A fireplace adds beauty to your home and keeps your family cozy and cozy and comfortable during winter. However, chimneys are a safety hazard when not properly maintained. With these simple tips for chimney maintenance, your chimney will be safe and functional for many years.

Schedule a Chimney Inspection

It’s hard to accurately perform chimney maintenance without an idea of its current condition, so scheduling an inspection from an experienced home inspector is an excellent place to start. Home inspectors will check for visible problems with your chimney and fireplace and advise you about needed repairs or chimney maintenance.

Have the Chimney Professionally Cleaned for Chimney Maintenance

While many chimney maintenance tasks you can tackle on your own, creosote and caked-on debris inside the chimney are best removed by a professional. Creosote accumulates when you burn firewood and is highly flammable. Schedule a chimney cleaning at least once each year. Some of the signs that you may need more frequent cleanings include:

  • Fires burning poorly or inefficiently 
  • Noises coming from the flue that might be animals or birds
  • Strange odors or strong smoky smells
  • An oily sheen on the walls 

Maintain the Chimney Cap

Chimney caps sit on the top of the chimney and help protect it from snow, ice, rain, debris, and animals. If the chimney cap is damaged, the inside of your chimney is more vulnerable to the elements and pests. As part of your chimney maintenance routine, check to confirm the chimney cap is intact and properly installed.

Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors 

Even if you do everything right, carbon monoxide may still enter your home through the chimney while a fire is burning. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is odorless, colorless, and impossible to detect without a carbon monoxide detector. When you change your smoke detector batteries once a year, check the batteries in the carbon monoxide detector to ensure they are operational. Keep one detector installed in every room with a fireplace.

Look for Brick Cracks During Regular Chimney Maintenance

Cracks can appear in masonry at any point during the year, not just when you are completing chimney maintenance. Check the fireplace and chimney for cracks in the brick or crumbled mortar when lighting a fire. Delaying repairs to cracked bricks and mortar will cost you more in the long run when issues occur.

AWP Home Inspections offers services to customers in West Central and Central Indiana. Contact us to request an appointment.