Fireplaces are considered desirable features when purchasing a home. A fireplace can serve as a source of warmth to help reduce the workload placed on your HVAC system, and a fireplace can also serve as a focal point within your living space.

In order for your home's fireplace to remain a valuable asset, you need to have access to a functional chimney. Taking the time to carefully inspect your masonry chimney on a regular basis will help to ensure the quality of the chimney over time.

Start by inspecting the masonry itself

The first place you should look when trying to determine the condition of your home's masonry chimney is by examining the masonry itself. You want to look closely at the mortar lines between each brick, stone, or block.

Check for deterioration or cracks that might indicate structural problems. Inspect the bricks, stones, and blocks themselves for signs of damage. If you have any missing masonry, you will need to invest in professional repair to ensure your chimney remains functional in the future.

Check to see if your chimney leans

One of the biggest problems with a masonry chimney is that brick, stone, and blocks are inflexible materials. This means that your chimney might not shift and settle in the same way that your home does.

An inflexible masonry chimney might create a problem for older homes, and this problem manifests itself first in the form of a leaning chimney. Your chimney should be straight and attached securely to your home. A leaning chimney can pull apart from the main structure of your home, resulting in a total chimney collapse or compromised function. 

Look for cracks

Cracks can indicate major problems with the structural stability of your chimney. You should pay particular attention to any vertical cracks that appear in the main body of the chimney.

These vertical cracks can allow carbon monoxide to seep back into your living space when the fireplace is in use, placing the health and safety of your family at risk. Vertical cracks need professional attention and should be repaired as quickly as possible to maintain the function and integrity of your home's masonry chimney.

Having a professional complete regular inspections of your home's chimney can be beneficial. Professional chimney inspections allow you to identify issues that need to be addressed in order to ensure that your chimney continues to perform properly in the future.

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