Why Chimney Maintenance Is SO Important

When it comes to the Holiday Season, it should be obvious why chimney maintenance is so important.

After all, if you have a heavier-set gentleman, in an enormous red & white suit, toting around large packages in a sack behind him, who – by any means necessary – is laser-focused on squeezing down your chimney, it is safe to say that your chimney had better be in good shape!

If your chimney is not in the best condition, one wrong move by the jolly guy and things could all come tumbling down and become quite messy, quite quickly.

Because chimneys are typically situated far up high, thinking about keeping an eye on your chimney is probably not at the top of your mind on a day-in and day-out basis.

Nor does it necessarily need to be.

However, every once in a while – ideally, at least annually – an inspection of the chimney should be conducted either by yourself (assuming you are able and know what to look for) or by a qualified party who is accustomed to checking out chimneys.

Though there are a variety of items that should be keyed in on, here are some of the ones that I tend to pay attention to when making sure that the portal for our friend from North is in as tip-top shape as possible:

– Chimney flashing: Is the condition of the chimney flashing satisfactory enough to do its job? Is the flashing performing as it should to not allow leaks? Is the lead used as flashing chewed up by squirrels with a beckoning leak waiting to happen?

– Chimney cap: Is the chimney capped properly? Does the chimney have a stainless steel cap, properly anchored, to help in guarding against allowing moisture in and/or protection from birds, squirrels, etc. (one of life’s big mysteries is how these chimney caps do not allow birds and squirrels in, but they allow larger than normal sized humans with big furry coats to seemingly get in with ease…)? Is the cement cap swaddling the steel cap attached to the flue in good condition?

– Mortar joints: are the mortar joints of your chimney in good condition? Are they at the point (no pun intended) where they need to be cut and repointed?

– Flue/Liner situation: Does your chimney have a flue and/or a liner? If so, are they in suitable shape?

– Sealant: When was the last time the brick on the exterior was properly sealed? Every natural brick chimney should be weather sealed every few years to help extend the life of its brick and guard against premature deterioration.

There certainly are a number of items to be conscious of when doing the best you can to take care of your chimney.

Not only will being mindful of your chimney’s maintenance help protect against significant one-time costs heading through the future, but it will also help ensure that on December 24th of each year, when perhaps the most unorthodox entrance into our homes by any welcome guest occurs, is able to safely continue year after year, just as it has since the early 1800s.

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