A chimney shields your home from fire hazards, and a firebox serves the same purpose. Through regular chimney inspections and proper maintenance, you can avoid dangerous fires and repair costs much greater than the cost of preventative measures. Professional chimney technicians have the training, experience, and the best tools for the job of inspecting chimneys. Having your Chimney repair in Long Island by a professional is also your best defense against the dangers of operating a fireplace. The following gives you an idea of what you can look for if you plan on doing your own chimney and fireplace inspection.
Inspect the Firebox
A firebox that has loose mortar joints or cracks in the masonry should be repaired. Most chimney experts can do this relatively easily. The breach can be sealed with refractory cement, and that may be all that is needed. However, if there is extensive damage, it may be necessary to rebuild the firebox.
Check the Damper
You should be able to easily open and close your chimney damper. Examine the surface with a flashlight for excessive rust, pitting, or cracks. You may need to have a new damper installed if you see any evidence of these types of problems. Utility bills can also be affected by damper problems. It’s like having an open window in your home all year if the damper does not seal adequately when closed. If you close the damper doors while placing a dollar bill between them, you can check the seal. If you can easily pull the bill out anywhere along the damper doors, the seal is inadequate.
One of the best reasons to contact professional chimney sweeps for inspections is to avoid having to climb onto the roof yourself. You can climb on your roof and inspect your chimney if it’s safe for you to do so. The following are some signs that your chimney needs work:
Does the flashing appear to be in good condition? Metal chimney components are more susceptible to the elements than brick and mortar components. The flashing of your roof could suffer serious water damage, including structural damage, if even a small rust hole appears or if the flashing top does not adequately seal against water.
- Inspect your chimney’s brick and mortar joints. When the mortar deteriorates, moisture can penetrate and cause damage to the masonry. Damage can also occur if bricks are loose or cracked. A chimney rebuild is probably necessary if the structure is leaning.
- Check the chimney crown, which is the cement at the top of the chimney. Cracks need to be repaired to prevent moisture from damaging your masonry and flue lining.
- Check the chimney cap for damage. Install one to keep moisture and critters out, as well as a spark guard that can protect you from potential dangers caused by flying embers.
The flue lining can be inspected with a flashlight, but it is better to hire a professional who can use special equipment to do a thorough video inspection from top to bottom. Even the tiniest crack in the flue can expose your home to a hazardous chimney fire or even an intense house fire.
A reputable authority on fire prevention, the Chimney Safety Institute of America, suggests an annual inspection to ensure safety. You also prevent excessive and expensive damage to your home when you catch problems early.