Just because the chimney on your Maryland home looks fine when viewed from the vantage point of the ground outside of your home doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be inspected. Oftentimes, it’s overlooked issues that result in the need for urgent repairs or unexpected surprises when it’s time to use your fireplace again. Here are four of the more common problems that may be discovered sooner rather than later when you have your chimney inspected.
1. Cracks in the Flue
The flue is the inner liner that carries smoke, toxic fumes, and heat outside of your home through your chimney. Years of use can cause this liner to deteriorate or crack. If this happens, there’s a greater chance of embers and heat reaching combustible materials, not to mention the risk of exposure to toxic fumes. A chimney inspector can pinpoint signs of damage and offer repair suggestions.
2. Masonry Cracks
No matter how well a brick chimney was built, years of enduring heat and varying weather conditions and temperatures can take a toll on it. A chimney inspector can perform a detailed structural analysis to look for cracks or other issues with your chimney’s bricks. The damper is usually also tested during this process to make sure it’s opening and closing correctly.
3. Creosote and Animal Nests
Anything that’s clogging or obstructing your chimney in some way present problems when it’s time to start using your fireplace again. Two common culprits are creosote, which is produced from the burning of solid fuels or wood, and animal nests. An inspector has the equipment necessary to spot such issues and safely clear away any obstructions or accumulated creosote.
4. Water Damage
If you don’t have a flue cap, water can easily get into your chimney and speed up deterioration of the flue. During a chimney inspection, all interior parts of your chimney can be checked for signs of water-related damage. Necessary repairs may involve fixing minor masonry damage, replacing the top cement (crown wash), or installing a flue cap.
Another reason for a chimney inspection Maryland homeowners may want to consider is simply not being able to recall the time it was done. The National Fire Protection Association recommends having chimneys inspected once a year. It can also be helpful to have your chimney inspected if you’ve just moved into a home for your added peace of mind. This way you’ll have a benchmark to use to keep better track of the general health of your chimney and its related parts.