The best part about winters is sitting in front of the flaming fireplace under a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate. Seems perfect doesn’t it? But don’t you find it scary to burn a fire inside your home? No right? Because you know that a fireplace and chimney is made up of fire resistant materials and is perfectly safe. But what if you get to know that a chimney can actually get very dangerous if you don’t do chimney inspection and cleaning regularly.
When Can A Chimney Get Dangerous?
Chimney and fireplace can get very dangerous when it is not inspected regularly. The fire that you burn produces a residue which cools down as the smoke from the flames go up and built up at the flue and the walls of the chimney. This buildup then forms a sticky substance known as creosote. This creosote gradually increases with time and if inspection and cleaning is not done on a regular basis then this may obstruct the smoke from venting out the chimney and the suffocation may lead to a chimney fire.
A chimney does more than just providing you a warm fire. It vents out the smoke from the house and protects your home from the harsh chemicals of the fire and also the toxic gases that the process of burning produces. It also helps in lowering the temperature of your fireplace. By not getting it inspected regularly, you are putting yourself, your family and your house at risk. The buildup of creosote also causes the toxic gases to enter your home from the fireplace which can be dangerous.
Other than that chimney also goes through a lot of wear and tear and the metal and flue liners can get corroded. The dampers that protect the chimney can also get obstructed. Also if the chimney liners are made up of tiles then it may get cracked.
Types of Inspection
There are 3 types of chimney inspections:
This is the basic level of inspection and should be done annually. This is to check whether the chimney has any signs of damage or wear and tear. The chimney contractor will remove the creosote and soot and also clean the whole chimney. Many times small animals make their nests in the chimneys, or dead animals may fall in the chimney, sometimes insects also get trapped inside. Chimney cleaning will remove all kinds of obstructions and clear the chimney. The contractor may also check if there are any signs of leakage corrosion and remove all the debris and dirt. This is usually done before the start of the winter season to prepare your chimney for the winters.
Level 2 inspection is more extensive and is performed if there is any sort of weather calamities and change such as thunderstorm, earthquake, heavy rainfall or a hurricane. These all situations are most likely to damage the chimney and that is the reason a level 2 inspection is carried out. Also if the chimney contractor notices any signs of damage and deep obstruction then he will carry out a level 2 inspection to get to the root of the problem.
Level 2 inspection is done with a video camera where the contractor will insert a camera from the fireplace to see the interior chimney walls and the flue lining to detect any corrosion, damage and the cause of the problem. The contractor will also go in the basement, crawl space and the attic to get a closer inspection of inaccessible parts of the chimney. This inspection is also required when you sell your home or buy a new home.
This is a very thorough inspection which is done by removing and rebuilding many parts of the chimney such as the flue liner, the damper and even the dry wall. This is done by using special tools to inspect all the hidden parts of the chimney.
DIY Chimney Safety Tips
Apart for the inspections and chimney repairs Ellicott City by professionals, you should also be wary of the safety protection which you can do yourself.
- Always use wells seasoned and dried firewood
- Clean your fireplace regularly to remove the ash and debris
- Keep your homes ventilated
- Get it inspected by an expert regularly