When the cooler fall temperatures start to set in, it is a great time to start using the fireplace. However, you don’t want to wait until fall to make sure the fireplace and chimney are functioning well. Did you know that an estimated 25,000 home fires start because of the chimney? Summer is a great time to call in a professional for maintenance and maybe even add in a birdcage or chimney cap if you don’t have one as well. Let’s look at some summer chimney maintenance ideas.
Chimney Inspection as Part of Summer Maintenance
Inspection should be at least once a year. You want to know in the summer months if there are cracks in the seals or a build-up of soot or even worse, dead animals in the chimney. This will give you time to have the repairs made. Hire an inspector from the Chimney Safety Institute of America so you know you will have a trained professional for this tough but necessary job. The exterior, interior, and the flue will all be looked at in inspection and are important parts of the chimney. There are resources for doing it on your own, but not recommended as it is dangerous. Chimney maintenance involves looking for things the average homeowner does not know about.
Chimney Maintenance May Uncover Birds, Nests, and Critters
If you don’t use the chimney frequently, you could have a buildup of nests, pine cones, and critters. If they are in the chimney, it won’t work well and could cause the chimney to fail. Also, installing a birdcage or chimney cap is a great idea if you are having this issue. This is a very inexpensive way to keep animals and other debris out of the chimney and your home.
Chimney Sweep To Get the Debris and Deposits Out
You have a gorgeous house and a fireplace to use once the cooler temps roll in. In addition to the inspection, a chimney sweep needs to be done as well. Once the soot or deposits reach 1/8 inch, a chimney sweep is necessary. Depending on the wind in the area, there may be more buildup and you may need to have it swept more than once a year. A professional can do this as well and often at the same time as the inspection. Summertime is not a heavy demand for this service so it is a great idea to take care of it then.
Cost for Chimney Sweep and Inspection
Depending on the area you live in, it can cost between $100-$300 for the sweep and inspection. However, if there is a heavy build-up of creosote, this can be an added expense. Creosote is nothing to play with. Wood that burns really slow or use of wood that is not treated, can cause incomplete combustion. A residue that continues to build up and block the smoke from getting through the flue happens and this will cause health issues.
A Few Things a Homeowner Can Do for Chimney Maintenance
- Collect firewood a year in advance to make sure it has time to season
- Clean the ashes as soon as they accumulate and dispose of properly. It is a fire and health hazard to leave them sitting around
- Keep the damper open and clean so the smoke can escape the home during the use of the fireplace
- Start with the larger logs on the bottom and build the fire up with smaller logs as you go, having the smallest on top. Use kindling and newspaper to light it all.
Using the fireplace will also save you money on your heating bills and nothing is more beautiful in the cooler months than the fire in the fireplace. Calling in a professional is safer for you than climbing on the roof and finding things you may not want to get in to. Check out our list of recommended contractors that can help!
Do you have questions about chimney maintenance, inspections, or sweeps? If so, leave us a reply below!