During the colder months, many households rely on their fireplace to help with heating or simply for personal enjoyment. Regardless of the season, keeping your chimney in good condition can prevent your fireplace from becoming hazardous.
Use A Cap
A chimney cap is vital for keeping water, debris, and animals out of your chimney. Since there are various designs on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right option. In some cases, you may need a custom cap to be certain it fits your chimney appropriately and is installed correctly. When selecting a specific design, those with fine mesh are a better option. The finer the mesh, the less debris that is able to fit through and enter your chimney. Additionally, finer mesh may be harder for some animals to chew through, since it will be hard for them get their teeth through the mesh to start gnawing at it. Be sure to check your cap regularly for any signs of damage or debris that is blocking the mesh.
Have Regular Inspections
Having your chimney inspected regularly will help you identify issues that make the chimney structurally unsound and spot problems that could become a fire or carbon monoxide hazard. One concern is cracks and other weak areas in the chimney that may occur due to normal aging and weathering of the chimney. This could cause your chimney to collapse, especially during significant weather events. Any structural vulnerabilities are likely to be exploited during the colder months because of the freezing and thawing of moisture. After the weather warms up, this is a good time to have your chimney inspected for new cracks and begin preparing for the next fall/winter season.
Keep The Chimney Clean
Your chimney should be professionally cleaned at least annually to prevent build-up that could lead to blockages or catch fire. These concerns are most important in wood-burning fireplaces. Creosote is a byproduct of burning wood and can quickly build-up inside your chimney. Depending on how quickly this residue forms inside your chimney, you may need the chimney cleaned more than once during the seasons to prevent problems. Specialty logs designed to reduce creosote build-up should be used between cleanings. These logs can reduce the thickness of creosote and the amount of flammable material inside the chimney. How often you use these logs will depend on how frequently you use your fireplace during the season.
Keeping your chimney in top shape will not only allow you to enjoy your fireplace, but it will reduce the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning or a fire. Contact a service, like Allstate Chimney Service, for more help.