According to the Farmer’s Almanac weather predictions, we are in store for another extremely cold winter, and it is strongly recommended that you start preparing now for the upcoming frigid temperatures. One thing that should be on the very top of your preparations list should be scheduling important maintenance tasks to get your chimney ready for winter. At Old Hat Chimney Service, we are now entering our busiest time of the year, and if you wait too long to schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection, it could be a few weeks until we will be able to take care of your chimney. We would like to tell you why it is essential to have your chimney cleaned and inspected before you use your chimney regularly this winter. We would also like to share with you some things you can do to be sure your fireplace is safe and functioning properly.
Wood-Burning Fireplaces and Stoves
The most important reason you need to have your wood-burning chimney professionally cleaned before the high usage season of an extremely cold winter is to have the creosote buildups removed from the interior walls of your chimney. One of the main causes of chimney fires, creosote is highly flammable. The CSIA-certified chimney sweeps at Old Hat Chimney Service will be sure your chimney is free from creosote deposits and safe to use. We will also inspect the damper to make sure it opens and closes correctly and perform any necessary repairs to its parts, including the gasket seal. This prevents excess air from leaking into the firebox which creates an over fire condition that can permanently damage your appliance. We will also clean the blower, if your appliance has one, to clear away the dust and hair that has built up over time.
Old Hat Chimney Service will also inspect the exterior of your chimney to look for deteriorated bricks and mortar that will need to be repaired to prevent water leaks that will lead to even more damaged and spalled masonry work. We also will check out the condition of your chimney flue liner and repair any cracks or gaps. If the liner is damaged beyond repair, we can even replace it. A damaged flue liner can lead to chimney fires and leaks of toxic gases like carbon monoxide into your house. Speaking of carbon monoxide, you should also check the batteries in all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms to be sure they are working.
Gas-Fueled Fireplaces and Stoves
According to the National Association of Realtors’ home improvement website, HouseLogic, not only should you have your gas-fueled chimney cleaned and inspected, but you should also have the appliance itself inspected by a CSIA-certified technician. To be sure they are working correctly, the airways of both the pilot and the main burner should be cleaned and checked. Since there is no filtering system to keep dust and hair off its blades, your blower should also be cleaned. An accumulation of dust can disrupt the balance of the blower, which will cause the bearings to wear out prematurely. Dust also prevents the motor from cooling, which can eventually cause the motor to burn out and stop working.
As you would if you have wood-burning fireplaces and stoves, you should check the batteries in every smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. Additionally, check the batteries in any remote controls that operate the appliance as well as the receiver.
If you have not scheduled your annual chimney sweeping and inspection yet, contact Old Hat Chimney Service as soon as possible. We want to get your fireplace and chimney ready for this extremely cold winter.