Chimneys Vent More Than Just A Fireplace
Did you know that other appliances may be vented through the chimney besides your fireplace? If you have gas appliances like a water heater, furnace, or boiler, chances are they are using the chimney too. So, even if you’re not using the fireplace for home heating, you must perform regular maintenance, including annual chimney inspections and routine cleaning, to protect your chimney and reduce the risk of fire and exposure to harmful contaminants.
Gas Appliances in Your Home
Millions of Indiana homeowners use gas appliances in their homes. In many parts of the country, gas heating is a lower-cost alternative to electricity. Although gas appliances are more efficient and burn cleaner than wood fuel, they still produce carbon monoxide and other corrosive byproducts that are vented through a chimney. So even if you’re not using the fireplace, your gas appliances are still using the chimney as a source of venting these byproducts.
Also, cracks in the masonry, flue liner, and other components can allow water to leak inside the chimney. The oxidation of the corrosive gases can cause extensive damage to the chimney system, increasing the risk of fire and CO poisoning. Masonry damage can also affect the chimney’s structural integrity leading to a partial or complete collapse that can also cause significant damage to your home.
Flue Obstructions and Carbon Monoxide
Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t realize they have a chimney problem until it becomes a health hazard or is severely damaged. One common but potentially dangerous problem that can occur is a flue obstruction. Small animals, leaves, debris, and combustion byproducts can interfere with the venting of toxic gases. The blockage can build up over time, slowly restricting its expulsion from the home, allowing the level of carbon monoxide (CO) gas to increase in your living space gradually. Carbon monoxide is often called the “silent killer” because it is a colorless and odorless gas. Symptoms of CO exposure include headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
Chimney Inspections for Gas Appliances
Annual chimney inspections are a safe, efficient, and affordable way to ensure your chimney, vents, and attached gas appliances are not a fire or health hazard. Replacing gas appliances without a chimney inspection can cause drafting problems and other ventilation issues if the flue is the wrong size for the appliance. Our chimney sweeps are certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) to perform all three inspection levels per industry-standard guidelines established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). If it has been more than two years since your last chimney inspection, we recommend a video chimney scan which gives the technician a more detailed view of the flue than a visual inspection. A chimney scan can spot damages that are not readily visible to an unaided eye. The Certified Chimney Sweep® will provide a comprehensive report and recommend any necessary chimney repairs or replacements to ensure your chimney and gas appliances are safe to operate. The chimney sweep will also advise if chimney cleaning is needed. In most cases, a chimney inspection and cleaning can occur during the same visit.