Having a chimney and fireplace in your home is a great asset to have in case you ever are without heat at an inopportune time. Still, in spite of the ambiance and relaxation that a fireplace provides, there are also inherent fire dangers. To combat the risk of fire or inhalation of dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) gas, it is important for you to make chimney care part of your home maintenance plan. In the end, maintenance can both keep you safe and help you avoid home insurance claims.
Follow these tips to keep your chimney in good shape and prevent fire hazards.
General Maintenance Tips
Both metal and masonry chimneys require maintenance so that smoke, debris and flue gases are properly ventilated away from the home. At the very least, you should have your chimney inspected annually before each heating season. An opportune time to do so is also during spring cleaning, after you have stopped using the fireplace for the season.
Replace damaged liners, as they will allow creosote to accumulate and heat to escape.
When hiring someone to reline your chimney, only allow the contractor to use a product that has been tested and listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
Consider placing a wire cover at the top of the chimney. This will help you keep debris (and other unwelcome intruders) from falling into the chimney.
Maintenance Needs Vary Based on the Type of Chimney
If you have a unique fireplace setup, these materials might require specific maintenance in order to function properly and limit the risks they pose to homeowners. For example:
Fireplace inserts: Make sure the vent is connected to the flue of the chimney.
Factory-built metal chimneys: Do not use natural gas, fuel oil vents, well casing, stovepipe or other material in the chimney. These items cannot withstand the heat in the wood burner.
Plus, you must do your own due diligence to keep fireplace risks low, too. For example, do not vent more than one heater or appliance into a single flue, as major complications can arise. Or, if one fuel-burning appliance is connected to a flue, and then you attach another appliance, such as a water heater, you are running the risk of various problems. These might include heavy creosote accumulation, deterioration of the flue or CO gas drifting into your home. Always ensure your ventilation systems are properly integrated into the home.
For additional home maintenance guidance and homeowners insurance solutions, contact us today.