Post-winter Chimney Maintenance
Inspection and maintenance of your chimney prior to winter is of utmost importance before the snow arrives. With harsh elements such as ice and wind hitting the masonry, the structure of your home could be effected. It’s not only the exterior that could use the attention. With the fireplace in use over the cold months, the lower interior may have build-up of the toxic creosote. As we head into spring, you’ll want to once again examine the key areas of the chimney. While we recommend the professionals to complete the inspection, an experienced homeowner may be able to handle the following tasks.
The exterior mainly consists of bricks and mortar. Look for cracks or any spots where the masonry is missing. If not properly sealed, water could enter the interior and lead to serious damage. The same goes for the flashing, a sealing component where the roof meets the top of the chimney.
The cap is designed to allow smoke to leave and keep animals out. If there is an opening, creatures such as raccoons, squirrels and birds will enter and possibly nest. They don’t know any better. They just know that this is a warm spot to reside. If this is the case, you may need more than a chimney expert. You will require animal control experts.
Since the fireplace has likely been used several times through the winter, the spring is really the ideal time to conduct a full sweep and cleaning. As mentioned elsewhere on our site, creosote will build and become toxic. If you don’t want to stick an object in the flue to measures the thickness of creosote, an easier way to judge is by smell. When it gets warmer, a musty, smoky odor will especially be noticeable.
Taking care of all this may seem like a lot of extra work, but it’s worth it for sound piece of mind. Plus your fireplace will be clean and ready for the following winter.