We all want to stay warm during the winter and can, but at what cost? A lot of people experience some of their highest bills during the winter months. The others occur in the summer. Now that the
Chimney and Fireplace Care
A lot of times homeowners with chimneys will neglect to care for them season after season. While it may not always be cold enough for a fire in Texas during the winter season, we do get the occasional cold night that warrants a fire. When this happens, most homeowners are ready to heat their homes without thinking about the state their chimney may be in. Before a fireplace should be used, there are some things that need to be done to insure your chimney and fireplace are safe to use.
First, make sure there are no leftover ashes from the previous season. Because ash is acidic, once it bonds with moisture in the air it can become destructive or harmful to your fireplace over time. Ash tends to be harmful to the metal components of your fireplace which could be costly to replace down the road. During the winter season, however, a layer of 1-2 inches of ash is normal to aid in starting fires but at the end of the winter season, all ash should be removed and disposed of properly.
To further help combat the destructive nature of ash, it’s important to have your chimney cleaned once a year. If this is something that’s never happened, make sure you have it completed before this next season. Having your chimney swept creates a safer and better heating opportunity for your home. A chimney sweep will clear blockages, remove soot, and creosoot from your fireplace and chimney. Creosoot is a highly flammable substance that builds up in chimneys after the burning of wood and can cause chimney fires, reduce the draw of smoke up the chimney, and reduce the efficiency of your fireplace. A cleaning will also remove any nests built by birds, pests, or any other animals during disuse.
Additionally, a chimney inspection once a year is important to insure the safety of your fireplace and chimney. During a chimney inspection they will look for cracks or defects in your chimney and fireplace. If these do exist, they could potentially cause problems while in use. Venting systems, flues, and other properties of your chimney and fireplace are checked as well.
Once your chimney is clean and ready to use make sure you have the appropriate tools nearby for use when needed. This includes the traditional brush, poker, tongs, and shovel but should also be extended to include an ash bucket, water, and a fire screen. A fire screen will help protect against embers popping out of your fireplace and catching your floor or other materials on fire. If by chance an ember does pop out, having water in a spray bottle nearby will help put out any potential ember fire.
Even though it may not be used often, years of weather damage and occasional use can still take their toll. So make sure you take the time to care for your chimney and fireplace so you and your family can stay cozy and safe this winter season!
-The Smith Team