Your chimneys are an essential part of your home, and you want to make sure they stay in good condition for years to come.
Chimneys Can Easily Get Damaged if Not Properly Taken Care Of. This Can Lead to Costly Repairs Down the Road
Follow these 20 helpful tips to prevent your chimneys from getting damaged in the first place. Texan Residential Services is here to help with all of your chimney needs. Contact us today for a free consultation!
Tip #1: Have a Professional Inspect Your Chimney Before You Start Burning Fires in The Fireplace
A chimney inspection is essential for keeping your chimneys in good condition. Many cracks can develop if not properly maintained or installed, leading to more damage down the road.
Professional inspections will pinpoint cracks in your material, which can be fixed before you start using the chimney again for fires.
During this inspection, your chimney professional should also note any bends or curves in the duct and let you know if there is a high risk for clogs.
It’s important to note that if your chimney hasn’t been used in a while, it probably will not pass an inspection, and you should wait to use the fireplace until any problems have been fixed.
Some people neglect to get inspections done before using their fireplace, leading to costly repairs further down the road.
Tip #2: Make Sure Your Chimneys Are Properly Ventilated
Chimneys with restricted ventilation will hold in toxic chemicals and gasses that you don’t want in your home or near your family.
Improper ventilation increases the overall risk of clogs. The chemicals are drawn in through the fire, which has nowhere to escape when they turn into smoke.
Chimneys connected to your furnace or water heater should be inspected regularly for these problems.
Another thing to remember is that exhaust vents can become clogged if a proper chimney is installed. Ensure they are maintained at least once a year to avoid any problems.
Tip #3: Keep Tree Branches Away from Your Chimneys
Tree branches can easily damage the exterior of your chimney, which then allows water to get inside and create major cracks or damages.
The best way to avoid this problem is by keeping tree branches as far away from your chimneys as possible.
If you don’t have the option of keeping them away, make sure any branches touching your chimney are cut back at least 3 feet to avoid hazardous situations.
Chimneys aren’t meant to be used as a ladder or support beams for trees. Make sure this doesn’t happen by cutting branches back at least 3 feet from the exterior of your chimney.
Tip #4: Have Your Furnace and Water Heater Inspected Regularly
Having a professional inspection done on any part of your heating system can prevent damage or clogs to those appliances as well as the chimneys that vent them.
This service is vital for gas forced-air heaters, as the usage of those heaters increases the overall risk for cracks and clogs.
For hot water heaters, it’s essential to have a professional inspection done every 2-5 years, depending on how often you use them.
It’s also a good idea to have these appliances inspected before turning them on after they’ve been sitting unused for an extended period. Once again, if they haven’t been used in a while, it’s likely that they will not pass inspection, and you should wait to use them until any problems have been fixed.
Tip #5: Burn Fires that Are Appropriate for Your Particular Chimney
You wouldn’t pour gasoline on a campfire. It would be hazardous and probably not produce the effect you’re looking for.
Your fireplace is no different than any other appliance in your home. Just like certain foods require different cooking temperatures, fires work best depending on the type of chimney they are being burned in.
For example, gas fireplaces or inserts can only be used with gas because the flue has been specially designed to operate with those appliances.
Even if you have a fireplace that’s not being used, it’s still important to have someone inspect it before turning it on just in case there are problems with the chimney. Chimneys aren’t built to be left unattended for long periods, so it’s best to have them inspected and cleaned annually, even if you don’t plan on using the fireplace.
Tip #6: Make Sure Your Chimneys Aren’t Obstructed by Snow or Foliage
Snow and foliage can cause significant problems with your chimney, especially if it isn’t properly maintained.
It’s important to remember these materials are heavy and can cause significant problems if they’re blocking any part of your chimney.
Remove all snow from the exterior of your chimneys, as well as the vents that allow them to release smoke.
If there is a lot of foliage around your home, make sure it’s cut back at least 3 feet from where the chimney comes out of the roof. This will keep debris from blocking the flue and allow it to operate more efficiently.
If you can see any part of your chimney from your roof, make sure you’re able to access and remove anything that might be obstructing it, such as leaves or snow.
Tip #7: Burn only Natural Gas and Wood in Your Fireplace
Burning anything other than natural gas and firewood can cause a lot of damage to your chimneys, as well as create dangerous situations. This is especially true if you’re attempting to burn coal or fuel pellets.
Natural gas has been specifically designed for use with fireplaces and inserts, so it’s safe to use with these appliances.
When burning wood in your fireplace, make sure you have a screen to keep sparks from flying out of the fireplace and onto the carpet or other flammable material nearby.
Tip #8: Don’t Burn Excessive Amounts of Wood at One Time
Burning too much wood at one time can cause excess creosote and tar to build up in your chimneys.
This can come from burning wood that hasn’t been properly dried out or allowing fires to boil for too long without adding more fuel.
If you find it necessary to add more wood during a fire, wait until the existing logs have turned to embers before adding additional pieces. Doing this will help prevent excess creosote and tar from building up in your chimneys.
Tip #9: Get Your Chimney Inspected for Damage at Least Once a Year
No matter how well you take care of your chimneys, they still require regular maintenance to keep them in good condition.
If you use your fireplace frequently, you should have your chimneys inspected at least yearly.
