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A fireplace is a charming and useful addition to any living space, but when it’s poorly maintained or misused, it can become a serious fire hazard. This is why a thorough inspection by a chimney restoration professional is necessary. However, there are also a few steps you can take to determine if your chimney is safe to use. Here are a few ways to assess its condition. 

How to Make Sure Your Chimney Is Safe 

1. Look for Creosote Buildup 

Creosote is a highly flammable substance that can accumulate inside the chimney flue over time. It forms when combustion gases are released and combined during the wood burning process. Even a small amount of creosote can become ignited by a stray spark, making it important to keep buildup to a minimum. Take a flashlight and look up the flue to see if there is a tar-like brown residue or any black, oily spots stuck to the walls. If so, it’s time to schedule a chimney cleaning. 

2. Examine the Chimney Cap 

Walk outside and examine the exterior of the chimney to ensure there is a functional cap in place. This will help keep rain, snow, and animals from entering the chimney. It also prevents hot embers from escaping and landing on the roof, where a fire could start. If your chimney cap isn’t properly attached or is missing completely, it should be addressed right away. 

3. Check the Brick & Mortar

Exposure to the elements can leave the chimney vulnerable to damage. As such, check for cracked, spalling, or dislodged bricks, as well as crumbling mortar. Any visible problems with the masonry should be repaired by a chimney restoration expert in a timely manner. This could compromise the structural integrity of your chimney and fail to allow for adequate ventilation. 

As always, be sure to contact your local masonry experts for chimney repairs, fireplace repairs, tuckpointing, waterproofing and stone work of all kinds! Call Oberer Construction Company today at (513) 829-5270.

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