Fireplaces have always been associated with idyllic notions. A stunning centerpiece of your living room, a hotspot for intimate gatherings, and a favorite nook to cozy up during winter days – the fireplace is usually a happy place in every house! But have you ever thought that a burning hearth could be a danger to your family’s health and safety?

Why Should You Never Forgo Annual Chimney Inspection Service?

According to a report from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), about 22,300 cases of fire accidents that have surfaced from 2012 to 2014 are due to poorly maintained chimneys and fireplaces.

While regularly sweeping your chimney and fireplace does lower the safety risks associated with carbon monoxide (a product released in the air due to incomplete combustion), an annual chimney inspection is important nonetheless. These annual inspections are carried out to ensure that your chimney is clean, does not have any structural damage and that all of its components are working efficiently.

If your chimney has developed leaks or other weaknesses, these problems will be noticed in time for the technicians to perform necessary repairs or replacements before these problems culminate into a fire hazard. Undetected chimney damage or poorly functioning components increase the build-up of moisture and smoke or heat, forming layers of creosote. This mix often contains corrosive properties and can severely damage flue and mortar joints from the inside.

What All Is Included In Your Annual Chimney Inspection?

Thankfully, the worst can be prevented by having your chimney inspected annually and cleaned if required. The use of video scanning technology in today’s inspections offers a detailed view of your chimney on the aspects of structural soundness, freedom from deposits, and clearance.

The inspection begins from the top of the fireplace where your hired chimney technician will inspect:

· Chimney cap and crown to ensure that it doesn’t allow entry to water, debris, and wildlife. Also, the technician will check that there are no performance issues due to water pooling in or around the chimney.

· Flashing, which is a sheet metal installed to ensure a watertight connection between the chimney and roof. A faulty flashing can result in major leak issues in the chimney system.

· Brickwork for cracks which can develop on the exterior surfaces of the chimney. This can be either due to weak chimney construction or water leaks. If not addressed in time, the cracks can expand, leading to chimney movement (it may lean, curl, or bend) or a catastrophic chimney collapse.

The technician will also inspect the inside of your chimney and fireplace. This includes:

· Smoke chamber to check on the level of creosote build-up.

· Damper to ensure that it opens and closes smoothly.

· Firebox to make sure that everything complies with the current code and that no equipment inside the firebox is damaged or functioning poorly.

· Lintel, a metal plate at the top of the fireplace opening, to make sure that there are no combustibles within 12 inches above it.

· Outer hearth to ensure structural integrity.

· Ash dump doors, which are small brick-sized doors present at the bottom of the fireplace. These may need to be replaced frequently due to the damage from heat and corrosion.

Based on the findings of your chimney inspection, your technician will determine if a cleaning service is needed. If so, at an additional cost, the technician then uses a stiff wire brush and strong vacuum system that cleans very thoroughly, leaving no mess for the homeowner.

After the inspection and cleaning processes, the findings will then be presented to you in a written evaluation report so that you know what all jobs have been performed in your fireplace.

The stove will also be examined, as explained below:

Pellet Stove Service

· Sweeping and inspecting chimney and vent pipe.

· Performing annual maintenance on your stove.

· Cleaning stove inside and out.

· Removing firebox panels to access and remove fly ash build-up.

· Checking all electrical parts for proper operation.

Wood Stove Service

· Sweeping and inspecting the chimney and performing annual maintenance on your wood stove.

· Cleaning stove inside and out.

· Touching up paint (black).

· Replacing door gaskets as needed.

· Checking all electrical parts for proper operation.

· Checking catalytic combustor (if equipped). This service is only for wood stoves installed through a fireplace with a stainless steel liner.

At Rusty’s Fireplace & Chimney, we care about your health and safety and can also help you get the maximum potential out of your fireplace and stoves! Contact our team of certified chimney sweeps to schedule your annual inspection service today and get the best service at budget-friendly prices.