Cheryl Phelan's Blog
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335 Carver Rd., Plymouth, MA 02360
Chimney maintenance and repair is incredibly important. You need to complete certain tasks to ensure that your fireplace is working safely and effectively. There’s no better time than the off season to get these tasks in order.
Remember that you should only burn dry wood in your fireplace. Although fireplaces aren’t high on the technology spectrum, they do require some effort to keep in working order. Failure to do so can result in smoke and even a chimney fire. Soot build up can put a damper on the proper ventilation of the chimney. The soot is partly a result of creosote- a combustible, tar-like substance. It’s a natural by-product of wood that has been burned. With reduced ventilation, the creosote will cause potentially dangerous build up.
While creosote itself is not flammable, it can cause the chimney to clog and structural damage could result. It’s important to properly maintain your chimney in order to prevent dangerous oil build-up that can cause a chimney fire.
A professional can come and inspect your fireplace and chimney. They can check for damage, obstructions, build-up, or soot. The inspector will be able to determine if you need a sweep of your chimney. The inspector will be able to do the sweep on the spot in most cases. An inspection of your chimney should take place every year.
There are different levels of chimney inspections that occur. Basic inspections are a visual look at anything that could be in your chimney from soot to a bird’s nest. More complex inspections could involve taking the chimney apart and physically reconstructing the structure. This would occur after some kind of a natural disaster like a hurricane or a tornado. The cost of these inspections depends on how extensive they become.
You can improve your fireplace’s functioning with a few basic steps. Fist, you should only burn dry wood. Logs should be split and dried for 8-12 months. You should also burn certain types of wood especially hardwoods like hickory, oak, beech, maple and ash. These woods burn the longest. The most important thing about wood to be burned in the fireplace is that it is dry.
Burn Only Wood
It can be tempting to throw things into your fireplace to burn, but you should keep away from burning construction wood, plastics, or other things that could let off odors. Even burning paper can be dangerous because of the embers that result as the fire burns.
If you keep on top of your scheduled chimney maintenance and replace parts as needed, you’ll be able to have lovely fires all winter long with peace of mind.
Once you’re a homeowner, you know that excellent finances are a necessity. You need to budget smartly and be aware of where your money is going. There are so many little things that drain our money that aren’t so obvious. Read on to see some places where your money is going right out the window and what you can do to control it.
Food Spending And Consumption
Not only do most people admit to overspending on food, they admit to wasting food as well. It’s a smart idea to have a weekly meal plan. Do you cherish pizza night? Write that into the plan. Set a week- or even a month of menus ahead of time depending on how motivated you’re feeling. Make sure you’ll have everything you need in the house to make these meals. Try not to stock up on too many items. The simple act of knowing what you’re eating can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars over the course of a year.
Are bank fees and credit card late payment fees getting you down? All of those extra costs add up over time. Each time you overdraft your bank account costs you somewhere in the neighborhood of $25-$35. Every time you miss a credit card payment costs you another $25 or more. Make sure you’re enrolled in overdraft protection. You should also get alerts from your credit card as to when bills or due. If auto-pay is convenient, you can also consider that option to help you not miss payments.
Utilities can cost a significant amount of money, but these bills don’t have to be astronomical. Make sure you’re not wasting energy. Keep the thermostat either higher or lower depending on the season when you’re not home. A few degrees can make a big difference in your bill. Old appliances can also be energy suckers. When you leave the room, shut off televisions and lights to save even more on your utility costs.
Do you have a gym membership and never use it? That’s money going right out the window. If you subscribe to online services that you don’t frequently use, only keep the subscriptions that you need and use. You can save hundreds of dollars just by keeping track of where your money is going and if you use the products. Take a look at your credit card statements and notice any monthly charges that look unfamiliar.