The firebox endures the most heat and the most abuse, but receives the least attention. The entire chimney system has an important job to do. It is constantly venting harmful gases from the home while a fire is burning. Cracks and damage in the firebox can be a serious hazard if not addressed immediately. The high heat that exists in the firebox itself can transfer through cracks and damage structural materials in your home. This can also risk fire and allow carbon monoxide intrusion.
What You Can Do
1. LOOK FOR DAMAGE REGULARLY: Every time you light a fire in your fireplace is a good time to visually inspect the walls of the firebox. Look for cracks or crumbling brick in particular.
2. SCHEDULE PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE: Only a professional chimney sweep can thoroughly clean and assess your chimney system, including your firebox. When your chimney sweep cleans the surfaces in the firebox it is easier to detect damage.
3. ONLY BURN WOOD IN YOUR FIREPLACE: Properly seasoned wood ensures a safe size and temperature for your fire. Burning trash and other materials can cause explosions and fast, hot fires that can damage the firebox and chimney.
Properly seasoned wood ensures a safe size and temperature for your fire.
When You Find Cracks
If you notice cracks in your firebox it’s most likely causing unseen damage already. Once a crack begins, the more you use the fireplace, the more it becomes damaged. A crack becomes a hole and eventually leads to large areas of crumbling bricks. If you catch cracks early you can avoid more extensive damage and repairs.
Call a Professional
By the time a homeowner notices damage to the chimney system, there is usually more unseen damage that can only be detected by a chimney and fireplace expert. A CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) not only can detect the damage, but can repair it easily if it’s caught early.
Your chimney sweep can check your firebox for construction failures. A firebox should have refractory materials that can withstand high temperatures. If the original contractor cuts corners by using inappropriate materials, they need to be replaced. Your chimney sweep can also build up the weak portions of the firebox using refractory bricks and mortar so that new damage doesn’t occur.
When it comes to wood heat, you want your home to be protected from the high temperatures of the fire, while still enjoying the fireplace. Just as you’d change the oil in your car and check tire pressure before a long trip, you should check your fireplace before burning season. A crack in September can become a serious fire hazard by March if a fire is burning daily.
Avoid extra costs and risk by calling White Glove Chimney and Air Duct today. We specialize in firebox restorations and chimney maintenance. We are CSIA certified, putting our customers first since 1977.