As temperatures drop and thoughts once again turn to lighting fires and sitting down with a good book, it’s important to revisit chimney maintenance. Keeping your chimney clean helps protect your home from unnecessary, costly repairs down the road and helps to keep your family safe. Even though My Fantastic Maid doesn’t provide chimney cleaning services, we do recognize that chimney cleaning needs to be a part of your whole home cleaning and safety plans.
Various problems can arise when chimneys are not well maintained. Such problems include chimney fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and early failure of the chimney and heating sources that the chimney vents.
Carbon monoxide can be scary, as it is virtually invisible without a proper detector. Fires caused by a poorly maintained chimney can result in catastrophic loss.
- Have chimneys inspected annually and properly cleaned by a professional chimney technician.
- Make sure tree branches and other obstacles are cleared away from the top of the chimney.
- Use seasoned hardwoods that have been split for several months to a year. “Green” wood creates more creosote.
- The top-down method of building a fire produces less smoke. This means using larger pieces of wood on the bottom and the smallest twigs and kindling at the top. The fire will burn from the top and down, igniting the wood beneath as it goes.
- Keep fires small; otherwise, the intense heat may damage bricks and mortar in the chimney. Repair any damage promptly before lighting another fire.
- Open the damper and fireplace doors so that air supply flows freely and can vent the smoke promptly, reducing residence time in the flue; otherwise, creosote can form.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms throughout the home and routinely check the batteries.