A crackling fireplace is one of the things people associate with the winter season. Even in homes with a modern heating system, the fireplace is still used at least once during the cold months out of tradition.
Suffice to say, the fireplace remains an integral part of Irish winters. Some rely on it to keep their houses warm and cosy during the cold months. Others use it to keep traditions alive.
Whatever your reason may be for lighting the fireplace, there’s one thing you need to do before you set the first fire of the season – ensure that your fireplace or stove and chimney are ready.
How do you make sure that these structures are safe to use come winter? How do you ensure that they perform optimally during with cold months? We have listed some of the things you need to do below:
The condition of your chimney has an impact on the performance and safety of your fireplace or stove. Data show that a poorly maintained chimney is the top cause of home heating fires. This is why authorities encourage homeowners to schedule an inspection of this structure at least once of year.
Ideally, before the cold months begin, your chimney should have been checked by a specialist. Most homeowners in Ireland accomplish this task in autumn.
Currently, chimney inspections are done with the use of a CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) camera. With this state-of-the-art equipment, spotting interior damages, even the smallest ones, become easier. It also enables chimney specialists to accurately and quickly identify problems.
Here’s the deal:
Just because the exterior looks fine, it does not mean that the chimney is in excellent condition. Sometimes, the problem lies within (i.e, crack on the flue or creosote buildup) which is why a CCTV survey is necessary.
Aside from an inspection, you also need to schedule professional chimney cleaning. The general rule is to do this at least once a year. However, if you frequently use your chimney, you should have it swept at least twice.
Cleaning the chimney is necessary to get rid of creosote deposits. Creosote is highly flammable. A buildup of this substance increases the risk of a chimney fire.
Aside from creosote deposits, twigs and leaves within the chimney are also cleared. These things are also fire hazards.
Any damage discovered through the CCTV survey needs to be repaired. Using your fireplace when your chimney has structural defects is akin to endangering your property and life.
A small crack on the flue can do a lot of damage. It can allow carbon monoxide to seep into your home’s interior. Moreover, it can make it easier for heat to transfer to the areas surrounding the chimney, thereby increasing the risk of house fire.
So, as much as possible, chimney repairs should be completed before winter begins, especially if the fireplace or stove is your primary source of heat.
The glass can stop embers from escaping the firebox. Consequently, this can prevent damages to the flooring. The door can also make your fireplace energy efficient.
In case you install one, make sure you clean it regularly. Doing this prevents soot and debris buildup and makes your fireplace presentable.
Make sure that there are no paper, debris or other items in front of and around the fireplace. Also, avoid placing decors close to the fireplace, especially on the mantle.
Similarly, you should also keep the area surrounding the chimney clear. Overhanging tree branches, particularly those that are encroaching the chimney, should be trimmed. These low hanging branches may catch fire. Moreover, they can impede the flow of smoke and other gases out of your chimney.
The cap can protect the chimney system from moisture damage. Furthermore, it prevents animals as well as other foreign objects from getting inside and clogging the chimney.
So, if you do not have a cap or screen yet, ask a chimney specialist to install one. Meanwhile, if your chimney already has one, inspect if it is securely attached and damage-free.
Do not let ashes linger in the firebox. Clear them out at least once a week or if they are already over an inch deep.
You can sweep them out or use a vacuum. Just make sure that the ashes are already cold before cleaning.
Having a well-maintained fireplace and chimney is all about making sure that you stay warm and safe during the winter season. So, never neglect these structures!
Let us help you ensure that your chimney and fireplace are ready for winter. Call us at +353 872805825 to schedule chimney CCTV survey, repairs or cleaning.
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