Winter weather is right around the corner and colder temperatures are already arriving. A chimney is a great way to stay warm on those cold nights, while also saving money on heating costs. However, you will want to be sure your chimney is ready when the time comes to fire it up for the first time. Here are a few simple things you can do to make sure your chimney is safe and functioning properly.
The most important thing you can do before you start your first fire in your chimney is have it inspected by a CSIA Certified professional chimney sweep. A chimney sweep will remove soot and any creosote buildup. They will also inspect both the inside and outside of the chimney, checking for any structural issues and performance problems. Along with other chimney parts, the sweep will want to make sure the damper is functioning properly. A damper needs to be able to open and close easily and be free of any blockages. Another important component of the chimney that will need to be check is the chimney cap. The chimney cap is critical in keeping rain, leaves, debris, and wildlife from entering your chimney and creating a blockage. If gases cannot escape properly due to a blockage in the flue, creosote is more likely to build up faster and cause more damage. Moisture inside of chimneys can also cause structural damage by creating cracks and general deterioration. If you do not have a chimney cap or the one you have is damaged, a certified professional will be able to assist you in repairing or replacing the cap.
What kind of wood you use and the way it’s burned is very important to the safety of your fireplace this winter. Only burn wood that has been seasoned and is of a high quality. For example, oak creates less smoke than pine, so it’s less likely to cause creosote buildup. It is not advisable to burn wood from freshly cut trees because they have a higher level of moisture, which can cause excess smoke and lead to creosote. Also important is how you build your fire. Don’t build it too high or too hot as this can create creosote and damage the chimney’s structure.
An easy way to prep your chimney for winter is to remove ash. If you didn’t do this at the end of the season last year, now is the time to get it done. Ash is very acidic in nature and has the ability to draw in moisture, which can be detrimental to the metal components of your fireplace. This combination can also cause damage to the masonry of the fireplace itself.
Following these simple suggestions will allow you to have a safe and warm winter. Call us today to set up an appointment to get your chimney cleaned and inspected.