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Monday, June 13, 2011

How Often Should A Chimney Be Inspected?

How Often Should A Chimney Be Inspected?
Answered by RL Sanborn Masonry, Portland, Maine Masonry contractor
RL Sanborn Masonry 2011
Chimney inspection frequency depends upon the purpose of the chimney. We recommend annual inspections for chimneys that are in use, especially when the use of the chimney is seasonal. A chimney can become hazardous and should be observed and inspected periodically. An example of a seasonal chimney would be a chimney in a home that is used only for heating. When the chimney is not in use there is a chance that birds or other animals will build nests. If you have an electric hot water heater, there is a chance that your chimney is not in constant use.
Obstructions in a chimney flue are extremely hazardous. The primary purpose of a chimney flue is to exhaust noxious gases away from the home. Flues should also be inspected to determine if they are intact. When clay flue tiles are not properly installed they will generally crack and or collapse at some point. A collapsed flue would cause an obstruction and allow emissions to infiltrate into living spaces. A cracked flue would do a little of the same and may not be noticed without close inspection. We recommend the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in all occupied spaces. Carbon monoxide is not detectable by human senses.
Other areas of concern would be the chimney crown, chimney cap, top courses of brick and the flashing. If deterioration has reached the point where restoration is required, it would be prudent to act without haste. Falling brick is something to be considered, not to mention the damage that can result, when water infiltrates the interior of the chimney via failed crown, mortar joints or flashing. If your chimney is no longer in use, it should be inspected every five years or removed. We recommend maintaining chimneys that are not in use. The option of future restoration and use, as well as the value masonry adds to any structure, is a good reason not to remove a chimney.
If the mortar joints crack and are replaced every season then chances are that the issue is related to an improper footing.
Chimney Inspections Are Important!