Masonry chimneys are a common sight in older homes, and while they may look quaint and charming, they require a bit of upkeep to stay safe. Here are five tips to keeping your masonry chimney safe:
1. Inspect the chimney regularly for cracks or other damage
Chimneys can come with many kinds of problems, including cracks, damage to the flue, or even structural issues. It's important to take the time to inspect it regularly, to make sure it's in good condition. If you hear crackling or popping sounds, your chimney may be damaged or in need of repair. If you are not a certified mason, it's important to hire a professional to do this work.
2. Keep water and animals away
There are a number of reasons why a homeowner would need to hire a masonry contractor to fix a chimney. A chimney is a great feature to have on a home, as it can improve the aesthetic appeal of a home and allow you to use fireplaces. There are a few requirements for having a chimney, including the structure must be built on a foundation. You'll also need to keep your chimney cap clean and in good condition. Having a cap that is cracked or grimy can let water or animals into your chimney, which can damage it. Make sure you're keeping up with your masonry needs or you could be looking at some expensive repairs.
3. Regular cleaning
If you use your fireplace regularly and it's made of masonry, it's important to have it cleaned at least once a year. A chimney is a good way to ventilate a fire, but if left alone it can get clogged with soot and it can start to decay the masonry of your fireplace. That's never a good situation, and it's easy to prevent!
4. Inspect regularly
There are many benefits to a well maintained chimney, including reduced risk of fire, property damage, and injury. The first step in maintaining your fireplace is to clean out the inside of the fireplace and the flue. If you're a wood burning fireplace owner and use your fireplace frequently, experts recommend cleaning every 3-4 months. However, if you don't use your fireplace often, have it inspected once a year and cleaned as needed. If you're unsure, give a chimney sweep or masonry professional a call. Finally, when cleaning out the fireplace, make sure to keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case.
5. Have a working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
To hit two birds with one stone, have a working smoke and carbon monoxide detector in your home that can cover both your kitchen and fireplace. If you smell smoke or detect high levels of carbon monoxide, get out of the house immediately and call the fire department. Chimney masonry should be inspected at least once a year for cracks or loose mortar, to ensure it is not deteriorating. A thorough inspection can also detect holes that may need to be sealed or missing bricks that need to be replaced. Masonry should be inspected after any unanticipated heavy rains or hailstorms, as these events can weaken mortar and lead to cracks or other damage.
If you need repairs or an annual inspection seek professional help from Alberta Masonry. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.