Santa's Friend Chimney Service

Santa's Friend Chimney Service Blog

Chimney Fire Facts

We always hear about the romantic features of a chimney as well as the heating benefits when buying a home. What the real estate agents or existing homeowners do not tell you is about the dangers of fires. Now, this is not to scare you away from buying a home with a chimney or in having one installed; you just need to be aware of these dangers and how to prevent a fire from happening out of sheer ignorance.

The facts about chimney fires

Creosote buildup is one of the leading causes of chimney fires. Wood burning fireplaces can generate significant creosote buildup within the lining of the chimney. It only takes one eighth of an inch to be considered dangerous. This is a highly combustible material, and it is one of the main reasons we recommend an annual chimney inspection and cleaning.

When purchasing a home, there are several signs for which you can look to see if there was previously a chimney fire. You, or a professional, should look for these signs prior to purchase, as they could result in costly repairs in order to operate the fireplace safely again.

  1. Honey-combed creosote buildup
  2. Cracked flue tiles or tiles that have large chunks missing
  3. A discolored chimney cap
  4. If the TV antenna or satellite dish is located close to the chimney, check for discoloration
  5. Creosote flakes found inside of fireplace or in surrounding area outside of home (they may have been discharged from the chimney and carried by the wind)
  6. Warped metal damper
  7. Discolored or cracked masonry work on exterior of chimney

If you see any of these signs, call a certified chimney sweep immediately to have the chimney professionally inspected. There are multiple levels of inspections related to potential problems. In this case, you may have the upper tier of inspections to outline and problems as well as a plan of action to have the chimney repaired.

By Jim Robinson on November 17th, 2012 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

That Roof Leak Could Possibly Be a Chimney Leak

Many homeowners see water dripping from their attics or upper story ceilings and immediately assume that the roof is leaking. In some cases, the chimney may actually be the source of the problem. The chimney sits atop the home, where it vents hot air and smoke from the fireplace. It is often neglected until it stops doing its job, which can prevent many homeowners from realizing that there is a problem in the area.

Santa's Friend Chimney - That roof leak might be a chimney leak

Chimneys may look simple but they feature intricate construction and perform complex tasks. A masonry chimney can suffer at the hands of weather conditions, resulting in loose masonry, an obstructed flue, or a damaged liner. The brick, concrete, mortar, stone, cast iron, steel, and flue tile present in many chimneys are adversely affected when they come in contact with or are penetrated by water.

After prolonged contact with water, most materials that form a masonry chimney will deteriorate. Freezing and thawing can cause masonry materials to erode rapidly because the expanding and freezing process causes undue stress on the materials. Water can also rust cast iron, steel, and other metals used in the chimney, weakening or destroying these components.

When water penetrates the chimney, it can deteriorate the masonry or metal firebox and rot wood adjacent to the fireplace. The chimney exterior and walls and ceilings within the home may develop water stains. Mortar on the chimney exterior can decay and the chimney flue liner may deteriorate or crack. Even the support for the hearth can be affected, resulting in collapse.

Homeowners who suspect a roof leak should contact a professional to ensure that it is not really a chimney leak. Chimney crown, flashing, or mortar joint repair or replacement may solve the problem. Installing a chimney cap can prevent future water penetration and has the added benefit of deterring animals from nesting in the chimney.

By Jim Robinson on November 9th, 2012 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment