Your Annual Chimney and Fireplace Inspection Is Due

Preventable chimney fire

Once a year you need to have your fireplace and chimney inspected. Even if you don’t use it much. Why? Because animals may build nests inside, or because deterioration may make your fireplace unsafe to use in the upcoming colder seasons.

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, the national safety standard (National Fire Protection Association Standard 211) states that “Chimneys, fireplaces and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance and repairs shall be done if necessary.”

They recommend that open masonry fireplaces be swept when as little as 1/8” of soot builds up, and sooner if glaze is present in the system. Even this little an amount can cause a chimney fire that can quickly spread to the rest of your home. In addition, the sooty deposit is acidic and can shorten the life of your fireplace.

Even gas fireplaces should be checked for bird nests or debris that may block the flue and cause dangerous carbon monoxide buildups. Proper placement of a chimney cap can help deter birds and animals from entering your chimney.

Creosote, a byproduct of burning wood, deposits in the chimney; perhaps you can smell it in the warmer, more humid months. A tight-sealing damper can help alleviate any residual smells and reduce air flow down the chimney into your home.

For older fireplaces and chimneys with masonry fireboxes and brick or concrete chimneys inspections are critical. These structures are extremely heavy and must be situated on a solid and level foundation. If the foundation has settled, the chimney can dangerously tilt either toward or away from the home. In addition, you want to make sure all the equipment is in place, including dampers and spark arrestors (now required by code).  Here in Northern Virginia, we also experience earthquakes, which can create cracks in walls or fireboxes.

It’s Time For Your Annual Fireplace and Chimney Inspection

Först Consulting Group will provide a complete inside-and-out inspection of your home’s fireplace and chimney, looking for damage or potential hazards, which we recommend on a yearly basis. We can also inspect chimneys for pre-purchase peace of mind if you are looking at buying a home. You surely don’t want to set your heart on a lovely fireplace only to find out it is unusable once you move in. Don’t wait until fall; schedule your Fireplace and Chimney Inspection today.

 

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