Besides the smoke from your fire and good ol’ Saint Nick himself, no one really gets involved with their chimney, especially those who don’t want to soil their good clothing. However, things are different for us here at Chimney Care Plus. Our Frederick chimney repair experts are quite used to being in and around chimneys, and, while we’re not putting presents under Christmas trees, we are bringing the magic of fire to comes in our area by fixing chimneys and doing fireplace repair. To us, there’s just something special about the warm glow of a fire, and we want to bring the magic to your house!
Frederick’s Fireplace Repair Professionals
That’s why Chimney Care Plus is the preferred chimney flashing and chimney inspection service in Frederick as well as the surrounding areas of Mt. Airy, Hagerstown, and Myersville. From wood stove installation to general fireplace repair, we do it all. Learn more about our chimney services today, and read on below in today’s blog post as we cover some basic chimney maintenance and repair tips. Though you might not be fixing your chimney yourself, it is useful to know some of this information. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us!
The Importance of Annual Chimney Inspections
By 2017 standards, your fireplace might come off as a rather low-tech piece of equipment, but there’s actually a lot that goes into the proper operation of a fireplace and chimney. Chimney fires are actually surprisingly (and sadly) common here in the United States, with an average cost of $126.1 in damages to U.S. homes between 2003 and 2005. Yikes! This is why annual chimney inspections are so important.
Properly Burning Fires to Prevent Unwanted Fires
Chimneys are a fickle thing because they’re literally designed to safely house a fire, but not a fire that goes out of control. When you burn wood, combustible, tar-like droplets called creosotes are produced. This natural byproduct of burning wood increases as you burn more wood, and the more often you keep your fireplace doors closed or your damper barely open, the more creosote is produced.
While soot is not flammable in of itself, it can hamper venting. Just half an inch of soot can restrict airflow by 17 percent in a masonry chimney and 30 percent in a factory-built chimney. Soot is also aggressively acidic, and if built up too much, can cause damage to the inside of your chimney. So, the more creosote and soot that’s built up, the more likely you are to see signs of a chimney fire such as loud popping, dense smoke, or even flames shooting out of your chimney and into the sky. Not good. Chimney fires can damage the structure of your chimney and provide a route for the fire to jump to the frame of your house, a potentially devastating situation.
Improving Fireplace Efficiency
Scheduling an annual chimney sweep is the best way to ensure that your fireplace is safe to use and enjoy for months to come. However, there are a number of small things that you can do to get the best performance out of your fireplace. A few tips and tricks are listed below:
Only Burn Dry, Cured Logs of Wood
You should only burn dry logs of wood that have been split, stacked and dried for about eight to 12 months. When building your fire, cover your log pile on top, but leave the sides open for air flow. Hardwoods such as hickory, white oak, beech, sugar maple and white ash tend to burn the longest, though dry firewood is more important than the species. Less dense woods like spruce or white pine tend to burn well if they’re sufficiently dry, but you’ll need to add more wood more often to keep things burning nicely.
Don’t Burn Anything Else Besides Wood
No one wants to breathe in poor air, so don’t burn anything like crates, lumber, construction scraps, painted wood, or other treated wood. Burning these materials can release harmful chemicals into your home, greatly reducing the air quality.
Closing Your Damper
It’s recommended to close your damper when you’re not using your fireplace in order to prevent warm indoor air from rushing up the chimney as wasted heat. Just think about the dollars you’re spending to heat the air in your home — do you really want that air to be wasted by going up your chimney? Of course not.
In Need of Chimney Repair?
We don’t expect you to be fireplace experts, because that’s our job! With a properly working fireplace and chimney, you’ll stay cozy and warm during the colder seasons. If it’s time for a chimney flashing or chimney inspection, our fireplace repair experts here at Chimney Care Plus can help you. Get in touch today to get your chimney running safely and efficiently! We provide chimney repair services for homeowners in Frederick, Mt. Airy, Hagerstown, Myersville, and throughout much of Western Maryland.