Moving Into An Older Home? Three Common Chimney Issues To Watch Out For

The fireplace in your older home may seem like a comforting amenity, but before you load it up with wood and start a fire, it's essential to ensure it is in good shape. A damaged chimney could lead to a fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, or a home filled with smoke. Here's a look at three issues that are common in older chimneys and what to do if you find them.

Missing Chimney Liner

Your chimney must have a metal or ceramic tube lining its interior in order to operate safely. If the liner is missing and you light a fire, you risk setting the whole home on fire because the outer construction of the chimney is not insulated enough to contain the heat. Take a look up (or down) your chimney to make sure there is a liner in place. If you do not see one, have a chimney repair specialist come insert a new liner before you use your chimney. Inserting a liner is a rather simple process and should only take a few hours.

Mortar Deterioration

If your chimney is constructed from bricks, you'll want to look out for this issue. Many years of exposure to high temperatures can cause the mortar between the bricks to break down. This could cause the chimney to lean and possibly collapse, starting a fire, when you use it. Take a look at the mortar between your bricks. Is is crumbling? Are chunks missing? If so, you'll want to have a professional come replace and repair it before you use your chimney. The process of replacing mortar is known as tuckpointing; it not only makes your chimney safer, but also makes it look like new.

Creosote Buildup

This hazard can present itself even in new chimneys. Creosote is a black powder with a greasy, tar-like feel that can build up on surfaces when wood is burned. Unfortunately, it is flammable, so if you have creosote buildup in your chimney and you light a fire, the whole thing could go up in flames. You can check for creosote by using your hand or a rag to reach up into the chimney and give it a wipe. If it emerges covered in black gunk, you need to have your chimney professionally cleaned before using it.

It is never a bad idea to have a chimney expert come inspect your older chimney before you use it. They will save you the trouble of checking for these three things and may also detect other problems that you'll want to have repaired. For more information or to have your chimney looked at, seek services such as chimney repairs by Direct Chimney Services.