Chimney Inspection And Basic Repairs For The Average Homeowner

Whether you burn wood, corn, coal or pellets to heat your home or if your chimney is solely used as an exhaust for your home's furnace, it is important that you give it the yearly attention that it needs. Over the years, the chimney can become dirty and damaged which can lead to chimney fires and carbon monoxide leaks.

Clean the Chimney

Chimney brushes come in various sizes to fit the different sizes of chimneys. If you aren't sure what size chimney brush you need, take a measuring tape and measure your chimney. Find a brush that will fit that opening as closely as possible without being too large. Using a brush that is larger than the opening will cause damage to the chimney rather than cleaning it.

After you have the correct size brush, wait until you get a clear day with idle winds. Your personal safety must be your top priority as you work to clean and inspect your chimney.

Now, slide the chimney brush down through the chimney until it reaches the bottom. If the brush gets hung up on something, you likely have a rodent or bird nests in the chimney that needs to be removed.

Remove Insect and Bird Nests

These nests can be difficult to dismantle and eliminate. You will need a stiff brush pole and a stiff brush or nest removal tool that is small enough to maneuver through the chimney easily. Work the brush through the chimney repeatedly until the nest wears down or falls to the bottom of the chimney where you can remove it through the flue.

Inspect the Chimney

Once the creosote and nests have been removed, it is time to inspect the chimney. Without proper inspection tools, like cameras, you can only do so much. Take a look at the outer masonry of the chimney. Look for cracks that may have formed. These cracks are commonly caused by repeated freeze-thaw cycles. As moisture works its way into the cracks and freezes, it expands causing the cracks. Failure to repair these cracks quickly will result in larger cracks and damage.

To repair the cracks, use a masonry chisel and hammer to remove the damaged mortar. Dust away the debris and fill the crack with new mortar.

To ensure optimum chimney safety, have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once each year - typically at the end of fall just before you begin to use your stoves or furnace. An experienced chimney contractor will be able to identify and repair any damage that is found to keep your family safe from fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. To learn more, speak with a business like Steve's Masonry Service Victoria.