The warmth of a lively, sparkling and crackling fire is what everyone looks forward to during the winter season. If you have a fireplace that can withstand enough heat and a chimney to boot, you are lucky. But this dream sequence could quickly turn into a nightmare if you do not use the services of a professional fireplace chimney sweep. Short of that, there are some other things you can do to ensure your fire is safe and satisfying. Here are some tips for that.
Tips to Maximize the Efficiency and Lifespan of Your Fireplace and Chimney
Use Well-seasoned Wood
Well-seasoned wood means it was cut and given time to dry. Soft wood like pine can take an average of six months to dry while hard wood like oak can take up to two years. Do not burn wood that is not seasoned. Unseasoned wood leads to creosote buildup that makes the chimney susceptible to chimney fires. Creosote can also lead to chimney obstruction. Green or wet wood may also lead to particles pollution that can cause allergy and other health pollution.
Regular Fireplace and Chimney Cleaning
Do not wait until winter creeps on you. A thorough chimney and fireplace cleaning should be done before the wood burning season arrives. This gives you ample time to budget for the cleaning and also for any damages that might require any repairs. It also minimizes the risk of chimney fires. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that homeowners have a chimney sweep annually. A fireplace chimney sweep will get rid of debris like sticks, dead leaves, and small animals like raccoons and birds. These obstructions should be removed before you can use your fireplace. Also, make sure to trim away any tree branches that are close to the chimney to help minimize fire hazards; low hanging branches which obstruct the chimney and vents can impede the escape of dangerous gases including carbon monoxide.
If you have not used your fireplace in a while, enlist the services of a professional sweep who will do a proper sweep from the top right to the bottom and if possible, include a video inspection that can discover hidden damages. A trained sweep will give you peace of mind knowing you can burn those logs with no fear of striking a hazard.
Ensure ventilation whenever you are using the fireplace. Noxious gases released during combustion if not replaced can lead to chimney not working well. Our chimney sweeps are well trained, highly experienced and qualified to guarantee you a thorough sweep. Do not take chances; reach us today for a proper chimney inspection.
Guard Against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas whose danger is compounded by the fact that it is tasteless, colorless and odorless. It isn’t a wonder it has been named as the ‘silent killer’ as well. This gas can leak from your chimney into your house if the chimney is not well maintained and cleaned. To detect it, you need a carbon monoxide (CO) detector installed on every floor and if possible all bedrooms. The detectors are a key safety measure. Remember to test the detectors and change the batteries every year.
Avoid using flammables to light a fire. It might just get out of control and start a chimney or house fire. When using artificial logs, read the instructions carefully and adhere to them without treating them as real logs. Do not use appliances that will compete with the chimney for air and ensure ventilation like opening the furnace door when burning. Keep the fire at a steady temperature by feeding it regularly but do not overload either.
Install or Replace a Broken Chimney Cap
Your chimney must have a chimney cap or cover. If it is broken, then you must replace it. A chimney cap acts as an umbrella that prevents snow and rain from entering the chimney. This virtually eliminates any damage to your chimney. It also prevents small animals from climbing in.
Inspect the Structural Integrity
While checking the cap, you should also inspect your fireplace chimney structure for missing mortar, loose bricks, wear and tear and cracks. This should be done often, say monthly or every two months so that any damages can be fixed before they become expensive or compromise your safety.
Where Can You Get Trusted Fireplace Chimney Sweeps This Winter?
Safety should always be your biggest priority. Getting professional fireplace chimney sweeps is the best way to ensure that. We can help you get the best comfort and value from your fireplace. Make an appointment below for professional advice and services from our fireplace chimney sweep experts.
Call Your Local SootMaster Today at 1-800-724-5021 or Make An Appointment