Top 3 Signs Your Fireplace May Need Repairs

Do you own a house with a fireplace? Do you know how to tell if it's safe to light a fire or if your chimney is actually a hazard? If you suspect that there is anything wrong with your chimney, you should make sure to get it checked out by a professional right away. It's definitely a good idea to have your chimney inspected on an annual basis to ensure that it's still working properly. But there are still some signs that you should be watching for that may indicate that your fireplace is unsafe. Some things that you may notice include:

Crumbling mortar: Whether you notice little bits of mortar inside the fireplace itself or you can see that something isn't quite right with the exterior of the chimney, you should immediately cease lighting fires in the fireplace as this is a sign that your home is in serious need of a chimney repair. The heating and cooling caused by using your fireplace on a regular basis will eventually cause the mortar holding the bricks together to crack and crumble. This results in gaps that can let heated air into your attic or crawlspace, eventually resulting in a fire. Always have your chimney fixed as soon as possible if you notice mortar or other pieces of masonry have fallen from your chimney.

Poor draft: Sometimes, when you light a fire, the smoke will go into your home instead of up your chimney. If it does this on a regular basis, you may need to have the damper replaced by a qualified chimney repair expert. Over time, the dampers can become damaged and may remain partially or entirely closed even when in the "open" position. Although you may be able to stick something up the flue to force the damper open manually, this will then allow cold air to enter your home when the fireplace isn't in use. Better to have a professional fix the issue than to attempt solutions on your own.

Missing chimney cap: Although you might have an image in your mind of a chimney that is completely open, this is not entirely true with a modern chimney. A modern fireplace chimney has some sort of cap in place over the opening, often simply a wire mesh "wall" topped by some sort of metal roof. This cap keeps precipitation and birds or small animals from entering and causing damage to your chimney. It can sometimes become dislodged and be blown away by strong winds or may have been removed by a previous homeowner who didn't realize its importance. This simple chimney repair will make your fireplace significantly safer in the long run.

Contact a service, like Excel Chimney & Fireplace Service, for more help.