How to Properly Inspect Your Chimney Flue
With the colder weather beginning to roll in, many homeowners are beginning the process of getting their fireplaces and wood burning stoves back into working order. Even though these heating devices help to save us a lot of money on our home heating bills, they can also be very dangerous if not inspected and operated properly.
Here are some tips to help you inspect your chimney flue this fall to help keep your home warm and your loved ones and house safe.
Inspect Your Chimney Regularly
In order to make sure the chimney is operating properly, it is important to have the entire system inspected on a regular basis. You should inspect your chimney and flue before the start of fireplace season and again when the season has concluded. By having routine, periodic inspections and cleanings of the chimney and flue, it is possible to catch any minor problems before they become larger ones, helping to save you time and money when it comes to operating your fireplace.
Prepare for a Proper Inspection
In order to have a proper inspection of the chimney and flue, it is important to have the right tools available.
In addition to having all of the above listed tools, it is always best to inspect the chimney when it is cool and only after cleaning out the ash pit and firebox areas.
What to Look for When Inspecting a Chimney
The inner liner of the flue could be made of a number of different materials including sheet metal, cast-in-place concrete or clay titles. If the flue is lined with clay or concrete, make sure to look for cracks along the surface of the material – these cracks can allow exhaust gases or sparks to escape the home. If the flue liner is made of metal look for any indications of the material warping. Regardless of the material that is being used, look for any signs of smoke escaping though the joints of the liner.
Creosote is commonly found within the chimney. Creosote is highly flammable and is a major contributing factor to dangerous chimney fires – this is why it is so important to clean the creosote from the inside of the chimney and flue when the deposits are 1/8 inch thick or more. Creosote that is flaky and brown is less dangerous than those deposits that are smooth and black, but both should be removed for safety reasons.
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