As great as it is to have a wood-burning fireplace with a brick-and-mortar chimney in your home, you still have to keep an eye on your chimney to make sure it doesn't need to be repaired. A chimney is part of your home's roofing system, which means it's exposed to the elements at all times. Bricks can loosen, mortar can wear away, and creosote can build up and become a fire hazard. A chimney will last for decades if it is cared for, but you still need to know when to have it repaired. Here are just a couple of signs that will tell you that time has come.
Loose Bricks -
First of all, take a look at your chimney from the outside of your house. If you notice that the mortar between the bricks has worn away or that the bricks themselves look loose or dislocated, you will need to have it repaired. Loose bricks are especially dangerous since they can cause a lot of damage if they break away from your chimney and fall. This is especially common in older homes that have older chimneys, so stay alert and have your chimney inspected at least once a year to make sure that this isn't a serious concern.
Too Much Creosote - Creosote is a substance that is produced whenever wood is burned. Naturally, it tends to build up on the inside of chimneys. Some of it will look like soft, feathery ash and can be removed without much trouble, but some of it will look like sticky tar. This is considerably harder to remove, but since it can be a fire hazard, you will need to call a professional to clean it out. If you notice a lot of creosote in your chimney, contact a company that specializes in chimney repair Washington DC to fix the problem before you use your fireplace this winter.