The chimney can be hard to troubleshoot, especially for the novice, new homeowner, or even an experienced one! This is because the largest portion of the chimney system is hidden, inaccessible to even a certified chimney sweep, who has to use specially made tools and cameras to get the best look into your chimney system. So it’s important to do all you can, and allow them to do what they can.
What You Can Do
The average homeowner won’t notice a problem with the chimney system until it’s a serious one. There is usually unseen damage for weeks or months that goes unnoticed before it’s visible. This is why homeowners should be vigilant about fireplace and chimney upkeep and looking over the system when they use it.
Look for signs of a problem:
- DRIPPING OR STAINING
This means you have water in your chimney system. This can be the result of damaged masonry or can simply mean the chimney cap or flashing is missing or damaged. Since water can wreck your masonry you should call a professional as soon as you notice a problem.
- A SUDDEN DECREASE IN EFFICIENCY
May mean many things, but it always means there’s a problem. When your chimney system stops working well it can be anything from a draft problem or your firewood, to a serious hazard like an obstruction or flue damage. You can try to diagnose a draft problem by cracking a window in your home and you can make sure you’re burning only properly seasoned wood. If the problem persists you should call a professional for an assessment.
- A DRAFTY OR SMOKY FIREPLACE
This is a serious indication of a problem and can mean there’s an obstruction or a problem with the damper. If you troubleshoot and the problem persists, there is a bigger problem and you need an expert.
- HOT WALLS OR SUPPORTS NEAR THE CHIMNEY
More than likely, this means the flue liner isn’t doing it’s job of protecting your home from the chimney’s heat. You probably need a chimney relining.
- CRACKING, SPALLING, OR HOLES IN MASONRY
Often caused from water damage, and this type of damage can be a serious hazard. It can be repaired by a certified professional with proper training and experience.
Schedule Routine Maintenance
This includes annual chimney inspections and regular chimney sweeps. These appointments are the only time a professional will see your chimney system unless you have a problem. You don’t want your first call to a chimney expert to be when you have a fire or when you need a repair. Even the most affordable and fair companies will charge more for repairs than diagnostics. The old saying is true: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Inspections and sweeps help you avoid hazards that can lead to catastrophic cost later.
If you haven’t had a chimney inspection this year, this call can be the best thing you can do for your chimney and your wallet. A chimney expert at Pristine Sweeps is standing by to be your chimney choice. Call Pristine Sweeps at 206-574-8414 today.