Nobody understands the importance of seasonal chimney inspection better than a homeowner who just had a chimney fire. There are potentially several reasons you may have a fire. During a professional inspection, these problem areas will be checked, and, hopefully, your chimney will be in good shape for another season.
Dallas fireplace repair shops recommend you have your chimney inspected every fall, before you build the first fire of the season. Through regular observation and maintenance, the professional can monitor any areas of the fireplace that appear to be a source of a possible future problem.
Elements of the Inspection
The inspector will look for any damage. They will check the gasket, ash dump, doors, and damper, as well as the interior walls of the chimney. They will clean the blower and the interior walls.
It is important to understand a few guidelines to prevent fireplace damage or creosote buildup throughout the year. It is recommended you burn wood that is less than six inches in diameter and use only dried hardwood. Pine is not recommended due to the amount of creosote generated. The creosote coats the interior walls of the chimney and is a fire hazard. Do not overfill the box area with wood or use wet wood or wood that sparks easily. Use a screen or doors to protect your home from flying, burning debris.
The wise consumer will engage any children in the home in learning about fireplace safety at the time of the chimney inspection. Young children are usually interested in outside workers coming into their home and will be receptive to what the inspectors are doing and what advice is offered. Fire often fascinates children. If educated, childrenwill be much safer in the home around a fireplace or wood stove.
According to a national fireplace safety organization, fireplaces are the leading cause of house fires, responsible for 22,000 each year. This fact alone underscores the importance of fireplace safety. Most of these fires are initially undetected, but account for interior chimney damage. When smoke accumulates in a damaged chimney, it creates highly ignitable creosote.
If your firebox is a wood stove and creosote has built up, it is possible to have an overfire. This extra hot smoke can damage the stove by warping the metal and igniting the creosote.
It is important to schedule repairs as soon as possible for any problem areas the inspection reveals. Fireplace professionals are trained and experienced in masonry repair around the top of the chimney and the interior walls. This is not a job for a homeowner who is not adequately trained.
The homeowner who has a fireplace must assume the responsibility of the care and upkeep of this potential life-threatening component of their home. Everyone should be hyper-aware of the signs of a chimney fire and what safety procedures are in place for that family, considering the age and mobility of all family members. The yearly inspection should signal for the family a time to revisit their safety plan, in case of fire. By following this yearly routine, the family should be safe and enjoy their fireplace as long as they occupy the home.