It’s important to take care of your chimney, whether it’s a wood-burning or gas one. If your chimney is in good shape, it will help you stay safe and run efficiently. It’s also important to know when you need immediate attention for your chimney—and what that attention entails. Here are some common concerns homeowners may have about their chimneys.
What is a chimney?
Chimneys are structures that are built to remove the smoke from a fire. They’re usually made of bricks and mortar, but sometimes they’re constructed with metal or clay instead-and sometimes plastic flues are used instead of traditional materials like brick or stone.
The flue is an important part of any chimney; it connects your furnace/heater with your roof through which all smoke must pass in order for it to be released into the atmosphere above your house.
Signs of a problem with your chimney
Chimney problems are often easy to spot, but they can be difficult to diagnose. If you notice any of the following signs, contact a professional chimney sweep immediately:
- Smoke leaking from your chimney when it shouldn’t be
- Smoking coming from the top of your chimney or around its base
- The fireplace not drawing properly (if it does draw well, this could indicate that there’s too much air being drawn into your home)
When to call a chimney expert
- When you see smoke coming from your chimney.
- When you see flames coming from your chimney.
- When you smell smoke coming from your chimney.
- When you hear noises coming from your chimney, such as cracking or popping sounds that are not normal for a fireplace or wood-burning stove to make
Cleaning your chimney
- Make sure you are using the right tools.
- Don’t use any flammable chemicals or cleaners in your chimney.
- Don’t use chemicals that are not approved by the manufacturer of your fireplace, stove or insert.
Make sure there is no fire hazard
- Don’t use flammable materials as fireplace fuel.
- Don’t burn trash in your fireplace.
- Don’t burn wood in your fireplace.
- Don’t burn paper in your fireplace.
- And please don’t burn plastic in your fireplace!
Don’t use flammable materials as fireplace fuel.
- Don’t use anything but wood, or approved alternative fuels. Charcoal and lighter fluid are not safe to burn in your fireplace. If you have an indoor fireplace, don’t use any kind of fuel at all.
- Keep the ash pan clean and emptied regularly. If you don’t, it can become a fire hazard itself due to smoldering embers that haven’t been properly extinguished before being dumped out into your ash receptacle (also known as an “ash pan”). This is especially important if you’re using a gas-powered fireplace because those embers could ignite and cause serious damage-or even start a blaze outside of your home!
Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Chimneys are a vital part of your home’s structure, and if you neglect them, you could be putting yourself in danger. Here are some signs that your chimney needs attention:
- You see smoke coming out of the top of your fireplace or wood stove. This can mean that there is debris blocking airflow through the flue and into the chimney itself. If this condition persists long enough without being corrected, it may cause a fire inside your house!
- Water has dripped into the bottom of your fireplace or wood stove (or even worse-onto its surface). This could damage any electrical wiring or other components inside these appliances that would make them unsafe to use until they’ve been repaired by expert masonry contractors who knows what he/she’s doing with regard to fixing damaged chimneys like yours!
If you have any of these problems, it’s best not to wait. Chimney fires are dangerous and can cause serious damage to your home and family. If you notice any signs of trouble, contact a professional right away.