A Guide to Maintaining Your Chimney

There’s definite appeal to having a traditional, wood-burning fireplace in your living room. It can especially enhance the classy feel of your home if it already has an array of visually pleasing features. However, you can’t have a fireplace without a chimney, which will call for a very particular and stringent maintenance regime. Don’t let your chimney go up in smoke!

Keep it clean – the chimney, that is

Both your fireplace and chimney should be regularly cleaned to ensure that problems – including life-threatening ones – don’t arise. You should, for example, clear the fireplace of ashes – as advised by DIY Network – and use soapy water and a stiff wire brush to remove soot and stains from the firebox.

A very good reason to keep chimneys clean is that soot, creosote and organic matter that gathers in the chimney flue could lead to a chimney fire. Once a fire of that kind starts, the flames can speedily spread to elsewhere in the building.

It would be possible for you to personally clean your own chimney; however, there are some warnings to observe before you go ahead. Firstly, you would need particular tools and materials. You should also follow other precautions detailed by Fix. All the while, keep in mind that self-sweeping should only augment, not replace, a regular cleaning available from a certified technician.

A case of “prevention is better than cure”

It’s worth emphasizing that many chimney maintenance jobs should be carried out strictly by professionals. However, there are still some ways in which you can personally check your chimney. Those include verifying that the chimney cap remains in good condition.

Another problem with a chimney cap is that leaves and other debris can gather inside; however, a wire screen can prevent this from occurring. It would also stop animals from entering the chimney, in which birds might build nests should the chimney not be in frequent use.

You might still be unsure how you could check the chimney stack yourself without putting yourself in danger. However, a professional chimney company will take the appropriate health and safety procedures applicable for assessing a chimney’s condition.

What if the chimney is already damaged?

It’s not out of the question that your chimney might have incurred damage for which repairs would be recommended. For example, roofing materials and flashing close to your chimney may have become warped or distended. The flashing should have a watertight seal. There might also be damage to the stack brickwork, such as cracking or flaking in the mortar between the bricks.

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