Chimneys and Fireplaces: What You Should Know Chimneys and Fireplaces: What You Should Know

Fireplaces provide us with warmth and comfort during winter. To keep the glow of the warmth continuous, we need to maintain the chimney and the fireplace.

Chimney Maintenance

Ensure that the fire place is constructed properly and clean the fireplace at regular intervals. A professional chimney sweep yearly is the best way to go.

Before you set to clean the fireplace, cover your face properly so that dust does not entire your lungs through your nose. Creosote dust can be harmful for your health, especially if you are suffering from bronchitis or asthma.

Creosote dust , if not cleaned at regular intervals can cause serious damage to the chimney.

Interior Maintenance

The ashes in the fireplace should be collected regularly to keep the fireplace clean. You need to ensure that the ashes have completely cooled before you collect them. This ash can be deposited in compost or in a garden. This will act well as soil as it is rich in calcium. Use a flat shovel to pick the ashes.

Ensure that the fireplace does not have cracks and the fire box is intact. The firebox is the life of the fire, since this is where the fire actually burns. Most fireplaces that are factory built will have a small firebox already in place, but in older homes you may have to replace the firebox from time to time. If the fire box is damaged, it may lead to accidents.

There could be stains in the fire box. Clean them using a chemical cleaner. Apply the cleaning agent with a metal brush. Do not forget to wear gloves while handling the cleaning material. You also need to make sure that when you use chemicals you completely rinse them away before lighting another fire.

Even if you are cleaning the fireplace by yourself at regular intervals, seeking a professional help once in a year is advisable. A professional will be able to guide you in better maintenance of the fireplace and the chimney.

Damper

While cleaning the damper, check the damper position. If the damper is not positioned properly, it will use more energy.

Chimney Structure

Ensure that there are no plants growing near the chimney. The roots of the plants may reach the chimney and harm the structure of the chimney. Ivy is also a problem with chimneys. While it’s beautiful to look at, it can wreak havoc. It’s best to keep ivy or other climbing plants away from the chimney all together.

If you see that the chimney has minor cracks, these can be filled using cement. Soak cement powder in water to make a paste which is thicker than running water. Apply the paste on the cracks. Check the opening of the chimney and clean it of dirt and debris.

Check that the insulation on the chimney has not worn off, as it may cause accidents.

Miscellaneous

Check that there is no blockage in the flue liner.

Check that the fire place and the chimney are firmly fixed.

In case your chimney does not have a chimney cap, get one now. It keeps away animals, dirt and water from entering the chimney. The mesh surrounding the cap, absorbs the sparks.

Before the onset of the winter, get a thorough checkup of the fireplace and the chimney done by a professional.

Always have a flashlight with good batteries and ensure you have properly working smoke detectors.

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