Before you light your first fire of the season,it is recommended by national fire safety organizations like The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) that you should schedule your annual chimney sweeping and inspection. Our CSIA-certified chimney technicians at Ashbusters agree. In Middle Tennessee, we are fortunate to have warm early fall temperatures; however, we never know when a cold snap may surprise us. By preparing your fireplace and chimney for winter before the fall season gets underway, you will be a step ahead and will not have to wait for weeks for a chimney sweep and inspection appointment. Getting your fireplace and chimney ready to use for the cold months of the year is smart chimney maintenance, and we would like to answer some of your questions about the winter preparation of a chimney.
Why Is It So Important to Get My Chimney Cleaned and Inspected Before Fall?
According to the article, “Chimney, Fireplace Should Be Checked Before Winter Sets In,” from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, statistics back up the importance of having your annual chimney cleaning and inspecting done before you begin using your fireplace for the winter. 24,500 residential fires originating from the chimney and fireplace occurred in the year 2005, as cited by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. These fires claimed the lives of 20 people and damaged about $126 million worth of property. A professional chimney sweeping will be sure your chimney is free from fire hazards.
What Is the Greatest Fire Hazard of a Dirty Chimney?
The main culprit behind chimney fires is creosote building up on your chimney walls. Highly flammable deposits, creosote is the natural result of the condensation that occurs when the by-products of combustion like smoke, gases, and vapors exit the cooler upper chimney walls. Creosote eventually turns into a baked-on glaze inside your chimney, which, if the temperatures reach a high enough point, will ignite the chimney liner and the walls. Ashbusters has years of experience is cleaning the glazed creosote from chimneys and making the chimneys safe to use throughout the winter months.
What Else Does Ashbusters Do to Prepare My Chimney for Winter?
When we perform our chimney sweeping and inspection, we also:
- examine the exterior of your chimney on the roof to check the chimney cap, the flashing, and the masonry work to be sure there are no signs of damaging water penetration
- ensure your damper opens and closes properly
- make sure there is a clearance of at least 18 inches from your fireplace to anything that could be combustible, such as furniture and curtains
- inspect the chimney liner for cracks and other damage
- protect your safety by being sure there is some sort of screen in front of your fireplace
- advise you on proper ash removal.
If you have not scheduled your annual chimney sweeping and inspection yet, contact us today. We will arrange an appointment for our CSIA-certified technicians to prepare your chimney for winter.