The leaves are starting to change color and the weather is getting cooler. One of the best things about fall is the opportunity to cozy up by the fireplace with a good book and a hot beverage. Is your system ready for use?
Chimney care is a vital part of your home maintenance routine and guarantees peace of mind and comfort as you put your fireplace to work over the following months.
But what all needs to be done? Here’s what we recommend.
✓ Schedule an Inspection
Before you start using your fireplace again, it’s important to make sure that your chimney is in good working order. A build-up of soot and debris, for instance, is a serious fire hazard, and even a small crack in the chimney liner can allow harmful gases into your home. That’s why it’s always a good idea to schedule a chimney inspection with a certified professional so they can check for any potential issues.
Be sure to book your chimney service early in the season to avoid the scheduling during a notoriously busy time.
✓ Book a Sweeping
If your chimney inspection reveals excessive creosote deposits or lots of buildup, then the next step is sweeping. At The Chimney Doctor, we use appropriate tools and methods to remove any buildup from your chimney – eliminating unpleasant odors, preventing fires, extending your chimney’s lifespan, and allowing everything to operate efficiently in the process.
✓ Get Your Repairs Completed
Your chimney is exposed to the elements year round, and this can take a serious toll on its structural integrity over time. Severe weather conditions, animals tampering, and exposure to water can cut your chimney’s lifespan short.
If we identify anything in need of repair during our inspection, we’ll recommend having the damage addressed as soon as possible. Cracks, gaps, and leaks can all lead to drafting issues and poor indoor air quality, as well as increase the risk of gas exposure, structure damage and fire hazards. Needless to say, this isn’t something to put off.
✓ Invest in New Components
If your chimney is old or it’s gone a bit too long without repairs, you may want to invest in some new components. Worn-out or outdated parts can lead to bigger problems later on, and some may not even be up to code or working as efficiently as they could.
Some of the most commonly-replaced components are the liner, damper, and chimney cap. A new cap keeps debris and animals out of chimneys, new dampers control the airflow and prevent heat loss, and new liners improve the overall efficiency of your chimney (while preventing harmful gases from entering your home in the process).
It’s always best to consult with a professional for replacements. Our team can help you choose and install the right parts for both your chimney and your budget, so you can keep your home safer and cleaner this winter.
✓ Stock up on Seasoned Wood
In order to enjoy a wood-burning fireplace, you’ll need to have a good supply of seasoned wood. Well-seasoned wood is wood that has been cut and set to dry for at least six months, ensuring most of the moisture is removed. This makes it less likely to produce smoke, and it will reduce creosote accumulation too.
When storing wood for the winter, keep it in a dry, sheltered area, and never stack wood on the ground, as this promotes rot. Also, make sure that the wood is covered to protect it from the elements, but don’t seal it up completely – air circulation is necessary to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
✓ Stay Informed on Fireplace Safety
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for your burning season is to stay informed on fireplace safety. Reviewing these tips each year can ensure that you and your family stay safer while enjoying your system.
- Keep a 5 lb ABC fire extinguisher on hand in case of emergencies.
- Never leave a fire unattended – always extinguish the flames before leaving or going to bed for the night.
- Keep flammable materials, like home decor and curtains, at least three feet away from the fireplace.
- Don’t burn wrapping paper, cardboard, or newspapers in the fireplace – these can ignite suddenly and create a dangerous flare-up.
- Hire a sweep to inspect and sweep your chimney regularly.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home on each level.
- Regularly check for animal nests and other blockages in your chimney.
- Use a fireplace screen or glass doors to prevent sparks from escaping the fireplace.
- Avoid using molded, rotten, and resinous wood, as these can produce dangerous sparks and smoke.
- Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable liquids to start a fire.
By following these simple tips, you can enjoy your fireplace all winter long – without all that added stress.
Count On Us
Now is the time to start preparing for the burning season. The Chimney Doctor team is here to help, whether you need an inspection, a sweeping, some repairs completed, or something else. Call us at (970) 234-3330 or request an appointment online and we’ll handle the rest.
Thanks for relying on us.