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Why is a Chimney Inspection Important?

If you have a chimney, you probably understand the importance of regular chimney sweeping. Chimney sweeping keeps your chimney clear of dangerous, flammable creosote, so you can use your fireplace safely season after season. But in addition to your annual chimney sweeping, that National Fire Protection Association recommends that you have your chimney inspected every year, in addition to your regular sweeping. So why is a chimney inspection so important?

Damage

A chimney inspection can spot dangerous deterioration or damage.

There are many portions of your chimney that can’t easily be seen. That includes the chimney crown, the chimney cap and the chimney flue. During a thorough inspection, your chimney sweep will inspect all of the components of your fireplace and chimney to ensure that there aren’t any cracks or deterioration that could pose a fire hazard or other danger. For heating stoves, inserts and gas fireplaces, a chimney inspection also includes an inspection of all seals, gaskets and working components of the fireplace to be sure that the unit is operating safely and efficiently.

Alleviate Blockages

A chimney inspection guarantees that your chimney is clear.

In addition to creosote, there are plenty of things that can make their way into your chimney and cause dangerous blockages. That includes natural debris, such as leaves and twigs, and animals who either wander accidentally into your chimney or who see your chimney as the perfect nesting place. A chimney inspection guarantees that there aren’t any dangerous blockages — which can ignite and pose a fire threat or force dangerous fireplace gases back into your home — within your chimney.

Structure and Safety

A chimney inspection guarantees that your chimney is properly constructed.

If you’ve never had the chimney in your home inspected, you need to schedule a chimney inspection now! Often, chimneys aren’t properly constructed. Components can be improperly sized for your fireplace or constructed from the wrong materials. Sometimes builders cut corners on chimney construction, or they don’t follow local clearances for chimneys and fire-burning appliances. When a chimney is improperly constructed it can, at worst, pose a fire hazard. At the very least, an improperly constructed chimney won’t work to efficiently remove smoke from your home, and it will break down prematurely, putting your fireplace and home at risk for water damage.

Save Money

A chimney inspection can save you money!

In addition to keeping your home and your family safe by ensuring that your chimney is well constructed, in good shape and free from obstructions, a chimney inspection can save you money in the long run! Most chimney damage gets worse with time, and chimney damage can expose your home’s structure to water, heat, undue pressure or other hazards that can harm the building itself. A chimney inspection allows you to spot and fix problems with your chimney early, saving you from major, costly repairs down the road.

If you are overdue for a chimney inspection, or if you’ve never had your chimney inspected, call A to Z Chimney Services to schedule your chimney inspection today! Our chimney technicians will make sure your fireplace and chimney are safe to use this fire-burning season.

How To Make Your Chimney More Efficient

Was your chimney working at its best this winter, or did you have problems with cold drafts or smoke finding their way back into your home? If your chimney left something to be desired, now is the time to make upgrades. If you are ready to increase your chimney’s efficiency this summer, there are several ways you can improve its function.

Install a Top-sealing Damper

One of the biggest chimney’s inefficiencies comes when your fireplace isn’t in use. Hot air from your home rises up and out of the chimney.  In the same way, cold burst of air can blow down through the chimney and into your home. Up to 8 percent of your home’s heat can be lost through the chimney, which means your chimney could be costing you money. Your damper is meant to block air exchange through the chimney when the fireplace isn’t in use. Most dampers warp over time and fail to seal off the chimney entirely.

A top-sealing damper can solve the problem. A top sealing damper is installed at the very top of your chimney. When closed, it seals off the flue entirely. This prevents downdrafts from entering your chimney and warm air from rising out of your home. If you are looking to make your chimney — and your home — more efficient, a top-sealing damper can help.

Replace Your Chimney Cap

Your chimney cap also can help to stop drafts from entering your home through your chimney. Many homes are equipped with cheap, builder-grade chimney caps that corrode rapidly or are easily knocked out of place. Installing a new chimney cap that’s made from a strong material, like stainless steel, can help make your chimney more energy efficient. The strong material helps block downdrafts of cold air.

Repair Chimney Damage

Cracking, crumbling or otherwise weakened masonry can also decrease the efficiency of your chimney. Cracks in the masonry allow air to escape through the walls of the chimney. Having chimney masonry repaired during the summer months can help keep your home warmer, and lower your energy bills, next winter.

Have Your Chimney Relined

If your chimney is drafting inefficiently, causing smoke to come back into your home, your chimney liner could be to blame. Cracks or uneven construction can cause smoke to draft upward inefficiently and ineffectively. Or, your chimney liner could be the wrong size to efficiently draw smoke out of your fireplace. Having your chimney liner repaired or relined could have your chimney working efficiently to keep smoke out of your home.

If your chimney wasn’t working as efficiently as it could last winter, call A to Z Chimney Services today! We can install a new top-sealing damper or chimney cap, repair chimney damage or reline your chimney. Complete these repairs this spring so that it’s ready to operate at its most efficient next winter.

It’s never too late to have your chimney cleaned

The winter months are drawing to a close, and spring soon will be upon us. If you have failed to have your chimney cleaned and inspected, you may assume that it’s too late, now that the fire-burning season is drawing to a close. However, it’s never too late to have your chimney cleaned!

In fact, the end of the burning season can be the perfect time for your annual and inspection! A spring chimney cleaning can reduce your risk of a chimney fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, and chimney damage.Have Your Chimney Cleaned Image - Sacramento CA - A to Z Chimney Services

Reduce your risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning

A spring chimney sweeping will clear out any of the creosote from this year’s fires. A buildup of highly flammable creosote is the leading cause of chimney fires, meaning that cleaning it out of your chimney drastically reduces your risk of a chimney fire. Blockages in your chimney, whether from creosote, animal nests or other debris, also can prevent carbon monoxide from exiting your fireplace, putting your family at risk from a deadly buildup of the gas within your home.

Additionally, the soot and creosote left in your chimney is highly corrosive. If you wait until the fall to have your chimney cleaned after the previous burning season, you’re allowing those corrosive materials to break down the inner walls of your chimney. A buildup of creosote also can have intrusive side effects — creosote can leave an unpleasant smell in your house during the warm, humid summer months. A cleaning and inspection at the end of the burning season is especially important if you have a pellet-burning appliance: Trapped pellets can swell in summer’s humidity, causing damage to your stove or fireplace.

Identify and address chimney damage

A spring chimney sweeping and inspection also identifies any water or fire damage your chimney endured during the fire burning season, giving you the opportunity to address it before it becomes a major issue. If you have your chimney inspected now and damage is found, that gives you plenty of time to determine the best way to approach repairs and have those repairs performed before you’re ready to use it again next fall.

Remember, any chimney damage, from water leaks to crumbing masonry, should be addressed as soon as it is identified. If minor damage is ignored, it can lead to major, expensive repairs in the future. And failing a failing chimney also can put your home at risk of a chimney fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you live around Sacramento, CA, and you’re overdue for your chimney sweeping and inspection, or if you prefer to have your chimney swept at the end of the fire-burning season, give the certified chimney sweeps at A to Z Chimney Services a call to schedule an appointment. It’s never too late for your annual chimney cleaning!