Chimney cleaning is important maintenance that you may need to have done this winter. It will help locate problems, prevent hazards, and reduce wear. You may also want to cap the chimney off while the fireplace is not being used, which will protect it. The following chimney cleaning information will help you inspect your fireplace to decide when cleaning you need.
Look for Signs of Damage
There may be issues with damage to your fireplace and chimney. Therefore, before you even start cleaning, you will want to address these issues. It is important to begin with inspecting the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage, including:
- Watermarks from leaks around the chimney
- Cracking of exterior masonry finishes on the chimney
- Damage to the interior of the fireplace below the chimney
The damaged areas can create more places for soot deposits to buildup that need to be cleaned. Therefore, you will want to have any damage to your fireplace or chimney repaired when you have the cleaning done.
Inspecting the Chimney Flue
The flue is the pipe that goes from your fireplace to above the roofline. This is what allows the smoke and gases to flow out of your home. When you are inspecting the fireplace and chimney, the flue pipe is one of the main areas where you want to look for problems. The signs that the flue pipe needs to be cleaned include:
- Black soot deposits on the sides of the flue
- Debris inside the flue due to pests or nearby vegetation
- Visible signs of deterioration due to heat and chimney fires
The buildup inside the flue pipe of your chimney is a hazard that you want to have cleaned.
Buildup Around the Damper
The damper is what controls the smoke at the fireplace. It is an area where a lot of buildup collects and needs to be cleaned. Some things that you want to inspect with the damper include:
- Check to ensure the damper is working properly
- Look for signs of ash buildup behind the damper
- Check for cracks and wear where the damper is connected to the flue
The damper can malfunction if there is soot buildup in your chimney. Therefore, you will want to have chimney cleaning done if you are having problems adjusting the damper.
Soot Buildup Inside the Fireplace
The fireplace is where you will start noticing the buildup of soot and resins. If the materials inside the hearth are beginning to turn black, it is probably time to call a chimney cleaning service. If the fireplace and chimney are starting to look black, scratch the surface to see if there is flaking.
The chimney of your fireplace is going to need to be cleaned. When your fireplace begins to develop a buildup of soot deposits, contact a chimney cleaning service.