Preventative Maintenance Cuts Chimney Repair Costs
A chimney, along with all components of a fireplace system, requires specific maintenance tasks to keep it running the way it was intended. You can save significant money and decrease the risk of a dangerous catastrophe simply by performing or having performed a few basic preventative maintenance jobs on your chimney.
An inspection by a licensed, certified professional should be the first step toward getting and keeping your chimney in great shape. The average homeowner can spot certain types of issues that could lead to problems, such as crumbling bricks and mortar falling off the roof or water dripping into the firebox. But some compromises to a chimney won’t be seen until serious damage brings on the need for a significant repair job.
What is preventative chimney maintenance?
A chimney inspector will be looking at the entire system, inside and out. Here are some of the common maintenance tasks required to keep a chimney running optimally.
Chimney crown inspection. Masonry chimneys have a crown at the top to prevent moisture from rain and melting snow from getting down into the small spaces between the bricks and mortar and the flue lining. If there are cracks in the crown, the invading moisture will expand and contract through freeze & thaw cycles to cause serious and expensive damage. Crowns should be inspected, and sealed when necessary.
Checking the bricks and mortar. The exterior structure of the chimney also can crack over time, letting in damaging moisture. By applying special water repellant, you’ll save big repair bills down the line.
Chimney cap installation. It’s amazing how many chimneys are operated without a cap. When there’s no cap, anything can get into the chimney, from twigs, leaves and other debris to small animals and their nests. Any object that obstructs the flow of smoke and gasses is a serious problem. Solve the problem by having a chimney cap installed.
Repairing the chimney flashing. The flashing of a chimney is what creates a solid seal between the chimney and the roof. Deterioration in the flashing, which is inevitable over time, can lead to serious water damage. Other problems can arise when the flashing isn’t installed properly. In either case, inspecting and repairing/replacing the chimney flashing is an important part of preventative maintenance.
How often should inspection be performed?
Under normal operating conditions, it’s best to have your chimney and entire fireplace system inspected once a year. This will allow the majority of problems to be caught early and repaired before significant damage occurs.
However, if you’ve been operating your fireplace for several seasons without a thorough inspection, the time to arrange for inspection is right now while you’re reading this article. The crews at Chimney Specialists of Highland, Wis., are standing by throughout the year to pay a visit and perform a thorough top to bottom inspection of your chimney and fireplace. You don’t have to wait till the busy season just before winter!
If you have questions or want to arrange a meeting with a qualified chimney inspector, call Chimney Specialists at (608) 929-4887.