A wood burning fireplace can be a wonderful
accessory to any house. If properly cared for, chimneys
and fireplaces can have a long serviceable life. If not,
a chimney can become very expensive to repair or rebuild.
Most of the time it can be very difficult to be able to
see problems. Not all chimneys look like this one.
This chimney has clear indications that
problems exist. Other times severe problems are not as obvious,
and may contain problems with the chimney liner, inside
the chimney. Those can render a chimney and fireplace useless
and be the most costly to repair. It usually costs between
$55.00 and $70.00 per foot to have a wood burning fireplace
Fireplaces are designed to safely contain
wood burning fires also while providing heat for homes.
Chimneys that serve the fireplaces have the job of expelling
smoke and other byproducts of combustion given off from
wood burning fires. The chimney is relatively cooler then
the smoke rising thus causing condensation. The result of
this condensation is called creosote. Creosote is the build
up that forms on the inside of the chimney. It is typically
black in color and can either be tar-like and sticky or
crusty and flaky. Which ever form it takes, it is always
combustible. When the creosote buildup becomes heavy, the
likelihood of a chimney fire is almost certain.
When a chimney fire starts
it can be very destructive. The temperature of the chimney
heats up too hot too quickly resulting in the liner cracking
and possibly the building catching fire. The way to avoid
heavy creosote buildup is to burn the proper types of wood.
For example using seasoned hardwoods instead of softwoods,
and minimizing the amount of paper being burnt in the fire.
Also cleaning the chimney with a chimney sweep as often
When Buying a house with a
wood burning fireplace, take every precaution to ensure
your families safety. Have your fireplace and chimney inspected
before you use it.