During summer, you have little use for the chimney as its warm most of the time. As winter approaches, it starts getting cold, and you have to warm the house using the fireplace.
Before you begin using the chimney, first inspect it. Unless you are experienced and have the necessary skills, always let an experienced chimney inspection technician do the work. During the inspection pay attention to:
These are devices that trap heat inside the house when there is no fire burning, and allow smoke to leave the house when the fire is burning. The dampers are at the top of the chimney, so you have to get to the roof of the house.
If working correctly, the damper should open fully. If you open and it’s not opening completely, find out where the problem is and fix it. If the damper is functioning correctly and opening fully, you should be able to look up through the flue and see the daylight.
To confirm, check using a flashlight. If you can’t see the light, the chances are that there are nests of birds or animals there. These not only trap heat, but they also prevent the harmful gases from leaving the house, putting your life and that of your loved ones at risk.
Before you start any fire, first get rid of any blocking materials that might be there.
Check the firebox
The firebox is where you place the logs and start the fire. Since you weren’t lighting a fire there, the chances are that you haven’t paid much attention to it. Inspect the chimney for creosote buildup, broken bricks and mortar.
If the creosote in the chimney is more than a 1/8th of an inch, first get rid of the creosote before you light any fire there. Unless you have chimney cleaning skills, let an experienced chimney sweep handle the task.
If the bricks are broken, ask the contractor to replace them before you start using the chimney.
If the firebox is clear, place the grate near the back to ensure that most of the resulting smoke goes up the chimney and not back into the house.
Clear the area around the chimney
The holiday season falls right in the middle of the heating season. It’s not uncommon to find people placing decorations, furniture and other things near the fireplace hearth.
There is nothing as homely and inviting as a warm holiday season so ensure that the area around the chimney is as clear as possible. There shouldn’t be any papers, wood, or any other combustible materials near the chimney opening.
If you have a Christmas tree, keep it as far from the fireplace as possible. You don’t want the needles catching on fire, do you?
Check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
These detectors are your lifesavers where they play a vital role in letting you know when the smoke and carbon monoxide levels are high enough.
To have peace of mind and protect your loved ones, have a detector in the same room as the chimney as this is where smoke and carbon monoxide come from.
One of the most common reasons why the detectors won’t work is if the batteries have worn out. To restore them, you only need to replace the batteries.
If the detectors are more than ten years and they aren’t working, you don’t have any other way out other than to replace them.
Of course, when replacing them, do it with better quality detectors that you are sure will give you a better service and at the same time last for a long time.
Chimney valuable tips
If all the parts of the chimney are in top condition, you should go ahead and start using the fireplace.
When using the fireplace, avoid burning any other thing other than wood. This is because the other materials might contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful to you and your family.
The materials might also lead to increased creosote deposition, which will force you to keep on cleaning the fireplace.
You can inspect the chimney by yourself, but for ideal results, let experienced chimney contractors Bowie handle it. They have the necessary inspection tools; hence they will do a better job than you.
This post first appeared on https://www.firstclasschimneyservices.com