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Chimney Care 101

Once the weather gets cold, many of us cannot wait to crank on our fireplace. Who doesn’t enjoy sitting in front of a toasty fire with hot chocolate and their favorite book or tv show? But did you know there is a lot of work that comes with caring for this area of your home? To make things easier for you, we made this guide on chimney care. 

Clean the Area

Before lighting up your fireplace, you need to clean the area, which includes the inside of the fireplace and the chimney. To make everything easier on you, you should get it cleaned and inspected by a professional chimney sweeper. This way you do not die from carbon monoxide poisoning or catch your house on fire. Experts recommend doing this cleaning annually. Check your flue regularly to make sure nothing is blocking the area, including animals, dirt or bird nests.

Burn Only Dry Wood

Just like building a fire in the wilderness, you are going to want to burn only dry wood. Damp wood will not get as hot as dry wood and causes more smoke. If you do burn wet wood, it builds up creosote, carbonaceous chemicals, faster in your chimney. Never use softwood in your fireplace. Stick to hardwood only. 

Check the Draft

Proper ventilation is a must anytime you deal with fire, so that is why you are going to want to check the draft of your home. You want the area to have a large and wide draft. If you notice it concentrating in one room, create more space or open some windows and doors. 

Keep Combustibles Away

A good rule of thumb everyone should know if they have a fireplace is to keep all combustible items away. You do not want anything to explode in your home and ultimately cause a fire. If you have a wood stove, it needs to be at least three feet away from your fireplace. Also, keep away flammable decorations, debris and fabrics away from the area.

Tend to Your Fire

Do not leave your fire on its own. You should always tend to your fire. Even if the fire is almost out, you should never leave it unattended. Before heading to bed or going out, put it out. 

Maintain it Outside 

Maintenance is not only for the inside of your chimney, but the outside as well. Since most of us do not climb up on our roofs or know how to maintain a chimney, you will most likely call a home service company to come out and inspect and fix it. But before that, you can clear out the chimney cap if it is full of leaves or other debris. You can also check to make sure the mortar is not chipping away from the brick. If you notice any issues, please notify the contractor you are working with. 

Install Chimney Cap

If you do not have a chimney cap on your chimney, you are going to want to install one asap. While we may tell our children that a man named Santa Claus shoots down the chimney, that does not mean we want an opening to let anyone or anything in. By installing a chimney cap or cover, you are significantly lowering your chances of letting any uninvited guests from entering your home. 

By following the steps above, you can easily take care of your fireplace and chimney. If you ever have any questions or need help, contact Valor Home Services today.