When it comes to getting ready for the fall and cooler weather chances are your chimney and fireplace has not been getting the attention it needs. You may have cleaned or changed the pictures on your mantle, cleaned or painted the bricks or stone finish around your fireplace, but let’s face it – during the warm months, it’s easy to forget about your fireplace or wood stove.
Once temperatures begin to drop, however, the best way to use a fireplace is to let it get back to doing what it does best, warming your rooms for toasty indoor comfort on a chilly nights.
Whether you have wood burning fireplace or stove or gas burning fireplace or stove, the following tips can help you make sure your fireplace or stove is ready to keep you warm throughout the cold season.
Prepare Your Wood Burning Fireplace for the Colder Months
Proper fireplace maintenance is always essential to a healthy fireplace or wood stove. getting an annual chimney inspection from Black Goose Chimney Service is one of the best ways to keep your chimney in ready-to-use shape. For homeowners, keeping your chimneys clean and clear – including the flues, smoke chambers, dampers and vents – are some things you can keep an eye on throughout the warm months when your fireplace is not being used as much.
The National Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends all homeowners have a professional chimney inspection done annually. The early spring and summer is the best time to have your chimney inspected by a CSIA certified chimney sweep.
At Black Goose Chimney, we will perform a detailed inspection and make further recommendations for any chimney maintenance, repairs based on the results of the inspection. This will ensure you receive the work you need so your fireplace or gas stove keeps you and your family warm and is in excellent working order throughout the year.
Wood Burning Fireplace Tips
A traditional wood-burning fireplace can be one of your home’s most attractive features. If you live in an older home, several wood-burning fireplaces may even be scattered throughout, warming and adding ambiance to different rooms.
While traditional fireplaces are generally safe, they also carry certain risks if not maintained properly. Before lighting the first fire of the season, be sure to check your fireplace for the following conditions.
Creosote is a toxic and highly flammable byproduct of burning wood that should be cleared if it is discovered in your chimney. Creosote can be flammable and cause a chimney fire. Having your chimney regularly inspected and swept will minimize creosote build up.
Cracks in or Loose Bricks in or Around Your fireplace
At Black Goose Chimney Service we are also a licensed contractor and can perform any chimney repairs and chimney restoration you may need. Getting an annual chimney inspection will ensure your chimney gets any maintenance and repairs needed.
Missing or Damaged Chimney Cap
Your chimney cap protects your chimney from critters building nests in your chimney, throwing stray embers out of your chimney and minimizes debris from blowing into your chimney.
If your chimney cap needs repairs or replacing contact us at Black Goose. Start with a chimney inspection and we will recommend any repairs to your chimney cap if needed.
Trim Any Trees Blocking Your Chimney
To keep tree branches and new growth from blocking the chimney and sending smoke back into your living room or bedroom, trim trees back as far as possible.
Gas Burning Fireplace Tips
A gas-burning fireplace is simpler to use and maintain than its wood-burning counterpart but also requires annual inspection and attention — especially if it has sat idle for some time. The Chimney Safety Institute of America reports that gas fireplace vent issues are common.
These issues can prove dangerous if they are not addressed.
If you notice any of the following signs, your gas fireplace may not be venting properly.
- Dampness inside the home, specifically on walls (peeling wallpaper, paint blisters, etc.). Blocked vents can cause water vapor to condense inside the cooler flue.
- Stains on the outside of the chimney, especially if they are white.
- Erosion around mortar joints or crumbling bricks.
- If you suspect a vent issue, don’t use your fireplace until it can be inspected by a professional. Visual evidence of a problem could be a signal that carbon monoxide is building up inside the house, so take action quickly.
Heating Your Home with a Fireplace
While some homeowners like the look, feel and sound of a fire, but view their fireplaces as more ornamental than functional. Other homeowners may rely on fireplaces for winter warmth and comfort. If heating your home with a fireplace (or several) is a high priority, here are a few more fireplace tips and tricks to consider.
- Make sure the flue damper is in good shape. If the damper doesn’t seal well, your home can lose a tremendous amount of heat, even when the fireplace isn’t in use.
- A tempered glass door at the front of the fireplace instead of using a movable screen as a barrier. Keeping the Doors closed will seal off the fireplace, keeping the warmer air inside your home from being pulled back up through the chimney.
- For wood-burning fireplaces, clean the inside of the firebox occasionally to remove sooty buildup and prime the area for additional fires. This will make sure ash and debris does not build up in your fireplace. It can also help keep ashes from previous fires from drifting into the room and onto floors when the fire is out.
Now that you know what to do to prep your fireplace or wood stove, you should be ready to enjoy your fireplace. Call Black Goose Chimney Service for a chimney inspection today.