Preparing your chimney early keeps you one step ahead of the winter season. When your chimney is in the perfect condition, you can count on it to keep you safe, warm, and cozy in the cold months. From hiring a professional chimney sweep in Portland to cleaning out your fireplace, here’s a guide to help you get your chimney ready for winter.
The Fireplace Comes First
Your chimney needs to be in optimal condition to get you through the winter, but whatever happens in the chimney begins from the fireplace. It’s important to clean the debris from the previous fire in preparation for use this winter. Some tips to help you clean the fireplace are:
- Sweep inside the fireplace to remove the remnants of previous fires.
- Clean the bricks that surround the fireplace to remove accumulated soot and ash.
- Wipe the glass on the wood burner to make the flame more visible.
- Clean any other fireside accessories to get them ready for use.
- Keep flammable objects away from the fireplace to prevent any form of fire accident that could take place.
Now that we’re done with the fireplace, it’s time to look at the chimney.
Get a Professional Chimney Sweep
It’s okay if you can sweep your chimney on your own, but it’s always better to hire a professional chimney sweeper. Soot and creosote that have been built up over time can prevent your chimney from functioning properly and put you at risk of a fire hazard. That is why it’s important that you get this step right. Also, when you hire professional sweepers, they will be able to detect damage in your chimney faster than you can.
Check the Chimney Cap
Chimneys have caps that prevent rain, leaves, bird droppings, and other unwanted materials from getting into your chimney. So, as you prepare your chimney, check to see if the cap is still intact. If it’s not, make sure to replace it before the winter comes. You wouldn’t want debris going down your chimney.
Check for Chimney Damage
Cracks, damaged mortar, and loose bricks are some of the structural damages that can happen to your chimney over time due to changes in weather patterns. This damage can affect how your chimney functions, so it’s important that you inspect your chimney beforehand and repair any damage you notice. If you’re not sure of what counts as chimney damage, get professional help.
Check the Damper Function
The damper is a valve that regulates the flow of air in the chimney. It can open or close through a pull chain, rotary control, or push rod. When the fireplace is not in use, the damper should be closed and reopened when you want to light a fire. You can check to see if the damper is still in good shape by opening or closing it.
Pay Attention to Trees Close to The Chimney
It is not unusual for homeowners to have trees hanging over their chimneys. While it’s common, it’s unsafe as well. Overgrown tree branches can lead to a fire hazard. They can also cause damage to the chimney cap when there’s a windstorm. To prevent this from happening, make it a practice to trim any tree branch hanging close to your chimney.
At this stage, your chimney is ready to be used. But then, what’s a chimney without a fire?
Gather Some Wood
If you make use of wood for your fireplace, it’s important that you use the right wood. One thing you should know is never to compromise quality for quantity when purchasing wood. The resulting damage isn’t worth it, as woods of low quality can produce creosote, putting you at risk for a fire hazard.
American beech, sugar maple, white ash, red or white oak, and birch make the finest woods for your fireplace. They produce the cleanest and brightest flame that is safe for your home generally. Make sure to avoid soft woods such as firs, cypress, pine, etc. They burn quickly and produce smoke easily. Lastly, never burn wet wood or woods that have been oiled, polished, treated, or vanished. Examples of such woods include furniture or pallets.
Finally, your chimney is ready for the winter. It’s time to get cozy and warm. A little family-together by the fireside will be a great way to create sweet memories during this winter. Of course, don’t forget to add some decorations around the fireplace to beautify the place and enhance that warm, cozy feeling.