Traditionally when we think of fireplaces we’re only seeing part of the complex construction that makes warm and beautiful fires possible. Like an iceberg, much of the fireplace and chimney are out of sight.
Behind the scenes fireplaces and chimneys can suffer from water damage, animal intrusions and in some cases over-heating. Good preventive measures include annual or bi-annual cleanings and inspections, depending on use, as well as the use of caps, covers and dampers.
While a little water here and there may seem harmless, that’s not necessarily the case. Water and creosote — the black stuff on fireplace and chimney walls — becomes acidic when combined with water. That combination can eat away at the grout which holds bricks and pipes together and essentially turn it into a sand-like substance.
What happens when grout is weakened or goes bye-bye? In some cases a path can open which allows water into a home. Such intrusions can destroy drywall and lead to new opportunities for mold. Another possibility is that without grout hot air — very hot air — can be vented into areas where there’s exposed wood. The wood is then dried out and becomes far more flammable. Unfortunately, house fires from chimneys and fireplaces happen more than 22,000 times a year in the US.
Another problem, of course, is that as grout weakens brick and masonry elements are less secure. Fireplaces are heavy and gravity combined with time can take their toll.
Chimney Inspections, Cleaning and Repairs
Regular inspections and cleanings can prevent many problems, however some issues are largely a byproduct of age, use and climate. Sootmasters can repair, maintain and replace chimney liners, chimney flues, chimney flashings, chimney dampers and chimney pipes. We offer professional fireplace cleaning and fireplace repair, plus we have a large inventory of parts and supplies on hand.
(Illustration courtesy of the Chimney Safety Institute of America)
Call Your Local SootMaster Today at 1-800-724-5021 or Make An Appointment