If you plan on lighting fires this season, be sure to take care of your chimney.

How To Care For Your Chimney

January 13th, 2017 by

If you plan on lighting fires this season, be sure to take care of your chimney.

Who doesn't love sitting by a roaring fire on a cold winter's eve? If you have a fireplace at home, there's a good chance you've been using it frequently this season. Keep in mind, however, that these aspects of your home are not maintenance-free. Failing to care for your fireplace and chimney could lead to serious problems.

The chief risk that homeowners face are chimney fires. These occur when a carbon material called creosote builds up on chimney walls after numerous successive lightings. Eventually, this creosote may ignite, and if those fires aren't addressed, the chimney walls can crack, leading to the rapid spread of home fires.

Here are some tips for maintaining clean chimneys and avoiding fires:

  • Use the correct wood. Often, large-scale creosote buildup occurs as a result of burning young, wet wood. For best results, make sure the fuel for your fire is dry, seasoned wood. Also be sure to control how much you burn at any one time. Too much fuel can cause fires to get out of control.
  • Sweep annually. It's important to have a professional check you chimney at least once per year, usually before it starts to get cold enough to light regular fires. These inspections will include sweeping, which should keep creosote buildup to a minimum.
  • Only light short-term fires. Modern fireplaces aren't designed to be full-time heating sources. Only use them on a short-term basis to prevent excessive creosote buildup.

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