Things to Do for Your Fireplace & Chimney at the End of the Season
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  • 4 Things to Do for Your Fireplace and Chimney at the End of the Heating Season

    4 Things to Do for Your Fireplace and Chimney at the End of the Heating Season

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    With winter coming to a close (soon-ish), it’s time to start thinking about how to properly take care of your fireplace and chimney when they will no longer be in use. Below, you will discover four very helpful tips that will help to ensure the longevity of your fireplace and chimney and protect your home. 

    #1 – Schedule a Professional Cleaning

    One of the most important things you can do in terms of fireplace maintenance is clean your chimney regularly. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends cleaning your chimney when there is 1/8” of visible soot on the inside of the flue. This not only reduces the risk of fire by removing dangerous creosote, but it can also help reduce the risk of pungent odors in the summer, prevent respiratory issues, and keep things clean all-around. You may need to clean more often than this, especially if you use your fireplace frequently, you have issues with your venting system, or you have used improperly seasoned wood at any point throughout the winter.

    #2 – Don’t Forget the Annual Inspection

    Even if you haven’t had a single issue with your fireplace or chimney in many years, it’s still crucial that you hire a professional to visually inspect your chimney at least once each year. During this inspection, the chimney professionals will look at all the visible areas of your fireplace and chimney, paying close attention to anything that could pose a danger to you, your family, or your home. By catching small issues early on, it’s possible to avoid thousands of dollars in repairs later – and it may even safe your life.

    #3 – Close the Damper Completely

    Now that you won’t be using your woodburning fireplace for a while, there’s no need to create the updraft necessary to pull smoke from your fireplace out through the chimney. Inside your chimney is a metal door called a damper that opens and closes with a lever. When you light fires, you should ensure that the damper is open so that the warm air inside the fireplace can travel upward and outward through the chimney. However, when you will not be using the fireplace for some time, it is best to completely close off the damper to seal out the elements and improve your overall energy efficiency. (Note: If you have a gas fireplace, the damper should always remain open.)

    #4 – Snuff the Pilot Light

    If you have a gas fireplace rather than a woodburning one, there’s a good chance that it contains a pilot light – a small flame that stays lit all the time, making it easier to create a bigger fire as more natural gas is introduced into the chamber. Though it’s a good idea to leave the pilot on during the heating season, if you know you won’t be using your fireplace for several months, snuffing it out is a great idea. Though it doesn’t use much gas, it will consume energy over time, so it’s always best to avoid it. In most cases, you can simply shut off the gas to the fireplace, then turn the unit from the “Pilot” setting to “Off”. Contact your local gas company or fireplace manufacturer if you aren’t sure about the proper procedures for shutting off the pilot light.

    Though scheduling a chimney cleaning and inspection may not seem like the most exciting thing to do this spring, it can and often does save homeowners time and money in the long run. Not only will it help to prevent odors throughout the summer, but it can also help you stay safe – and that’s well worth it.

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