What Technicians Are Looking for During a Chimney Inspection
You may have heard that all fire safety experts have one thing they agree on. They all think that annual chimney inspections are important for everyone who uses their chimney, even if infrequently. These experts include the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Guidelines for inspections are standardized, and chimney sweeps with the proper training perform chimney inspections. The following are among the things the chimney experts are looking for during an inspection.
It is possible to have an extremely dangerous chimney problem and not realize it. That is because the chimney liner is difficult to see. If it has so much as a small crack, repair or chimney liner replacement is needed.
The following are the two hazards associated with a damaged chimney liner:
- Toxic combustion fumes, including deadly carbon monoxide, can enter the home through the breach in the liner. Carbon monoxide is known as the Silent Killer because it is tasteless, odorless, and invisible. There are also no symptoms of exposure until it is often too late to escape to fresh air. This is the primary reason it is essential to have a carbon monoxide detector installed and working in your home when you use your fireplace.
- The second hazard of a damaged chimney liner is the risk of a house fire. When there is a crack in the flue, nearby combustible materials begin to experience pyrolysis. This is a chemical process in which the combustibles are altered and can ignite at a much lower temperate than what was previously required. Fires caused by pyrolysis are extremely dangerous because once they start, flames quickly rage through homes.
It is remarkable the many ways water can get into a chimney system, but moisture needs to be kept out. What happens with water in the masonry bricks is that the water expands and contracts during freezing and thawing cycles in winter. The bricks begin to deteriorate and chimney rebuilding becomes necessary.
An expert eye is often required to detect where there has been water intrusion in the chimney masonry. If the problem is with mortar that is wearing away, a procedure known as “tuckpointing” can be used for a much more economical fix than rebuilding the chimney because of destroyed bricks. With tuckpointing, damaged mortar is removed and replaced with fresh mortar. The procedure completely restores a chimney to a like-new appearance.
Creosote can build up in your chimney flue, to the point that it causes an obstruction. The solution is to schedule chimney cleaning. The chimney professional performing your chimney inspection may find something else in your chimney, such as leaves and twigs. If you do not have a chimney cap with mesh, the chimney sweep may discover animals or signs of animals. Birds nests and other debris are fire hazards. Any obstructions in the chimney should be removed before your fireplace is used again.
Contact Mercer County Chimney Service
If you need a qualified person to perform a chimney inspection or any other chimney services, do not hesitate to call us at Mercer County Chimney Service. We are located in Hamilton, NJ, and we serve all of Mercer County NJ. Give us a call today at 609-802-5288 for trusted chimney services.