As the leaves start to change color and the weather begins to cool down, many homeowners start preparing to light their fireplaces for the first time. After all, who doesn’t like curling up in front of a cozy fire with a good book or movie on a cold day?
But first things first… you have to make sure you chimney is ready. Be sure to follow this chimney checklist to enjoy a safer and more comfortable burn season.
✓ Schedule an Inspection
The first thing you need to do is schedule an inspection with a certified chimney professional. They will be able to identify any potential problems with your chimney and make corrections, as needed. By getting an inspection every year, you can help prevent chimney fires, gas leaks, expensive repairs, and other hazards.
The busy season is upon us, so if you have yet to get your annual inspection on the books, call today!
✓ Book a Sweeping
If, after your inspection, your sweep notices excessive creosote deposits, then a sweeping would be the next step. Removing any build-up of soot, debris, or creosote that could potentially catch fire is imperative for keeping your household safer during the burning season. This will also free up any blockages that could cause problems with draft and airflow later on.
✓ Have Repairs Completed
If your chimney inspection revealed any cracking, crumbling, or other damages, make sure you have the repairs completed before you light your first fire of the season. This will help prevent any further damage to your chimney and keep your family as safe as possible when fires are lit.
If you light a fire without having the necessary repairs completed, you could be putting your home at risk (think gas leaks, smoke exposure, fire hazards, etc.). Make sure all chimney repairs are done before you light your first fire of the season to avoid any issues or added stress/expense.
✓ Invest in New Components
If your chimney is in need of new components, now is the time to invest in them. This could mean investing in a new chimney cap, damper, or even a new liner. All of these help improve the efficiency of your chimney and prevent any future problems.
An old or damaged chimney can be very dangerous, so it’s important to invest in new components if your chimney needs them.
✓ Store Up on Seasoned Wood
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, now is the time to start stockpiling some seasoned wood. It’s also a good idea to invest in a wood-storage system, so you can keep your wood dry and protected from the elements.
Seasoned wood is important for two reasons. First, it burns more efficiently than unseasoned wood. Second, it produces less smoke, which means there is less chance of creosote building and causing a chimney fire. You can stock up on seasoned wood by buying it from a local fireplace store or online – or you can season it yourself! That said, this takes around 6 months, so it’d be best to start now to prepare for next year.
✓ Stay Informed on Fireplace Safety Tips
Finally, it’s important to stay informed on fireplace safety tips. This includes knowing how to properly use your fireplace and chimney, as well as what to do if issues come up. Some good safety tips include.
- Only burn dry, seasoned wood.
- Don’t leave fires unattended.
- Don’t use flammable liquids (like gas or kerosine) to start your fire.
- Don’t burn trash in your fireplace – this includes newspaper, paper plates, wrapping paper, and cardboard.
- Keep an eye out for damages and have them inspected by a certified professional.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
- Don’t put flammable holiday decor near the fireplace.
- Invest in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for every level of your home.
And while these are all great things to keep in mind, there are many other tips and recommended practices out there. Do your research, ask your sweep for advice, and be sure to stay informed and up-to-date on the best fireplace practices for your home.
Reach Out Today
If you need help with preparing your chimney for the burning season, contact the crew here at Winston’s Chimney Service today. We offer chimney inspections, chimney sweepings, chimney repairs. and more. Call (703) 379-5006 to schedule an appointment or reach out online – with us, you can rest assured knowing your chimney is in good hands.