Why You Should Schedule a Chimney Inspection Before Winter
Do you remember the last time you scheduled a chimney inspection? If the answer is no—now is a perfect time.
Continue reading to learn about the importance of chimney inspections and why you need to conduct them before winter arrives.
The Importance of Regular Chimney Cleaning and Inspections
Experts recommend you invest in annual chimney inspections for the five key reasons listed below:
Reduce Harmful Vapors
Everyday storms deposit twigs, leaves, and other debris into the chimney. Likewise, critters such as birds, squirrels, and raccoons can build nests in chimneys.
Any one of these obstructions can block your flue and prevent the escape of fire by-products from your fireplace. This backed-up vapor in the chimney can then enter your home, potentially exposing you to carbon monoxide gas. On top of that, obstructions can also act as kindling, potentially sparking a fire if they come into contact with loose embers.
Take a look inside your chimney flue; if you observe nests, debris, or hear animal sounds, that’s a solid indicator it’s time for a chimney sweep.
During your chimney inspection, certified technicians will evaluate your chimney for obstructions and remove them. They can also install a chimney cap— which is a covering installed around the outside opening of the flue to keep debris and animals out of your structure.
Mitigate Creosote Buildup
Every time you burn wood in your fireplace, it creates a byproduct of unburned materials called creosote.
This thick, tarry substance is found in smoke and sticks to your flue over time, creating a black buildup.
Creosote deposits in your chimney are highly flammable. During future fires, this substance can ignite, potentially spreading and creating a full-blown house fire.
As part of a chimney inspection, your provider will identify whether there is excessive creosote buildup that warrants removal. If needed, they’ll remove both creosote and soot to minimize your fire risk.
Additionally, your professional service can also repair or replace components that promote increased creosote buildup. Such as a warped or rotted damper, which can prevent proper ventilation, leading to more creosote.
Assess Hard-To-See Areas For Damages
Investing in regular repairs and replacements of your damaged chimney components can minimize the risk of fires, carbon monoxide exposure, and water damage.
Unfortunately, several parts of your chimney are hidden from your view. Luckily, professional chimney services have the proper tools and training to assess damage to the following chimney components:
The crown is the downward-sloping concrete, stone, or metal overhang at the top of your chimney. It diverts water away from your chimney exterior to prevent erosion. If damaged, rainwater can run down the sides of the chimney and erode it, compromising your structural integrity. During a chimney inspection, your provider can repair or replace your cracked crown to prevent water damage to the chimney and flue.
Your flue liner is a clay, ceramic, or metal conduit located between the flue and your chimney walls. It protects your chimney walls from heat and corrosion while also keeping smoke and harmful vapors from traveling through potential cracks in your masonry. As part of your chimney inspection, technicians look for cracks in the flue liner, and repair them if necessary.
If you have a brick chimney, the porous material can easily expand and contract during the changing seasons. This eventually forms small cracks on your structure which, if left untreated, can grow larger and jeopardize the safety of your chimney structure. Professionals inspect the status of brick and mortar on your chimney during an annual inspection and conduct necessary masonry repairs.
Most homeowners’ policies require regular chimney inspections as a pre-condition for compensating you for chimney damages. This means that skipping your annual inspections could force you to foot the bill in the event of future damages to your chimney. That’s why scheduling a chimney inspection is crucial. Not only does it ensure the integrity of your structure, but it protects you from expensive bills down the road.
Problems With Chimney Inspections and Repairs During the Winter Months
You may be wondering why external temperature plays such a large role in the effectiveness of chimney repairs. To put it briefly, freezing and damp environmental conditions can ruin the integrity of your brickwork.
If you want to get the most out of your repairs, conduct your chimney inspection before it gets too cold. Here’s why:
Freezing Temperatures Affect Your Structure
Mortar is a mix of binding materials and water. If you lay mortar in cold weather, that water can freeze and expand, creating cracks. Those cracks will remain once the mortar dries, making it much easier for your chimney to sustain future damages.
Summer is the ideal time to conduct a chimney inspection, as the materials will be able to dry properly and won’t be subjected to environmental wear and tear.
Your Mortar Needs Dry Weather to Develop Strength
Your mortar needs to dry at a controlled rate—neither too fast nor slow—to develop strength. Rainy and cold conditions can slow down the drying process and weaken your mortar joints, and windy conditions can cause mortar to become brittle as it dries too quickly.
Your Trusted Provider For Certified Chimney Inspections
Looking to conduct a chimney inspection before the winter months? You’re in the right spot.
For over 40 years, Approved Home Improvements has delivered high-quality chimney services to the St. Louis residents.
With our free quotes, there’s never been a better time to schedule an inspection. Grab your time slot today.