The warmth of summer is still upon us, but now is the time to start thinking about making sure your chimney and fireplace are ready for the impending fall and winter seasons.
Appointments with chimney professionals fill up quickly in the months of September and October, so now is the best time to start reaching out and getting on the schedule for estimates.
If you’re a first-time homeowner or you recently moved—or are moving—to a home with a fireplace, you may be curious what maintenance and upkeep are like.
A regular thorough cleaning will remove any buildup of creosote, an oily and highly flammable byproduct of burning wood, giving you a safer fireplace.
The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) advises having your home’s chimney and fireplace inspected every 1-2 years or roughly every 80 fires, whichever comes first.
If creosote is not regularly cleared out and is allowed to build up within the chimney, it could lead to a chimney or house fire.
Regular chimney cleanings and inspections can also reveal whether or not there are structural or operational issues with the chimney or fireplace before they become a serious problem.
Cracks, loose firebrick joints inside the fireplace, and/or damage to the exterior masonry all need to be repaired in order to operate a chimney safely.
Always hire a chimney professional to handle any repairs.
You should never try to make repairs to your chimney or fireplace yourself as it can lead to fire risks or structural damage.
Unwanted moisture and critters can get into the home through an un-capped chimney.
That’s why a functioning chimney cap is necessary when it comes to keeping out these unwelcome intruders.
Before having a chimney professional out to your home, there are a few simple steps you can do to ensure you are prepared.
- Get as much information as you can about your chimney/fireplace so you can answer any questions they may have.
- Remove any loose items off of the fireplace and out of the chimney.
The NFPA is America’s source for chimney inspection standards, and they outline three levels of chimney inspections.
The higher the number level of the inspection, the more detailed the inspection.
Generally speaking, a chimney inspection involves:
- Inspecting the inside of the fireplace or wood stove
- Assessing the roof from the top down
- Cleaning the chimney if deemed necessary
- Inspecting and cleaning the firebox
- Determining if a more thorough cleaning/repair is needed
Before you hire a chimney specialist, do your due diligence to make sure they are qualified and the right company for you.
Read reviews of the company written by previous customers, make sure they are properly insured to perform the work, and that the company follows the guidelines established by the NFPA and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).