If you spend a little money and time, you can keep your chimney system in top condition so it will give you many years of trouble free operation. You can easily do some of the tasks yourself to save money, but for other things it is best to hire a chimney specialist. You should routinely inspect the outside of your chimney for water damage, cracks in the masonry, or trash buildup near the flue opening. If the mortar between the bricks is starting to crack with age, you can prevent water infiltration from causing damage inside your chimney by sealing the cracks with Crack Magic Crack Sealant. The top of your chimney has a mortar cap covering the top layer of bricks and surrounding the mouth of the flue. It is important to keep water from rain and snow from penetrating the top of your chimney by sealing this mortar cap with a product such as Crown Seal. If you live in a cold climate, keeping the external surfaces of your chimney well sealed from water penetration will prevent structural damage caused by relentless freeze/thaw cycles. You can improve the appearance of your chimney by cleaning the bricks with Brick and Mortar Cleaner.

To help maintain the inside of your chimney, you can install a chimney cap which covers the top of the chimney to prevent rain and snow from entering the chimney liner. A HY-C stainless steel chimney cap gives sufficient clearance above the flue to allow unimpeded exhaust of combustion gases, and it also has a screen mesh around the open side which acts as a spark arrestor and keeps animals and debris out of your flue. When you are burning fires frequently, you can use products such as Anti-Creosote and Creaway to minimize creosote buildup inside your chimney liner. You can also minimize creosote buildup by using dry firewood in small, hot fires rather than green wood in colder, smoky fires.

In addition to using these products to maintain your chimney system, you also need to have your fireplace or woodstove and chimney inspected and cleaned by a chimney specialist at least once a year. An experienced chimney sweep will be able to discuss any repairs he thinks you need to have done to ensure the safe operation of your fireplace or woodstove. With proper care and maintenance, you should be able to avoid major repairs and to enjoy your fireplace and chimney for many years to come.