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Over time every chimney needs some type of maintenance even if you do not use it.  I’ll use this example: if you bought a car and parked it in your driveway for 2, 5, 10 or 20 years would it fire right up when you turned the key? Probably not and so it goes with your chimney too.

Over time the crown will soften from the weather, the chimney shell and liners can crack from settling and seismic activity. If your masonry chimney does not have a proper chimney cap rain water will run down the flue spalling liners and pool in the smoke shelf leaching down in to the fire box, softening the fire brick and rusting the damper solid.

I never use my chimney so it doesn't need to be inspected.

“I never use my chimney so it doesn’t need to be inspected”.

The birds and the bees will make your chimney home building nests and hives in the flue. Prefabricated, factory built chimney spark caps, terminations and chase covers rust out and corrode through allowing water intrusion in to the fire place and the chase itself. This can cause water damage, corrosion of metal fireplace parts and mold problems.

Couple these problems with use and the corrosive nature of wood burning byproducts, especially creosote, and you can have some major chimney problems. Simple maintenance is the key to avoiding costly repairs and even fireplace and chimney replacement.

“Liners protect the masonry from the corrosive byproducts of combustion. In the tests it was determined that if the flue gases were allowed to penetrate to the brick and mortar, the result would be a reduction in the usable life of the chimney. The flue gases are acidic in nature and literally eat away at the mortar joints from inside the chimney. As the mortar joints erode, heat transfers more rapidly to the nearby combustibles and dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide can leak into the living areas of the home.” Courtesy of the CSIA website.

 

 

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