There is something mesmerizing and comforting about a fire in a masonry fireplace. A beautiful, well-maintained fireplace can add eye-appeal and value to your home. But too often, homeowners underestimate the importance of yearly inspection, cleaning and maintenance of their masonry fireplace.
Why is Maintenance so Important?
There are several reasons why annual inspection, cleaning, and maintenance of your fireplace is important. Perhaps the most obvious reason is to avoid a build-up of creosote. When you burn a fire in your fireplace, certain emissions are released and make their way up your chimney to escape into the atmosphere. And this is good – you wouldn’t want those emissions released into your home. However, it is inevitable that some particles will stick to the inside of your chimney, and the more fires you build throughout the winter, the thicker this build up will become and the more likely it is that a chimney fire might occur. Annual inspection and cleaning will greatly decrease the likelihood that a fire will occur. This is why the National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” [http://www.csia.org/about-csia/faq.aspx]
Another reason that annual inspection is so important is the effect of the freeze-thaw cycle on the mortar that connects the bricks or stones that make up your chimney. Mortar is a porous material, and over time, precipitation (snow, rain, sleet) will permeate into the mortar. This may not seem like such a big deal, especially in areas where the winters are mild. In areas where the winters are harsh, this is a different story. According to pothole.info, when water freezes, it needs about ten percent more space to handle the expansion that takes place. When a thaw occurs, there is now an even larger crack in your mortar, a bigger space for precipitation to permeate. Simply stated, going from freezing to thawing to freezing again can have a devastating effect on your chimney, especially on the mortar.
Annual Inspections Can Prevent Major Repairs
Some of the damage that is occurring due to the freeze-thaw cycle is apparent to the untrained eye. Some, however, requires the expertise of a professional. The professional team at Michael’s Chimney Service can meet all of your chimney inspection, cleaning, and repair needs. These employees are specially trained and CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certified to inspect, repair, and clean your chimney, and they take pride in providing quality service on every job they perform.
If damage to your mortar is discovered early enough, your chimney professionals may recommend a procedure called repointing (or tuckpointing). Repointing allows for replacement of the mortar in your chimney without having to do a complete chimney teardown. Although you may be tempted to undertake this task yourself, chimney professionals have the expertise and the tools to do the job right. Call today to schedule an appointment. The experts at Michael’s Chimney Service are trained in all types of repair jobs, and they look forward to helping you out with all of your chimney inspection, cleaning, and repair needs.