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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.

Lighting Up the Burning Season

Lighting Up the Burning Season - Gloucester VA - Olde TownHoliday season is approaching, kicking off that time of year where you will want to light your fireplace more often. Reminiscing with friends and family by a warm fire is an idyllic image, but be sure to take the proper precautions before building fires on a more frequent basis. If you have not been using your chimney throughout the warmer months and are getting ready to start that first fire, consider what extra steps should be taken to ensure a safe environment for you and your family.

Here are some tips to follow when kicking off your burning season.

  • Clean your chimney. It is widely suggested that you get your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year. The beginning of burning season would be a great time to schedule this annual necessity. There will likely be a build-up of creosote and other residue from the past cold season that needs to be addressed. This debris often gets flaky throughout the warm months and becomes very prone to combust, increasing the risk of unwanted or uncontrollable fires within the home. Another reason cleaning is important is the likely accumulation of animal nests that have built up over the spring and summer seasons. These need to be cleared out before any fires are started, as they could block up your chimney and cause unwanted hazards when lighting a fire.
  • Check out your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure your detectors are up-to-code and working properly. Making sure they can adequately warn you and your family members of any dangers in the air is critical before starting fires more frequently within the home.
  • Remove any flammable materials/household items from the fireplace area. When you have not used your fireplace for months, it is easy to use it as a decoration holder or even as a storage area for your everyday items. If you are starting up fires on a regular basis it is time to remove these things and break any habits of using your fireplace as coat or shoe rack.
  • Use seasoned wood. Using unseasoned or damp wood is not healthy for your home or fireplace. Also, the wood will burn more efficiently if it is in proper condition. Signs of seasoned wood are: the sound it makes (it should sound hollow), a darker color, and cracks throughout the wood.
  • Keep your fire extinguisher close by. Know where your extinguisher is at all times and have it readily available when you light your first fire, just in case something goes wrong.

Consider these tips when starting up your first fire and keep them in mind throughout the season, as well. These are all great things to consider whenever any fire is lit to increase safety in your home. As the season progresses, be sure to consistently clear out the ashes in your fireplace and keep all of your fires well-managed with proper kindling and safety practices.

Olde Town Chimney Sweeps in Gloucester serves the Middle Peninsula area with professionally certified chimney technicians. Contact us today to learn more about your chimney, fireplace, and fire safety.

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