How safe is your chimney and fireplace?

Many of you may be thinking, it’s perfect in Encinitas, so why would I need to know about fireplaces. Over the years I have sold many homes in Encinitas with a fire place and a chimney, and many people feel that these two wonderful attributes to your real estate doesn’t need much maintenance.

Sure masonry is nearly maintenance-free, it is a part of the system that heats your home and vents fumes from not only your fireplace, but your furnace and your heater.

Yes these maintenance efforts are kind of minor, but it could help your chimney work indefinitely without any repairs. In our country, we are rarely information about how important upkeep of your chimney really is and actually injuries and death could occur if there is no understanding about it.

Some of the most serious problems that could occur according to an article in are:

  • Chimney fires
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Fireplace and Chimney failure

Fireplace and Chimney failure

Basically, this danger is a failure of the basic structure because the chimney was poorly maintained. Cracks and damages to the mortar joints from chimney fires– which are spaces between the brick or concrete –could make your chimney crumble and could also cause other small fires.

If a chimney fire occurs, carbon monoxide could seep outside of the chimney and leak into the home in Encinitas. If this isn’t addressed – carbon monoxide could cause brain damage and even death before the problem is even found.

Chimney Fires

When smoke is lifted out of the chimney, the interior of the chimney is normally cooler than the smoke that comes through it. At this point, some of the smoke is condensed; for example it resembles a steam in a glass of cold water. The condensed smoke ends up becoming creosote – which is a brown or black gooey material that gets chocked up on the flue (or vent) of the chimney.

This creosote could catch fire if the buildup is a strong amount, and the fire that could begin could be barely noticeable, or could resemble the sound of a low flying jet.

Like said in the chimney failure portion, the mortar joints can be loosened and provide another fire shortly after. If the fire spreads, it could engulf a home with high heat extremely fast sometimes trapping people who are upstairs.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

As many as 4,000 people a year in the United States succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning and a good amount of these deaths are because of chimney’s that haven’t received proper upkeep. To add to that large number, almost 10,000 people become sick due to lower carbon monoxide levels.

The combination of carbon monoxide, gas water heaters, gas and oil furnaces, fire places and wood stoves creates a combustion. Carbon monoxide is so scary and could be deadly because there’s no smell. The human body actually craves carbon monoxide and without hesitation – the human brain tells us to choose carbon monoxide over oxygen.

Get a Chimney Inspection

Chimney Safety Institutes urge homeowners in Encinitas, that if they  light a fire between three to four times a week to get an inspection and get it cleaned once a  year. Unseasoned wood may cause more creosote so you may need a twice-a-year cleaning and inspection.

When the flue is exposed to cooler temperatures, there is a greater chance that there will be more condensation which will lead to creosote buildup and a possible fire.  So take care of your fireplace and chimney in Encinitas!

By Linda Moore


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