Even if your chimney doesn’t burst into flames, it could still be causing destruction in your home if it’s not properly cleaned.
In fact, a majority of chimney fires are slow-burning and nearly undetectable until they’ve already done considerable damage. Plus, the fumes created by buildup can be harmful to your family and your pets if it’s breathed in.
Don’t let this stop you from having a roaring fire on a chilly night, though. With proper chimney care, you and your family can enjoy your fireplace with minimal risks.
Read on to learn the top 5 chimney care tips you should follow year-round.
1. Keep a Regular Chimney Care Schedule
A slow-burning chimney fire could leave you needing a new chimney, a new roof, or even a new home. These typically occur when deposits and other buildup combust inside the chimney itself, resulting in a small (but potentially devastating) fire. What’s more, since they aren’t in a visible area, they could go undetected for days.
To prevent these deposits from occurring in the first place, it’s crucial to maintain a regular chimney care schedule. Many experts recommend cleaning and sweeping every month to prevent buildup, along with a deep clean on an annual basis. Depending on how often you use your chimney, you can adjust these recommendations as necessary.
2. Use a Chimney Cap
A chimney cap is an essential accessory for proper chimney care. These act as a barrier to protect your chimney from the elements, as well as animals and debris from outside.
3. Clean the Hearth Regularly
In addition to the chimney itself, it’s also important to keep the hearth clean and free of excess soot from previous fires. Again, this will depend on how often you use the fireplace, but every month is a good timeline to strive for.
To clean your hearth, follow these chimney tips and tricks: start by sweeping up and disposing of the soot. Then, clean with a scrub brush and mild cleaner. For concrete hearths, you can add oxygen bleach to get them clean.
4. Choose the Right Wood
While all wood will burn, the best choices are hardwood options (e.g. oak, birch, ash) over softer woods like pine or cedar. These are better for chimney care because they have less sap and will not leave as many harmful deposits.
Additionally, be sure your wood is properly aged for at least six months.
5. Get Your Chimney Inspected Regularly
In addition to keeping up with proper chimney care, you should also be getting your chimney inspected on an annual basis. This will help ensure that your chimney is clear and safe to burn. If you have any storms or if you suspect a problem, it’s never a bad idea to have a professional come out and take another look.
Keeping Your Chimney Clean
Chimneys provide all the warmth and ambiance you need to comfortably get through the winter months, but it’s important that you use them safely. Now that you know more about chimney care, you’ll be ready to keep your chimney burning clean for years to come.
For more topics like this one, check out our other articles.