Statistics show that more than 25,000 chimney fires happen every year in the US. The causes of chimney fires are various like creosote buildup, cracked chimneys, damaged liners, and more. This displays the importance of chimney inspection and fireplace and chimney care. Find out what you can do to keep your chimney and your home safe.
Use A Fireplace And Chimney Damper
A fireplace damper is a lid that closes the fireplace and plays a big role in your home’s energy efficiency. When using the fireplace, the damper will be open to let the heat influence the home’s temperature and the smoke goes out through the chimney.
However, if the damper remains open when the fireplace or wood stove is not in use or you’re using another method of heating the home like a furnace or heat pump, then constant cold drafts from the chimney will affect the heating. So, use a fireplace and chimney damper to keep the house warm for a longer period or to increase the efficiency of your other heating unit.
Install A Chimney Cap
An open chimney without a cap can allow rain and snow to flow down and reach the fireplace. Moisture is bad for chimneys because it can damage the internal and external brick and mortar of your chimney. Moreover, it can damage your chimney flue as well.
To prevent moisture damage, install a chimney cap. It sits right at the top of the chimney, a few inches above the chimney opening.
Furthermore, moisture is not the only problem that a chimney cap protects a chimney from. Some birds and animals find chimneys a good place to reside during the winter season. Plus, in some places, it’s illegal to kick out birds and animals from chimneys.
So, if they make their nest or hiding spot in your chimney, you may have to wait till they leave it themselves. And they will leave their nest and other waste in the chimney which can block the smoke from venting out properly.
Therefore, use a chimney cap with a net to prevent birds, squirrels, or raccoons from hiding in your chimney.
Annual Chimney Inspection
The only way to know the condition of the chimney is by inspection. You can inspect your chimney yourself if you have some knowledge of how to spot chimney problems, but the best option is to hire chimney services that will carefully inspect your chimney for soot and creosote buildup, moisture damage, brick and mortar damage, flue liner problems, and related things.
After the inspection, they will suggest further actions. If soot and creosote buildup is too much, you’ll be advised to consider chimney cleaning. For a damaged liner, a chimney liner replacement will be recommended.
Burn Only Dry Wood
Using wet or green wood in your fireplace will increase the production of soot buildup in the chimney. The reason is that freshly cut or wet wood has a higher moisture rate (40-50%) which leads to more smoke and soot production.
Soot and creosote are formed with the burning of wood. They are highly flammable substances and increase the risk of a chimney fire. To slow down the production of soot and creosote, burn dry and properly seasoned wood only because the moisture in it is only 15-20%.
Regularly Clean The Chimney
We discussed that using dry wood decreases the rate of soot and creosote buildup inside the chimney walls. But the buildup never stops. So, there will time when it must be cleaned otherwise it will be a fire hazard. Therefore, you must perform chimney cleaning at least once a year. If you use the fireplace more, then it’s better to consider chimney sweep twice.
To know when is the right time for chimney cleaning, inspect your chimney regularly and clean it when the soot on the chimney liner is 1/8 inches thick. If this is difficult to measure, then use this estimate. A chimney should be cleaned after 50 burns. However, a wood-burning fireplace will need cleaning more frequently than a gas fireplace.
Chimney cleaning requires effort and the right equipment so use the help of chimney experts for cleaning the chimney.
Chimney cleaning and maintenance is all you need to keep your home and family safe while getting warmth from the fireplace in the chilly winter season. Get help from chimney sweep services Ellicott City at the start and mid of winter for inspection and cleaning.