Keeping up with your chimney maintenance is the best way to catch minor issues before they turn into major problems. Even if you don’t use your chimney often, there is still the possibility of animals building nests in the flue and damage from the elements. Regular cleaning and inspections are important for the health of your chimney.
There isn’t any specific amount of time you should wait before cleaning your flue; it’s more about the type of fireplace you have and the amount of soot buildup. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends sweeping your masonry chimney when there is 1/8″ of sooty buildup, which can be enough fuel to create a fire capable of damage to the chimney, or worse. If you have a factory-built fireplace, any significant buildup should be swept due to the deposit being rather acidic and can shorten the life of the fireplace.
It’s a good idea to put your eyes on as much of your chimney as possible. You should look for cracks in the chimney crown, spalling bricks, mortar, etc. If left untreated, small imperfections will grow to cause serious damage, leaving your chimney in need of repair.
Sometimes a proper sweeping just isn’t enough to git rid of the smell from the creosote deposits. The pungent odor tends to increase in the summer with higher humidity and the air conditioner running. You can purchase chimney deodorizers, or use home remedies such as baking soda and cat litter. But the stench is also a sign of pressure problems in the house causing the air to flow down through the flue. One solution is to have a tightly sealed top mounted damper installed.
Regular maintenance will go a long way to extending the life of your fireplace. If during your inspection you find you are in need of chimney repair, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.