Many homes enjoy the ambiance and relaxation of a fireplace. But even with a fireplace, there is danger. It is important to make chimney care part of your home maintenance plan to fight the risk of fire or the inhalation of dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) gas. Keep your chimney in good shape with these tips:
General Maintenance Tips
Both metal and masonry chimneys need regular maintenance to ensure smoke and flue gases are ventilated properly. Each year, before heating season, you should have your chimney inspected. Consider these repairs to keep your fireplace in good working condition:
To reduce creosote buildup, regularly clean your chimney.
Ensure your masonry chimney has a flue liner in place. This helps prevent the masonry from absorbing creosote.
Replace damaged liners, since they can allow creosote to accumulate and heat to escape.
Choose a chimney contractor who only uses tested products that are listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
Specific Maintenance Tips
Two types of chimneys require specific maintenance to reduce the risks in your home.
1. Fireplace inserts—Make sure the vent is connected to the flue of the chimney.
2. Factory-built metal chimneys—Do not use natural gas, fuel oil vents, well casing, stovepipe or other material in these, as they cannot tolerate the heat in a wood burner.
Precautions to Follow
Complications can quickly arise if more than one heater or appliance is vented into a single flue. You risk heavy creosote accumulation, deterioration of the flue or CO gas in your home, if a fuel-burning appliance is connected to a flue and then an additional appliance is attached, such as a water heater.