By Marge Padgitt, President of HearthMasters, Inc.
The following are tips for keeping your chimney and fireplace in good order for the season:
- Have all chimneys inspected annually by a professional chimney sweep to be sure they are in good working order. The sweep will inspect the interior with a chimney camera and the entire exterior wood or masonry structure visually. He/she will look for cracks, gaps, or missing mortar joints in the flue, check for proper flue size, check the smoke chamber and fireplace condition, flashing, crown, and chimney cover. The best time to have this completed is in the spring or summer when chimney sweeps are not as busy.
- Have flues serving wood-burning appliances swept annually or bi-annually to remove flammable creosote and reduce the risk of chimney fire. All wood creates creosote - even dry hardwoods.
- Have the furnace or water heater flue inspected annually by a professional chimney sweep to be sure it is not a Carbon Monoxide risk. Blockages or flues in poor condition can be a CO risk. Even a CO detector does not register all levels of toxic CO gas so it is important that these flues are maintained and are functioning properly.
gas direct vent fireplaces or stoves tuned up and serviced annually to
proper performance. Dirt, dust, and spiders clog orifices and can make the unit inoperable. Annual service is required by the manufacturer for warranty coverage on all brands. This is often overlooked by homeowners and these appliances will malfunction if not maintained properly. Change batteries in the sending unit and in the remote control every 3 - 6 months.
Gas direct vent fireplace
- Make sure that a chimney cover is installed on top of each flue to keep damaging rain and animals out of the flue. A cover should be installed on each flue or a custom-cover can be made to cover all flues and the cement crown. Use a heavy duty stainless steel chimney cover because black steel rusts and will need to be replaced.
problems such as cracked mortar or bricks, deteriorating mortar or
spalling bricks should be repaired in the spring and summer months to
allow for proper cur
ing, so plan accordingly.