Cheryl Phelan's Blog
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.