There are so many parts to your fireplace. There’s the ash dump, which lies under the hearth. Then the damper, which is usually located at the base of the smoke chamber. There’s the flue, which helps direct the smoke up and out of your house. Not to mention the crown, which helps keep rain, birds, raccoons, and leaves out of your chimney. However, the part of your chimney that takes most of the abuse is the firebox. This is where the fire actually burns, so it takes a lot of heat!
The firebox is where the fire directly sits. So, it’s relatively obvious that deterioration will take place more rapidly here than in the rest of your fireplace. Since it’s being heated up and cooled down frequently, expansion and contraction are occurring on a regular basis. This expansion and contraction can cause special stress to the joints, causing them to fail. Also, there is a special type of mortar that should be used in the firebox, refractory mortar. Refractory mortar is specially designed to take extra heat, but contractors haven’t always used this. Why? Simply because building codes haven’t, until recently, been changed to require it’s use in fireboxes. If this isn’t used, your firebox is even more susceptible to rapid deterioration!
Another thing that can cause real problems for your firebox is your chimney crown, or lack thereof. The chimney crown keeps rain and snow out of your chimney. So, when it’s cracked or non-existent, the rain can come in and sit on the smoke shelf. It will then mix with soot to form an acid slurry – and that is trouble for your mortar joints. If your joints break down, there’s no guarantee that the fire will stay contained!
If the refractory panels of your firebox are cracked, it’s important to have them replaced as well. There really is no way to repair these, and they play an important role in keeping toxic gases from entering your home. Unfortunately carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas. This means you may not even notice the leakage, until you or your family members are suffering from the effects of breathing it in. Left unchecked, carbon monoxide can cause serious health effects, or even death!
Call Chim Cheroo Chimney Service to schedule your annual inspection. In doing so, you are ensuring that your chimney and fireplace system will be receiving a top-level inspection – right down to the firebox! They are highly trained professionals who know what to look for when it comes to firebox deterioration. They’ll check out the joints and the base of the firebox, as well as the refractory panels. Additionally, checking all the other parts to make sure that it is safe for your fire building needs. Plus, they will give you advice on any necessary rebuilds or repairs. They can take care of all of your chimney and fireplace cleaning and repairs; leaving you confident that your family will be safe and sound through another autumn and winter of burning fires in your fireplace.