This will help ensure they function correctly and don’t require any repairs or cleaning.
If your chimney has not been used in a long time, you should have it inspected before using it to ensure there are no problems that could cause a fire.
Tip #10: Make Sure Chimneys Are Properly Supported
No matter what type of chimney you have, it’s essential to ensure it is appropriately supported by the structure it comes out of.
If your fireplace is inside your home, ensure it’s installed on a non-combustible surface such as concrete or stone.
If your fireplaces are installed on an exterior surface, ensure it is supported by the chimney itself and not by the mortar between bricks or stones that compose it.
Tip #11: Use Only Chimney Liners to Cover Damaged Flues
When you have damage in your chimneys, such as cracks in the flue or spalling brick, you should use only metal chimney liners to cover them.
Using anything else can cause further damage and lead to dangerous situations.
If your chimneys are old and made of terra cotta or another porous material, it’s best to have them replaced with new ones made of modern materials.
Tip #12: Only Use Chimney Caps When Needed
Using chimney caps can help prevent fire and other types of damage to your chimneys, but only when they’re needed.
If you do not have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, there is no reason for you to install a chimney cap.
If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove and your chimney is in good condition, there is also no need to use a chimney cap.
Using too many chimney caps can cause damage to your chimneys by restricting airflow. This can lead to excess creosote, carbon monoxide buildup, and other dangerous situations.
Tip #13: Test Your Chimneys Before the Winter Starts
Before using your chimney fireplaces or wood-burning stoves during the winter, you should test them to ensure no obstructions, and they’re functioning correctly.
Testing is critical if you haven’t used them for a long time.
If you don’t test them and then attempt to use them without removing obstructions, you could end up causing a fire.
Tip #14: Keep Your Chimneys Clean During the Winter
If you want your chimneys to remain in good condition during the winter months, make sure they stay clean.
Don’t let snow build up in them, and make sure they are completely clear of ice before using your fireplaces or wood-burning stoves.
If you allow snow to build up inside your chimneys, it can melt because of the heat given off during fires.
This can cause water damage to building materials around the chimney.
The melted water can also damage the flue of your chimneys, resulting in dangerous carbon monoxide buildup inside your home.
Tip #15: Keep a Chimney Fire from Spreading by Using a Solid Metal Chimney Cap
A solid metal chimney cap with a mesh screen over it is one of the best ways to keep a chimney fire from spreading.
If you use any other chimney cap, the fire could burn through it and spread to surrounding materials. This can cause damage to your home.
You should also be careful when placing items on top of metal chimneys because sparks can still hit them and cause fires even if they are capped.
Tip #16: Make Sure Your Chimney is Not Too Big
If your chimneys are too big, they can allow heat to escape from the home instead of being vented outside.
Make sure you have a professional inspect your chimneys before using them to ensure that they are just the right size for your home.
If not, you could end up with an ice dam on your roof, which can lead to water damage and leaks.
Tip #17: Keep Your Chimneys Covered During Construction
If you’re having construction done on your home that involves cutting materials around the base of your chimneys, cover them to keep debris from falling inside.
Even if bricks and other materials don’t fall inside the chimneys, they could still be damaged by any cutting that’s done.
Tip #18: Foundation Cracks Can Damage Chimneys
If your home is built on a foundation or stoop that has cracks in it, those cracks can damage your chimneys.
They allow water to seep into the cracks and then freeze, causing your chimneys to crack as well.
Foundation cracks can also allow animals and other pests to enter your chimneys and cause damage.
Tip #19: Use Chimney Cleaning Tools or Professional Services for Regular Maintenance
If you want to keep your chimneys in good condition between significant cleanings, you should use chimney cleaning tools or hire a professional cleaning service.
Cleaning your chimneys regularly will ensure that the buildup of creosote and other substances in them remains light enough that it can be easily removed during significant cleanings.
Using these tools is also much less messy than chemicals to clean out your chimneys.
Tip #20: Inspect Your Chimneys for Damage During the Summer
Just as you should inspect your chimneys during the winter, you should check them throughout the year.
If any problems are identified, make sure to fix them immediately before they can cause damage or other issues with your chimneys.
If you’re using your chimneys for a fire, make sure that anyone in your home is aware of this and knows how to deal with the situation if something goes wrong.
Also, if it has been several years since you’ve used them or if there have been problems with them in the past, you should contact a professional chimney sweeper to make sure they are in good condition.
You Can Prevent Damage to Your Chimneys with These 20 Helpful Tips. Make Sure that You Will Use Them for Years to Come by Following These Suggestions.
By following this advice, you will enjoy many benefits, including reduced risk of fire, less expensive repairs, and better overall performance.
Have a great day!
The author is an experienced company owner with 25+ years in the roof cleaning business. The article was written to help you get your home cleaned for free. If you would like more tips on how to get your chimneys cleaned for free, please visit our website at www.myresidentialservices.com and get further help at no cost. Thank you!
The source/author of this article is Texan Residential Services, located in Austin, TX. This website provides local residential services to keep your roofs clean and free from moss buildup. They also provide chimney cleaning services in Texas by the best technicians in the business. The website is www.myresidentialservices.com. If you would like to contact them, please visit their site or call (512)-273-7838.