Winter certainly rode into the Upstate on the coattails of the New Year, with heavy winds, torrential rain and even a trace of snow! And there is a good chance many fireplaces, both gas and wood burning, were used for the first time all season. The question is, were those fireplaces safe and do I really need an annual checkup?
Wood burning Fireplaces
Burning wood produces plenty of warmth and a homey woodsy smell. But wood burning fireplaces also can produce creosote. The oil in wood that doesn’t completely burn will begin to off-gas and mix with the rising smoke. As it rises it begins to cool and condensation forms. The end result of this mixture is creosote residue, a dangerous substance that adheres to the inside of the chimney. Black or brown in color, creosote is highly flammable and combustible.
But my fireplace is gas, do I need to worry about creosote? The answer is no, but that doesn’t mean you are off the hook when it comes to an annual inspection. A gas burning fireplace requires regular maintenance to ensure its safety. You can safely clean the glass doors and check for cracks, vacuum the interior where the logs or rocks are located and ensure the nearby carbon monoxide detectors are working; but the overall exterior and interior chimney inspection, log inspection and gas ignition system inspection definitely needs to be handled by a licensed gas service provider or gas fireplace installer.
Additional Maintenance for Both Fireplaces
- Any fireplace that has a vent or chimney flue, regardless of what it burns needs to be inspected annually. Masonry fireplaces often have an interior clay liner that due to the intense heat may crack allowing harmful gases and even open flames to escape into the interior of the home.
- If the chimney cap is missing or the flue has accidentally been left open you could have birds, squirrels, raccoons, or bats living inside the chimney.
- When the structural integrity of a chimney has been compromised there is a chance of exterior cracks and gaps that could lead to water damage, space for the above-mentioned birds and rodents to slip through, and if the crack is large enough, the entire chimney may be in danger of collapsing.
Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to make 2022 the year you get all those home maintenance and repairs finally taken care of? Well, you’re in luck because Closing Contractor is here to help. All it takes is one call to 864-326-2640, or one email to firstname.lastname@example.org or simply fill out our secure online form to schedule an appointment or request additional information.