3 Tips for New Home Owners with a Fireplace

Over 50% of all homes in the USA have fireplaces. Chances are, when you buy a home, the fireplace plays a part in the decision of which home you buy. Statistics say that 58% of hearth owners consider their fireplace, wood or pellet stove or insert to be a major design feature in their home. Now that you have a fireplace of your own, learn 3 tips for new home owners with a fireplace, and get a start on the chimney inspection process!

3 Tips for New Home owners with a fireplace 

  1. Tips for New Home owners with a fireplace: Check for a chimney cap.

    Look up to the roof. If you see nothing but a round pipe or a salmon-colored clay flue tile sticking up through a brick chimney, then you probably need a chimney cap. A chimney cap can serve a variety of purposes. For the wood burning masonry fireplace,  a chimney cap can do 4 things for you:

    • Reason to invest in a chimney cap: Unwanted animals in the home.
    • Reason to invest in a chimney cap: Odors from droppings.
    • Reason to invest in a chimney cap: Odors from dead creatures.
    • Reason to invest in a chimney cap: Keeping out rain.
  2. Tips for New Home owners with a fireplace: Inspect the Firebox.

    The firebox is the portion of the fireplace that contains the flames. This box-like area has a large opening at the top that allows the exhaust gasses to exit up and through the flue. Take a flashlight and look around. If you see gaping cracks at the opening, or chunks of mortar have fallen out, or the back wall is sagging… it is time to have  pro take a look at it for you. Here is a quick list for you to look for:

    • Mortar joints between bricks- are they in tact? Degrading?
    • Heavy cracking- is the back wall sagging?
    • Bricks or stone joint at the fireplace opening- inspect to see if there is a gap at the left, right, or top of the fireplace opening where the two different types of brick or stone meet up. You should not have gaps there.
    • Damper function- can you activate the damper? Will it open or close?
    • Gas log set- if you have a fake gas log set, meaning ceramic logs in the firebox, please note that there should be a damper clip installed on the damper to prevent it from closing all the way. This is a carbon monoxide safety concern, please abide by the code! Leave the damper clip in place!
  3. Tips for New Home owners with a fireplace: Have the chimney inspected with a live scan video camera.
    • This type of special inspection is usually done by a professional chimney sweep with a special camera.
    • This is a Level II camera inspection. it should be done every time a home is purchased or transacted.
    • Because of conditions of use and weather acting on the chimney and fireplace, it is the NFPA code recommendation to have the chimney inspected annually.

Midtown Chimney Sweeps hopes that you found this article helpful in your new home ownership adventure. Call or email us today, fill out the form below to have a  Level II camera inspection done on your chimney!

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