinnati Chimney inspection can offer to get rid of the musty, smoky, BBQ smell.
- Inspect the Chimney Flue: The chimney flue is the vent for the flow of air & exhaust from your firebox to the chimney top. If there is an obstruction, the certified technician will find and clear the path. At the same time, they’ll inspect the chimney flue to ensure it is in good working order.
- Chimney Sweep: With regular sweeping of the chimney and fireplace, the musty order may be controlled. This may also prevent any mold or mildew build up, along with creosote or debris that easily form over time. Remember, the smell can come from wood burning and gas fireplaces. It’s just not one or the other, it is both.
- Chimney cap: The
- plays a vital role in the health of your chimney – Every chimney needs a chimney cap for the same reasons every home needs a roof! It works to keep the weather elements out of your home along with your neighborhood squirrels, raccoons, birds, bats and much, much more. If the chimney cap is missing, rusted, or broken it can play a part of developing the musty smell. The chimney inspection will uncover if there is a problem with the chimney cap and if one needs to be added or replaced.
- Waterproof the Chimney: We use a product called Chimney saver. If you want to keep moisture out of the porous bricks and mortar, then waterproofing the chimney will certainly do the trick. It isn’t a solution you do every year; Chimney Saver usually lasts about 5 years. Ask your certified chimney technicians if its right for you.
Yes, it is a challenge living in Cincinnati where we have extreme temperatures, high and low humidity, each and every year. Can you imagine what your poor chimney goes through every day? It’s the highest point of the home and it takes a beating. So be nice to your chimney and, in return, it won’t stink. Schedule an inspection today.
- Published in Chimney, Chimney Cleaning, Chimney Dampers and Caps, Chimney Liners, Chimney Repair, Chimney Sweep, Cincinnati Chimney, Cincinnati Chimney Sweep, Water Leaks
A problem in aging homes
Common Chimney Problems in Aging & Historic Homes in the Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky Market
Since at least the 1940s, the absence of a chimney liner in a chimney has been recognized as an imminent danger. Historic homes that reflect the architecture and charm of designs from our history have tremendous appeal, but with an old home comes an old chimney. In aging and historic homes, chimney problems are inevitable. This is a list of some of the most common problems associated with the chimneys in old and historic homes.
Dangers of Having No Chimney Liner
Fire safety experts continue to share a quote from that time period in which it was said that not having a chimney liner is hazardous at a near-criminal level.
In the 1950’s Chimney liners became mandatory in the U.S. Historic homes from the 1940s and earlier were usually built with no chimney liner, just bricks and not even fire bricks. These bricks are substandard for fireplaces and can create a lot of issues in a chimney. The following are the primary dangers associated with using any chimney that is not protected with a liner.
The Threat of a House Fire Due to Pyrolysis
A chimney liner protects against fire getting to combustibles which are not fuel (Like your house) When a fireplace is used without a flue liner or with a damaged liner, the exposed combustion materials go through a gradual process known as pyrolysis. As a result of pyrolysis, the structures are altered so that they combust at a much lower temperature. With no warning, a house fire will ignite and spread rapidly throughout the home.
Highly Combustible Creosote
Wood fires produce creosote, a highly flammable tar-like substance that is deposited into a chimney every time a fire is lit. If a burning ember floats up the chimney, it can cause the creosote to ignite. Chimney fires are always dangerous but especially when a chimney is not lined because virtually any chimney fire could easily spread throughout the home.
Bricks are durable, lasting a century or more if undamaged. Mortar, on the other hand, lasts only about 25 years at best. The mortar should be replaced whenever it begins to deteriorate because one of its primary functions is to protect the masonry system from moisture. If moisture intrusion occurs, winter cycles of freezing and thawing create movement in the bricks that break them down. A chimney will begin to lean and could even collapse when this occurs, though moisture can get in through other avenues besides damaged mortar as well.
Spalling is evidence of masonry damage. Spalling is when the front face of the brick pops off, and piles of debris around the chimney on the roof or the ground below provide evidence that the destructive process is occurring.
Exposure to Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is one of the byproducts of fires. Chimney liners keep this toxic combustible gases from fires contained in the chimney until they escape to the outdoors. In the absence of a chimney liner or with a broken one, these gases enter the residence. Carbon Monoxide is known as a silent killer because it is odorless, tasteless, invisible, and symptomless and escape from the deadly fumes is often impossible.
