The temperatures are rising and spring is officially underway. For most, that means saying farewell (for now) to the cozy fires of the burning season. Before you call fireplace season a wrap, there are a few things you should do, so that your fireplace will be ready for its next use when summer gives way to autumn.
After you’ve built your last fire, completing these tasks will help ensure your fireplace is ready for summer – and beyond.
✔️ Clear Out Your Fireplace
The first step in preparing your fireplace for summer is to clean it. Start by removing any leftover wood or ash from the firebox. Leaving some ash in your fireplace through the burning season is beneficial, but leaving it in place throughout the summer can corrode your firebox, especially if it meets with moisture. Once you’re sure it’s entirely cool, you can simply scoop the ash out as thoroughly as possible by hand into a metal container with a tightly sealed lid.
This is also a great time to clean the area surrounding the hearth and any fireplace tools, and to take any lingering firewood stored inside out of the house so it doesn’t attract pests into your living space. Properly stored firewood can last three to four years, so it can give you a start on next season’s fires if you don’t use it up on outdoor fires over the summer.
✔️ Book a Professional Cleaning
Part two of cleaning your fireplace involves calling in the pros. A certified chimney sweep technician will be equipped to access the parts of your chimney you can’t readily reach. Don’t forget to have your oil or gas furnace flue cleaned, as well.
Why not adopt an out of sight, out of mind policy for the parts of the chimney you can’t easily see? Because chimney cleaning (sweeping) has more to do with reducing fire hazards than aesthetics. Blockages and accumulation of creosote and soot are substantial hazards that can restrict proper airflow, and therefore ventilation.
Building a fire in a blocked chimney runs the risk of carbon monoxide build up or smoke filling your living space. Additionally, creosote is combustible, which is not good paired with a fireplace for obvious reasons.
Thorough chimney sweeping reduces your risk of chimney fires and air quality hazards, so it’s an important part of keeping your home and family healthy if you have a chimney system. Besides, soot that’s trapped in the chimney can take on an odor during the damp spring months, which doesn’t exactly foster the fresh, breezy atmosphere you want in your home.
✔️ Inspect Your Chimney
As well as being swept, your chimney should be inspected by a certified chimney expert annually. Your chimney pro will examine the components of your chimney from top to bottom for signs of deterioration such as cracks, decay, leaks, and other wear and tear, and make sure that the flue is functioning correctly. Caught early, most chimney issues can be addressed much more efficiently and economically than if deterioration is allowed to continue.
When do you least want to find out there’s chimney damage? Well, no time is ideal, but in the middle of a heavy spring rain has to be near the top of that list. Furthermore, any water in your chimney can create an environment where mold can thrive unnoticed for months. Be sure to get your inspection appointment on the books proactively.
✔️ Get Repairs Booked
If you’re aware of needing any repairs, or if you hope to upgrade your system over the summer, call your chimney professional to get these jobs on the books. It’s most convenient to take care of your fireplace chimney, wood stove, oil or gas heating furnace flues in the summer, since you aren’t regularly using your system anyway during these months.
Additionally, if you delay in scheduling work you may find your professional is booked up, in which case work may interfere with the use of your wood burning system and home heating appliances during the next burning/heating season.
✔️ Close the Damper
When you’re finished using your fireplace for the season, make sure to close the damper. This will limit the escape of air through the chimney, keeping your home cooler and more efficient in the summer months. It will also guard against the possibility of a critter finding its way into your home.
If your fireplace is gas fueled and has a standing pilot, leave the damper open in case you happen to have a leak. While hopefully this never happens to you, having your damper open would help keep gas from building up in your living space if it were to.
Need Questions or Are You Ready to Schedule?
Questions? Maintenance need? Visions of a fireplace update? Make us your first call. Our team of Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified sweeps offers comprehensive chimney care to a wide service area including New York and Western Massachusetts. We’ve got the experience, skills, and attention to detail to serve you with unparalleled professionalism.
Dial 518-500-4048 or reach out to us online today.