Off-Season Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance and Use: Six Important Steps

Greetings,

We hope you had a great holiday weekend! As there is not much use for a fireplace in the summer, we are sure you were not thinking about your fireplace or chimney. There are, however, some important steps that we recommend ensuring that you are ready when cold weather returns. Since we know that about 40% of all home heating fires come from fireplaces and chimneys, now is a great time to get this done. As always, feel free to click here or call us at (781) 893-6611 to contact us about your chimney needs.

Here are six summer chimney maintenance tips that are the most important to consider:

1 – Schedule a Chimney Inspection

get a chimney inspection during the off-seasonA professional chimney sweep is qualified to check your fireplace and chimney, looking for signs of wear and tear, damage, moisture leaks, inefficiencies, blockages, cracks, and more. It can be challenging to discover the damage in the chimney flue without the help of a professional. Failing to detect even the smallest crack in the chimney lining can mean a possible house fire caused by intense heat from the fireplace reaching combustible parts of your home.

2 – Schedule a Chimney Sweeping

A chimney sweeping is not always necessary as they are usually needed with moderate use of a fireplace that burns wood; however, because creosote is deposited in the flue every time, it is essential to have it inspected and swept, if needed annually. Sooty, tar-like creosote is highly flammable; it can catch fire and cause a dangerous chimney fire if not addressed. Additionally, extreme buildup of creosote can cause an obstruction that hinders the draft. Rather than going up and out of the chimney, toxic fumes can enter the home due the obstruction.

3 – Close the Damper

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, be sure the damper is closed when the fireplace is not in use, this is especially important in the summertime. One purpose of the damper is to hinder the flow of air between the chimney and the home. When a damper does not close properly, the effect is similar to having a window open in the house at all times. Energy costs are significantly higher when summer air conditioning and winter heat escape through the chimney. The damper can also help to prevent critters from entering your home through the chimney. The exception would be if you have a gas fireplace – experts recommend that you keep the damper open at all times to prevent gas from building up in your home in the event of a gas leak.

4 – Install a Chimney Cap

A chimney cap is a device that should top every chimney. This affordable essential topper, when complete with mesh, keeps moisture out, animals and birds out, prevents debris from entering the chimney, and serves as a spark guard, so that hot embers won’t catch the roof and other combustible materials on fire.  Although the function remains the same, chimney caps can come in a variety of colors and metals and can add curb-appeal to your home. Learn more about why chimney caps are essential.off season fireplace maintenance

5 – Clean out the Ashes

If you leave ash and soot in the fireplace during the off season, you may be lowering your air quality and exposing your home to foul odors. This is especially important if you or a family member has breathing issues like asthma or bronchitis.  Also, your fireplace will simply look much better with the ashes cleaned out.

 

6 – Upgrade your Aesthetic Appeal

Without having to make a major investment, there are ways to aesthetically upgrade your fireplace during the off season.  A new mantel or fresh coat of paint are just two of numerous ways to make your fireplace more attractive and the focal point of any room.

Follow our summer chimney maintenance tips by proactively taking action while in the off-season. Contact our office at 1-781-893-6611 or click here to choose a fireplace or wood stove, schedule a chimney inspection or sweeping, or for whatever you may need, related to solid-fuel appliances.

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