Enjoying a crackling fire on a chilly winter night is the best part of having a fireplace at home. Before you build your first fire of the season, perform routine chimney maintenance to protect your home and keep your family safe. Here are some tips to help you improve the chimney’s safety and the efficiency of your fireplace.
Chimney Maintenance Tips to Prevent Creosote Buildup
When smoke condenses as it ascends the chimney, flammable creosote accumulates on its walls. A chimney with excessive creosote buildup can be a fire hazard.
Only use seasoned wood when building your fire to reduce creosote buildup. This type of wood has been stored in a dry place for at least six months and contains minimum moisture content. Wet firewood or freshly cut wood leads to excessive smoke and creosote in the flue. Another effective way to prevent creosote buildup is by insulating your chimney’s flue. Use a chimney insulation mix like vermiculite or wrap it with a heat-resistant blanket.
Have the Chimney Swept
If it has been more than a year since you’ve cleaned the chimney, it’s probably best to hire a professional chimney sweep rather than attempting to do it yourself. An expert has the tools and experience to remove creosote.
Test Your Damper for Chimney Maintenance
Improve your home’s energy efficiency by ensuring the fireplace damper opens and closes properly. The damper must be closed whenever your fireplace is not in use to stop outside drafts from entering your home through the chimney.
If the damper doesn’t seal correctly, this will reflect on your monthly electricity bills. It will be more difficult for your heating and cooling unit to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the home.
Test your damper. If it’s stuck or difficult to open and close, it indicates the seal is not functioning correctly. Make repairs before building a fire.
Inspect the Bricks and Mortar for Damage
The mortar joints and bricks of your chimney play a role in preventing water damage inside your house. However, over time, they can begin to crumble and crack, allowing water to enter your home via the chimney and leading to structural problems. To prevent this, inspect your chimney for signs of damage and perform the necessary repairs.
Schedule an Annual Chimney Inspection
Scheduling an annual chimney inspection is an integral part of maintenance. A professional will understand issues, inform you about the chimney’s current condition, and provide invaluable tips on keeping it functioning as intended.