There’s nothing like a crackling fire on a cold and snowy winter day or winter night but in order to keep your home safe while you enjoy a fire, it’s essential that you take good care of your chimney. Chimney fires can quickly become house fires that can cause major damage to your home, not to mention the risk to you and your family.
More than 120 million dollars in fire damage from chimney fires occur every year and many of those fires could have been avoided with proper winter chimney care. Getting a professional cleaning for your chimney in the fall is very important, but when winter comes there are more unique challenges that your chimney faces because of the cold, ice, and snow.
Here are some professional winter chimney care tips that you should follow to make sure that your chimney is protected and your home and family are safe this year.
Inspect The Masonry
When was the last time you checked out the masonry of your chimney? If you get your chimney professionally cleaned a skilled technician will check the masonry for you and let you know if there are any weak spots or areas that need to be repaired.
Water from autumn rains and winter snow can seep into the joints in the masonry and cause the integrity of the masonry to fail which means your chimney can fall or become weak and damaged.
Make sure that your chimney is strong and in good repair and that the masonry keeping your chimney standing is in good shape before the winter comes if you’re planning on using your fireplace often during the winter season. This is especially important if you’re using your fireplace as a primary source of heat and plan to have a fire going most of the time during the winter.
Get A Professional Cleaning
Regular professional cleaning is just part of a good fireplace and chimney care. After all, not investing in regular cleaning and maintenance can lead to a serious chimney or house fires that could destroy your house or cause injuries to your family. Compared to the potential for disaster, the cost of a professional cleaning doesn’t seem so bad.
It’s always smart to get a professional chimney cleaning before the winter weather comes. A professional cleaning will ensure that your chimney is safe to use and that your chimney is in good shape structurally so that you know it’s safe to have fires lit in the fireplace.
If you use your fireplace often during the winter getting a monthly or bi-monthly cleaning will give you the peace of mind of knowing that your chimney and your fireplace are in good working order and won’t let you down or put your family at risk.
Check The Liner
The chimney liner is what protects your ceilings, walls and flammable materials in your home from the heat of the fire. The chimney liner is essential equipment for safe home fireplace fires. But over time the liners can become weak, damaged or stop working.
A professional inspection and cleaning will reveal any problems that your chimney liner has and give your technician the chance to install a new one before you start using your fireplace and run the risk of your entire house catching fire.
When the liner of the chimney is damaged the hot temperatures can cause other parts of the house to ignite, leading to a potentially lethal house fire. That’s why it’s better to have a professional look at your chimney and your chimney liner to make sure that both are in good shape before the winter comes.
Install A Chimney Cap
If you don’t already have a chimney cap installed you should get one installed when you have your chimney inspected. A chimney cap is a great device that fits most chimneys and is designed to make sure that you don’t get debris or rain in your chimney.
A chimney cap will allow smoke to go out but won’t allow rain, snow, dirt, leaves, debris or even Santa down your fireplace. Santa will just have to try the front door like everyone else this year. A well-fit chimney cap keeps out debris and also keeps out small animals that might try to nest in your chimney and birds too.
If you have ever heard horror stories about homeowners having possums, squirrels, and other pests nesting in their fireplace you know that you don’t want that to happen to you. Getting a chimney cap will make sure that your chimney is ready to go when the temperature drops.
Check The Flashing
The masonry on your chimney isn’t the only part of the chimney that needs to be protected from moisture. The flashing on your chimney is also very susceptible to water damage. Flashing is thin strips of metal that cover the area where your roof and fireplace meet to keep snow, rain, and debris from falling into the chimney.
But flashing metal isn’t very strong. High winds, a rusted nail, and other small problems can lead to very big problems with water damage, mold, and loosened joints in the chimney. Because it’s easy to damage the flashing the flashing needs to be checked regularly to ensure that it’s still functioning the way it’s supposed to be and it needs to be replaced often.
If you find that you need to keep replacing the flashing you might want to consider installing a cricket on your chimney. A cricket is a specially designed device that will draw the water from rain and snow away from your chimney and your roof.
A chimney cleaning and maintenance professional can install a cricket for you if you want to make sure that your flashing stays in good condition and isn’t ruined by the winter weather or autumn rains.
Waterproofing Your Chimney
Waterproofing your chimney is a smart investment in your home that also provides the best protection for your home. A trained technician can coat your chimney with a waterproof coating that will help keep out the moisture from rain and snow.
Considering that moisture can seep into the masonry joints in your chimney and freeze, then expand, and then thaw in the next big melt causing major damage to your masonry the cost of waterproofing your chimney is really an investment in the maintenance of your home and the safety of your home for you and your family.
You may not even realize that there is a problem with the chimney until it’s too late. So instead of taking chances with the safety of your home, talk to a chimney cleaning professional about waterproofing for your chimney today. You can’t compromise on safety and making sure that your chimney stays leak free and in good repair is an important part of using a home fireplace responsibly.
If you’re worried that your chimney isn’t ready for winter or if it’s been a while since you had your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional. Contact us now to find out more about how you can make sure that your chimney is in good shape and ready for the winter weather.