Ah, autumn. The colorful leaves, the crisp chill in the air, the perfect excuse to gather your favorite people – and some comfy blankets – and relax in front of the fire. Maybe even pop in a spooky movie to start the holiday season off right.

But if you haven’t had your fireplace and its chimney inspected recently, you could be in a situation even scarier than a good ole classic Halloween movie. After all, without a once over from a professional, how do you know if your system is safe to use and ready to keep you and your family warm through winter?

We’ve got answers – and if you need chimney services, don’t hesitate to schedule with our crew.

What Is a Chimney Inspection & Why Is It Important?

a cup of steaming coffee in front of a blazing fireplaceMuch in the way a person might see a preventative care physician every year to make sure there are no hidden dangers lurking out of reasonable perception, a chimney inspection is meant to do the same. Offered in a few different levels depending on your situation and the state of your appliance, chimney inspections are a full system overview – from the top of your chimney cap to the bottom of your firebox floor.

In many ways, the focus of this preventative chimney maintenance service is diagnostic – the intention is to look for signs of damage and deterioration, any substance or material build up or blockages, places that are in need of immediate repairs, etc. That way you know the general condition and overall health of your hearth and don’t have to worry if anything is amiss whenever you go to light a fire.

The hard truth of the matter is that without a professional chimney inspection (and sweep service, too, but we’ll save that for another post), there is no surefire way to know that your chimney is operating properly and as safely as possible. Not really anyway. While there are some things to keep an eye out for that might signify something is wrong – and thus unsafe – the only way you can truly know the safety status of your entire appliance is to have it checked over by an expert.

Are There Signs That Indicate a Damaged or Unsafe Chimney?

Like we briefly mentioned above, there are a handful of signs to keep an eye out for that might indicate trouble is brewing within the walls of your system. However, without professional consultation, it can be rather difficult to discern what the problem is and where it is coming from.

That being said, if you notice any of the following, it’s important to schedule your annual chimney inspection right away:

  • Strange system behaviors – trouble lighting a fire or issues with it staying lit, logs burning differently than normal, etc. 
  • Any kind of odor lingering in or around the hearth – this could be anything from old, musty smells to those reminiscent of smoky campfires
  • Excessive soot and creosote accumulation in the firebox
  • Issues with downdraft and airflow
  • Bits of clay tile liners littering the floor of the firebox
  • Signs of water damage in or near the fireplace – including the walls and ceilings
  • Water dripping down the flue

What Safety Precautions Should I Take When Operating My Fireplace?

So, aside from booking regular, annual chimney inspections and looking out for any signs and symptoms of damage, what else can you do to ensure smooth, efficient, and enjoyable fireplace operation and experiences?

  • a brick chimney with a pointed cap with smoke billowing outMaintain a regular maintenance schedule – that also includes an annual chimney sweep service – so your flue remains as clear and clean as possible
  • Only burn wood that has been appropriately seasoned (dried) for at least six months to ensure there is a limited amount of contained moisture 
  • Never burn anything other than firewood in your fireplace
  • Always ensure that you have a readily accessible fire extinguisher
  • Install both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors 

Need To Book Your Annual Chimney Inspection? Trust Dunrite Chimney & Stove for a Job…“Done Right

Before you gather your friends and cozy up for a scary movie marathon in front of the fire, it’s important to be confident that your fireplace and chimney are set up for success. It’s important to schedule your yearly chimney inspection with a knowledgeable, reliable, and licensed professional.

The good news for homeowners in the general Centereach, NY area is that Dunrite Chimney & Stove is just a phone call away. With a handful of memberships and certifications to our name and a strong work ethic that comes from being a family-owned business, there’s a reason we’re the preferred chimney service provider in the community. If you’re in need of a chimney maintenance or repair service that you know will be done right, there’s simply no one better for the job than the team at Dunrite Chimney & Stove.

Give us a call at 631-738-0005 to schedule an appointment with us today.