It’s hard to beat the natural, cozy warmth of a fire burning in your fireplace on a cold winter’s night. Seriously, this is the stuff Hallmark movies are made of! Before you throw that first log on and light up your fire this winter, you need to check a few things to make sure your chimney is safe. Neglecting your chimney can lead to very unpleasant realities like fires, fumes, and water damage. Let’s take a look at why you should inspect your chimney before using it this winter. We will do so by giving you a few tips on what to look for.
Creosote buildup in the chimney is the number one cause of chimney fires. Having your chimney cleaned by a professional chimney sweep at the beginning of the winter season is a good way to prevent chimney fires. A chimney sweep will also inspect the interior lining to make sure it is free from any cracks.
Look at the exterior of your chimney. Notice loose bricks or deteriorating mortar? These are common causes of leaks. Also, you will want to make sure your chimney is securely attached to your house.
Check for water damage around the chimney, particularly around any flashing. Also, check the flashing to make sure the caulking seal around it is still secure and not deteriorating.
Your chimney needs to be properly capped to ensure birds, rain, squirrels, leaves, and debris stay out of your chimney. Make certain your chimney cap is securely in place and any mortar under it is secure.
While performing these inspections, you will want to check a few things on the inside around the fireplace itself.
Ensure the gasket seal around the fireplace door (if you have one) is secure and sealing properly. This goes a long way to making sure your fireplace gets the proper air flow it needs to burn efficiently.
If your fireplace is equipped with a blower, clean it thoroughly. Test run it to make sure it is properly functioning.
Make sure the damper is working correctly so it successfully regulates the airflow inside the chimney.
Ensure carbon monoxide detectors in the home are working properly. Next to smoke detectors, a working carbon monoxide detector is worth its weight in gold.