Why Are Chimney Inspections Important?
The pleasures of a fireplace in winter are numerous, but fire safety and chimney pros agree that annual chimney checks should have top priority. This fact has some homeowners asking, why are chimney inspections important? After all, chimneys look like sturdy, self-sustaining structures.
In reality, however, they are highly vulnerable to the destruction caused by water intrusion. Chimneys have built-in protections against moisture, but those components are all prone to deteriorate and need to be carefully monitored. Potential dangers lurk in chimneys, as well. Below are among the compelling reasons yearly chimney inspections are important.
The Dangers of Creosote
Creosote is a byproduct of wood burning. It is highly flammable and increases the potential for a dangerous chimney fire. Homeowners often don’t realize the threats associated with chimney fires. That fact is likely due to a harmful myth that chimney fires can help cut the cost of chimney cleaning by burning out the creosote. But, no, chimney fires almost always damage the liner. A damaged flue liner exposes homeowners to threats further explored below.
Also, when creosote builds up layer upon layer with each use of the fireplace, the chimney flue can become obstructed.
Chimney blockages result in thousands of destructive and life-threatening house fires every year. Harmful combustion gases enter the home when they aren’t expelled through the chimney. This can result in dangerous levels of exposure to carbon monoxide. It is often during a chimney inspection that homeowners learn about the excessive buildup of creosote. Then a chimney sweeping or cleaning will be recommended to remove the buildup.
Perils of a Damaged Chimney Flue
Chimney flue liners provide protection against potentially lethal hazards. First, they contain the intense heat inside the chimney and protect combustible materials. Secondly, flue liners contain harmful fumes, including potentially deadly carbon monoxide. Both of those protections go away if there is even a tiny crack in the chimney flue. Level 2 chimney inspections utilize a video camera that provides top-to-bottom scrutiny of the chimney liner. It is somewhat rare for chimney liner damage to be discovered without a chimney inspection.
The High Cost of Extensive Moisture Damage
Bricks are like sponges in that they are highly predisposed to absorb moisture. Once moisture has entered a brick, it expands and contracts during the freezing and thawing cycles of winter. This movement slowly demolishes the brick’s structure. If you ever see a leaning chimney, you can be sure that there has been water intrusion in the masonry system but no upkeep.
All the following chimney components need to be monitored and repaired or replaced,
as needed, to keep moisture out of the masonry system:
- Chimney crown
- Metal chimney flashing
- Chimney cap
If you still question why are chimney inspections important, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps are friendly and helpful. Fire N’ Stone is a family-run business, and we offer reliable chimney services as well as heating appliance sales, design, and professional installation.
We invite you to visit our spacious showroom at 539 Laconia Rd, Tilton NH. We have an abundant array of built-in fireplaces, fireplace inserts, and pellet stoves that can keep you cozy and warm in winter. You can also call us at 603-293-4040 or fill out our Fire N’ Stone contact form to book an appointment today.