Living in an old home holds a certain charm and appeal. This is particularly true of historic homes with equally historic fireplaces that provide both literal and metaphorical warmth to residents and their families on cold winter nights. However, old houses mean old chimneys, and old chimneys often require a little bit of extra work to get them in safe working order. Even if it looks like it is completely intact, it’s a good idea to call a chimney restoration contractor in Baltimore MD prior to lighting that first log fire.
Many hidden issues can impact a chimney’s effectiveness and safety. If the home is more than 100 years old and the chimney has not been retrofitted, it’s very likely that it does not have a flue liner. Flue liners are essential for preventing creosote and toxic gasses from entering the home and are also legally required according to just about any area’s building codes. It’s essential to have the correct type and size of flue liner installed and, although it sounds simple, it’s best to leave this job to a professional such as those employed by Complete Chimneys LLC.
Another issue that often arises in older homes involves the smoke chamber. The smoke chamber sits above the damper and supports the flue liner. Originally, it was intended for use in smoking meats and was often accessed via a small door in the chimney. These doors must be removed and sealed off prior to use, and the smoke chamber must be adequately coated to allow for smooth passage to the chimney flue. These areas can become extremely hot and present a fire hazard if left unaltered. As most families are no longer interested in smoking meat while they sit around the fire on a winter’s day, the removal of these doors typically poses no practical concerns.
Other common code violations that must be addressed prior to using a fireplace or wood stove include the presence of wooden bookshelves, trim, or cabinets near the chimney. Adequate flue liners and smoke chamber coating remove the need for moving these beautiful and often carefully placed decorative items, so call a Chimney Restoration Contractor in Baltimore MD prior to giving up hope for maintaining the home’s historic appeal.
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