Chimney Maintenance

Perform regular Chimney Maintenance and Inspections for Efficient and Safe Home Heating

By Mark J. Donovan

For many of us a chimney is just that static brick, stone, or steel pipe that comes out of the roof. However, a chimney plays a major role in helping to keep our homes warm, particularly if you heat your home with oil, gas or wood.

Traditionally a chimney was constructed out of brick or stone. Incased in the center of the brick or stone was a clay, or ceramic tile liner that acted as the flue. Chimneys are still effectively built this way even today, however besides brick and stone, other materials are also used such as metal.

For example low clearance fireplaces and chimneys are constructed out of a double lined stainless steel metal flue that is incased within a tradition 2×4 lumber framed structure.

Regardless of the materials used in chimney construction it is important to regularly inspect your chimney and perform chimney maintenance. A chimney should be inspected at least once a year, preferably at the beginning of the heating season. And if your home is burning wood, it should also be inspected a couple of additional times during the winter months.

Chimney Maintenance

Chimney maintenance begins with a visual inspection of the chimney flue. You can do this with a flashlight and mirror. From the inside of your home look up the chimney flue and make sure there are no obstructions in it, such as bird nests. Also look at the chimney liner for signs of creosote build-up, a black by-product of burning wood that adheres to the sides of your chimney lining. Burning high resin woods, such as pine, can lead to high creosote buildup, and as a result it is not recommended to burn this type of wood material in a chimney. The buildup of creosote in the flue could, and frequently does, lead to chimney fires.

From outside the home inspect the chimney for loose bricks, or stones, or flashing that may be pulling away from the chimney. Also check for crumbling mortar.

From the top of the chimney look down into it and again, look for signs of creosote build-up, or broken flue tiles. Also inspect around the cap to make sure the mortar has not cracked, as this could lead to water problems in the chimney and home.

If there are any flue obstructions, signs of creosote build-up, missing bricks, decaying mortar, or cracked tiles call a chimney contractor or chimney sweep to clean or repair the chimney. A chimney, and particularly the chimney flue, plays a major role in keeping your chimney operating properly and protecting your home from possible chimney fires. So don’t forget to conduct regular chimney inspections and perform regular chimney maintenance.

Stone chimney

If you are unable to perform the regular chimney inspections call a chimney sweep and they can perform the inspection and clean the chimney for you.

For information on Restoring Baseboard Heating Element Covers, see the Restoring Baseboard Heating Element Covers eBook from The Restoring Baseboard Heating Element Covers Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to restore Baseboard Heating Element Covers so that they look new again. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

For information on how to maximize a wood stove’s heating efficiency, see’s Installation of Hood over Wood Stove eBook

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