You might not give your fireplace a second thought during the summer. However, it’s best not to wait until you need the fireplace before prepping it for winter. Ideally, you’d have scheduled your routine maintenance during the off-season to avoid running into cool weather. If you haven’t, it’s not too late to get your fireplace ready for cold weather.
Your Clean Fireplace
Your fireplace will not be at it’s best if it isn’t clean before burning season. Ashes in the firebox and creosote on the chimney flue liner has set all spring and summer. Consequently, this may have settled and packed into a dense, flammable mass because of the heat. Also, during the summer months, small animals often nest in chimney flues!
When you schedule a chimney sweep with a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) you can expect that all creosote, soot, and debris will be removed from the chimney. This preventative measure can be the one thing between you and a flue fire. A standard chimney sweep is affordable, and can save you thousands of dollars in damages from fire and injury.
Your Safe Fireplace
Chimney sweeps should occur regularly, as needed, but chimney inspections are recommended annually. They’re required by homeowner’s insurance policies, real estate agents, and municipal codes. This means they are not an optional service. This is especially true if you’d like to have a safe fireplace this winter. The average homeowner will never notice damage to the chimney, until it begins to damage the house. Examples of such damage are ceiling/wall leaks, masonry stains and spalling. By this time, the damage is extensive. Repair will be expensive. In addition, you cannot use your fireplace until repairs are made.
Your certified chimney sweep should report on all parts of the chimney and provide a repair plan following the inspection. This can include repairing or replacing damaged parts. Where chimneys are concerned, when it’s safer, it’s also more efficient.
Your Efficient Fireplace
In order to get the most out of your fireplace this winter, you should be sure and only burn properly seasoned wood. When your chimney is clean and safe, it will work at it’s highest efficiency, if you burn the right fuel in it. By choosing properly seasoned wood you decrease the particulate matter released into the home, as well as have a cleaner, more complete burn. When wet wood is burned in a fireplace it often burns incompletely. This increases the amount of creosote buildup on the flue walls, and essentially requiring more frequent chimney sweeps.
Your Waterproof Fireplace
Finally, an important way to prepare your fireplace for cold weather is to prepare your chimney for winter. Snow is essentially water. It sits on your chimney top and roof and will penetrate the masonry or flashing quite easily if it isn’t waterproofed. It’s easier to prevent damage than to repair it, so make sure your chimney is snow-ready by waterproofing it.
Chesapeake Chimney and Co offers all of these services and more. We are a full service chimney sweep company that can clean, inspect, install, repair, and waterproof your chimney for winter.
To schedule an appointment with our expert technicians call 410-535-0052 or schedule online.