As the weather starts to cool and we begin using our fireplaces again, it’s essential to make sure the chimney is clean and in good working order. A chimney fire is frightening, not to mention dangerous, so taking time to perform basic maintenance is well worth it. Here are a few tips for chimney maintenance.
1. Chimney Maintenance: Hire an Inspector
Your chimney should be inspected at least once a year to make sure it is clean and in good working order. Chimney fires can be devastating, so take steps to prevent them from happening. By having the chimney inspected regularly, you verify it is in good condition and that there are no obstructions that could lead to a fire.
When a chimney inspector comes to your home, they will look for several things. They will check the chimney for obstructions such as bird’s nests, leaves, and other debris. They will also check the structure for cracks and signs of wear and tear. If the inspector finds damage, have it repaired immediately to prevent a chimney fire.
2. Chimney Cleaning is Essential for Maintenance
Clean your chimney annually to remove corrosive soot, leaves, and other debris that could lead to a fire.
Cleaning the chimney is a messy task that is best left to a professional. However, a homeowner can tackle this project with the appropriate equipment. You’ll need plastic sheeting and a chimney brush, and a shop vac will come in handy. The process of cleaning a chimney takes time, but it is necessary to keep your family and home safe.
3. Don’t Burn Trash in the Fireplace
Household garbage should never be used as fuel for a fire. Burning trash will release chemicals into your home. Flaming debris may float up the chimney and ignite creosote, leading to a chimney fire. Embers may also land on the roof, starting a fire there.
When it comes to firewood, there are many types available. But not all wood is safe for a fireplace. Some woods are better for burning than others. Don’t burn scrap wood and treated lumber. It’s also smart to avoid softwoods, like pine. These materials lead to a greater accumulation of creosote in the flue.
The best type of wood for a fireplace is hardwood. Hardwoods, like oak, that have been cut and seasoned for at least six months have a lower moisture content. The wood burns hotter and cleaner, reducing the risk of a chimney fire.
4. Install a Chimney Cap
Chimney caps also help prevent fires. They block the opening to the chimney and keep out rain, snow, and debris that could ignite. A chimney cap also keeps animals from nesting in the flue.
By following the above tips, you’ll keep your chimney clean and safe and avoid a chimney fire.