As the summer rush slows down, it’s time to start thinking about fall maintenance. Of course, fall maintenance means preparing your chimney for its first fire. There are several steps you should take to be sure that your chimney is ready for winter.
Schedule your annual sweeping and inspection.
If your home has a chimney, the number one priority on your fall maintenance list should be having your chimney swept and inspected in preparation for winter. According to the National Fire Protection Association’s code, all fire-burning appliances and chimneys should be cleaned and inspected annually to help reduce the risk of a home fire. Each winter, your chimney develops a coating of creosote with every fire you burn. Creosote is highly flammable and, if left unchecked, it can ignite from the heat of your fireplace. Your annual chimney sweeping removes that creosote to reduce your fire risk.
Plan any repairs.
An important part of your annual chimney sweeping is the inspection, which looks for any damage or deficiencies in your chimney or fireplace that could compromise their function or make them unsafe for use. If your chimney inspection turns up the need for any repairs, or if you have noticed cracks or problems with your chimney, make sure you schedule your repairs now! Leaving repairs unattended throughout the winter could put your home at risk for a fire, or the damage could worsen over the course of the winter, leading to more extensive and more costly repairs next year.
Talk to your sweep about potential upgrades.
Did last winter have you considering upgrades to your fireplace? Were you thinking about a new fireplace insert to upgrade your hearth or new fireplace doors to enhance the look of your fireplace? As you prepare your fireplace and chimney for winter, be sure to talk to your chimney sweep about any upgrades you may have been considering. It’s best to have your chimney upgraded at the beginning of the fire-burning season so you can enjoy fireplace improvements all winter long.
Make sure your chimney is protected.
Winter is hard on your chimney. Snow, sleet, ice and freezing temperatures can cause damage to and lead to the breakdown of your chimney. As you prepare your chimney for the winter, you should make sure that your chimney is protected from water damage. The most important element in keeping your chimney safe from water damage is your chimney cap. Make sure that your chimney cap is firmly in place and free from damage. Your chimney crown also should be inspected from cracks or damage that could expose your chimney to water penetration. You also may consider a waterproofing treatment to prevent your chimney’s masonry from absorbing damaging moisture.
If you are preparing your chimney for the winter, call Total Chimney Care to schedule an appointment today! We can sweep and inspect your chimney and help you plan any repairs or upgrades to your chimney. The sooner you call, the sooner we can have your chimney ready for the winter!