Is Something Wrong with your Fireplace?
You may be raring to sit by a cozy fire in your fireplace, but don’t do anything rash. If the fireplace and chimney haven’t been checked by a chimney professional since last winter, your home could become part of a terrible statistic.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of 51,050 home fires involving heating equipment occurred annually in the U.S. between 2012 and 2016, and 32% of those fires involved the fireplace or chimney.
A lot can go wrong when you get a fire started, including some issues that could pose immediate danger. The thing to do is curl up next to a fire only after checking to be sure it’s safe. The following are some of the most common things that go wrong with fireplaces and chimneys.
The Flue is Cracked
Chimneys today are built with a flue lining, usually made of clay tile. Over time, flue liners deteriorate and crack or develop gaps. Nearby combustible parts of the home become vulnerable to fire, due to the extreme temperatures in a flue when a fire is lit. A damaged chimney flue can also expose your family to toxic gases, such as deadly carbon monoxide.
The best way to make sure your flue is damage-free is by having it examined by a professional chimney technician, who uses tools of the trade. An inspection can include the use of a special camera that provides a top-to-bottom look at the chimney lining.
The Firebox is Cracked
The firebox, where you light a fire, is built with special bricks that can withstand the intense direct heat of a fire. If you see gaps or cracks in the masonry, it’s an indication that repair is needed. The potential danger with a damaged firebox is similar to hazards associated with a cracked flue. The fireplace should not be used again until repairs have been made.
The Fireplace is Smoking
When a chimney is built correctly, is in good condition, and the home isn’t causing negative pressure, the smoke from a fireplace should always rise up the chimney. If you need to wear a respirator to get warm by your fireplace, something is definitely wrong. Smoke stains above the fireplace also provide proof of a backdrafting fireplace. A chimney professional can help to pinpoint and repair the cause of the problem.
The Firebox has Unsightly White Stains
Efflorescence is the cause of white stains that often appear on chimneys and in fireboxes. The stains provide evidence that moisture has gotten into the heating system and crystalline deposits inside the masonry have worked their way to the surface. Repair is needed, since moisture causes masonry to deteriorate. The white stains themselves don’t cause harm, and they can easily be cleaned off.
The Chimney has Too Much Creosote
Each time there’s a wood fire, creosote is deposited in the flue. The tar-like substance is made up of highly flammable combustion materials. Creosote should be removed yearly or after it has built up to a 1/8-inch layer. Otherwise, the risk of a hazardous chimney fire becomes too great. A buildup of creosote can also cause obstruction, which is another reason a fireplace may be smoky.
Schedule a Chimney Inspection
Not sure whether or not something is wrong with your fireplace? Contact the trusted experts at Chimney Saver Solutions. Each of the technicians is experienced and certified. You can count on quality workmanship and top-notch customer service, with the technicians at Chimney Saver Solutions handling inspection, cleaning, repairs, and chimney rebuilds. Call 804-440-5000 today, to make sure it’s safe to get a fire going in your fireplace.