Typical Expenses with Chimneys
You’re buying a new home and will have a fireplace for the first time. Or, you’re thinking of having a fireplace installed where you live now. Either way, a fireplace is a wonderful amenity in any home and will provide you with years of beauty and enjoyment. But like with any home appliance, fireplaces – and in particular, chimneys – need some care and maintenance to keep them functioning safely and properly.
Here are some of the common expenses homeowners will address with their chimneys.
Even the best-built brick-and-mortar chimneys will begin to deteriorate over time. Water seeping into a chimney can create a host of problems including serious damage from freeze/thaw cycles.
Annual chimney inspections will tell you if there are cracks and deterioration to address. Once any problems are correctly repaired, the next step is to have a waterproofing sealant applied to the entire exterior of your chimney. This will go a long way in preventing moisture damage in the upcoming years.
Also commonly called the “flue liner,” chimney liners are a critical element of your fireplace’s exhaust system. Their primary function is to create proper airflow and keep creosote and carbon monoxide from entering the home.
Most chimneys built after the 1950s will have chimney liners, but this isn’t always the case. If you don’t have one, you need one. If you have one, you need to have it inspected regularly, because liners will deteriorate over time. It’s also important to make sure that the liner in your chimney is the correct size.
Chimney liners are usually made of clay tile, stainless steel or cement. Clay has traditionally been the material of choice, but stainless steel liners are becoming more popular because of their ease of installation and lifespan of up to 25 years.
One of the most common reasons for a chimney to leak is because there’s a problem with its flashing, which is the material that provides a seal between the roof and the outside of the chimney.
Years of hard winters and hot summers eventually will cause flashing to begin to peel or rust. Left unattended, this can open a source for water to come in and damage the roof, the house’s structural beams, insulation, drywall and the chimney itself. Another serious concern is mold, which will grow easily in damp, still areas. If your flashing is damaged, an inspection should be performed followed by the installation of new flashing.
Cleaning and inspection
Annual cleaning and inspection of a chimney is critical and should not be overlooked. This is especially true for wood-burning fireplaces, but all fireplaces need to be checked and maintained on a regular basis.
A thorough inspection covers all elements of your fireplace and chimney system. A breach in efficiency of any of these elements can lead to very expensive repair work. Chimney cleaning is focused on removing flammable creosote and any debris that may have entered the flue. Creosote is a major cause of house fires, and obstructions in the flue will keep smoke from venting properly.
When expert inspection, cleaning or repair is needed, the Highland, Wis., region calls on Chimney Specialists to get the job done right. Find out more about our services, or schedule an appointment at (608) 929-4887.