The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and National Fire Protection Agency both recommend annual Chimney inspections. Proper chimney care and attention can help protect you from unnecessary fires, carbon monoxide poisonings and repairs.
Over time soot from smoke and other particles builds up and clogs your chimney preventing smoke, soot and gases from leaving your home, as well as greatly increasing the potential of a chimney fire. Other issues that may impact the performance of your chimney are animals and age. Proper annual inspection and cleaning will maintain the wellness of your chimney.
Keeping a chimney clean and clear of debris is not only important to the safety of your family and fireplace, but will prevent the need for costly repairs and extend the life of your chimney.
Chimney cleaning will allow for appropriate ventilation and the safe emission of carbon monoxide and flammable gases.
Fireplace and wood burning stove chimneys naturally develop a coating of creosote inside the smoke chamber and flue system over time. If soot rains down when you open or close your damper or if you measure and have one-eighth of an inch of creosote (a dark brown or black flammable tar) buildup it is important to get the chimney inspected as soon as possible.
Oil burner chimneys function to pull fumes from the oil burner to the outside and thus need a required amount of air flow to operate properly. Soot and clay over time will generally fill the area that connects the horizontal pipe from the oil burner. It is important to maintain the ventilation of your oil burner chimney so that dangerous gases do not spill back into your home and for your burner to work at peak efficiency.
Gas burner chimneys are very efficient, however, gas appliances require regular maintenance and cleaning in order to operate properly and safely.
All chimneys require appropriate, protective caps to ward off birds, squirrels, opposums and other animals, as well as protect from overhanging trees and wind blown debris. Blockage in the chimney flue is an easy way for carbon monoxide to enter your home. Older gas chimneys may contain an older terra cotta lining which will chip over time and cause a blockage. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas, and could be a serious danger to your family.
Lastly you must be aware of water damage to the chimney. Especially if you life in an area of high humidity and frequent rain fall. Masonry chimneys, which are most often constructed with cement and brick, are most subject to water damage when met with direct water contact. Temperature changes can cause water to freeze and expand between miniscule cracks and grooves resulting in stress on materials. To maintain the traditional beauty and condition of your chimney it is essential to watch for and prevent water damage to both the interior and exterior of your chimney