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Ish Happens: DIY Home Maintenance and Repair

How to Repair Problems That Lurk Behind Your Walls

Learn what to do and how to prevent problems like termites, critters and mold.

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Janet Allinger

Fireplace and Chimney Problems

That fire is cozy and romantic, and provides a bit of warmth, but when smoke backs up into the room you've got a big problem. The biggest mistake homeowners make is not opening the flue. The second is a clogged chimney, which is caused either by nesting animals or a buildup of creosote. Another is negative draft, which could be caused by a whole-house fan, a bathroom fan or a couple of open windows. If the flue is open and there is nothing causing a negative draft, you've got a clogged chimney. Extinguish the fire as soon as possible. If you're not experienced in cleaning out the chimney, then you'll need to call in a pro. Burning specially designed cleaning logs is good maintenance to reduce creosote buildup, but cannot be used to unclog a chimney.



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