4 Situations That Require Calling a Certified Chimney Sweep
Chimney sweeps clean chimneys. Sweeps with certifications from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) have gone that extra mile to earn their place among the very best chimney technicians in the U.S. Chimney safety is nothing to take lightly, so if you ever encounter
Have you spotted crumbly dust on your roof around your chimney? Are some of the bricks loose? Is the chimney kind of tilting to one side? If you believe your chimney masonry is damaged, you need to have it looked at.
Bricks and mortar that make up a chimney can suffer damage for a variety of reasons including:
• Water leaks (see below)
• Chimney fires (see below)
• Normal house-settling
• Extreme hail storms
• Violent winds
• Plain old age
If your chimney’s masonry is compromised, it’s a good idea to cease using the fireplace until a chimney technician has performed a thorough inspection and made any needed repairs.
When a chimney begins to leak, a cycle of deterioration has begun that will not stop on its own. Water can get into a chimney system through damaged masonry, a cracked chimney crown, a missing or damaged chimney cap, missing or damaged flashing and more.
Over time, water and moisture will eat away at bricks and mortar and can lead to structural collapse. If water gets down into the flue, it can damage the chimney liner and internal bricks and leave the surrounding areas of the home at risk of fire.
Chimney leak signs include:
Water in the firebox
White stains on the exterior bricks
Damp sections of walls/ceilings near the fireplace
Strong odors coming from the fireplace
Chimney leaks should be inspected and repaired promptly by a professional chimney sweep.
Chimney fires, usually caused by creosote in the flue, can be big, destructive events or small events that start and stop on their own. Even the briefest chimney fire can damage the flue liner and masonry. If you know or suspect you’ve had a chimney fire, the structure should be inspected before you use your fireplace again.
Common signals of a chimney fire include:
A rumbling/thrushing sound, similar to a distant train
Repetitive tapping sounds
Heavy, dense smoke leaving the chimney or entering the home
If you observe any of these signals, call 911 immediately and then put out the fire in the fireplace, if you can do so safely.
Smoke backing up into the house
If smoke is entering your home for reasons other than a chimney fire, it means there is some kind of drafting problem. Obviously you want to keep smoke out of the house, but the biggest concern is the carbon monoxide that is present in smoke. Carbon monoxide is odorless
A certified chimney sweep can help with drafting issues by determining why there’s a problem in the first place and then making the necessary repairs.
Drafting issues are often the result of:
- A flue full of obstructing debris such as small-animal nests, leaves and twigs
- Excess creosote in the flue
- A chimney flue that’s the wrong size for the fireplace
- A house that’s too air-tight to allow enough air into the firebox (may solve by cracking a window)
The situations listed above are all good reasons to call a professional chimney sweep. Beyond emergencies, an annual cleaning and thorough inspection are great ways to ensure that your chimney and fireplace remain safe and working at peak efficiency.
Black Moose Chimney & Stove of Antrim, NH, is standing by to help with all your chimney needs. We offer CSIA-certified chimney sweep service, chimney inspections and chimney repair/rebuilds. Call us today at (301) 695-6991.