The fireplace is your home’s centerpiece, but you need to make sure fireplace servicing is taking place. With that said, it’s recommended that it be a familiar and comforting focal point in your living space. However, if you’ve skipped maintenance on your fireplace for several years, you might end up needing to have it repaired, eventually.
Fireplace Servicing: 9 Warning Signs To Follow
Many homeowners aren’t familiar with the telltale signs of fireplace issues, making it easy for them to allow their fireplaces to deteriorate over time unchecked. If you don’t want that to happen, contact professionals or follow this link to get the best services you need to keep your fireplace in good condition.
If you’re wondering how to spot whether your house’s fireplace repairs are necessary, here are the warning signs you need to know:
Cracks In The Mortar Joints
One sign your fireplace needs repair is that the mortar joints crack. The bricks or stones used in the masonry may absorb moisture over time. If not repaired, this may cause cracking and crumbling. When you see cracks appearing, call the best professional in your area.
More often than not, a simple fireplace repair doesn’t take long. It’s never wise to deal with cracks on your own if you don’t want to face more fireplace issues in the long run. With the help of professionals, cracks will be repaired immediately, making your fireplace look nicer again.
Smell Of Gas
For homes with the latest gas-powered fireplace additions, the smell of gas may show a big problem like gas leaks. Although it rarely happens, it’s extremely dangerous when it does. Gas is extremely flammable and can cause accidental fires. Plus, inhaling gas may make you seriously ill. Don’t waste time and call a fireplace repair expert right away if you suspect gas leaks.
If you think that gas is leaking from your fireplace, here are the things you can do to check:
- Make a soapy water mixture and cover your gas lines while looking for some air bubbles to form.
- Check your plants around where your gas lines are. If they drastically turn brown or yellow, there’s probably a gas leak.
- Look out for a hissing sound coming out of your fireplace. To do this, make sure that your property’s interior is quiet by turning off your electrical appliances and putting your ears close to the fireplace.
- Inspect your fireplace base using a flashlight to know if there’s a movement of dust or debris that could signal a gas line leaking.
There are also indications that your fireplace is leaking gas because it can cause bodily symptoms like headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Gas leaks may also cause difficulty in seeing among others. Exposure to gas leaks may cause death or irreversible brain damage in severe cases.
Wood Fireplace Smoke Getting Inside Your Home
There are many types of fireplaces present in many homes across the country. Modern houses typically feature highly technological electric fireplaces wherein no physical burning of logs or coal is needed to produce heat. Some still choose to go with tradition and instead have more traditional forms of fireplaces–one of them is wood fireplaces.
Wood fireplaces use chopped wood as fuel to make heat that aids in interior temperature and ventilation. Efficient and well-kept models are effective in regulating indoor temperatures all the while churning out lesser amounts of smoke. Usually, smoke emits outside your living space via the chimney and other ducts. If your wood fireplace is making a lot of smoke that goes inside your home, it may need immediate repairs.
Unregulated wood fires may release tiny, fine particles that may get into your respiratory system and eyes, which can harm your family members with underlying health conditions. In addition, it may cause a runny nose and burning eyes.
Damaged Chimney Crown
The moisture that damages the bricks around your fireplace can be due to rain, snow. Your chimney exists to protect your fireplace masonry from rain, but if it is broken, it may not do its job properly.
In particular, check your chimney crown. It’s a piece of concrete that shields your fireplace. Once it’s cracked, rain and other elements may get through. Once it happens, fireplace repair is required immediately.
A chimney fire happens when flames combust in your chimney rather than just the fireplace hearth. Once you see this, it’s a warning sign that your fireplace needs serious repairs, like replacement or restoration.
Don’t use your fireplace until it’s completely repaired. It’s because it can be dangerous and may cause potential damage to your home. Professional fireplace service providers can restore or replace the brick liner to withstand high heat akin to a brand-new fireplace. They may also help determine what caused the chimney fires in the first place and ensure that unforeseen accidents will be avoided.
Presence Of White Stains
If you notice a white substance on your fireplace, it’s a sign that there’s moisture in your bricks. Sometimes referred to as efflorescence, white stains are a sign that your fireplace’s structural integrity is possibly compromised. Removing this isn’t difficult. Yet, if the underlying cause isn’t appropriately addressed, trouble may occur, such as:
- Moisture may enter your home and ruin your carpets, walls, ceilings, and more.
- Wetness may enter your fireplace and cause its flue lining to deteriorate, which may require you to buy a new lining.
- The chimney could completely collapse or start leaning.
- Your fireplace could prematurely deteriorate.
One of the best solutions when you notice this sign is to take preventative action. Seek repairs sooner than later to stop white stains from damaging your fireplace.
Spalling often happens when the water gets absorbed by bricks. It occurs when a poor-quality mortar is used with an improper compression rate and fails to absorb the brick’s natural expansion.
Leaks along your chimney or fireplace may cause spalling. Either way, such can cause the bricks to peel and flaking, damaging the surface and preventing you and your loved ones from basking in the majestic flames of your fireplace. Once left unrepaired, spalling can cause the bricks to crumble.
