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Annual Chimney Safety Inspections can Solve Big Problems

houston tx finest chimney sweep expertsYour chimney is an important safety device that is carefully designed and constructed to protect your home and family while you are enjoying your fireplace or wood stove. In order for it to do its job and keep your family safe, it needs to be regularly maintained and inspected.

However, many homeowners underestimate the importance of annual chimney inspections and often miss opportunities to repair minor issues before they grow into bigger problems. Also, some chimney problems, like a crack in the flue liner, are not so easy to spot. Annual chimney inspections can uncover potential issues and solve big problems before they become a safety hazard.

Creosote build-up

Creosote is the most common chimney problem and is the main cause of chimney fires. Each winter fire departments around the country respond to thousands of house fires that resulted from chimney problems, including unswept chimneys. Creosote is a natural by-product of combustion that attaches to the walls and flue in the chimney. This black or brown tarry chemical is highly flammable and continues to accumulate in the chimney with every burning fire. When the creosote gets too thick, burning embers in the fireplace can ignite it and cause a chimney fire. All homeowners should have their chimney swept at least once per year by a certified chimney sweep.

Chimney obstructions

But creosote isn’t the only problem chimney inspections can solve. Obstructions in the chimney can be just as dangerous. Your chimney is an important vent that allows fumes, gases and other harmful contaminants to escape your home while you are enjoying the warmth of a burning fireplace. When the chimney is blocked due to debris, small animals and other objects, dangerous contaminants and fumes including carbon monoxide can’t escape and can leak back into your home with devastating results.

Cracks in the flue liner

Cracks developing in the flue liner are more common than many homeowners may realize and is one more reason to schedule an annual chimney safety inspection. A burning fireplace is like a 1,200 degree oven in the chimney. When the clay or ceramic flue liners found in many masonry chimneys begin to form cracks in the surface after years of use, the liner is not able to adequately protect the home from the excessive heat and elements of combustion. This is a potentially serious issue that can damage your chimney and increase the risk of fire. To improve safety, homeowners should consider upgrading to the more durable metal or aluminum flue liners that have been tested by Underwriters Laboratory (UL). 

 Damaged or missing chimney cap

houston tx chimney cap repairs The chimney cap is designed as a protective cover to shield the chimney from water and other objects from getting inside the chimney. It needs to be regularly inspected so that any cracks can be repaired. While objects can cause chimney obstructions, water can soften the masonry and loosen mortar joints. If left in disrepair, bricks begin to spall and even fall off which can ultimately destabilize the chimney structure.

Guardian Chimney Sweep serves the entire Houston region with a full menu of cleaning, inspection, maintenance, repair and installation services for home-heating and decorative appliances. We’re here to answer your questions at (713) 401-2011.