No matter what type of chimney and fireplace system you have and no matter how often it is used, it still requires annual maintenance to maintain safety for your family and long-lasting parts and functionality. To get straight to the point, the fireplaces and chimney systems which are cleaned regularly and inspected annually are the ones that are most safe and efficient year after year—both the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) say so (and we agree).
Unsafe Chimneys Put Lives at Risk
When you neglect your annual maintenance, your chimney will suffer, which means your fire will suffer, and your comfort and safety will as well. As your fire burns, chemical byproducts are released into the flue system where they vent safely outside the home. When this process is interrupted, the smoke and toxins can push into the rest of the house, affecting the breathable air and putting your family at risk for carbon monoxide exposure and particulate pollution.
Additionally, when the fire doesn’t vent properly it will be difficult-to-light and will require more fuel to reach the desired temperature. This heat will not go up the chimney the way it’s intended and designed, so the risk for accidental fire goes up. A flue fire can be catastrophic, destroying your property and causing injury or even death to family and guests.
It’s our goal and the goal of every CSIA certified chimney professional to bring down the occurrence of residential chimney fires and chimney-related incidents. We help our friends and neighbors in and around Jacksonville, Florida maintain safety and comfort for their homes by offering expert chimney services.
Signs Your Chimney Needs Maintenance
Your chimney system is put to work every time you light a fire and it requires annual maintenance no matter how often it’s used. If you haven’t scheduled a chimney sweep or inspection for your system in the last 12 months, now is the time. Though your chimney system needs basic services annually, there are certain signs that indicate the system needs attention right away.
- Odors in the fireplace and chimney: Odors mean a problem in the system. Depending on the odor, the problems may be extreme and dangerous. A barbecue smell means the system is dirty and likely has obstructions and flammable creosote deposits. A mildew odor means there is a chimney leak and is likely causing water damage. Foul odors of decomposition mean the system is dirty with decomposing organic materials like leaves and limbs—even a possible dead animal! Any odors in the system mean an expert eye needs to assess the system.
- Spalling masonry: Broken, cracked, and crumbling masonry is a serious problem that can allow water into the system, can lead to structural issues, and can compromise ventilation. If your masonry is damaged, it’s important to call a professional who can assess and repair it properly, and prevent a recurrence.
- Chimney leaks: A chimney leak may not only occur inside the chimney system itself. While the water may enter by way of the chimney, the leak can occur anywhere in the home as water runs through flooring and walls and can form a leak several rooms away from the chimney. If you have a leak anywhere in your home, or notice dripping sounds or visible signs of a leak in the chimney itself, it’s time to call a professional.
- A smoky fireplace: If your fireplace is smoky, the flue isn’t venting properly. It may be that your flue is obstructed, dirty, or your damper isn’t working properly. Your smoky fireplace may even be caused by the wrong type of firewood. In order to determine the source of your smoky fireplace, call a professional who can complete a basic assessment before you use your fireplace and expose your family to smoke inhalation.
- Stains on the chimney or in the fireplace: Stains on the inside of the firebox (or fireplace) can be a sign of the wrong firewood, a ventilation problem, or a leak. This needs to be addressed by a certified professional. Additionally, exterior stains are a problem. Red/brown stains at the top of your chimney is a sign of a damaged or dislodged cap. White stains on the masonry surface mean water is passing through the masonry and leaving minerals on the surface.
No matter what type of damage you have discovered or signs you’ve noticed, it is never too late to have it repaired, and it’s never too early to call an expert. At Hudson Chimney we are trained to diagnose and make repairs of the smallest kind so that our customers can avoid costs of the big kind.
When it’s time to schedule your services, schedule with us. Call Hudson Chimney at 904-282-4159 and put your trust in the CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps that have been serving Jacksonville, Florida for over 30 years.