If your home has a natural fireplace, you probably love spending long nights by the fire with your favorite book. However, that first chilly night after a long summer can pose a threat if you haven’t properly maintained your chimney. Even if you have, unexpected damage could be hiding where you can’t see it. Check out these signs that you need repair or new chimney construction Philadelphia PA.
You Notice Debris in the Firebox
Have you noticed black, crumbling soot in the firebox even though you clean it regularly? It could be creosote, a combustible material that builds up within the chimney and poses a fire hazard. The situation is even more serious if you see what looks like broken pieces of a flower pot in your firebox. Many old homes have terra-cotta chimneys. Finding pieces of it means the chimney’s liner was likely damaged during a fire. Each of these problems could cause an even larger fire next time. Avoid using your fireplace until a certified chimney sweep inspects it.
There Are Changes Within Your Walls
Have your framed pictures been falling off the walls around your fireplace lately? Has your paint been bubbling or peeling? Your chimney could be the culprit. When heat escapes a damaged chimney and finds its way to your home’s wood framing, it quickly pulls away moisture and creates dry wood and a serious fire hazard. If you notice anything out of the ordinary about your walls, stop using your fireplace and contact a professional.
You Smell More Smoke Than You Should
Naturally, you’ll notice slight odors of smoke when you light a fireplace most of the time. However, it should never be overwhelming. If spending time in front of the fireplace becomes uncomfortable because of excessive odor, the chimney may need to be repaired. It most certainly does if you notice the odor in any other room in the house. If you begin to smell too much smoke, put out your fire and call 911. The fire department can use special tools to see any fire in the chimney or walls and instruct you to contact someone for chimney repair if needed.
Your home’s chimney should be inspected at least once per year to ensure it’s safe and in good working order. Contact a professional as soon as possible if you know yours is behind schedule.