With HVAC and central heating systems now common, fireplaces don’t often play the vital role they once did in the home. However, many people still use and enjoy a fireplace in their homes, especially during the winter. Of course, while cozy and comforting, your fireplace can pose serious hazards, especially if it is not in perfect condition. Like any other structure or appliance in your home, the fireplace may develop issues that need immediate attention to prevent any fire risks. Here are some signs and how to address them.

Cracks on the Firebox

Inspect your firebox regularly for any cracks or indications of wear and tear. If the coating appears worn out, exposing the underlying surface, it is time to contact an expert for repair work. In such a situation, your fireplace is likely to generate excessive heat, which could be hazardous. Overlooking this problem may lead to irreversible damage.

Smoke Stains on the Ceiling

If the fireplace and chimney is working well, there should be no smoke stains. However, if the chimney is blocked or damaged, smoke must find an alternative route out of the fireplace and may collect by the ceiling. This can cause tints to appear on your ceiling or the walls. Mostly, this happens if there is a settled hearth. The condition is usual in older homes. You will need to have the chimney cleaned and inspected immediately to figure out why smoke isn’t able to vent out that way. A faulty flue damper may also cause smoke tints on the upper side of the fireplace opening.

To avoid smoke stains in the future, you may want to consider switching to vent free gas fireplace logs. Vent free gas logs, also known as ventless gas logs, limit the exhaust in your fireplace. Because of that, they won’t produce much smoke, so you can avoid ceiling stains. These can be installed in fireplaces with or without chimneys. 

White Staining on the Chimney

When your fireplace is generating excessive moisture, the chimney is likely to get stained. Usually white—though it can also be yellow, brown, or even green—this staining is often visible on the bricks on the exterior of the chimney. The stain is a sign that the bricks may be weakening and your chimney deteriorating. This condition requires a specialist to diagnose and fix the problem from the inside. While this seems like a less-severe issue, it may cause the chimney to wear out quickly.

Rust on the Damper or Firebox

The firebox should be free from any rust or corrosion. With too much moisture, the damper and firebox are likely to show signs of rust. When corroded, these parts can start to fail, leading to other problems and hazards. A technician can help you diagnose the cause of the excessive moisture. This then allows you to fix the problem once and for all.

While the fireplace may be a family favorite, especially during winter, it can easily turn hazardous if not well maintained. If you notice a problem, call a technician and have it fixed, and consider upgrades to prevent future problems.

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