The weather is finally cooling down, and it will soon be fireplace season in Michigan. Before you load the fireplace with wood, you need to get your chimney inspected. Basic chimney care will protect your home and your family from a dangerous fire outbreak. Check out these tips to get your chimney ready for winter.
When to Start Winter Chimney Care
Late summer or early fall is the ideal time to start your winter chimney care. This may seem early, but it allows plenty of time to complete repairs as needed. Chimney repair companies tend to book up as the weather gets cooler, and icy roads limit travel options in winter. Try to plan at least a couple of weeks before you want to use your chimney so you can use it safely when the time comes.
Get a Brick and Chimney Cap Inspection
The masonry on the outside of your chimney is the first line of defense against wind and precipitation. Chimney brick tends to wear faster than brick siding because it doesn’t have coverage from the roof. Get your chimney cap and bricks inspected before using your fireplace to make sure everything is in working condition. If not, you may need tuckpointing (mortar replacement) or a new cap to secure your chimney.
Hire a Chimney Sweep to Clean the Interior Components
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, “Most chimney fires are caused by a dirty chimney.” You should get your chimney swept once per year to eliminate buildup. Your chimney sweep will likely conduct an inspection of the flue and internal parts of the chimney. If there are any issues, you can get them resolved before lighting the first fire of the year.
Gather the Proper Tools, Fuel, and Accessories to Use Your Fireplace
In order to safely use your chimney, you need the right tools and fire starters. Do not put wrapping paper, tissues, paper towels, leaves or magazines in your fireplace. Lightweight materials can create embers, which may blow into your house and start a fire.
With this in mind, you should have a fire screen in front of the flames to control any lingering sparks that may develop. Get a basic set of fire pokers to move logs around, and make sure the wood you use is safe for fireplaces. Never use igniter fluid in a fireplace as that may create a bigger flame than you can logically contain. Keep a fire extinguisher accessible in the event of an emergency.
Learn more: How to Use a Fireplace
Complete Necessary Repairs to Get Your Chimney Ready for Winter
If your internal or external chimney inspections revealed any issues, take care of those as quickly as possible. Do not use your fireplace until you get safety concerns under control. Mortar City Masonry offers chimney repair services for the exterior components of a chimney. If you’d like an inspection or you’re in need of masonry chimney repair in Metro Detroit, contact us at (586) 533-1305.