Chimney Maintenance

March 15, 2019

I know we thought it would never happen, but winter has FINALLY come to an end! Ok, ok… We might be jumping the gun just a little, but we’re being optimistic.

With the arrival of the nice weather, our mind tends to drift to outdoor projects and fresh air.  We don’t want to think about the cold weather or enjoying the warmth of our woodstove or fireplace.  Before you completely banish all thoughts of winter, take a minute to contact your favorite local chimney sweep and schedule your annual chimney inspection.  You don’t want to wait until that first late summer evening when you feel the first fall chill to make the call because at that point you could be waiting months!

Another reason you don’t want to wait is because spring/summer are the ideal months to have your inspection done.  In the event that your chimney needs repairs, there is time and suitable weather to allow for them.  Also, if your chimney has more than a 1/8” buildup of creosote, your chimney sweep is going to recommend that you also have your chimney cleaned.  (Creosote is a highly flammable material that builds up as a result of incomplete combustion.)  Not having your chimney cleaned could easily have a negative impact on your summer indoor hours (especially if you enjoy ac) because humidity causes the creosote to have a very foul odor.

A chimney inspection will cost between $100-$350 depending on the complexity and any complications that they run into.  You can expect the inspector to determine if the appliance has the proper clearance, inspect the firebox, liners, smoke chamber and flue as well as the chimney’s exterior.  They will provide proper operating instructions and recommend repairs and service if needed.  Often, for an additional fee they will do a video inspection to help further identify issues.

The main cause of chimney failure is lack of a rain cap.  Also, a chimney that is rarely used could become home to animals and birds.  Tree debris falling in can block the chimney and water repeatedly freezing and thawing in the masonry can cause a lot of damage.  For your safety and to prevent more issues, only seasoned wood (cut and stacked for at least a year) and CSIA approved manufactured logs should be burned.

Technically a Level 2 chimney inspection (performed by a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America) is required upon sale or transfer of a property but many realtors don’t know this and it isn’t being enforced yet.  As part of your home inspection, our inspectors will inspect the readily accessible and visible parts of the chimney.  If any concerns are recognized they will recommend a qualified chimney inspector take a closer look. Need a qualified chimney professional? Call our good friends over at Crown Chimney or Sin Cal Chimney Hearth & Home for more information. 99.9% of home inspectors are NOT Level 2 chimney inspectors!

So enjoy every minute of spring and summer – because they are going to pass quickly! And prepare for the cold weather now by giving some attention to that chimney that will keep you warm during those months that seem to drag. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call the most reputable NH Home Inspectors.

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