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The Importance of Chimney Repair and Maintenance

Vancouver Island can have some cold winters that chill right down to the bone, as Robert Service would say. With that in mind, nothing is more inviting that settling in front of the flickering fireplace for a good read. However, did you know that cozy reading place can be one of the dangerous spots in the house? Maintaining and repairing the chimney and chimney flue is crucial in keeping your family safe plus warm for the years ahead.

What’s the function of a chimney?

A chimney’s function is to draw smoke and gases away from the burning fire and out of a person’s home. Smoke from a wood fire can contain dangerous gases among them carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can cause illness, or even death, in large amounts.

A second function of the chimney flue is to draw excess heat from building up in one’s home. Not having routine maintenance done on a chimney can result in a crack going unnoticed which, in turn, will result in heat leaking into the surrounding walls, and lead to structural damage or even house fires.

Common Issues

One of the more common issues that come up in chimney flue maintenance is a buildup of an oil called creosote. It’s an oil that is emitted when woods and other solids are burned. IT can and will solidify, causing a buildup on the inside of one’s chimney. When left untreated, creosote can ignite resulting in a devastating chimney fire. These types of fires are common, and they quickly devour an entire home.

Another common chimney repair problem that is sometimes neglected or someone is unaware is a blockage in the chimney flue. If one has large trees by their home or there was simply a series of large gusts of wind recently, this can result in debris falling into the chimney from above. Moreover, small animals such as raccoons or birds may build or take up shelter in the stack of chimney especially if it has not been used for quite some time. It is wise to check for blockage of any kind before lighting that first fire of the season. Otherwise, the obstruction from the chimney flue will cause gases from the fire to fill the house.

A third major area of chimney repair is cracks or holes in the chimney flue or chimney itself. Again, these can cause leaking of gases or heat into the home or walls, leading to the danger of smoke inhalation or house fire.

Here are a few things one can do on their own:

  1. Check your chimney periodically from the outside to see if you see any cracks or gaps in the joints. These often become stained by smoke, making them easy to see.
  2. Make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors in your home, preferably on each floor, and particularly in sleeping areas. These can indicate a venting problem. Check them regularly to be sure that your family isn’t exposed to even low levels of carbon monoxide.
  3. Keep your fires burning nice and hot to prevent the buildup of creosote in your chimney.
  4. Schedule an annual cleaning and examination of your chimney and flue with a chimney repair professional. If you use your fireplace or stove regularly, these checks should be even more frequent.

Shoreline Roofing in Victoria BC offers chimney repair as one of their many services. If you have spotted one of the problems above, give them a call today at (250)-413-7967.

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