There is no better way to warm up this winter than in front of a crackling fire. Fireplaces are a great opportunity for family time or to relax and read a book on your own. Before you settle down and cozy up in front of your fire, it’s important to ensure your unit is in good health.

Here are a few signs to watch out for that might suggest your fireplace is in need of repair:

  1. Creosote Buildup

Creosote is a mixture of chemicals formed when fossil fuels, tar, or wood is burned—that shiny black substance that appears along the inner walls of your fireplace. A small buildup of creosote is normal, but excessive creosote could mean your fireplace isn’t venting properly. Creosote is highly flammable and a serious fire hazard. If you suspect your fireplace has an unhealthy buildup of creosote, contact a professional for an inspection.

  1. Cracks or Crumbling Brick

As a fireplace ages, you may notice the disintegration of its bricks and inner walls. Age, general wear and tear, and moisture can all weaken the structural integrity of your bricks and cause cracking. Cracks in your fireplace are dangerous because they may redirect the fire into your home.

  1. Smoke in Your Home

Fireplaces should send smoke directly up and out the chimney. If your fireplace is sending an excessive amount of smoke into your home, it’s usually not a good sign. It could mean a blockage in your chimney or a problem with the flue damper.

  1. Damaged Wallpaper

If you notice that the wallpaper around your fireplace is peeling or cracking, you might have a chimney problem. Generally, this is caused by moisture in the chimney. To fix the problem, call in a professional to inspect your chimney and flue damper.

  1. Chimney Tiles

Chimney tiles collecting at the base of your chimney are a telltale sign that your fireplace is in need of repair. This also may indicate that your flue damper is damaged. A proper functioning flue line is crucial in the safe and effective operation of a fireplace. To ensure there is no interior damage to your fireplace, you should have it inspected once a year.

  1. Spalling

If you see bits of brick or other masonry around the exterior of your chimney, it might mean your system is disintegrating. A professional inspection can help determine the cause of the damage and help reconstruct your chimney to prevent further disintegration.

It’s important to seek professional help as soon as you suspect your fireplace is damaged. Even the smallest crack can lead to a big, expensive, and dangerous problem.

For more information about diagnosing fireplace issues, or for any further questions, the professionals at Igne Ferro can help. Contact us today.