How to Prepare Your Chimney for the Winter

There are a lot of household tasks to get done before winter comes to make sure you stay warm and comfortable this winter. Your chimney is an important component of your home to consider because ignoring it can result in dangers, such as house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Here are some ways you and a chimney sweep in Atlanta can help prepare your chimney for frequent use this winter.

Get Professional Cleaning and Inspection

One of the most important ways to prepare your chimney is to have an Atlanta chimney sweep clean and inspect your chimney. Cleaning the chimney is important to prevent creosote buildup. Creosote is a natural by-product of burning wood. However, the creosote starts to build up on the inside of your chimney, and since it’s highly flammable, your risk of a chimney fire increases the thicker the buildup becomes. The creosote should regularly be cleaned off to lower your risk of a chimney fire that could spread to your home.

The inspection is also important because if your chimney has sustained minor damage, it can quickly become more serious over time. The chimney sweep will look for any cracks in the mortar or bricks that might be allowing dangerous gases to enter your home. They’ll also check the condition of the flue, chimney cap, and damper and identify any other potential problems that need to be repaired before you start using your chimney regularly.

Check Alarms

Checking the alarms in your home isn’t necessarily a way to prepare your chimney, but it can ensure that you’re safer in the event of a problem with your chimney. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can alert you to problems such as a fire or leaking carbon monoxide due to a chimney malfunction. It’s a good idea to change the batteries every six months and to check them every month.

Stock Up on Seasoned Wood

One way to protect your chimney this winter after getting it ready is to make sure you’re only burning well-seasoned wood. The wood needs to have been dried for a minimum of six months to ensure there’s as little moisture as possible in the wood. Drier wood burns hotter and more efficiently. The hotter your fire burns, the less creosote buildup you’ll have. This can make your yearly cleaning more manageable. You can test wood to see how seasoned it is by its weight as well as the sound it makes when you strike two pieces together, which should be a sharp ring.

Install Chimney Cap

If your chimney doesn’t currently have a chimney cap or you learn from your inspection that it’s been damaged, be sure to replace it before you begin using your chimney. The chimney cap keeps animals and debris out of your chimney, but it also helps protect your chimney from damage as well. The cap keeps snow, ice, and water from entering your chimney. This helps reduce the chances of damage to your masonry that happens when moisture gets into the chimney and expands and contracts, eventually causing cracks and gaps in the masonry.

Remove Ashes

Finally, be sure to remove the ashes in the fireplace before starting your first fire for the winter. Built-up ashes are a fire hazard, so be sure to remove them after fires have been extinguished and the ashes are cool enough to move. It’s also smart to keep a fire extinguisher near the fireplace or stove in case some ashes do reignite.

Contact Atlanta Chimney Doctor to schedule your chimney inspection today.