The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is the authority on fire, electrical, and building safety. They recommend that you have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, chimney connectors and all other solid fueled heating equipment inspected annually by a professional, and cleaned as often as inspections suggest.
Video Chimney Inspections
A video chimney inspection is a more advanced and thorough inspection that is used to document a chimney’s condition. Used by insurance adjusters, fire damage inspectors and concerned homeowners, a video chimney inspection can remove uncertainty regarding the condition of your fireplace and chimney. This special type of chimney inspection should be done after any chimney fire, before buying or selling a new home, and anytime there has been the potential for structural damage to your chimney, for example an act of nature like an earthquake. Once the inspection is complete you will be given a USB Flash Drive for documentation of your chimney’s condition.
The purpose of chimney cleaning is to remove creosote and soot deposits that have built up during the use of your chimney. These deposits are flammable and reduce the chimney’s ability to create a proper draft. By having your chimney cleaned, it will not only run more efficiently, but you will also have the added benefit of reducing your chances of having a chimney fire.
Chimney Cap Installations
The main purpose of chimney cleaning is to avoid a chimney fire. On the other side of the spectrum is the concern for water damage. The combination of water penetration and weather conditions is the number one cause for structural damage to your chimney. When water penetrates into the brick and mortar of your chimney, it causes damage that weakens its structure. As water freezes and thaws, this moisture erodes your brickwork, breaks down your mortar, causes cracks, and actually moves your brickwork. Ever notice a chimney with cracks or bricks missing? That is caused by water damage. These changes take place on both the inside and outside of your chimney, so your chimney could look perfectly fine from the street, but have major damage on the inside. In order to protect your chimney against the elements and eliminate birds, squirrels, and other pesky critters from entering your chimney, we recommend installing a chimney cap. A chimney cap is an inexpensive addition to your chimney that once installed provides a lifetime of protection to your chimney against water damage that originates from your chimney’s flue.
Damage caused by water entering your chimney’s flue is not the only way your chimney can be damaged by the elements. Your masonry is a porous material and therefore will absorb water. Depending on the quality and age of your brickwork, your exposure to this damage could be significant. The good news is, your chimney can be protected with a water proofing sealant. Using the proper sealant is crucial. Using a non vapor permeable product could actually accelerate the damage to your chimney.
Stainless Steel Liner Installations
While we are on the topic of the structure of your chimney, the next thing to consider is the condition of your chimney liner or flue. Most chimneys contain a clay or terra cotta liner. The brickwork of your chimney surrounds this liner, so it is impossible to tell the condition of your chimney liner without looking at it from the inside. The chimney’s liner is used to safely channel the smoke and carbon monoxide out of your home. As a chimney liner ages, it can break down. This is dangerous, because a damaged liner could lead to a chimney fire. One of the things we check for when we do a chimney inspection is the condition of your chimney liner. If there is damage, we can reline your chimney giving it many more years of use without the costly expense of rebuilding your entire chimney.