You probably think a lot about your chimney during the cold weather months, when you’re enjoying the warm crackle of your fireplace or the warmth from your home heating system. It’s important to remember your chimney when the wood-burning season and home heating season dies down, as we enter into spring.
Between the heat of your fires, the moisture of winter’s rain, sleet and snow, and extreme freezing temperatures, your chimney undergoes a lot of stress. It’s important to examine your chimney for your wood burning appliance as well your oil or gas furnace system now so you can spot any problems and have them addressed before next fall. We’ve created a spring chimney checklist to help you with spring chimney maintenance.
- Perform a visual inspection of your chimney. Walk around your chimney and look for any signs of damage, such as cracked or spalling bricks, crumbling or missing mortar, and discoloration. If you do see any of these problems, contact a chimney professional for a more thorough inspection to make sure your chimney is in the best condition for use, and to create a repair plan.
- From the ground check your chimney top. Check to make sure your chimney has a chimney cap. If you are brave enough to go on the roof, look at your chimney crown. Do you notice cracks or missing pieces in your chimney crown? Or rust and holes in your chimney chase cover? While you’re up there, check the flashing at the base of your chimney to make sure it is entirely sealed and is free of any cracks and holes.
- Inspect your fireplace interior. Do you notice smoke stains above the fireplace opening? Check the firebox for missing mortar joints and cracks.
- Open and close your damper. Does it open and closed fully? Make sure that it is operating smoothly and does not show signs of rust, cracks, or warping.
- Check the connector pipe of your oil or gas furnace system for rust, deterioration, holes, or leakage.
- Clean out your firebox. Ash is acidic and can harm the bottom of your fireplace and your fireplace grate. Don’t leave ash in your fireplace over the summer months when your fireplace is not in use.
- Examine the walls and ceiling around your chimney. If you notice that the wallboard or ceiling is discolored or sagging, or if you see peeling wallpaper, that could be a sign of a chimney leak.
- Consider a chimney sweeping and inspection of your oil or gas furnace, fireplace, or wood stove. While most people wait until the fall for their annual sweeping and inspection, a spring sweeping removes creosote or soot in your chimney which over time can build up causing performance issues to occur exactly when you don’t want them … when it’s cold outside! It also gives you plenty of time to schedule and execute any repairs your professional chimney technician recommends before the next wood-burning and home heating season.
If your spring chimney check list reveals any of the above, or if you’d like to have your chimney professionally swept and inspected this spring, call the chimney experts at Clean Sweep of Anne Arundel County today. We’ll make sure your chimney is in good working order and ready for use when the cold weather returns next fall.