Many homeowners use their fireplace year round. Summertime fireplace use is generally only for romantic purposes, but it does still occur. Most homeowners don’t use their fireplace all summer, and then resume use during the fall. Please remember to have your chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned if necessary before that first fall fire. Today I want to talk about several things you need to do to prepare your chimney and fireplace for fall and winter.
- Hire a Chimney Sweep: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that you hire a chimney sweep at least once per year to inspect and clean your chimney. Call me if you’re looking for a certified chimney sweep in Delaware County, Pennsylvania or in the Philadelphia area.
- Visual Inspection: You can visually inspect your chimney on your own to see if there are any obvious signs of damage. Any time you see obvious signs of damage to your chimney, flue, chimney cap, flashing, or fireplace, call me.
- Install a Chimney Cap: A chimney cap is, simply put, a cap for your chimney. It should have wire mesh sides to keep rain, birds, squirrels, and debris out of the chimney.
- Burn Seasoned Hardwoods: Hardwoods burn more efficiently than softwoods. Always look for well-seasoned maple, birch, ash, or oak. These burn hotter and produce a lower amount of creosote than softer woods.
- Don’t Use Too Much Wood: Small fires generate less smoke and less creosote by design. A raging hot fire can crack the chimney or flue, and create a very dangerous situation for your household.
- Build a Proper Fire: Place the logs near the back of the fireplace on the metal grate. Use smaller wood pieces, or kindling, to start the fire. Never use flammable liquids.
- Use a Fireplace Screen: A fireplace screen is a metal screen that sits in front of the fireplace and protects your home from popping embers.
- Clean the Fireplace Often: Ashes are an obvious byproduct of the burning process. They will fall through the metal grates in your fireplace into the ash pit. Clean the ash pit often to prevent the buildup of ash.
Chimney Inspections in Delaware County, Pennsylvania
Lou Curley Chimney Services is a locally owned and operated business located in Delaware County. I am a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) Certified Chimney Sweep as well as a member of the Pennsylvania Guild of Professional Chimney Sweeps. My goal is to provide top quality chimney services to homeowners in the Philadelphia area.
Make sure to schedule your yearly chimney inspection with a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep before harsh winter weather sets in. Call me any time to schedule your annual chimney cleaning and inspection or if you notice any potential problems with your chimney or fireplace.