Normal settling of a house doesn’t necessarily cause foundation damage, but in older homes, there is a greater chance of damage caused by a shifting foundation due to the additional time. Cracks in the masonry is one of the symptoms of settling. When the cracks form, they begin to absorb water and then the water freezes and expands the cracks even larger.
- Published in Chimney, Chimney Liners, Chimney Repair, Cincinnati Chimney Sweep, Cincinnati Roofing, Water Leaks
5 Considerations When Choosing a Chimney Sweep
Now that fall is over, we need to start thinking about the winter season here in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Once the winter hits, the temperatures drop, and we need to start using the chimney. Chimney maintenance and chimney cleaning are essential tasks for homeowners that have fireplaces in their homes. In this short guide, you will be informed of the top five considerations when choosing a chimney sweep for your home.
- Hire a professional
The number one consideration when choosing a chimney sweep is to use a professional. Do not attempt to clean your own chimney if you have never done so before. Do not hire a neighbor or a friend of a friend, as you do not know if they have the education, experience, insurance, or even a roofer who have never performed a chimney sweep before. Make sure you go with a respectable person or company that has years of experience under their belt!
- Education & experience
Another consideration when choosing a chimney sweep is to take the knowledge and expertise of the chimney sweep into account. If they are brand new and have never performed a chimney sweep, your home may not be the best one for them to learn on! On the other hand, if the individual has years of experience and is certified in their profession, you want to snatch them up as they will do a great job getting your home ready for fall!
When hiring a professional of any kind, you want to verify if they have insurance. The reason this is important is that of liability. If the chimney sweep is on your roof performing necessary chimney maintenance and chimney cleaning and they fall off your roof and do not have insurance, you could be liable for their injuries because they fell off your roof. If you do not have the knowledge or the time to complete chimney cleaning on your own, it may be wise to seek help from a professional handyman or vent cleaning company. Just like with HVAC maintenance, roofing fixes, power washing, cleaning of the gutters, simple remodeling, and exterior painting, make sure to investigate the company thoroughly to determine if they are respectable, accountable and insured before hiring them to perform any work for you!
- Online reviews
Another consideration to take into account when choosing a chimney sweep is to look at online reviews. Sites like Angie’s List, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau are all places you can study to make sure the individual you select is acting in good faith and is responsible for their tasks. It will state in the reviews if the person you are considering is highly rated or if you should pass on their services.
- Price comparisons
The last consideration you need to take into account when choosing a chimney sweep is the cost of the individual you plan on using. There can be large price differences between chimney sweeps based on experience as well as location. You want to make sure you are getting the best value you can, and the best way to accomplish this is complete price comparisons between area professionals.
As you can see, there are multiple things to look at when hiring a chimney sweep. You want to ensure you have chimney maintenance and chimney cleaning performed every year to keep your home in good condition and to have heat when it is needed. If you follow our advice on the top five considerations when choosing a chimney sweep, you will have the warmest and cleanest chimney in all of Cincinnati!
- Published in Chimney, Chimney Cleaning, Chimney Dampers and Caps, Chimney Liners, Chimney Repair, Chimney Sweep
What are Chimney Caps and Why Do You Need One?
There are more elements to your chimney system than most homeowners realise and each one plays a crucial role in ensuring your chimney system is functioning properly. While for the most part, the primary role of your chimney is to allow smoke from your fireplace to safely leave your home, it’s important to ensure nothing comes back in.
Chimney caps are a critical component of your chimney system and are the one element that protects your entire chimney system. With a properly installed and functioning chimney cap in place, you can be sure that your fireplace will function correctly and safely.
Keep reading to find out exactly what a chimney cap is and why you need one for your chimney system.
What are Chimney Caps?
Chimney caps are located at the very top of your chimney that cover sand protects the opening on top. Chimney caps are installed above the opening of the chimney to allow smoke to pass between the top of the flue and the cap itself. There are many different styles, shapes, finishes and sizes used depending on the aesthetic and exterior painting job on your home but they all serve the same basic functions.
Why Do You Need a Chimney Cap?
A chimney cap is essential in keeping your fireplace running smoothly and safely. Essentially, it acts as a barrier to protect the top of the flue, allowing smoke to exit from your chimney while keeping birds, animals, debris and water out. Chimney caps also help to keep sparks and embers off your roof to prevent potential fire problems. Let’s take a look at four of the main reasons a chimney cap is important.
