I wanted to toss out a reminder to everyone about chimney care. Early 2014 and the visit to the US of the Polar Vortex left many people looking for ways to supplement their heating systems. If
you’re in the South as I am and have a heat pump, you know the auxilliary heat kicks in during extreme cold and that makes your power bill hurt more than it already does.
Before using my woodstove I wanted to have the chimney cleaned. The chimney is old – so some years back I had a stainless steel liner put in it for safety reasons. At the time, the liner was
put in, the space around it- between the liner and the bricks- was filled with insulation material. Today there are better ways to do it but at the time that was how it was done. Consider how
an old chimney is made – bricks with morter/cement between them. Over time that morter may become brittle and or crack, leaving crevices for heat, smoke and fire to potentially get outside of
the chimney and into your attic or walls.
The cleaning started out as usual, but when the sweep started cleaning from the bottom up, insulation material started falling into the liner itself, indicating that the liner had a hole in it. Since the purpose of the liner was to keep heat, smoke and flame away from the old brick and any wood that could have been exposed, a hole in the liner meant the chimney was not safe to use.
Several things could have happened had it been used – carbon monoxide issues, smoke seeping into the house or attic, and possibly a fire. From speaking with the chimney sweep and
insurance company, the most common cause of damage to a chimney liner is a chimney fire.
Even newer chimneys or those that have been lined need to be cleaned to remove creosote buildup which could cause it not to draft properly or result in a chimney fire.
For the safety of your family and of your home, please have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a trained chimney sweep. Prices for the service will vary but when it comes to your life and property the cost is money well spent.