Americans spent over $550 billion in 2022 on home renovations. While renovating a home can be an exciting process that adds substantial value to your property, there often comes a time when you need to make unexpected changes or repairs. This is especially true when considering fireplaces. Not everybody understands when they need to hire a fireplace repair service, and we’ve put together a brief guide that outlines the key info you need to know. Let’s dive in.
Smoke in Your Home
This is one of the most prominent signs that you need to contact a professional.
If you notice that your home fills with smoke whenever you use a fireplace, it’s imperative to take action as soon as possible. Otherwise, you run the risk of ruining your furniture, walls, etc.
Smoke is also highly hazardous to human health, and long-term exposure can lead to a number of issues. More often than not, the presence of smoke can be linked to an incorrectly-sized flue.
A reputable service company can quickly resolve this issue.
The Smell of Gas
You shouldn’t smell gas when using a gas fireplace. This is a sign you should never overlook, as it likely indicates the presence of a gas leak.
Similar to the presence of smoke, gas leaks can be very dangerous to deal with. In some cases, you even run the risk of causing a fire or explosion in your home. A situation like this could easily result in substantial injury or property damage.
Installing a carbon monoxide (CO) detector will alarm you if there is a high concentration of CO. Keep this in mind when moving forward.
Excess moisture from a chimney can cause the wallpaper near your fireplace to warp or become damaged. The good news is that this is often very noticeable.
However, those who don’t have wallpaper might not have wall-related issues even though there are problems with the fireplace. Keep an eye out for abnormalities located next to your fireplace so you can take action if necessary.
Resting can occur either in your chimney or on the metal framing of the fireplace.
These services will rust due to the presence of excess moisture. Left unchecked, rust can lead to a large number of other issues with your fireplace and chimney. For example, it will continue to damage the surface of the affected area until you make the appropriate repairs.
When enough damage occurs, you may have to replace your chimney or fireplace.
For those unaware, this term refers to the chimney liner becoming damaged.
Small bits of the chimney’s tiles will fall and pile up at the bottom of the fireplace over time. This could cause issues with how your fireplace generates heat. It could also lead to the presence of smoke in the home.
The white stains you might notice are actually salt from the masonry. When moisture infiltrates the mortar in between bricks, it can push salt outward. This will eventually leave a chalk-like powder all over the fireplace.
More often than not, this is an indicator that a leak is present.
Presence of Cracks
Cracks in your fireplace are not always abnormal.
If there are only a few small cracks, this likely just means that your fireplace has experienced typical wear and tear. If your fireplace begins to look weathered or worn, though, this is cause for concern. Unfortunately, using mortar on your own isn’t a viable option.
It can often cause more harm than good. A reputable professional will have the required resources and tools to do the job correctly.
Fireplace Maintenance Tips
It’s easier than you might think to maintain your fireplace. Making the time for doing so will go a long way when it comes to avoiding problems in the future.
Let’s look at some of the most notable tips.
Clean the Interior
One of the most important steps to take is regularly cleaning the interior of your fireplace. This will both make your fireplace more efficient at producing heat and improve its aesthetic appeal. If you have a garden, you can sprinkle the ashes from the fireplace on your plants.
These will serve as a great source of nutrients. Just be sure to use a dust mask when cleaning so you don’t inhale harmful particles.
Use the Correct Wood
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, it’s essential to use the right wood.
Interestingly, many homeowners are unaware that not all wood is equal once it burns. It’s in your best interest to prioritize hardwoods like oak and maple. Avoid softwoods like pine and cedar.
Hardwood produces more heat and burns longer. Although it’s a bit more expensive, it’s worth the investment.
Don’t Neglect Issues
If you notice a problem with your fireplace, you should be proactive when it comes to fixing it.
For example, a small crack in the face of your fireplace could become a much larger problem over time. It could also be an indicator that there is a more substantial underlying issue. Put simply, fireplace problems will not repair themselves.
Take action as soon as you notice something is awry.
Check Your Chimney
Your fireplace won’t work correctly unless you have a well-functioning chimney.
Regularly inspect for rust, dents, or cracks. Your chimney should also have a cap installed to help keep debris, animals, and water out of the chimney. As long as you don’t neglect this obligation, you’ll go a long way toward keeping your fireplace functioning properly.
Keep Combustible Materials Away
This may sound like an obvious tip, but many people make the mistake of keeping combustible materials far too close to the fireplace. The issue here is that they can likely do so for months or even years without having a problem. However, all it takes is an errant spark or ember to ignite your entire living room.
Instead, ensure there aren’t any drapes, carpets, or furniture within a couple of feet of the fireplace. You can also install a guard to help keep the flames contained in the fireplace itself.
Test Your Fireplace
Before using your fireplace, you should always test it by lighting a few small pieces of wood.
This will help you determine if there is an issue with ventilation. When people use fireplaces, they generally do so at intervals throughout the year.
People often don’t light their fireplace every night for months on end. So, there’s always a chance something went wrong during the days you weren’t using the fireplace. One of the biggest signs to look out for in the scenario is the direction of the smoke.
If the smoke does not flow upwards and out of the chimney, put the fire out immediately. You can then investigate and determine the root of the problem.
Finding a Fireplace Repair Professional
Not all repair professionals are created equal. It’s in your best interest to do your due diligence when searching so you can find the best one for your situation.
For example, take a look at their past feedback to see what other customers have had to say. This will provide insight into the type of experience you will get. Pay attention to details like timeliness, cost, results, etc.
How long have they been in the industry? Prioritize working with companies that are well-established and have a large portfolio of work you can browse through.
Although this isn’t to say that new companies can’t meet your needs, they will be less likely to do so.
Finally, do they seem interested in helping you? If the company doesn’t seem invested in getting the best possible results, you should search elsewhere. The last thing you want is to hire someone and then have the same problems arise shortly afterward.
You might even find yourself in a situation where you need a new fireplace. Purchasing the right one for your home is crucial, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. You can check out these linear fireplace ideas to learn more.
Take Action Immediately
The longer you wait to find a fireplace repair professional, the greater number of issues you will encounter. Consider the above guidelines so that you know when you should start looking for professional help. This will help ensure you avoid problems you may have otherwise had to deal with.
Our blog has plenty of other articles on home improvement that can help you make your house much more enjoyable. Feel free to check them out today!