A fireplace is a lovely way to create warmth in your home. They are not, however, an install-and-ignore piece of equipment. You do have to properly maintain the fireplace and chimney to keep your family and home safe from harm. Here are six ways to keep your family safe and warm during the winter or during a power outage.
Let’s start at the top!
- Install a chimney cap to protect the body of the chimney and the liner. A chimney cap is designed to keep the rain out of the chimney, but it also keeps small animals and birds out of the chimney.
- Keep the area near the exterior of the chimney clear and free of trees or low-hanging branches. Make sure that all leaves and branches are several feet away.
- Keep the area in front of the fireplace clear of combustible materials. Make sure you don’t use the fireplace if you plan to decorate with seasonal decorations, birthday decorations, or any other type of temporary decorations.
- Install a glass door or a wire mesh screen. Embers have a tendency to pop out of the fireplace and land on carpeting, rugs, furnishings, pets, or people who are sitting nearby.
- Use seasoned firewood. And beyond that, use seasoned hardwoods in your fireplace. Seasoned firewood is wood that has been cut for at least six months to a year and has been allowed to completely dry. Seasoned hardwood burns longer and hotter, and produces less creosote than wood that has not been allowed to season.
- Build a series of small fires instead of burning large amounts of wood at a time in hopes of heating the room more quickly. A very big, very hot fire can crack the block in the fireplace and in the chimney lining as well.
Chimney Inspections and Cleanings
Schedule a chimney inspection at least once per year and a cleaning when recommended by the chimney inspector. Most chimneys need to be cleaned at least once per year. The CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) recommends that your chimney be cleaned and inspected once per year if it sees rare use, twice per year if it is used occasionally, and three to four times if it is used on a regular basis.
We’re located in Drexel Hill and provide all types of chimney services to homeowners and commercial property owners in the surrounding areas and along the Main Line. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 if you’re interested in scheduling an appointment for a consultation, a chimney inspection, or chimney cleaning.