As schools start up after a long summer of warmth and sunshine, the cold weather finally begins to approach. The children stop playing outdoors, and you stop lounging by the pool. The only place to go is indoors, and when fall gives way to the bitter chill of winter, the family will be gathered around the fireplace once again. You wonder if your fireplace is ready to warm your home this winter, and if your chimney is likewise up to the task. While the children are at school, you consider having your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected by the professionals at Total Chimney Care before the cold weather sets.
Why is it important to ensure that your fireplace and chimney are ready for the cold weather?
According to experts such as the National Fire Protection Association, “Chimneys [should] be swept at least once a year at the beginning of the winter to remove soot and debris.” Since your chimney regulates the airflow of your home and vents you fireplace, it is critical to make sure that it is working properly in the winter while you’ll be spending the majority of your time inside. Inspection, cleaning, and any necessary repairs of both your chimney and fireplace will guarantee proper operation and protect your home from fires and other safety hazards.
How do you ensure fireplace and chimney readiness for this winter?
An annual cleaning and inspection by a professional chimney sweep before the cold weather starts up can resolve a number of potential issues related to your fireplace and chimney system. Inspections can even reveal damage that requires repair before you can safely light a fire in the hearth.
- Ensuring that your chimney cap is intact and fitted can prevent debris such as bird nests and leaves from blocking your chimney. Such blockages are life threatening and can prevent your chimney from venting the fireplace smoke, thereby causing carbon monoxide to remain trapped in your home. Not only do blockages pose a carbon monoxide hazard, but they also pose a fire hazard when they prevent embers from escaping out of the chimney.
- A chimney and fireplace sweep can also prevent chimney and house fires by removing any built up creosote. Creosote is highly flammable and builds up in your chimney every time you use your fireplace. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) advises, “Whatever form it takes, creosote is highly combustible. If it builds up in sufficient quantities – and the internal flue temperature is high enough – the result could be a chimney fire.”
- A chimney sweep professional will make sure your damper is sufficiently open. Because restricted air supply promotes creosote buildup, it is important to ensure that the damper is open wide.
- If your chimney is leaning or the masonry is deteriorating, then you will need to have it repaired. Cracks in the chimney’s masonry make using your fireplace a fire hazard.
- It may also be a good idea to have a metal mesh screen installed in front of your fireplace to catch flying embers.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to prepare your fireplace and chimney for the approaching frosty weather. The start of classes marks the time for you to get your annual inspection, cleaning, and repairs to ensure that your family can safely sit together by the fireside this winter. If you live in the New Haven and Fairfield areas of Connecticut, call or go online today to schedule your appointment with the professionals at Total Chimney Care.