Your Fall Chimney Maintenance Checklist
Before firing up your fireplace for the cold season, it’s a good idea to make sure that your fireplace and chimney are in good working order. National Chimney Cleaners of Fairfield County, CT, and Morris County, NJ, would like to present a fall chimney maintenance checklist that’s easy to follow and will enhance the safety and performance of your chimney.
Have your chimney cleaned
If you use a wood-burning fireplace and haven’t had it properly cleaned since the previous winter, now is the time to get it done. Schedule services with an experienced chimney sweep, who will do two primary things.
1. Remove flammable creosote from your chimney flue
Creosote is a byproduct of wood combustion and is the #1 cause of chimney fires each year in the U.S. Creosote clings to the walls of the flue, appearing as a sticky, solid or puffy substance. Only a professional chimney sweeping technician has the tools to safely and thoroughly remove creosote and reduce the chance of a chimney fire.
2. Remove outside debris that impedes drafting
If you operate your chimney without a secure chimney cap, your flue may become full of leaves, twigs, small-animal nests and other debris. This will cause the flue passage to narrow and could result in smoke and deadly carbon monoxide backing up into your home. Your chimney sweep will remove the debris and can install a good chimney cap to prevent this problem in the future.
Schedule a fireplace and chimney inspection
Inspections by a qualified chimney technician can include:
- Masonry – bricks and mortar
- Chimney liner
- Chimney chase on manufactured chimneys
- Chimney cap or chimney chase top
- Chimney crown
- Chimney flashing
- Fireplace damper
Experienced chimney inspectors know what to look for and can spot the earliest signs of damage and malfunction. It’s important for you to make periodic visual inspections of your chimney system, but don’t rely on your eyes alone. Rely on a professional. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends annual chimney inspections to check for structural soundness, dangerous deposits inside the flue and correct clearances. Inspection is a critical part of fall chimney maintenance that you don’t want to overlook.
Take care of chimney repairs
Following the inspection, your technician may tell you about issues that need to be addressed before you start using your fireplace again. The issues could be major or minor and might include:
- Cracking or decay in the chimney masonry
- Damage to the firebox
- Deterioration of the concrete chimney crown
- A chimney that leans to one side
- Warped chimney flashing
- Compromises to the chimney cap or chase top
In most cases, the technician who performs your inspection will also be able to do the needed repairs, which should not be put off. Get everything taken care of before winter sets in and you start using your fireplace regularly.
Call the fall chimney maintenance pros
National Chimney Cleaners can handle all your chimney and fireplace maintenance tasks this fall. If you live in Morris County, New Jersey, or Fairfield County, Connecticut, give us a call at (631) 821-0051. You can also reach out through our handy contact form.