Prevent Animals From Entering
Birds, squirrels, racoons and other animals often seek out chimney systems to protect themselves from predators and from the weather. Having animals camped out in your chimney system can cause blockages, allows an entryway for wildlife into your home and can be unnerving for adults and children alike. However, with a chimney cap installed, you can easily avoid this problem.
Keep Debris Out
If you don’t utilize chimney caps, your chimney is highly susceptible to blockages from debris entering the flue. Not only can this cause damage to the flue liner but leaves, twigs, branches and other debris can block up your chimney and prevent proper ventilation.
Avoid Issues With Moisture
Although the outer elements of your chimney system are built to withstand elements such as rain, hail, ice and snow, your fireplace inside is not. In order to keep moisture out, a chimney cap should be installed or you could end up with expensive repair work to your fireplace that could cost you a lot in handyman bills.
Protect Your Roof From Fire
When your fireplace is in use, sparks and embers can often travel up the flue. Without a chimney cap to get in their way, they can find their way onto your roofing, into your gutters or even land on your garden and be the cause of a fire. This is something that all homeowners want to avoid and a chimney caps are a simple way to do so.
A Chimney Cap is Essential in Keeping Your Home Protected
Your chimney is a potential entry point for wildlife, debris and moisture to get into your home. Installing a chimney cap is crucial in keeping your chimney system free of blockages, keeping fire risk at a minimum and ensuring your home and your family are always kept safe.
5 Of the Most Common Causes of Chimney Leaks
No matter what time of year it is, it’s important to ensure that your chimney system is in perfect working order. As with any other element of your home, your chimney is prone to problems from time to time, which should be addressed immediately. If you don’t look carry out chimney repairs and look after these issues promptly, they can very quickly become major issues and cause further problems down the line.
Chimney leaks are relatively common and can occur for a number of different reasons. Stonework consists of different materials, which can be affected by water and cause your chimney to leak. However, if you are aware of the potential cause of the problem you should carry out the necessary chimney repairs to resolve the issue before it goes any further.
Let’s take a look at four of the most common causes of chimney leaks in Cincinnati homes.
Damaged or Faulty Chimney Caps
The chimney cap installed at the top of your chimney serves a number of purposes. It is there to keep birds, animals and debris out and also to stop rain from getting in. However, over time, chimney caps can become damaged due to bad weather conditions, general wear and tear and from abuse by animals. If damaged, rainwater can easily get into the chimney flue, damage your chimney system and cause a leak which can result in expensive remodelling work being needed in your home.
Cracked Chimney Crown
At the top of every chimney, is a large slab that covers the top opening to your chimney, known as the chimney crown. Its main function is to keep your chimney protected against harsh weather conditions such as high winds, rain and snow. Over time, it’s common for the chimney crown to deteriorate due to exposure and to fluctuations caused by changes in temperature. When this happens, water can gather in the cracks and eventually seep through resulting in your chimney leaking and you needing expensive chimney repairs.
Broken Mortar Joints and Cracked Bricks
With time, the mortar and cement holding your chimney in together can become cracked and the bricks themselves can also crack. Freezing and thawing of water deposits in the bricks over a long time period get into the concrete and eventually allow the water to start leaking into your chimney system. Many people choose to waterproof their chimney to avoid this from happening. However, with natural deterioration and bad weather, it is still a common cause of leaks which can cause huge damage requiring re-painting of your home and professional handyman services to get your home back to its original condition.
Poorly installed Flashing
In the area where your chimney intersects with your roofing, you will notice a layer of thin metal sheeting, this is your chimney flashing. Installing flashing must be done very carefully as the angle of the roof and the materials used have to be given careful attention. When the flashing is not installed properly, water is allowed to penetrate the system easily. Flashing problems are very common and one of the most common causes of water leaks in a chimney system that require immediate chimney repairs.
Avoid Expensive Chimney Repair and keep Your Chimney Leak-Free
Rain, snow, high winds and fluctuating temperatures can damage to your chimney over time. It’s important to pay attention to your chimney to ensure that you catch any water leaks early on before they develop into more serious problems. Conduct regular chimney inspections and carry out any required chimney repair promptly to make sure you keep your chimney leak-free and healthy so that it will stand the test of time.
Chimney Liners: Everything You Need to Know
Although many people don’t realize it, chimney liners are one of the most important elements of any chimney system. Whether your chimney burns oil, gas or solid fuel, the liner assists in guiding the by-products caused by the combustion up the chimney and away from your home. Chimney liners are crucial in not only protecting the inside of your chimney but also ensuring that your chimney operates as efficiently and effectively as possible.
