Fireplaces are a Great Feature But is the Chimney on Your Property Safe?

Fireplaces are a Great Feature But is the Chimney on Your Property Safe?

A wood-burning fireplace is a great comfort and a cost-effective means of warming your home. An inadequate or dirty chimney, however, can cause all sorts of possible negative and potentially dangerous consequences.

We’ve compiled a list of the most important things to look out for in terms of maintaining your chimney and ensuring its safety.

What’s Inside that Matters

Peering at the outside of your chimney doesn’t really reveal what’s going on inside. A solid-looking exterior isn’t necessarily an indication of a safe and effective interior. Without having an expert assess the inside of your chimney, you may miss various issues, such as blockages, the build-up of dangerous residue or the lining deteriorating.

The Dangers of Disrepair

Within every chimney is a flue, which acts as a conduit to allow gases and other waste products to escape. As the chimney ages, the flue can weaken leading to the leakage of gasses into the home. Such erosion can be extremely dangerous, especially if harmful vapours such as sulfur dioxide or carbon monoxide are escaping into the home. Depending on the type of flue in your chimney, repairs can be expensive or even impossible without rebuilding the entire structure.

Efficiency and Exposure

It can be very difficult to identify carbon monoxide seepage as it is doesn’t smell and is completely colourless. Proper ventilation is essential to prevent the potential dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning which is why many people turn to residential property management experts like Latitude Property Ltd. to oversee the regular maintenance of their chimneys.

Out with the Old

Unsurprisingly, older houses tend to have more problems than contemporary buildings, most of which are built with energy efficiency in mind. Seals are more reliable, drafts are minimized and, overall, the building is more airtight. In modern homes, the exhaust fans installed in both the bathroom and kitchen are effective at removing any pollutants being emitted from the chimney or other heating systems.

Buildups and Blockages

Sometimes animals misguidedly choose to make their homes in chimneys, causing dangerous blockages. Additional problems are caused by the build-up of debris and creosote. These interfere with the two main functions of a chimney, namely to remove toxic gases and to create efficient airflow to ensure the optimal function of heating systems and the effective burning of fuels.

Well-Oiled Systems

Oil flues need to be checked on an annual basis to make sure the furnace is operating optimally and to guarantee the safety of the system. The accumulation of soot or creosote can be potentially dangerous but regular inspections and maintenance can ensure these dangerous deposits are being removed from the home rather than emitted within the building. Various organizations have emphasized the importance of yearly inspections to minimize the potential hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Indications of Creosote Accumulation

Burning wood creates certain byproducts, including creosote which is primarily made up of tar. Creosote is extremely flammable and often the cause of chimney fires. Additionally, it can irritate both eyes and skin on contact so needs to be handled very carefully. A lack of airflow can cause a build-up of creosote which, once it is set in motion, will continue in a kind of self-perpetuating cycle. As creosote won’t go away on its own, it needs to be removed on a regular basis, hence the importance of regular chimney cleaning and maintenance.

If you have a gas or oil heating system, a wood-burning fire or any fossil-fuel-based system, it’s essential you have an effective and regular procedures in place to guarantee its safety. If you’re unsure of how to proceed, discuss the options with Latitude Properties who can analyze the potential risks and draw up a maintenance schedule that will safeguard both your residential property and your health.