As fall and winter approaches, many people in North Carolina begin to turn their thoughts to the chillier days ahead. If you and your family have a fireplace, one of your favorite parts of cold, snowy evenings is probably curling up to watch a movie or read a book with a roaring fire going. As lovely as fireplaces are, though, they can also be hazardous if all of their components are not kept in good repair. In this particular guide, you will find some useful tips for keeping your chimney in working order.
- Look for blockages – Blockages in chimney flues commonly cause problems, including residential fires, so it is important to make sure your home’s flue is free from any blocks before you begin using your fireplace for the season. Bird’s nests are among the most common sources of blockages. These are usually fairly easy to see, even for homeowners who have no prior experience with chimney cleaning or maintenance. Blockages are most often found in chimneys that aren’t used very often, so be especially wary if your family doesn’t use your fireplace regularly.
- Check for cracking – There are a lot of historic homes with stone and brick chimneys throughout North Carolina. If you happen to live in one of these houses, it is important for you to keep an eye on your chimney to make sure it isn’t developing cracks. Over time, both the mortar on stone and brick chimneys can begin to disintegrate, leading to cracks. Notify a professional of even the smallest crack! Repairing a tiny chimney crack as soon as it becomes evident will prevent bigger cracks from forming, saving you time and money down the road.
- Be aware of leaks – Though it can be challenging to figure out why a chimney is leaking or where the leak is coming from, the fact that a leak exists should be very apparent. In all likelihood, you will notice water pooling around your home’s hearth. This is a sure sign that you need to call a professional to take a look. One common cause of chimney leaks is improperly installed flashing, but there are other potential catalysts as well. This is why it is imperative to get an expert’s opinion.
- Make a note of condensation – Properly functioning chimney flues should be dry. If you take a look at your flue and discover condensation, it is a good idea to contact a professional right away. Over time, a wet flue can cause structural damage to your home’s chimney and even lead to long-term problems with the integrity of your house.
Even if you haven’t noticed any of the problems outlined in this article, it is still a good idea to have your chimney inspected by a Charlotte, NC chimney expert once per year. This way, you will be made aware of any potential issues before they cause severe damage or lead to an emergency, such as a fire. There are many reputable North Carolina chimney inspectors you can choose from, so you should have no trouble finding someone you trust who services your area.