With winter coming up, now’s the time to prepare your home for upcoming snowstorms. Chimneys can be susceptible to damage from snow and ice during the colder months, and it’s important to prepare to make sure you can relax by the fire all season long. Here’s how to keep snow out of your chimney and protect it during the winter months.
Keeping Snow Out Of Your Chimney
During particularly heavy snowstorms, snow can fall from your roof directly into your chimney. This is because your chimney needs to remain open in order to let smoke out. Snow falling into your chimney will make it very difficult to use your fireplace, and it can also cause water damage.
The best way to keep snow out of your chimney is to install a chimney cap. A chimney cap is a small covering made of metal mesh that sits on top of your chimney. It lets smoke and air out, but the mesh is small enough to prevent snow from getting inside.
Keep Animals and other Debris Out
Chimney caps are also very helpful for keeping debris and even animals from making their way into your fireplace. If you want to light a fire on a particularly cold, snowy day, you’ll need to make sure to prime the flue first. To do this, light the end of a rolled-up newspaper or magazine and hold it just above the flue. The warm air will eventually force the air to rise properly.
If you don’t prime the flue, the air and smoke from your fire won’t rise and the flame won’t stay lit.
Preparing Your Chimney For Winter
It’s very important to make sure your chimney is prepared for winter to avoid water damage. When snow and ice build up on your roof and in your chimney, the moisture will eventually make its way in between the bricks and mortar of your chimney. The water will then contract and expand as it freezes and melts, causing the bricks and mortar to shift over time. Additionally, if snow and ice don’t drain properly, the excess weight can cause damage to your roof.
Before it starts snowing, have your chimney and fireplace professionally inspected. A professional chimney sweep can identify potential problems with your chimney and instruct you on ways to use your chimney safely during winter. Ideally, your inspection should happen earlier in the year to allow time for repairs if necessary.
However, having your chimney inspected at any time of year is better than skipping it. It’s particularly important to make sure you have flashing on your roof. Flashing is made from thin sheets of metal and creates a seal between your roof and your chimney to prevent water from leaking inside.