A fireplace is an essential heating component of any home, which means it must have ample routine maintenance. However, how often do you really check your fireplace or chimney for damages? How do you know when you need serious repairs or fireplace replacement in Salt Lake City? Don’t wait until the harsh winter months to perform your inspections.
Here are five telling signs your fireplace may need repairs or replacement.
1. Cracked Mortar Joints
Fireplaces made of brick and stone commonly need mortar repair. As bricks and stone are porous, they absorb extra moisture that causes the material to breakdown over the years. The fireplace develops cracks that typically form around corners or joints. Moreover, creosote (a wood preservative) combined with water can penetrate the surface, and even cause metal fireboxes to rust.
2. Your Fireplace or Chimney Has Spalling Bricks
Spalling occurs when water gets absorbed by bricks. This happens when a low-quality mortar is used (with incorrect compression rate) and fails to absorb the natural expansion of bricks. In other cases, you may have a leak along your fireplace or chimney. Either way, these could cause the bricks to start flaking and peeling, effectively damaging the surface. When left unrepaired, spalling will cause the bricks to crumble.
3. Chimney Fire
A chimney fire happens when flames combust within the chimney instead of just the within the fireplace hearth. When you see this, it’s a telling sign that your fireplace needs serious restoration or replacement.
Until then, don’t use your fireplace and wait for it to be repaired. It’s dangerous and can cause potential damage to your property if you still use it. Professional fireplace services can replace or restore brick liners so it can withstand high heat like before. They can also help determine what caused the chimney fire, and make sure the restoration prevents it in the future.
4. A Severely Rusted Damper
When your fireplace damper is starting to rust, it usually means there’s excess moisture. If it usually gets stuck, hard to operate, or can’t seal properly, it’s a sign the flue lining may be broken. This may be dangerous, so make sure to have a trusted fireplace repair professional check it as soon as possible.
5. A Damaged Chimney Crown
The concrete casing on top of the chimney is called the chimney crown. When this is damaged, your fireplace loses its first line of defense against external elements like rain or snow. A cracked crown has water seeping through the chimney and the liner, which can lead to further damage when not fixed soon.
Proper fireplace maintenance is crucial for your home’s comfort and safety. Remember these warning signs so you could avoid major damage in your property. To give you a recap, make sure to check your fireplace for cracked mortar joints and spalling bricks. You should also take note of chimney fires, severe rusting in the damper, and damaged chimney crowns. If you notice any of these signs, call a trusted fireplace professional.