Whether you have a gas, wood-burning, or electric fireplace, keeping it well-maintained and in tip-top shape, all winter long is a must. In fact, failing to do so can result in some major problems throughout your household, and it could put your family at risk of experiencing injuries or health issues. There’s no doubt about it – investing in maintenance now is always a better option than paying for expensive (and avoidable) repair jobs down the line!roaring fire in a fireplace

So, what should be done to ensure you avoid any threats that your system may face this winter? Follow our guidelines below, then reach out with any further questions. The team at Sweepnman, Inc. would be happy to work with you through it all!

Schedule An Inspection

First things first, get an inspection booked with our CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps. We will be able to note whether or not there is anything concerning throughout your structure that should be addressed, and we can look for build-up or obstructions, as well. After the inspection is complete, we can then recommend what the next best steps would be.

The NFPA recommends investing in at least one inspection per year, so if it’s been longer than that since you last had your chimney looked over, don’t wait any longer to schedule one. Putting off this maintenance will prevent your system from functioning as efficiently as possible, and you could face some really dangerous scenarios if cracks, holes, or other damages are present.

Do You Need A Sweeping?

If dirt, nesting materials, creosote, or any other type of debris is spotted blocking your flue, a sweeping is the next service you’ll need to invest in. Using a chimney that’s jammed up will result in airflow issues, and it could leave you with a smoke-filled living space. There are also many risks associated with having high levels of creosote throughout your structure.

What is creosote, exactly? It’s a substance that adheres to the inner lining of your chimney as you light fires and it needs to be removed on a regular basis to minimize the risk of further damage. You see, creosote is very flammable, and if it ever ignites, it would send slow-moving flames all throughout your masonry, which isn’t designed to handle that kind of intense heat. This means your brick and mortar will break down, leaving open spots where flames and harmful fumes could escape into your home.

Nesting materials and other debris can also cause flames to spread, and if smoke and carbon monoxide don’t have clear pathways out of the area, then they will flow back into your home, putting your loved ones in harm’s way.

Have Damages Fixed ASAP

If your structure is experiencing crumbling mortar, missing brickwork, a malfunctioning crown, or anything else along these lines, you’ll need an expert on the case right away. The longer you put off repair work, the worse these damages will become, and your structure will suffer significantly. Not to mention, an easy fix could easily turn into a big, expensive, and time-consuming project!

Invest in Preventative Maintenance

Now, once any damages, clogs, and other issues are appropriately addressed, it’s important to ensure your system stays protected for the long haul. This is where preventative measures come in. Waterproofing, for example, will protect your masonry from excess moisture, and when you invest in professional waterproofing services from us, your bricks will stay vapor-permeable, so anything pre-absorbed will still be able to effectively escape.

Other things you’ll need include flashing, a chimney cap, and you might even need a new top-mounted damper. All of these things work to keep water and debris out of your chimney, guaranteeing your family the protection they deserve for the long haul!

What Can I Do, As A Homeowner?

We’ve listed a lot of things that we can do to improve the quality of your chimney, but there are also things you can do to minimize build-up and keep your system in great shape throughout your burning season. The first is to burn only seasoned wood in your fireplace. That means no garbage, no wet logs, and no leftover plates, cups, and napkins. All of these things encourage the accumulation of creosote, which (as previously mentioned) will do a lot of harm to your structure.

It’s also important to follow fire safety rules. This means never leaving a fire unattended, ensuring all ash is disposed of properly, checking that your damper is open, and clearing all flammable items away from the area. It’s also important to keep a close eye on pets and children and warn young kids of the dangers that accompany the operation of a fireplace.

Finally, install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home! These devices will warn you if any dangerous fumes are present, and they are responsible for saving countless lives every single year.

Our Mission Is To Serve You

Dave Bancroft and the experienced crew at Sweepnman, Inc. are the only ones to trust with your chimney throughout the North Reading area, and we would be happy to come to your home and check things over. Give us a call now to set up an appointment for your inspection – the sooner we’re on the job, the better! Thanks for choosing us.