Your chimney is one of the most substantial parts of your home. It can withstand natural disasters and high winds. It is definitely built to last as it literally has fire in a portion of it all winter long.
Even a chimney that is constructed well can develop small issues though. With all the flames and smoke that occurs in a stack on a daily basis, it is critical to maintain your chimney. By doing so, you can catch minor problems before they develop into major issues.
Continue reading to learn some of the most common masonry issues and how you can recognize them quickly in order to get chimney repairs completed before severe damage occurs.
No one wants to notice water dripping down the fireplace or stains on the ceiling or walls. A wet smell can also indicate there is a water leak somewhere in your roofing, chimney, or fireplace. Chimney repairs will be needed if a water leak is involved. Water is difficult because it can be occurring for some time before you may notice the signs of the leakage. The leak itself could be due to improper installation of the chimney cap or flashing where rainwater is coming in through a hole. Make sure to call in a chimney specialist or experienced handyman immediately if you notice a leak or other signs of leaking such as a decrease in the efficiency of the fireplace or new drafts.
Most times, your furnace should not have a smoky smell to it. There should be no smell at all. If you notice a smoky smell or even a smell of mildew, or decay, you need to be alert to potential issues with the interior of the masonry. Your chimney flue may need a good cleaning, especially if it has been a while since your last cleaning. It could also be that chimney repairs are required. You may have a water leak or need a new fireplace liner. Make sure to call a chimney sweep or professional as soon as possible.
Spalling Masonry Indicates Chimney Repairs
Spalling is crumbling of the brick and mortar as well as cracking and flaking. It can be caused by repeated weather as well as the passage of time. It is quite common in masonry, and it can be damaging if it is not repaired quickly. Usually, the brick and mortar need to be replaced with new, stronger mortar that will give your fireplace more durability and robustness. Painting of the new brick and mortar can occur, and no one will be the wiser that you had your masonry replaced.
How does a leaning chimney happen overnight? Well, it does not. Usually, a leaning stack indicates a problem with the foundation that could have been going on for years, but you never noticed. It could have been leaning very subtly and then gotten worse to the point you are noticing the lean. If this is the case, you will also see cracking in the masonry or a large crack between your chimney and your house. This may need chimney repairs, so it is imperative to call a professional in immediately.
Recognizing Masonry Issues In Your Home
A chimney and fireplace is a lovely addition to any home. It is one of the most substantial portions of your house and can add such flair and charm to a home. Chimneys can develop small issues though and need to be frequently maintained. This can be done by looking for chimney leaks, leaning, odors, and spalling and quickly repaired if problems are noted. By calling in a chimney professional, your chimney will be long lasting and will fill your home with much warmth for many years.
Chimneys are a great addition to any house or home. They give off an appeal and make a home feel special. However, they need to be occasionally maintained to prevent a buildup of chemicals and to prevent fires from occurring. This can be done with a thorough cleaning of the chimney.
Since it is summer, it is a great time to have your chimney cleaned, as you will not need it with the hot temperatures of summer. Vents need to be cleaned depending on how often you use your fireplace. For most people who live in Cincinnati, you are using the chimney daily in the winter. With this type of use, it is recommended that you have your chimney cleaned annually at a minimum.
Keep reading to learn more about the importance of chimney cleaning and how often you should be performing this crucial task.
Chimney Cleaning To Increase The Efficiency Of The Fireplace
One of the most critical reasons to have roofing inspections and your chimney cleaned frequently is to improve the efficiency of the flue. When soot accumulates near and around the flue of the stack, there is a drop in ventilation. Ventilation is necessary to remove smoke and carbon monoxide that is produced when wood is burned. Too much accumulation of creosote will prevent the smoke and other chemicals from escaping. Left untouched, smoke will back up into all rooms of your home and can cause severe damage.
Cleaning Assists In The Prevention Of Fires
Just like power washing leads to cleaner homes, chimney cleaning lead to spotless chimneys. This is important because a clean vent offers protection from fire. When wood is burned, not only does it produce smoke, but it also produces creosote, which is a dark, sticky substance that is quite flammable. The more creosote that is created and accumulates on your masonry, the more likely a fire is to break out. This is why it is of the utmost importance to schedule regular and frequent cleanings of your chimney. It is recommended to have your chimney cleaned when there is a residue of 1/8″ of soot accumulation that is visible inside your chimney or flue.
Prevention Of Carbon Monoxide
When a fire is started and burned, it is not just wood and smoke that you have to be cognizant of. You also need to be aware of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of fire. It is an unscented chemical that can be very harmful and destructive to humans and pets if too much exposure occurs. Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea, headache, dizziness, and fatigue. It is imperative to have proper ventilation in your home and to have chimney cleaning and yearly inspections of your fireplace to check for carbon monoxide exposure.
If you have a chimney that you infrequently use, it is essential for you to maintain and perform chimney cleaning. Not to prevent fires or carbon monoxide, but to prevent pests that can make your chimney their home. Wildlife such as squirrels, birds, and raccoons can find a way in your chimney and make it a cozy spot to live in. If they can get in the fireplace, they most likely can get into the rest of your home as well. A routine inspection and evaluation will allow you to see any critters that should not be there. By doing this annually, you will be able to catch any intruders before they make a nest or start storing food in your chimney.
How Often Should I Have My Chimney Cleaned And Inspected?
Chimneys need to be cleaned based on the amount of use. If you only turn it on once or twice a year, you could go a few years without cleaning, but if you use your chimney in the winter like most individuals in Ohio, you need to have it inspected, cleaned and maintained yearly. This will prevent carbon monoxide build up as well as fire prevention. You will also increase the efficiency of the flue with a chimney cleaning. Lastly, you can remove any pests such as squirrels or birds that have made your chimney their home. Make sure to call a chimney sweep or experienced local handyman to have your fireplace cleaned and inspected today.
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!