Is Your Chimney Safe to Use?Things are getting chilly fast! By now, it won’t be long before you’ll use your fireplace almost every day to warm your home. Few things are as pleasant as spending cold winter nights cozily close to a fireplace while sipping hot chocolate. But without proper care and maintenance, your fireplace can become a dangerous place to be. As you’re getting ready to use your fireplace on a regular basis, you should take a moment to consider its safety. For a fireplace to be safe, smoke and harmful gases should be effectively channeled out through your chimney.
Chimney ProblemsIf there’s any smoke entering your house from your fireplace, that’s an obvious red flag that something is terribly wrong with your chimney. In such cases, you should put out the fire immediately. Under no circumstances should you light a fire a fireplace that leaks smoke into your home. Your fireplace will only be safe to use after your chimney has been inspected and repaired. Ideally, your chimney should never leak smoke into your home. Chimney problems should be spotted and repaired earlier than that. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to spot chimney problems. Chimney problems can be much less obvious. The problem is that even less obvious chimney problems can be fatal. Common chimney problems include:
- Dirt buildup: Soot and debris will build up in your chimney when you use it. It’s unavoidable – plates get dirty when you eat from them and floors get dirty when you walk on them. In the same way your chimney will get dirty when you use it regularly.
- Blockages: Even worse than having a dirty chimney, is having a blocked chimney. Bird nests, debris and soot buildup can eventually build up and block your chimney entirely.
- Damage: Cracks, missing bricks or any other damage to your chimney should be fixed before you use it.
- Length: Your chimney should pass safety regulations regarding length. Typically, it should be at least 2 feet long from where it exits the roof. A qualified chimney sweep will be able to tell you if your chimney should be longer in order to comply with safety regulations in your area.