If you have a wood-burning masonry fireplace, do you know the condition of the chimney? Homeowners often enjoy the wonderful ambiance of their fireplace while rarely giving a thought to the masonry chimney. Due to neglect of chimney maintenance, the first fire of a winter season ends in a hazardous home fire for many homeowners every year. Maintaining masonry chimneys is important for two major reasons. First, your home and family are much safer if you keep up with chimney maintenance. Secondly, you can reduce the cost of chimney repairs by addressing problems and having repairs made early.
Chimney Maintenance Keeps Families Safer
The primary threats that are heightened when chimney maintenance is neglected are chimney fires and exposure to deadly toxic gases.
An Increased Threat of Chimney Fires
A dirty chimney that hasn’t been cleaned regularly becomes obstructed with layers of flammable creosote. Every time a wood fire is burned in your fireplace, creosote is left behind in the chimney liner as combustion gases exit.
For anyone who uses their fireplace every winter, creosote needs to be removed annually and possibly once more during the cold season.
The chances of experiencing a dangerous chimney fire are increased as the amount of creosote in the flue increases. When creosote catches fire from a burning ember, the creosote feeds the intensive fire. Not only are chimney liners often destroyed by chimney fires but homes catch fire many times as the protection provided by the liner is destroyed. A home fire can also occur because a chimney fire spreads onto the roof.
Potential Exposure to Deadly Toxic Gases
If you don’t have your chimney inspected and cleaned before lighting your fireplace, your home could be exposed to life-threatening gases in two different ways.
Layers of creosote eventually obstruct chimneys, if chimney cleaning continues to be neglected. Since the toxic gases can’t escape, they enter the home. Carbon monoxide is deadly, and it is one of the toxic gases created by a solid fuel fire. What makes carbon monoxide particularly dangerous is that it is odorless, tasteless, invisible, and symptomless. If a home isn’t equipped with an operational carbon monoxide detector, occupants of the home are often unable to escape the fumes in time to survive the exposure.
Another way occupants of a home are often exposed to toxic gases is as a result of a damaged chimney liner. The liner is supposed to protect combustibles from the intense heat in the flue and prevent toxic gases from entering a home’s living space. If anyone finds out their liner has deteriorated to any degree, the fireplace should never be used until the liner has been repaired or replaced. In most cases, the practical option is to have a stainless-steel liner installed.
Reduce Repair Costs
Masonry chimneys are highly vulnerable to moisture. If chimney maintenance is neglected for a lengthy period of time, there is a good chance that moisture will have seeped into the masonry. The bricks will start deteriorating and, without repairs, the chimney will eventually collapse. By scheduling the annual chimney inspection recommended by fire safety experts, you can learn what repairs are currently needed, if any. (If your chimney is in good condition, you may want to schedule waterproofing, which adds more protection against moisture damage.) Stopping the spread of deterioration means the costs of repair are much lower than if problems continue to worsen.
Schedule Chimney Maintenance with Complete Chimneys Today
Complete Chimneys offers expert chimney repairs, chimney maintenance, masonry rebuilds, and comprehensive chimney services at affordable prices. Because of our extensive experience in the chimney sweep industry, you can be assured that your masonry chimney will be well-maintained in a way that helps to reduce overall maintenance costs and helps your family stay safe. Contact Complete Chimneys today at (410) 544-7600 to schedule a chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, and reliable chimney repair services.