Prepare for Fall & Fireplace Safety with Chimney Maintenance
Cozy fires are enjoyed in Connecticut as early as October every year, and it’s important to schedule chimney maintenance so that your fireplace is ready for that first cold snap. Trusted chimney sweep companies are busiest when wintry weather has already arrived. You will be much more likely to schedule a time for chimney maintenance that is convenient to you, if you get a jump on the busy chimney cleaning and chimney inspection season. Many home fires related to heat sources that occur each year happen when the chimney is initially used and the homeowners discover too late that chimney maintenance had been needed.
Safely Enjoy the Ambiance of a Wood Fire
Fireplaces and stoves are much-loved for the tranquil environment a fire creates. Wood fires have the most appeal, with the crackling of the logs and the pleasing scent. Unfortunately, wood-burning fireplaces create the greatest chimney hazards. Highly flammable combustion byproducts are deposited in the flue lining with every wood fire. The creosote, cinders, and combustible resins increase the chances of a hazardous chimney fire.
How Dangerous is a Chimney Fire?
Many people are unaware of the danger of chimney fires. In fact, some buy into the myth that a chimney fire is a do-it-yourself method for cleaning the chimney lining – but that’s not so! Creosote fires can get as hot as 2000° F, hot enough to quickly melt metal liners, damage masonry, and cause your attic to be filled with flames that spread rapidly.
Creosote isn’t the only cause of chimney fires. If there is some type of flammable obstruction in the chimney when a fire is lit in the fireplace, the result can be a chimney fire. Obstructions are threats also because chimney blockage can cause the toxic fumes from a fire to enter the home. Carbon monoxide (CO) is among the dangerous gases a fire creates. CO is known as the Silent Killer because it is odorless, tasteless, colorless, and deadly. Added word of caution: Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms should be in good working order and checked regularly throughout the burn season.
Are Annual Inspections Needed for Gas Fireplaces?
If you have a gas fireplace, annual chimney inspections are just as crucial as if you had a wood-burning fireplace. The potential dangers are different, but it is still important for the safety of your home and family to have a chimney professional check your gas fireplace and chimney each year, especially before the arrival of fall.
What is Involved in a Chimney Inspection?
Creosote is one of many reasons an annual chimney inspection is needed. Fire safety experts agree that chimneys should be examined by a certified chimney expert each year. A chimney technician may find that chimney repairs are needed before using your fireplace, since porous chimney masonry is highly susceptible to being damaged by excess moisture. The following are some of the things looked for during an inspection, as signs of the need for repair, maintenance, or cleaning:
- The brickwork or chimney crown is cracked or loose.
- Creosote in the chimney is greater than 1/8” and, therefore, needs to be removed before winter.
- The mortar is deteriorating, allowing moisture into the masonry.
- The chimney flashing is causing a chimney leak, due to rust or leakage at the point where the flashing and chimney meet.
- Tree limbs are hanging over the chimney, creating the potential for a fire hazard or damage to the chimney structure.
- The chimney cap is damaged or no longer securely attached to the chimney.
- The damper isn’t operating properly.
- There is a crack or other deterioration in the chimney lining, indicating that chimney lining repair or replacement is necessary.
Consider Waterproofing and/or Upgrades
If you find out from your chimney expert that your chimney is in good shape, consider having the chimney waterproofed. Throughout the winter, rain, sleet, and snow constantly wear away at your chimney, and waterproofing provides an extra layer of protection.
Consider having a fireplace insert installed, if you still have a traditional fireplace. Fireplace inserts transform a fireplace from having a miniscule efficiency rating of 10% or less to 70% and more.
Contact the Best Chimney Sweep Company
Don’t delay scheduling a chimney inspection and chimney cleaning before fall. Contact Northeastern Chimney today at 860-659-0937. Northeastern Chimney is the best chimney sweep company in West Hartford CT, providing comprehensive chimney services throughout the surrounding area.