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Knowing When Your Chimney Needs Help

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With colder weather coming on, now is the time to inspect your chimney to see if it needs cleaning or repair. A faulty or dirty chimney not only affects the comfort of your home and the size of your heating bills, it can pose a fire danger. If you have a chimney, look for these problem signs.

Mortar and Masonry

If you can see open spaces in the mortar of your chimney, you need to call the repair company. Holes in the mortar allow moisture to penetrate. The resulting freezing and thawing can weaken your chimney, possibly leading to its collapse. One early sign of problems in your masonry is efflorescence, a white discoloration that appears on your chimney. Although you can remove the white residue, it signals excess moisture in your chimney which can hurt the structure. Finding the source of the water is essential to maintaining the soundness of your chimney.

If the bricks of your chimney start to peel or crumble, it's yet another sign of too much moisture. Although disintegrating bricks are bad news, bricks that are popping out of the chimney mean something needs to be done immediately. 

Rust

Rust on the damper and firebox shows that too much moisture is penetrating your chimney. If you cannot see any rust, but your damper is cranky and will not open and close smoothly, it may be rusted on the inside. You will need to call a repairman to have the problem checked out. 

Creosote Buildup

When you burn wood, creosote builds up in the flue of your chimney. When it reaches a certain level of buildup, the creosote becomes hard to remove and can possibly ignite, causing a chimney fire that can spread to your entire house. If the creosote layer is too thick, you may need to replace your chimney liner. Regularly scheduled cleanings can prevent your chimney from reaching the level of a fire hazard.

Although having your chimney regularly inspected is a good idea, you can look things over yourself to spot obvious problems. If you see signs of excess moisture, you need to call a repair service immediately. A moisture problem can become so bad that your chimney can actually collapse as a result. In addition, you need to keep your creosote levels in check. Schedule regular cleanings to prevent buildup. If your chimney has not been cleaned recently, you need to have it inspected to see if the chimney liner needs to be replaced. Regular chimney maintenance is vital for the health of your chimney and of your entire home. 

If you want more information, look into chimney repair by Direct Chimney Services.   


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