While other elements of your chimney system are easier to monitor, a professional chimney inspection is essential in detecting any issues with your liner. Many homeowners overlook this part of their chimney system, simply because they can’t see it. Your chimney liner covers the inside of your chimney system, providing protection for your chimney. If your liner becomes damaged or worn, you might need to have it replaced or repaired to prevent further damage to your home, interior painting or risk of harmful chemicals entering your home.
Let’s take a closer look at chimney liners so that you can stay informed about this vital element of your chimney system.
The Function of Chimney Liners
Chimney liners provide three main functions and play a vital role in your chimney system.
Protecting the Chimney System
Chimney liners protect the brickwork and concrete that your chimney is made from. Corrosive byproducts created by the fire can cause serious damage to the masonry work if there is no liner in place. In addition, creosote and soot can harm your chimney from inside your chimney.
To ensure that your chimney is providing optimal ventilation, it’s important to have a chimney liner in place. Essentially, chimney liners create the right sized vent for your fireplace ensuring the right amount of space is available and a smooth passage is present for smoke to escape and for your chimney to operate efficiently.
Providing a Barrier
Your chimney liner serves the function of acting as a barrier in two main ways. First of all, it eliminates the risk of harmful chemicals entering your home through the brickwork of your chimney, which can be harmful to those inside. Secondly, it prevents heat being transferred to other building materials used in your home such as those supporting your roofing.
Different Types of Liners
There are three main types of chimney liners in use today. While each one provides the same basic function, different types of chimney liners are used in different situations depending on a number of factors.
Clay Tile Chimney Liners
Clay tiles can withstand very high temperatures and hold up very well to damage from corrosive materials, making them a great material for chimney liners. This method has been used since the 1900’s and while the clay tiles themselves are not very expensive, the work involved in installing them is very comprehensive, making this the most expensive option. Most of the time these are installed during the homebuilding process and replacing and maintaining this system is costly and time-consuming. Installing this type of chimney liner after your home is built can require heavy remodeling work.
Cast-In-Place Chimney Liners
If your chimney flue is in disrepair, a cast-in-place liner can be a great option. These liners work to reinforce the structure of your existing chimney as they are very durable and are not easily affected by harmful gases or heat. They also stand the test of time, often lasting up to 50 years. However, installation of these liners is a big job and should only be attempted by a professional.
Metal Flue Chimney Liners
Metal flue liners are the most popular option with homeowners nowadays due to their versatility and flexibility. Usually, metal liners are made of either alloy or stainless steel and they come in either rigid or flexible constructions. Your chimney professional will choose rigid or flexible construct depending on the shape of your chimney. Flexible liners have the added benefit that they can expand and contract with exposure to heat, helping to knock off deposits of creosote and other buildups.
Take Some Time to Understand Chimney Liners and Make the Right Choice
There’s more to chimney liners than most homeowners may think and with them playing such a pivotal role in the functionality and protection of your chimney system it’s important you make the right decision. Take some time to speak with a professional and make sure you make the right call for your home’s chimney system.
Protect your house from water
Chimney Crowns and caps are an important functional component of your home. They stop rain water from pooling and soaking into your home’s structural components. Without properly functioning chimney crowns, your home and finances will be in big trouble. We’ve found that leaky chimney crowns caused by rust, wear and tear, and weather damage can lead to serious problems for home owners. We’ve also found leaky chimney crowns can be prevented by consistently checking them. You should have your crowns and caps checked by a trained chimney sweep every time that you have your chimney cleaned, which is at least once a year.
Stopped up and leaky gutters is another way that water can work its way into your home. If you are unsure of how to properly check your home’s gutters for leaks, we recommend using the following sequence:
Remove Debris from Your Gutters
Gutters can be clogged by tree branches, leaves, and/or dirt. Before testing you gutters for leaks, you must remove any and all of the above mentioned elements so that testing can be done properly. It’s neither the easiest nor cleanest jobs, but it most be done. Use a ladder to access the top of your gutters. Cover your hands with yard gloves, and scoop all debris until the gutters are clear.
Use a Garden Hose to Run Water Through Your Gutters
This is best done with two people. Ideally, you want to bring the garden hose up the ladder while the water is not running. The garden hose should be placed in the gutter and your helper should turn it on. You or your helper should hold the hose in place while the other inspects the gutters and the house’s perimeter for any leaking water. Notes should be taken to ensure you know exactly where any and all leaks are.
