While it is possible to hire an outside company to perform all of your fireplace maintenance tasks, many people prefer to take care of these things themselves. Performing your own fireplace maintenance can be a great way to save some money, but you will need to make sure you do not overlook any of these important factors when it comes to fireplace maintenance. Inspecting your fireplace regularly can help you catch potential issues while they are still minor annoyances.
When performing your routine fireplace maintenance, make sure you do not overlook any of these key tasks. Fireplace inspections should be done at least once per year, but some people choose to inspect their fireplaces once in the fall and then again in the spring.
Check your fireplace hearth. When you inspect your fireplace hearth, you should be looking for any loose bricks or cracks in the mortar. It is best to catch these issues early rather. A small crack or one loose brick is easy to fix, but the damage can quickly spread, resulting in a costly repair that could involve replacing a large section of your fireplace hearth. At this time, you should also check to make sure that your mantel is secure. A loose mantle can become unstable over time, eventually becoming so loose that it can fall down and cause damage to your home or children.
Look for cracks in your firebox. While inspecting the hearth is important, it can be even more important to inspect your firebox. Once again, you are looking for loose bricks or cracks in the bricks or mortar. Catching issues early is the key to minimizing the cost of repairs.
Clean your chimney liner. This is one task we recommend you leave to the professionals. Having your chimney liner checked and cleaned by a reputable chimney sweep will help to ensure that everything is in good working order. A buildup of debris in your chimney can result in poor ventilation or even a chimney fire, so you will want to make sure that your chimney liner does not have any issues.
Make sure your damper is fully operational. The fireplace damper can usually be found at the lower end of your chimney, just above the firebox. This can be opened when the fireplace is in use and closed when you do not have a fire lit. This is important because it will allow the smoke to escape when the fire is lit and will also keep your home’s heat from escaping up the chimney when the fireplace is not in use.
If you have a gas fireplace, you should also ensure that your damper has a damper clip. Frequently, fireplace owners will leave the pilot light on even when the fireplace is not being used. A functional damper clip will let the gas dissipate, avoiding a dangerous build up of gas in your fireplace.
Check your chimney cap. Now that you have checked the lower opening of your chimney, you should also check the upper opening of the chimney. A tight fitting chimney cap can help to reduce the potential for chimney damage. Storm debris such as leaves and small branches can easily get trapped in your chimney if the opening is left exposed. Small animals can also crawl into your chimney and build a nest if the opening is not tightly covered. These animals bring in other small pests such as fleas, ticks, and worms that can get into your home.
We recommend a chimney cap with a mesh screen. This will prevent unwanted objects and animals from entering your chimney while still allowing smoke to escape when the fireplace is in use.
Walk outside your home and look at your chimney. Make sure that there are no large cracks of crumbling parts of your brickwork. You should also check to make sure that your chimney is not leaning to the side or tilting towards your home. This can be a sign of major problems to come and should be addressed immediately. If one of the sides of your chimney is accessible through your attic, make sure that you also check this surface of your chimney for damage.
A thorough fireplace inspection can help to ensure that you minimize the cost of repairs. Looking out for common issues will help you catch problems early and keep your fireplace well maintained. To learn more about buying and maintaining a fireplace, check out our other blog posts or contact one of our team members at Armand’s Discount.