Have a Safer Chimney This Winter
Getting your chimney and fireplace ready for the cold season isn’t a difficult job, but it’s one that needs to be done correctly and completely. A clean, fully operational chimney and fireplace system will bring comfort and enjoyment throughout the winter and the peace of mind that comes from knowing it’s safe to use.
National Chimney Cleaners of Fairfield County, CT, and Morris County, NJ, would like to share a few tips to help you get your fireplace ready for winter.
Clean out the firebox
If you haven’t already done it, now is a good time to clean the firebox. Not only will this make the fireplace look nicer, but it will also allow you to see if there are any areas of damage that need to be addressed.
A clean firebox is also helpful for the next winter-prep tip.
Don’t forget about the damper
The damper is part of a basic chimney and fireplace inspection. It’s important that it closes with a tight seal and opens completely during fireplace use.
You’ll probably keep the damper closed when you’re not using the fireplace, so remind yourself to open it when you’re getting ready for a fire. A little note near the fireplace may work well.
Schedule an inspection
Before firing up your fireplace and getting your chimney rolling for the winter season, schedule an inspection with an experienced, licensed chimney inspector.
Your inspector will look closely at all readily accessible areas of your chimney and fireplace, including:
- Fireplace damper (see below)
- Chimney masonry
- Chimney flashing
- Chimney crown
- Chimney cap
- Chimney liner and flue
A good inspection will also address issues such as sluggish drafting, smoke backups, strange smells coming from the fireplace, and other concerns.
Clean the flue
Every fire safety agency in the U.S. recommends annual chimney cleaning, or chimney sweeping, for chimneys that serve wood-burning fireplaces. The primary reason is to remove flammable creosote, which builds up in the flue every time you use the fireplace.
Creosote is the #1 cause of chimney fires in Connecticut and New Jersey every year. Annual cleaning by a trained chimney sweep will greatly reduce the likelihood of a fire.
Chimney sweeping also removes tree debris, the nests of small animals, and the bodies of small animals that have died in the flue. This gets rid of obstructions that could cause smoke and deadly carbon monoxide to back up into your home. It also helps to reduce smells coming from the fireplace.
Get your wood together
Whether you store all your wood for the winter at one time or buy it in batches, it’s important to use only dry (seasoned) firewood in your fireplace. Damp wood is full of moisture, which creates excess smoke. Excess smoke creates excess creosote in the flue.
Dry wood not only makes less smoke, it also ignites faster and burns more thoroughly.
Pre-winter chimney service
National Chimney Cleaners specializes in pre-winter chimney service that includes inspections for wood and gas systems; professional chimney sweeping; and a full range of chimney and fireplace repairs to get everything working safely and correctly for the colder months.
Schedule a visit or get more information by calling (800) 631-6177. You can also reach out through our handy contact form.