A well-maintained fireplace is a safe fireplace. FlameMaster Chimney Sweep of Colorado would like to share some easy tips on preparing your fireplace for a safe and efficient fall and winter.
Chimneys that service wood-burning fireplaces should be professionally cleaned, or swept, once a year. This will remove excess creosote, which is highly flammable and is responsible for most chimney fires every year in the U.S. Chimney sweeping will also get rid of flue obstructions such as leaves, twigs, the nests of small animals and the animals themselves that have died inside the flue.
Do a careful visual inspection of the exterior chimney and see if you notice any loose or cracked bricks. Also look for crumbling mortar. These masonry issues can lead to a chimney leak and eventual widespread chimney damage. Additionally, check the chimney cap, the concrete chimney crown and the flashing around the base of the chimney where it meets the roof. Report damage to your chimney company.
Falling leaves, twigs and fruit can enter an unprotected chimney and create a dangerous drafting obstruction. Prevent this by trimming tree branches away from the chimney. If you don’t have a secure chimney cap, have one installed to keep tree debris as well as small animals and their nests out of your chimney.
Remove leftover ashes from the firebox and finish with a vacuum. Wipe down the surfaces with a spray cleaner and sponge. Once everything’s clean, look for cracks, crumbling and rust anywhere within the firebox. If you have fireplace doors, inspect the gasket, which must seal correctly to keep smoke and toxins out of your room. If your gas fireplace includes a blower, clean it well. Fireplace blowers don’t include filters, so you want to keep as much dust as possible out this mechanism in order to protect the bearings and motor.
Test the fireplace damper. If it’s hard to move or particularly squeaky, it might be rusting. A chimney technician can inspect the damper and either repair or replace it.
Make sure there are fresh batteries in your home’s smoke detectors and the carbon monoxide monitor, which should be installed near the fireplace and above the level of the firebox.
Along with annual chimney cleaning, a thorough chimney inspection will alert you to early signs of damage and malfunction so you can get issues resolved before you start using your fireplace regularly. Experienced chimney inspectors can see things that you can’t, and they can make the right recommendations for repairs or component replacements to ensure that your chimney operates safely and efficiently.
FlameMaster is ready to help with all your chimney and fireplace needs as you prepare for another cold winter.
We offer complete chimney inspections, chimney sweeping and all types of chimney repair and rebuilding work. We serve Woodland Park, CO, Colorado Springs, CO, Divide, CO, Manitou Springs, CO, Cripple Creek, CO, Victor, CO, and other local communities. Speak with a chimney professional today at (719) 661-3277 or get in touch with our handy contact form.