Repeat the Process
Once you’re done one section of gutters, move on to the next. Repeat this process until all sections of your gutters are checked. When finished, you should have a comprehensive list of all leaks and their locations.
Take Action if You Have a Leak
Having a leak isn’t really a big deal. Not fixing it is. First, try to patch it with roofing cement or a metal/aluminum (*this is determined by what your gutters are made of) patch kit. Most leaks can be easily fixed in this manner. If a patch doesn’t work because too much is damaged, it’s time to replace the gutter. Replacement can be done in part or entirety. This depends on how much of the gutter is actually damaged. For a partial replacement, simply cut the damaged gutter and replace it with a new one of appropriate size and length. For a total replacement, simply remove the gutter and replace it with a new one of appropriate size and length. Make sure that the gutter is working properly by checking it as described above.
If for any reason you aren’t comfortable with doing any of the above-mentioned tasks, you can always contact an experienced chimney sweep and gutter service company to do them for you. Checking your gutters and chimney might cost you some time and money, but it’s definitely worth it.
5 Maintenance tips for your Cincinnati Chimney
It is that time of year again in Cincinnati where you are trying to stay warm and it is time to fill the flues with smoke in your Cincinnati chimney. It is nice to have a fireplace, but you need to be a responsible homeowner if you have one and msintsin your Cincinnati chimney. In this short guide, you will be informed of the top five tips for fireplace and chimney maintenance this winter.
1. Inspect the flue
The most important tip when maintain your chimney and fireplace in the winter is to inspect and clean your flue. Just like regular maintenance to the house with power washing and painting, checking the flue is imperative. The flue along with the firebox takes the brunt of the heat and damage from a burning fire. It can crack and become hot causing the potential for a fire. Make sure to check the flue before each use or at least monthly for damage.
2. Remove the ash during chimney maintenance
Another important task to complete when maintaining your Cincinnati chimney is to remove the ash in the firebox. Just like the HVAC system, this does not have to be performed after each use, but should be done regularly. You do want to clean it out at regular intervals though as too much ash will cause your fire to burn too quickly and burn out. If you do not have enough ash, you will have problems building and maintaining a fire. A delicate balance is needed and depends on how much you use your fireplace.
3. Clean the fireplace doors and hearth
A wood burning fireplace can build up a lot of soot in all areas of the fireplace including the firebox, masonry, glass doors, and hearth. When performing your Cincinnati chimney maintenance, it is critical to remove the soot from these areas. The buildup can vary, but usually, about every four to six weeks is the timeline for cleaning these items. By doing so, you have a better view of the fireplace, which gives you a more cozy environment in which to snuggle up with a good book.
4. Remove debris near the chimney
Winter in Cincinnati brings about cold and snow, but there are still some leaves that have not fallen. Make sure when performing monthly chimney maintenance to check the outside of your home, including the gutters, to verify there are no twigs, leaves, or other debris on your roofing surface or near the chimney. This dry debris could fall into the chimney and cause a fire. In addition, check for chimney repairs of the masonry on the outside of the home to make sure it is intact and safe.
5. Check all the smoke detectors
The last smart tip for maintaining your fireplace and Cincinnati chimney system this winter is to check the smoke detectors in your home. It is crucial to replace batteries in smoke detectors often and to test them monthly. If a fire were to break out when you are sleeping or in the shower, you want to verify the alarm works so you can get yourself and your family out safely.
As you can see, there are multiple tips for maintaining your fireplace and chimney in the winter. When you inspect and clean the fireplace, remove the debris near the stack, and check all the smoke detectors, you are doing your due diligence in keeping your home safe as well as your family. If you follow our advice on the top five fireplace and chimney maintenance tips for winter, you will have the warmest and safest chimney in all of Cincinnati!
4 Signs You Might Need Chimney Repairs
It is again the winter season in Cincinnati, Ohio, and that means it is time to kick on the fireplace and utilize the chimney. Before doing so, you want to make sure your chimney is functional and in good working condition. This is a task you want to complete on all your home systems, including the HVAC as well as the gutters. In this short guide, you will be informed of the top four signs you might need chimney repairs.
