If you own your home long enough, your fireplace may eventually give you some trouble. Regardless of the cause, some type of action will be required on your part, as using an unsound fireplace and chimney system is extremely unsafe and can be detrimental to the system’s overall well-being. It is extremely important to deal with fireplace and chimney system problems as soon as you become aware of them. These problems can cause combustion byproducts to back up and enter your home leaving behind unpleasant and unsafe living conditions. Proper maintenance is key!
Troubleshooting your Firebox
When inspecting your fireplace and/or chimney, the purpose is to identify and repair issues that can compromise the safety of both the unit and the individuals in your home. If the brickwork in your firebox are crumbling and/or the mortar joints are showing signs of deterioration, you have a fire hazard in your home. The extreme temperatures created by fires in your fireplace require special firebricks and high-temperature mortar be used in the construction of your firebox. Repairs becoming necessary after many years of use are normal and are to be expected. No time should be wasted in getting a damaged firebox repaired, as failure to do so is extremely dangerous and irresponsible.
Troubleshooting your Fireplace System’s Draft
Do you feel air coming into your home via the fireplace? Does your house smell of smoke a lot of the time? Do you have a hard time simply getting a fire started? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you very well could have a draft problem. Before you can fix a problem, it helps to figure out how it developed in the first place. One of our CSIA-certified technicians can inspect your fireplace system for you to help rectify the situation. There are many symptoms of a drafty fireplace:
• Your fire is reluctant to start and smoke spills into the room at start-up;
• Your fireplace back puffs powerfully on windy days;
• Smoke spills to some degree under all conditions;
• Smoke spills at larger damper openings;
• The heat output is too low; and/or
• Smoke odors are persistent even when the fireplace isn’t in use.
Our CSIA-certified technicians can determine which, if any, of the afore-mentioned issues are plaguing your home. The possible remedies depend on which combination of problems is the culprit of your draft problem. Oftentimes, cleaning the chimney can take care of the issue; even the slightest buildup inside your chimney can restrict airflow, thus causing your fireplace’s problem. Sealing leaks in the chimney is another possible remedy, depending on what is found during your inspection. Another quick fix would be installing or replacing your chimney cap. Back puffing problems during windy conditions point directly to this.
If problems are present, harmful gases and smoke from burning fires may not be able to properly exit your home. Even though you may be able to alleviate most of the excess smoke in your home on your own, the potential health affects and/or risks to your home necessitate consulting with a chimney or fireplace professional to ensure that your home is safe, as a little peace of mind goes a long way. You’ll be able to enjoy that roaring fire a little bit more knowing that you and your family are protected.