One of the best things about winter is lighting a fire and enjoying the warmth radiating throughout your home. However, there are a lot of moving parts that go into this process, whether you’re aware of them or not. In addition to the actual fireplace, your chimney does a lot of work to keep you and your family safe and warm. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the inside of your chimney as a homeowner.
The first step involves understanding what type of chimney you have. There are a few common types such as single-walled metal, pre-fabricated metal, and brick chimneys (also known as masonry). Most homes will have masonry chimneys, as they’ve been known to be the safest and are the most aesthetically pleasing. But all chimneys have similar inside structures.
People are more familiar with the term “fireplace,” but technically speaking the area where your fire is actually burning is called the firebox. More often than not, this area is constructed using firebrick and cement—both of which have high levels of heat resistance. It’s important to make sure that you inspect this crucial area for signs of damage such as crumbling, cracking, or overall deterioration. If you see signs of damage, contact a professional tuckpointing company to make the needed repairs.
The chimney’s flue is the primary ventilation system that guides smoke and carbon monoxide safely outside of your home while a fire is burning. Keeping your flue working properly is essential in the safety of controlled home fires and you must always open your flue prior to lighting a fire. If you notice smoke gathering inside your home, contact a professional right away. Additionally, always make sure that your carbon monoxide detectors are working and have fresh batteries, as the odorless gas can be deadly.
Homes don’t always have chimney liners, but they are a great way to take extra safety measures in protecting your family from dangerous creosote buildup. Chimney liners provide an added layer and act as a barrier to wandering flames. Make sure you research the type and size that will work best with your chimney prior to making a purchase.
If your chimney doesn’t already have a cap, it’s a great investment to make. A chimney cap is a piece of ventilated metal that, quite literally, caps your chimney. It helps form a barrier from outside debris, unwanted pests, and heavy rain that could end up blocking or damaging the inside of your chimney. The simple act of installing a chimney cap can help save you hundreds of dollars in repairs throughout the years.
While these aren’t part of the inside of your chimney, they are crucial in the safety of lighting a fire inside your home. You need to have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors installed. Smoke detectors will make sure that you’re alerted if the fire becomes unruly and carbon monoxide detectors will save your life. Check the batteries frequently and replace them as needed. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially because carbon monoxide is odorless, yet fatal when inhaled for too long.
If you’re looking for a new smoke detector, find one that simultaneously alerts authorities as it sounds an alarm through your home.
Understanding your chimney is important for both the safety of you and your family and the act of saving money on expensive home repairs. Getting educated and knowing everything there is to know about the inside of your chimney and how it works will ensure that you experience a safe and warm winter season. To be proactive, make sure you give the professionals at Chicago Tuckpointing a call. While it’s best to do this before it gets too cold, the masons at Chicago Tuckpointing are available year round to make professional inspections, fix any structural damage, and ensure that the creosote build up is cleaned out for optimal safety. During our visit, we’ll make sure that if there are any repairs or cleanings needed, they will be taken care of in a timely manner. Doing maintenance yearly, or twice yearly, is much more affordable and safe than waiting until it’s too late. All of our trained professionals are certified masonry contractors and know exactly what needs to be done to get the job done right, the first time around. Your safety is always our number one priority. Give us a call today at (708) 942-1951 or visit our website at chicagotuckpointinginc.com.