Expert Advice: The Importance of Annual Chimney Inspections for Home Safety and Savings
On a chilly winter night, nothing beats sitting by the fireplace and savoring its warmth. It will keep you warm and is exquisitely gorgeous. However, if you do not adhere to a few chimney care guidelines, it may be unsafe to use your fireplace.
Maintaining your fireplace and chimney is essential for ensuring the safety of your home while utilizing a fireplace. Without adequate care and maintenance, you are prone to fires and water damage. Additionally, you can reduce your energy costs.
These six chimney maintenance techniques will guarantee that your fireplace and chimney are properly maintained and functioning. Mr. Chimney Sweep NJ is here to assist you with maintaining your fireplace, so don’t worry about anything!
1. Have a Functioning Fireplace Damper
The fireplace damper has a significant impact on the energy efficiency of your home. When the fireplace is not in use, the dampers should be closed to prevent drafts from entering the residence through the chimney.
If your damper is not closing, your energy costs will increase. It will be far more difficult for your furnace or air conditioner to reach the proper temperature since they will be continually battling drafts. They will ultimately use more energy to heat or cool your house, causing your electric and heating expenses to increase.
When using a fireplace, the dampers must be opened. If your fireplace’s dampers are damaged and unable to open, you cannot utilize them. The damper will retain smoke in your home, exposing you to carbon monoxide, which is extremely hazardous to your health.
Improperly functioning dampers must be repaired or replaced immediately. When purchasing a replacement fireplace damper, ensure that it fits properly; there should be no gaps.
2. Make Sure your Chimney is Waterproof
Moisture and the elements may be significant issues for a chimney. They can compromise the structural integrity of your chimney, induce mold growth, and even cause harm to the fireplace’s surrounding walls and floor. You must ensure that the waterproofing, chase cover, crown, and flashing on your chimney are all operating correctly.
First, waterproof your chimney. By applying a water sealant on the exterior of your chimney, you will prevent water from deteriorating the bricks and mortar and entering your home.
At the top of your chimney is a huge opening that permits smoke to escape. You don’t want to close that opening, but you also don’t want precipitation to enter your home. What can you do?
Chase coverings are a valuable addition to prefabricated chimneys. It covers the top while a little pipe still allows smoke to escape. Most prefabricated chimney chase covers are made of galvanized steel, which is prone to corrosion. Replace it with a copper, aluminum, or stainless steel chase cover so you never have to worry about rust again.
For masonry chimneys, a crown is required. It is a concrete barrier that keeps intruders from entering your property. Similar to chasing coverings, smoke exits from the crown via a pipe.
The flashing is located where the roof and chimney meet. Without a sealant surrounding the intersection, moisture might enter your property. Ensure that your flashing is in excellent shape.
3. Know When to Have Your Chimney Swept
No matter the type of fireplace you have, you must have your chimney swept to ensure the safety of your property. The question while maintaining your fireplace, is how frequently chimney cleaning is required.
While there is no set interval for chimney cleaning, there are several factors to consider with maintaining your fireplace. The frequency of chimney cleaning will depend on how often you use your fireplace. Once there is 1/8″ of soot on the chimney liner, it must be cleaned.
If you don’t know how to quantify soot, there is a simple meter you may use: every 50 burns, you should clear your chimney. This varies depending on the sort of fireplace you possess. For example, a gas log fireplace requires less frequent sweeping than a wood-burning fireplace. About fifty burns is a reasonable starting point.
4. Gas Log Fireplaces Are Better for Your Chimney Than Wood Burning Ones
This is one of the most creative maintenance ideas for chimneys. A gas log fireplace may be safer than a wood-burning fireplace for your house. Gas logs are far more eco-friendly than genuine logs, as they emit less hazardous smoke and are very energy-efficient. They have a 92-99 percent efficiency rating, compared to the average of 60-80 percent.
This is not only safer for efficiency but also safer for you. As the gas log fireplace consumes up to 99 percent of the fuel, there is less soot in the chimney. This means you may go longer between chimney cleanings and your danger of fire is reduced.
Do not believe that you are compromising elegance for efficiency. Historically, gas log fireplaces lacked the sophistication of wood-burning fireplaces, but times have changed. Now, the hand-painted ceramic gas logs resemble wood logs in appearance.
5. Make Sure Your Mortar Joints and Bricks Aren’t Crumbling
Your chimney’s bricks and mortar joints are essential for preventing water damage inside your home. However, with time they tend to fracture and crumble, allowing moisture to enter your house.
Tuckpointing a chimney is the process of mending mortar. If you observe that your mortar is deteriorating and your bricks are beginning to come loose, you require chimney tuckpointing.
For your chimney stack, be sure to get a waterproofing sealer. This will aid in protecting the mortar and bricks from dampness.
6. Have Your Chimney Inspected Once Per Year
A visual inspection of your chimney is insufficient to detect all faults; some are hidden and require an expert to locate them. An annual chimney inspection is necessary when maintaining your fireplace and the safety of your chimney.
There are three inspection levels to consider for chimneys:
- Level 1: utilized for chimneys that appear to be operating correctly. Examines each and every available area.
- Level 2: appropriate for households that are altering their chimney or heating source usage. Required before the sale of a property. Includes everything at level 1 in addition to the attic and crawlspace and exterior inspections.
- Level 3: the most thorough examination. Includes everything in inspections 1 and 2, plus the examination of additional covert places. This examination is for chimneys with significant issues that need to be resolved.
These Chimney Maintenance Tips Will Save You Money and Keep Your Home Safe
There are several chimney and house care ideas, but the following six are our favorites. They range from routine chimney inspections to altering the way you use your fireplace entirely.
Mr. Chimney Sweep NJ provides the aforementioned services; we are the chimney and fireplace specialists in Newark, New Jersey. We provide services ranging from chimney sweeping to complete fireplace and chimney renovations. Contact us to begin your project with a company that thousands of homeowners have relied on in maintaining your fireplace for over three decades.