Winter is upon us faster than we realize. There are many things on our lists that need to be done for us to enjoy the holidays without any worries. Sitting by the warm fireplace is a favorite of many across the world. Having the fireplace on the majority of the time during the winter months is all fine and dandy, but there are some precautions that need to be addressed prior to the first fire.
Maximizing the Efficiency and Lifespan of Your Fireplace & Chimney
Using Well-Seasoned Wood
Well-seasoned wood means that it was cut and given time to dry; typically about a year. Softwood like pine takes about an average of six months to dry while hardwood like oak can take close to two years. Never burn wood that is not seasoned. Unseasoned wood leads to creosote buildup that causes the chimney to become susceptible to chimney fires. Creosote is extremely combustible and it can lead to chimney obstruction. Green or wet wood can also lead to particle pollution that can cause allergies and other health pollution.
Regular Fireplace & Chimney Cleaning
Do not wait until the fall or winter months to clean. To have a thorough chimney and fireplace cleaning, it is best to have it done before the wood-burning season arrives. This allows you to have ample time for budgeting the cleaning and for any unexpected damages that surface to the light. It lowers the risks of chimney fires. It is recommended by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) that homeowners have a chimney sweep annually.
A fireplace chimney sweep removes all the debris including sticks, dead leaves, and small animals such as raccoons and birds. All obstructions like these should be removed prior to the first fire. Remember to trim away any tree branches near the chimney to minimize fire hazards; low hanging branches that block the chimney or vents can impede the escape of dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide.
If there has not been a full inspection done in a while, then it is best to enlist the services of professional sweeps who will do a proper sweep from top to bottom and if needed, include a video inspection that can discover hidden damages. A trained sweep will provide a sense of peace knowing you can burn logs with no fear of hazards.
Guard Against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is compounded by it being tasteless, colorless, and odorless. No wonder why it is known as the “silent killer”. This gas can leak from the chimney into the house if the chimney is not well-maintained or cleaned properly. In order to detect it, you will need a carbon monoxide (CO) detector installed on each floor and if possible all of the bedrooms. Remember to test the detectors and to change the batteries every year.
Avoid using flammable to a small fire. It can get out of control and start a chimney or house fire. When using artificial logs, read the instructions thoroughly and adhere to them without treating them as real logs. Keep the fire at a steady temperature by feeding it regularly but do not overload.
Install or Replace a Broken Chimney Cap
Your chimney must have a cap or cover. If it is broken, then you must replace it. A cap acts as an umbrella to prevent snow and rain from entering the chimney. This eliminates any damage to the chimney. Also prevents small animals from climbing in.
Inspect the structural Integrity
When checking the cap, you should also inspect the chimney structure for missing mortar, loose bricks, wear and tear, and cracks. This should be done frequently, about every month or two so if any damages found can be fixed before they become bigger situations.
Where to Find Trusted Fireplace Chimney Sweeps This Winter?
Safety should be your number one priority. Getting professional fireplace chimney sweeps is the best way to ensure your family’s safety. We can provide you the best comfort and value from your fireplace.