Your annual chimney maintenance is an important part of upkeep in your home. And this visit by a qualified technician should always include an exterior inspection. The condition of your chimney will determine the overall efficiency of your fireplace or wood stove and should be closely monitored in case repairs are needed.
Annual Chimney Maintenance: What Could Be Wrong With The Chimney Exterior?
Over time the mortar used on the exterior of your chimney will break down and wear away. This is especially true for the area around the chimney caps. Because this surface is flat, water can collect without running away and gravity and force make short work of any weak or deteriorating mortar joints.
When this occurs – even one small crack – the entire chimney may be at risk. Water will enter the chimney, and possibly your attic, damaging the materials and presenting a risk of mold and mildew growth.
Vertical Problems Need To Be Fixed As Well
Crumbling brick and mortar on the vertical part of your chimney should also be repaired right away. An experienced chimney sweep will be able to climb up onto the roof and have a good look at the exterior. Repairs may be small and quick or extensive and expensive, but in any case they should be done without delay.
Letting your chimney deteriorate will result in less efficiency, more smoke and more hassle when lighting and maintaining your fire. It will also result in an unattractive view that could age your home prematurely.
Always be sure that your annual chimney maintenance includes a thorough inspection of the chimney’s exterior. Plan to tackle any necessary repairs right away and keep a record of the condition to monitor overall wear and tear. These steps will ensure the optimal performance of your entire hearth.
Chimneys are an important part of your home’s architecture. If you’re building a new home or renovating an existing house to install a wood burning fireplace this element needs some serious planning and design. That’s because the installation and maintenance of your chimney will make a big difference in the operation of your wood burning fireplace or wood stove.
Match The Chimney Size To The Hearth Appliance
In simple terms, your chimney flue should be the same size as the flue on your wood stove or fireplace insert. In the case of chimneys, bigger is not better – it only creates an imbalance of airflow. Flue gas will flow up and out faster in a small chimney, producing a healthier, cleaner system.
Keep It Tall
Your chimney should be an absolute minimum of 15 feet tall (from the floor to the exhaust point). Although this isn’t a problem in most homes, make sure your cottage or mobile home system meets this minimum requirement. Taller chimneys actually produce a better system that will allow for easier lighting of the fire and better exhaust. If your chimney is below this height it could potentially endanger the safety of your family and neighborhood.
Regular Maintenance Is Vital
Keeping your chimney clean is important not only for its operation but for your safety. Chimney fires are common and highly dangerous, mainly caused by creosote build-up. Having a certified technician inspect and clean your chimney at least once per year is essential. The minimal cost will allow you to enjoy cleaner fires that are easier to light and maintain. You can also rest assured that your chimney system is holding up well and stay on top of any necessary chimney repairs.
The services of a knowledgeable chimney technician are valuable. For design, installation and chimney maintenance, get a pro on your side and enjoy your hearth as you were meant to.
Late Fall: time to cover the outdoor grill, in most of the country. It’s also a great time to have the barbeque serviced, so it will be ready to go next Spring.
It’s also time to think about your fireplace insert or gas stove. If you’re planning to be indoors for the next few months, you’ll want to make sure that your indoor hearth is as safe and clean as possible.
Gas fires burn cleaner than wood, which emits polluting smoke and lots of greenhouse gases. One sign of the difference is that gas stove chimneys typically do not require cleaning as long as the burner is correctly adjusted, while wood fire chimneys should be checked annually for soot and creosote buildup that can cause chimney fires. So your chimney should be fine – as long as your gas fire is operating properly.
A gas fire or other hearth appliance can provide a beautiful and warming focal point to a living room or bedroom. But as the price of fuel continues to increase, you’ll want to be sure that your gas fire is delivering all the heat you paid for. This is not a DIY project. Whether your fireplace or stove burns natural gas or propane, it’s a precision instrument that requires special tools and factory training from the manufacturer to make sure that it is burning fuel cleanly and efficiently.
The safety of your family and home are at stake, so don’t put them at risk by playing with fire: hire a qualified service person. Hiring an NFI Certified Chimney Sweep is the best route to go to ensure effective maintenance and your own safety.
Only a select few retailers have NFI Certified Specialist on staff. The National Fireplace Institute is a non-profit agency that operates independently of manufacturers to create standards for certification of installers, designers and service technicians. NFI certification is your assurance that the person working on your gas heating appliance has passed a rigorous exam. You should also ask about factory training by the manufacturer, since every make and model of gas heater is a little different.