g? To discover any leaks, you will want to carefully inspect the surface of the stone or brick work that makes up your vent. Look carefully for discoloring, or staining, cracks, and missing grout. You will need to make this check on the fireplace surface inside your home and on the outside of your home.
Any staining that you find may mean that gases from your fireplace are escaping in that area. Typically, the stain will start small and grow visibly larger above the leak. The stain is caused by the rising warm gases. If you are not sure of the condition of your chimney, it is a good idea to have a reputable chimney inspector perform an inspection.
If there are no visible signs of leakage, but you are suspicious that you have a leak, a smoke test can be performed. Some qualified chimney repair companies offer such tests. They can seal off your flue at the top and bottom and insert a smoke pellet that gives off a detectable odor. The repairman can then check inside and outside your home to determine if there is a leak.
If you determine that you do have a leak and repairs are needed you will first want to consider what kind of materials to use. You have three primary options for fixing a leaking liner. First, if your vent is made of brick or stone, you could install a new terracotta one. Terracotta liners are very durable and long lasting. However, installing a new terracotta one can be quite costly. A second option is a rigid stainless steel repair liner.
This type of liner is significantly less expensive than installing a terracotta type. Nevertheless, depending on where the flue liner has to run, installing a rigid one can be very difficult and time consuming. The third option is a flexible stainless steel repair liner. This style of liner is the easiest to put in and has the lowest cost associated with it. Before you install a new liner, it is good to have your chimney cleaned so that nothing will obstruct the new installation.
Identifying and fixing chimney leaks will help protect your family from potential carbon monoxide leaks and fires. Therefore, taking the time to know what signs to look for and to perform annual inspections on your chimney will pay you back with security and peace of mind.