Spring Fireplace and Chimney CheckupApril 15, 2016
It’s been a chilly spring so far in Maryland, but it’s not long until we can finally close up the fireplace for the summer and enjoy the warm weather. But before you close the heating season, make sure you give your fireplace and chimney some TLC. How do you do that? Just follow these easy steps from our Maryland chimney cleaning and maintenance experts.
Clean the Firebox
The firebox is where you burn your wood or whatever fuel you use for your fireplace. Needless to say, a firebox is a rather dirty place. Besides the soot, it often contains ashes and other unburnt particles. Some fireplaces have an ash pan that conveniently collects these debris for you, so you just need to empty it out. If your fireplace doesn’t have one, an old-school dust pan and brush will do the trick. Be sure to remove dirt and soot from any vital parts you see inside the firebox. Wearing a face mask and safety goggles is probably a good idea if you choose to do this yourself.
Close the Damper
In winter you keep the damper closed to prevent warm indoor air from escaping. So, should you leave it open in summer to get rid of the warm air and keep your home cooler? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Leaving the damper open in summer may cause a downdraft that will fill your home with smoke-scented air. Not to mention the possibility of leaks! So be sure to seal your damper shut for the season.
Get Your Chimney Inspected
If you had your chimney inspected and cleaned last fall, you may not need to do it again in spring. It all depends on how frequently you used your fireplace this winter. If you just had a few fires once or twice a month, then you are probably fine until next fall. However, if you used your fireplace every day or several times a week, the chimney may have gotten filled with creosote again. Can it wait till fall if you don’t plan on burning any fires in summer? It probably can, but keep in mind that in fall everyone will be getting their chimneys inspected and cleaned. If you want to save money and get a great service on YOUR schedule, then spring may be a better time.
Check the Chimney Cap
Does your chimney have a cap? If not, then you need to get one installed right away. While it may seem that the purpose of a chimney cap is purely decorative, it is actually useful in many other ways. A chimney cap protects the chimney opening from rain, as well as from curious wildlife. You won’t believe how many critters consider chimney a suitable living space, and getting them out of it can be challenging and pricey. So if you do have a chimney cap, now is a good time to check whether it’s in a good shape. Winter weather can be harsh on your roofing, flashing and even the chimney cap.
Plan Big Projects
Did the fall or spring inspection reveal that your chimney needs major repairs, rebuilding or relining? It’s best not to wait till fall to get this done. Also, if you are done with your wood-burning fireplace, you may want to consider sealing it off or converting to a more efficient gas or electrical model.
Whatever your plans are for your fireplace and chimney, Town & Country Chimney will be happy to give you a hand! We provide chimney cleaning, inspections, relining, rebuilding and numerous other services. Give us a call or contact us online for an estimate!