Is Fireplace Maintenance on Your Fall Schedule?
Scheduling maintenance for your fireplace may not sound like much fun but it’s one of those things that makes the warmth and delight of all your fall and winter gatherings possible. Besides the benefit of ambiance, there are serious safety concerns that must be addressed before your chimney should get the green light.
Is your chimney structure in good condition?
A chimney inspection before the first fire of fall can make you aware of any structural damage that may have occurred to your chimney over the last few months. Freeze and thaw cycles from the previous winter can cause the erosion and breakdown of bricks and mortar. Water begins to collect inside the brick and before you know it there are cracks and chips in your brick. The build-up of moisture can cause a variety of issues. Some signs you may have a moisture problem include staining on your chimney, receded mortar, and crumbling or chipped bricks. Any moisture issues left unchecked can put your whole chimney at risk.
Is Your Chimney Free of Creosote?
The byproduct of burned firewood is a black, sticky, tarlike substance called creosote. Cracks in brick and mortar can allow the creosote to drip on the outside of the chimney, causing dark marks that could be highly flammable. If you notice dark marks on the outside of the chimney it’s best to call for an inspection before lighting a fire. Inside the chimney, creosote builds up creating a cycle of inefficient burning of firewood and build-up of more creosote that can prevent smoke from leaving your chimney.
Is the Inside of Your Chimney Free of Debris
Spring and summer bring storms and often debris into unused chimneys. Before lighting a fire, the chimney should be cleaned of any debris or obstructions. The most common objects are tree limbs, garbage, animals, and their nests. Failure to remove these objects could cause a chimney fire or “back puffing” where smoke from the fire has nowhere to go except back into the home.
When to Call a Professional
You can probably do many tasks to help prepare your fireplace and chimney for your first fire but if you’re wondering whether or not to call a professional, here are some questions to ask yourself.
1.) Are the branches or debris in my chimney too big for me to remove?
2.) Are there animals or animal nests I’d like to avoid?
3.) Is there too much creosote for me to remove effectively?
4.) Has it been more than a year since my last chimney inspection or cleaning?
Asking yourself these questions can help you determine if your fireplace maintenance is past the “do-it-yourself” stage.
Cleaning your fireplace and chimney can be a dirty job and though you may be able to “do it yourself” a professional has years of experience and the proper tools to make this task as easy and painless as possible. In any case, remember you can always call on us at (262) 763-3522. Burlington Fireplace is always ready to help if you have any questions or concerns. Feel free to schedule your maintenance or contact us online.