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Chimney Preparation for Winter

As cold weather approaches, one thing many homeowners can look forward to is putting their fireplace to good use, warming themselves and their families after long day s out in the cold. More than likely, your fireplace has not been used as frequently throughout the warmer months, so make sure you take the necessary precautions before burning again on a regular basis. Taking these steps will ensure that your chimney is in proper working order and that your family is safe throughout the season.

Get a Professional Inspection

Chimney Preparation for Winter - Gloucester VA - Olde Town SweepsOne of the most stressed things in the chimney and fireplace world is the importance of regular cleanings and inspections done by professionals. There are always many do-it-yourself options for checking up on your chimney’s health, but codes are updated so regularly that having a certified expert come to your home is truly the safest option for your home and family. You never know what you may be missing or what hidden repairs will be necessary before the burning season, and not getting inspected will put both your home and family at an increased risk for harm.

Check Smoke Detectors

Make sure your home is equipped with both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and that they are located close to the fireplace. Regularly check the batteries on all of these devices and test them to ensure that they are in proper working order. With more frequent fireplace use and a lower likelihood of proper ventilation (as many close doors and windows throughout the winter months), these devices help to ensure that the air in your home is clean and not damaging your family’s health and well-being.

Plan for Bad Weather

Fireplaces places offer a great back-up for when the lights go out and the heat is not working due to the nasty winter weather outdoors. With colder months soon approaching, have a plan laid out for when this weather hits and be sure to regularly check up on the weather forecast so that you are adequately prepared.

Consider buying a log holder that you can place directly next to your fireplace, in case you need to get a fire going quickly. Also, ensuring that you have all of the proper tools needed to start and maintain a strong fire through any winter storm will make your life easier in the long run, as well as ensure that your home is properly heated when electricity is not an option.

Stock Up On Fuel

Part of being prepared for the winter months is making sure that your fuel supply is well-kept and properly stocked ahead of time. You will want to check that any wood you are using is properly seasoned and has been dried out for at least six months, to ensure easy burning. Look for something light weight, darker, and split when picking out wood.

Call the certified professionals at Olde Town Chimney Sweeps (804-693-2859) today to get inspected and allow yourself peace of mind before the cold weather hits.

Chimney Cleaning Logs Should Not Replace Your Yearly Cleaning

When one is first introduced to the concept of chimney cleaning logs, they seem like the most convenient and inexpensive way to go. You burn the log, just as would a normal fire, and do not need to worry about the hassle and cost of a yearly inspection. As with most things that seem too good to be true, chimney cleanings logs are not an easy way out of an inconvenient task. That yearly cleaning and inspection is still vital to maintaining chimney health and ensuring that all aspects of your chimney are safe for use.

Tackling Creosote

Chimney Cleaning Logs Should Not Replace Your Yearly Cleaning - Gloucester VA - Olde Town SweepsThe physical task of thoroughly cleaning a chimney simply cannot be matched with a chimney cleaning log. The removal of creosote is vital to the longevity of your chimney and the safety as your home, as it is an extremely flammable substance. While the logs may loosen the creosote in the chimney, allowing it to flake off, that still leaves the substance with nowhere to go expect back into your fire or resting in the bottom of your fireplace. Both of these locations will provide hazards, increasing the danger you and your family are exposed to.

A professional chimney sweep will remove creosote from your chimney and dispose of it properly, along with any other types of debris they might find, such as soot and animal nests. The logs also do not account for creosote that has built up more extensively. These situations require different tactics, which should be approached by a knowledgeable professional.

Professional Insight

Nothing will replace the professional insight you gain from yearly chimney inspections. A log cannot tell you if something obscure is obstructing airflow through your chimney or if there are structural issues that should be addressed. Having someone regularly check to ensure your chimney is safe and up-to-code is one of the most important aspects of being a responsible homeowner. By neglecting this step, you are putting your home and family at risk.

Trust the Experts

The CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) states that “regular chimney inspections are always recommended.” They claim no opposition to the general use of chimney cleaning logs, but say that they definitely should not serve as a replacement for a yearly cleaning. They support the notion that inspections, cleaning, and repairs should all be done by a certified chimney professional to ensure the safety of one’s home and family.

To maintain proper fire safety, follow these guidelines:

– Get a professional cleaning and inspection done at least once per year .
– Buy smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure that you and your family will be warned of any hazardous elements that enter your home. Regularly check the batteries and ascertain that they are up-to-code.
– Make sure that your family is educated on proper procedures and escape routes, should a fire ever start inside of your home.
– Burn properly by using seasoned wood and only burn fuel appropriate to your fireplace.

Olde Town Chimney Sweeps is a professionally certified chimney service company who can clean your chimney and offer solutions for other chimney and fireplace issues. If you live in and around the Middle Peninsula and Gloucester, VA areas, give Olde Town Chimney Sweeps a call at 804-693-2859.

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