1. Your chimney is crumbling
If you have had a recent disaster occur in your home, it may have affected your chimney as well as the rest of the house. Besides having to perform remodeling, you may need to have chimney repairs completed to get your fireplace and chimney working again. If you notice any cracking or crumbling to the chimney after a tornado, earthquake, flood, fire, or hurricane, or if the chimney is leaning at all, you need to contact a professional chimney team to evaluate the damage to your structure.
2. Water damage and chimney repairs
Another sign that your chimney may need repairs is if you notice visible water damage. Water damage from leaks can be an insidious and slow process. Your chimney may have a minor leak, or it could be as severe as crumbling brickwork. Just as roofing leaks will cause the painting to peel and mold to grow, leaks in the chimney can cause stains on the masonry or ceiling. Musty smells may emit from the fireplace, or wet ashes may be noticed. These are all signs that you need to call in a professional chimney crew as soon as possible.
3. Your stonework is hot to the touch
Chimney repairs may be required in your home if your brickwork or other masonry materials are warm to the touch. This is usually a sign of a damaged flue liner, but it can also mean other things are not functioning correctly as well. If you notice any pieces of broken clay in the fireplace, this is a sign that your flue liner needs to be replaced. When the flue liner is cracked, damaged, or not functioning correctly, it can cause the gases that are usually swept up and out of the chimney to escape into your home. You and your family members can breathe in this contaminated air and develop respiratory issues from the harmful gases.
4. Your fireplace is at the end of its life
If you have used your chimney and fireplace for many years, it may be coming to the end of its life. One of the hardest working portions of your chimney is the firebox. It takes the brunt of the heat and abuse from the fire and flames. Simple wear and tear may require you to replace the flue or firebox after multiple years of usage. Make sure you are inspecting your firebox monthly and if you notice cracks or damage to the masonry, call in a professional fireplace handyman or a professional chimney team to evaluate the severity of it.
As you can see, there are multiple signs to look for when operating your chimney for the first time this season. Whether you notice water damage, normal wear from use, or any structural damage, you will be well prepared to fix the obstacle and start using your fireplace this winter. If you follow our advice on the top four signs you may need chimney repairs, your Cincinnati home will be cozy and warm from your working fireplace this winter!
Chimney Maintenance: 4 Common Signs Your Chimney Needs to Be Repaired
With the fall and winter temperatures plummeting in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, you need to make sure the chimney and fireplace are in good working order before turning them on. If you have performed excellent chimney cleaning and chimney maintenance over the year, your stack should start up just fine. If you have lacked in your chimney maintenance, then you may require chimney repair before you can fire up the heat. In this short guide, you will be informed of the top four everyday signs your flue needs chimney repair.
1. A damaged liner
One of the easiest ways to see if you have a damaged liner is if the chimney masonry gets too hot. You can tell as there will be a portion of clay liner that has broken off, laying in the in the fireplace. If you notice this occurring, you need to call a handyman or a professional chimney repair team, as if you delay, your home can become filled with harmful gases. Make sure to have a chimney cleaning performed at least yearly to prevent a cracked liner from occurring.
2. Water penetration
Another telltale sign of damage to your chimney that needs repair is water damage. Just as with leaky roofing, your stack can have a small leak, and it can be quite extensive. A minor leak will consist of a few water droplets to the fireplace, while a massive leak will include masonry that is deteriorating and starting to crumble. You may also notice a musty odor or stains on the bricks surrounding the fireplace. If you see these signs or wet ash, make sure to call a professional chimney team immediately.
3. Damage to the structure
If you notice any type of damage to the chimney or fireplace after a storm has rolled through the area, you are looking at structural damage to the chimney. Repairs and possibly a new chimney installation may be needed. Make sure to check other outdoor structures of your home for damage such as the HVAC system, the gutters, and make sure the exterior painting has not been affected. If you notice the chimney is crooked or leaning after a major storm, a fire, an earthquake, or a tornado, make sure to call your local professional chimney crew to have the structure evaluated.
4. Wear and tear – Chimney maintenance
The last common sign to look for to determine if your chimney needs to be repaired is normal old age. Chimneys do a lot of work with hot temperatures and flames. They are efficient but can wear out over time and based on the amount of utilization of the fireplace. Make it a habit to clean out the ash and check your firebox monthly to inspect it for cracks.
As you can see, there are multiple issues to watch for to make sure your chimney is in proper working order. Make sure to have appropriate chimney cleaning as well as chimney maintenance performed at regular intervals. If you follow our advice on the top four common signs your chimney needs chimney repair, you will have the warmest home in all of Ohio!