The other warning sign that your fireplace needs repair is rust in or on your fireplace. If there’s rust in your damper or firebox, it requires repair. Not fixing rust issues may cause other problems for your fireplace’s health. An excellent way to repair corrosion is to replace the damaged components of your fireplace. If it becomes a recurring issue, you must check for possible moisture sources in your fireplace.
While most fireplace repair warning signs are due to wear and tear, some issues can be because of external factors. For instance, when a storm damages your fireplace heavily, it’s a sign that you need to repair it quickly. Once you take storm damage for granted, this can wear down your fireplace prematurely, causing repairs to come up more quickly than expected.
Should You Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Or Hire A Professional For Fireplace Repair?
While most do-it-yourself (DIY) guides on the Internet will provide you with the steps to fix your fireplace, it’s not 100% guaranteed that you’ll be able to do it right. This is especially true if you’re just practicing your DIY skills.
If you don’t want to end up spending more cash and causing more impairment to your fireplace, get it repaired by qualified and highly experienced professionals. One benefit of hiring professionals is the ability to ensure resident safety. With years of experience and expertise, professionals know how to do their job safely without causing damage to you and your property.
Professionals also have the tools and equipment to fix a fireplace. It means you don’t have to spend hours and lots of money finding and buying the right equipment to use for a fireplace servicing project. So, expect professionals to help you enjoy savings while preserving your fireplace in its working order.
Tips To Maintain Your Fireplace And Avoid Expensive Repairs
One of the most mesmerizing sights one can enjoy is the dancing flames and crackling sound of a fireplace during a cold winter day. Once you ignore fireplace maintenance, it can cause potential damage that can compromise your and your family’s safety and comfort. To avoid that, here are the tips to keep your fireplace well-maintained and avoid repairs:
Hire Professional Cleaners When Necessary
The safest option for every homeowner is hiring a professional chimney sweeping service to eliminate the creosote buildup in your fireplace and chimney once a year. But if the accumulation isn’t extreme, you can eliminate your chimney’s debris yourself. To do that, you can use commercial cleaning powders and liquids designed to remove creosote.
You may also prevent buildup by burning chimney cleaning up logs after every 40 fires. The chemicals in such logs may cause creosote and soot to fall off the walls and dry up.
Although you’re keeping your fireplace clean every season, it’s vital to hire a certified chimney sweeping company to inspect your entire fireplace regularly. Only experts with the right knowledge and tools can ensure that your fireplace is in good condition. They can see significant issues, like a damaged chimney cap or chimney lining cracks.
Clean Out The Ashes Whenever You Use Your Fireplace
Always remove ashes from the firebox and disposing of them when the fire is completely out and the ashes are cold. Once ash piles up in a fireplace, it may create excess smoke and block airflow.
Never use run-of-the-mill household vacuums to get rid of fireplace ashes. Doing so can cause damage to your vacuum or blow ashes into the air. Therefore, try using a special ash vacuum designed to handle hot coals and come with filters to prevent small ash particles from escaping.
Purchase The Right Firewood
Your fireplace is as good as the wood you’re burning in it. Once you burn the wrong wood, it can quickly cause more dirt inside your fireplace and may require more frequent servicing.
Even if softwoods are cheaper than hardwoods, they burn quickly and leave fine ash that’s hard to clean up. They can also create creosote quickly. So, instead of softwoods such as balsam, cedar, and spruce, consider using hardwoods like ash and oak for a hotter and more consistent burn.
Install Chimney Flashing
Installing a chimney flashing can help your chimney’s condition. It wraps around your chimney’s base and seals out water. It protects your house from possible water leaks. Having chimney flashing installed may help you out in preventing costly water damage repairs to your house.
Have A Professional Check Annually
If you’re unable to maintain your fireplace yourself thoroughly, never hesitate to hire professionals to check your fireplace for servicing. Hiring a reliable fireplace professional will provide you with peace of mind, knowing your loved ones will be warm and safe when the cold season hits.
Buy A Chimney Cap
Consider buying a chimney cap to keep your home protected from debris, critters, and rain. It protects you from starting a fire from the debris. Also, it may help prevent moisture and rain from coming in and damaging your chimney’s interior. Although it’s an additional expense to buy a chimney cap, it can avoid costly issues later on.
Just purchase the fitting chimney cap suited for your fireplace. If possible, shop around first before you decide to buy your preferred chimney cap.
Fix Gaps In Your Firebox Brick Mortar
Brick mortar gaps inside your fireplace may develop over time due to continued use. With constant contraction and expansion of materials caused by the fireplace’s extreme heat, your fire bricks may fall or loosen.
When it happens, fire may seek a path through such gaps and burn some structural elements of your property. If you don’t want that to happen, fix the mortar gaps using a refractory caulk or fireplace mortar.
This simple and straightforward repair job only requires a putty knife to clean out a loose mortar and compressed air to blow out the debris. Then, it’s only a matter of caulking the mortar joints.
A well-maintained fireplace is crucial for your home’s safety and comfort. Keep in mind the different warning signs mentioned above to avoid serious damage. From damaged chimney crowns and cracks in mortar joints to chimney fires and rusting, always call trusted fireplace repair professionals immediately to inspect your fireplace and never resort to DIY repair.
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