The days are getting shorter, the wind is picking up, the temperature is dropping, and the leaves are changing color. Fall is here and, with it, the reminder that the cold and darkness of winter is right around the corner. However, studies suggest that homes with a fireplace help keep people happier during the winter as they cozy up to a warm crackling fire.
Fall is a great time to get that fireplace ready to help you stave off the wintertime blues. Here are the best things you can do to make sure your fireplace is in the best possible condition for keeping you warm and happy during the winter season.
Upgrade to an Insert
When the temperature drops below freezing, a traditional fireplace can be quite inefficient. The fire in it will keep you warm while it’s lit, but a lot of heat is also lost through the chimney in the process. The cost of wood and the energy it takes to burn can, in fact, be so inefficient that it becomes costly.
When you upgrade to an insert, you get to maintain the beauty and look of your fireplace, enjoy the warmth of a fire, and heat your home in a manner that is extremely safe and efficient. A fireplace insert is a fireproof box, usually made of steel or cast iron, with an insulated glass front. It is installed into your existing traditional fireplace, turning it into a closed combustion system.
A properly installed fireplace insert creates a consistently clean-looking fireplace that is easily maintained. It also improves the efficiency of your fireplace by leaps and bounds. Not only that, the insert will improve the life of your chimney by limiting harmful buildup that comes from inefficient burning.
Wood, gas, pellet, or electric inserts can be installed in almost any type of fireplace. When all is said and done, installing a fireplace insert is one of the best things you can do for your home, the environment, and your wallet.
Update Your Chimney Components
There are many chimney components that work together to keep your fires burning safer and cleaner. Each of these components should be regularly looked at and maintained for optimal performance. When they don’t work, are broken, or are missing altogether, problems can lie ahead.
Let’s look at a few components that you can update this fall to keep your fireplace healthy and working well for the winter.
The chimney cap sits on top of your flue and serves as a guardian between the inside of your chimney and the outside world. When rain or snow falls onto the chimney, the chimney cap deflects it away from the flue, keeping it dry and shielded from the elements.
When a chimney cap is missing or damaged, moisture can get into the chimney. And when water is leaking in your chimney, further damage is inevitable. Other parts of your home become susceptible to damage, as well – and we all know how costly problems caused by water damage can be.
Water isn’t the only thing a chimney cap will keep out. Unwanted debris and animals seeking shelter are also kept away by a chimney cap. Routine maintenance this fall offers you a great opportunity to install a missing chimney cap or fix your existing one.
Still own a throat damper? Consider upgrading to a top-mounted damper. These sit at the very top of your chimney flue and can be opened up when you’re ready to use your fireplace, then tightly closed when you’re not using it. There are a number of ways the top-mounted damper can be opened or closed but a common one is a cable that hangs down close to the hearth of your fireplace.
The top-mounted damper serves many of the same purposes as the chimney cap, as it keeps rain and snow, unwanted creatures, and flying debris out of your chimney. However, because it has tighter seal than throat dampers, it also keeps pesky downdrafts and cold air out when you are not using the fireplace. As cold weather approaches it may be time to install a top-mounted damper onto your chimney to help save on home heating costs.
Another easy way to reinforce the waterproofing of your factory built fireplace is by having a well-fitted chase cover (or chase top) installed. Like a traditional masonry chimney crown, chase covers will keep out water and other elements out, so that your chimney stays dry and strong. Chase covers are a metal covering that sit on top of your chimney, redirecting unwanted debris, water, and wind away from the chimney.
Get Your Repairs Booked
Staying ahead of the game is a great way to ensure you get the most from your fireplace this winter. While everyone else is trying to figure out why they are experiencing leaks in their chimney and cold downdrafts from their fireplace, you will be resting easy because you had your chimney inspected and repaired in the fall.
The Chimney Doctor is committed to ensuring energy efficient, more comfortable homes for Grand Junction and its neighboring communities. Our team of dedicated and expertly trained technicians are excited to work with you. Schedule your inspection by calling 970-234-3330 today – or you can request your appointment online.
Thanks for trusting us.