Keep Your Fireplace & Chimney in Great Shape
Chimney technicians work year-round to help customers keep their chimney and fireplace systems clean, safe and fully operational. But you can’t have a chimney pro in your house all the time. In between visits from your chimney sweep/chimney repair company, here are some things you can do to make sure your chimney and fireplace run at their best.
Do periodic visual inspections
Take a close look at your fireplace and inside the firebox (when a fire isn’t going). Look for signs of cracking, splitting and crumbling. Observe your chimney’s exterior, also looking for damage signs.
If you feel comfortable getting up on your roof, do a visual inspection of the chimney cap, concrete chimney crown and the flashing that seals the gap between your roof and the chimney.
Report any problems you see to your chimney company.
Burn only dry wood
The logs you burn in your fireplace can have a much greater impact on your chimney than you might suspect. Dry (seasoned) wood burns aggressively and completely. Hardwoods such as elm, oak, maple and hickory burn better and produce far less smoke than softwoods like pine, redwood and juniper.
Excess smoke from firewood means excess creosote building up in your chimney flue. Creosote can be sticky, flakey, puffy or solid, and it clings to the walls of your chimney liner until it’s properly removed – or until it ignites into a chimney fire.
Never use non-firewood or accelerants in your fireplace
Only proper firewood should burn in your fireplace. Items such as clothing, finished wood, furniture, household garbage, plastics, metals, packaging material and the like can burn with excess heat and create far too much smoke. Some of these items will cause dangerous combustion gases to get into the breathable air of your home, possibly causing health concerns.
Kindling and a flame from a fireplace match are all you should use to start a fire. Never use kerosene, lighter fluid, charcoal lighter or any other accelerant to get a fire going. These liquids can flare up and cause injury.
Have a chimney cap installed if you don’t already have one
Chimney caps and flue covers are protective devices that prevent rain, debris and small animals from entering your flue. Flue covers shield only the flue opening; whereas a full-width chimney cap will cover the entire top of the chimney including the vulnerable concrete chimney crown.
Operating a chimney with no cap is asking for trouble. Rain and snow will eventually damage the chimney liner, which could allow smoke and toxic combustion gases such as carbon monoxide to drift into your home. Damaged liners also put the interior masonry and adjacent home building materials at risk of fire.
In addition, an open flue is a perfect invitation for birds, squirrels and other critters to come on in and build their nests. An open flue also allows tree debris to enter. These obstructions will cause the fireplace to draft sluggishly and may send smoke and gases into your home.
By you doing your part to use your chimney and fireplace safely and efficiently, and your chimney company doing its part to clean, inspect and repair your chimney system, you’ll enjoy season after season of all the beauty and comfort a fireplace is supposed to provide.
Above & Beyond Chimney Service of Dedham, MA, provides chimney cleaning, chimney inspection and all chimney repairs to keep your system running smoothly and safely. Speak with a chimney expert today at