At Energy Center-Manhattan Pool, safety is very important. Have you noticed an unusual smell coming from your fireplace? This may be a result of creosote build-up in your chimney. A blocked or damaged chimney is the main cause of chimney fires. Here are 5 things to know about chimney safety—the ABCs of chimney safety.
Get your fireplace and chimney inspected yearly by a CSIA certified chimney sweep. They know exactly where to look and what to look for. A chimney sweep can run a camera up inside the chimney flue to see if there are underlying problems that cannot be detected from the outside. They will also sweep the inside of the chimney to get rid of any build-up on the chimney walls.
The chimney gives toxins a pathway to safely exit a house. If the chimney is blocked, these toxins will build up inside your house. Carbon monoxide is one example. Carbon monoxide has no odor. Many times people mistake the symptoms of low levels of carbon monoxide poisoning for a winter flu. A crack in the flue could cause a slow release of carbon monoxide.
Sometimes problems are caused because the chimney is not tall enough. It is wise to have a CSIA certified chimney sweep check out your chimney.
Wood-burning fireplaces deposit creosote on the lining of the chimney. Creosote build-up is a fire hazard.
Does your chimney have a chimney cap? This helps prevent unwanted objects from getting inside the chimney—rain, birds, squirrels, etc. It also allows the things that need to exit to get out—smoke, heat, toxins, etc. Invest in a quality chimney cap that will last for years. The chimney crown (the top of the chimney) sometimes cracks and needs repair.
With moisture exiting through the chimney, it is possible for the chimney or chimney liner to begin to decay. This would be undetectable without going up inside the chimney flue with a camera. The combination of creosote and water can also cause the lining to crack or fall apart.
A CSIA certified chimney sweep will also check the exterior of the chimney. Because the chimney is exposed to the elements, the chimney will age and eventually show signs of weathering. Water can seep into the chimney, undetected. A build-up of moisture can cause mold growth inside the chimney. Having metal flashing around the base of the chimney helps prevent water from seeping into the chimney. The flashing will eventually need to be replaced.
Freezing temperatures and high winds can also damage chimneys. If your chimney is masonry, you can apply a protectant to the bricks to help keep water from seeping in through the bricks. The mortar between the bricks may need to be replaced eventually.
We hope these 5 things to know about chimney safety have been helpful. Many chimney problems are not detectable from the outside, which makes an annual inspection very important. If you have any questions about your chimney, call Energy Center-Manhattan Pool today at 785-776-5118 or 1-800-287-5118.