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  • Writer's pictureKelsey Chrisman-Jones

Historic Chimney Care

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

Regularly maintained chimneys should provide many years of safe and efficient service. However, if a chimney reaches the age of 50, 75, or more years, some issues should be foreseen. Chimneys in ancient residences can still function and their much younger counterparts with adequate repairs and possibly some changes.

About Historic Chimneys

Most people who buy historic properties know they will need much repair. There are structural and cosmetic issues to solve, and the larger the home, the more issues to address. Few homeowners, however, know the extent to which their chimneys will need to be restored, and it frequently astonishes them to learn how much work they require to bring a chimney up to current rules and standards while retaining its original beauty.

Chimney flue liners may not have been installed in homes built before 1920. Flue liners keep poisonous hot gases and creosote inside the flue rather than outside the chimney or inside the house. Flue liners are so crucial in old chimneys and must be handled. There are lots of factors to look at when choosing the right size and kind of flue liner, so a skilled chimney sweep or chimney contractor should be approached for guidance and installation. It is not a do-it-yourself (DIY) project by any means.

Common Problems with Historic Chimneys

The smoke chamber is the second most prevalent region in an older chimney that has to be addressed. It is the inward-leaning section above the damper that supports the flue liner. It’s also where some folks used to smoke their meat.

The fireplace is the next item to take care of. In many antique homes, they built the fireplaces relatively tiny and shallow. Smaller fireplaces will not burn wood.

Finally, look for missing mortar and bricks, a broken or missing cement crown, a lack of chimney cover protection, and flashing on the external chimney. The historic bricks used in Victorian-era chimneys and the construction style with fragile butter joints are not well known nowadays.

As a result, finding a professional chimney sweep or mason who knows how to rebuild or repair a chimney using traditional methods can be challenging.

If repair work is too expensive, you might place a direct gas vent insert instead of a historical aspect. It will allow the fireplace to be used without a central flue or chamber repairs. If there is enough room, the DV fireplace has a tiny liner system that may be fitted inside the previous flue liner. If not, another option is an electric insert with a vintage appearance.

How Frequently Should My Chimney Be Cleaned?

It will depend on how frequently you use your fireplace or stove. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, fireplaces and chimneys must be examined at least yearly. If required, cleaning, maintenance, and repairs will be carried out.

Even if you don’t use your chimney often, birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other wildlife may have used it, making it dangerous to use without sweeping away the debris from nesting activities.

Cleaning Your Old Chimney

For a good reason, most people are better off employing a professional to clean the chimney. Chimney cleaning is more complex than it appears, and it is a job that requires prior experience.

These are the measures that the experts take:

  1. They’ll put plastic across the fireplace entrance or close the door to the woodstove.

  2. Thread on the first rod from above, with the damper open and the chimney cap removed.

  3. They will insert the brush into the chimney and push it down while cleaning up and down.

  4. They’ll continue cleaning until they reach the bottom by threading on additional lengths of a rod as needed.

Why Choose Chim Chimney for Professional Historic Chimney Care in Hermitage, TN?

Old homes with architecture and elegance from the past have many attractions, but it’s vital to deal with the challenges associated with an old chimney. Chimney difficulties are unavoidable in older and historic properties.

Chim Chimney has the knowledge and skills to deliver high-quality chimney services for historic and antique properties. Call Chim Chimney today to schedule a chimney inspection, chimney lining installation, chimney cleaning, and any other chimney services.

Image Source:  Gabor Tinz / Shutterstock

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