Chimneys are supposed to be tough and built to last. How durable they actually are, however, depends much upon how well they were initially constructed and how well the homeowner maintains them. Unless you’re building a home (chimney included) you have little control over the integrity with which your chimney is built. Nonetheless, you play a big role in how well your chimney is taken care of. Those us at Pristine Chimney Sweeps, which serves the area, love to teach our customers about chimney care and maintenance. For the CliffsNotes version of what we tell them, read on.
Show Your Chimney Love
If you love your fireplace and/or woodstove and want to keep it working safely and efficiently, you will do the following four things to keep it in tip-top shape.
1) Have your chimney inspected and swept annually by a certified pro.
This is arguably the most important thing you can do keep your chimney in good working order and to help you feel assured that you, your loved ones, and your property are protected from dangers of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Because the majority of your chimney is hidden from view, it’s important to have an inspection done to turn up any areas of concern—things like blockages and water damage or broken components. Attention from a professional will also allow you to rest easy and truly enjoy the fires you light.
2) Line your chimney.
A chimney liner’s job is to protect your chimney from catching fire, from rainwater, and from the corrosive quality of creosote, which is the natural byproduct of fire. When your chimney is lined, toxic gases are better able to flow out of your chimney, rather than leaking through your masonry or back into your living space.
3) Install a top-sealing damper and/or chimney cap.
Putting a hat atop your chimney—either a top-sealing damper (which brings with it great energy savings) or a chimney cap—will keep water, ice, debris, animals, and insects out. This proves to be enormously effective at protecting your chimney from water damage (expensive!) and reducing the chance of a chimney blockage.
4) Waterproof your chimney masonry.
Masonry and mortar are more absorbent than most homeowners know. Just like the grout in your bathroom, chimney mortar needs to be sealed to keep it in good condition and to keep it from absorbing water and transferring it into your chimney. A certified chimney sweep will be able to apply a waterproofing agent to your chimney mortar to protect it and your home from the elements.
Just let us know if you have questions about extending the life of your chimney. We’re always happy to help our customers in the Seattle area.