Chimney Maintenance Tips for the Fall and Winter
Living in Austin, Texas it is easy to overlook the recommended routine maintenance for a fireplace and chimney. The fireplace and chimney can be a major source of cold air leaks, among other issues in the winter. At Austin Chimney Sweeps & Duct Cleaning, we specialize in making sure your chimney is in tip-top shape come the winter time.
Here’s a few tips on how to prepare you chimney for the cold months of winter.
First Thing's First...
If it has been a long time, as in more than a year, since you have had your fireplace chimney cleaned, you need to have a professional chimney sweep clean your chimney. Chimney cleaning is not a DIY project.
Ensure the Damper Works
Your fireplace damper plays a critical role in your home’s overall energy efficiency. When the fireplace is not in use, the damper should be closed to keep outside drafts from entering the home through the chimney. If your damper is not closing, you’ll see the the result in your energy bill as your furnace will not be able to keep up. Conversely, when your fireplace is in use, the damper needs to be open. If your damper is broken and can’t open, you CAN NOT use your fireplace. The damper will trap the smoke in your home, and could possibly lead to fatal carbon monoxide poisoning.
Know When to Have Your Chimney Swept
Regardless of the type of fireplace you have in your home (wood or gas/propane), it is important to have your chimney swept routinely. This will help keep your home safe. The important question is: How often do you need a chimney sweeping? While there is no specific time to get your chimney cleaned, it is important to consider a few factors. The first is how often your fireplace is in use. The general rule of thumb is one your chimney liner has 1/8 inch of soot, it should be cleaned. Put even simpler: your chimney should be cleaned every 50 burns. This is a rough estimate that obviously depends on if you have a gas or wood burning fireplace, as wood burning fireplace chimneys will need cleaning more often.
Waterproof Your Chimney
Moisture can be a major problem for your chimney. It can weaken the structural integrity of your chimney, cause mold, and even damage the walls and floors around your fireplace. To waterproof your chimney, you’ll need to ensure the chase cover, crown, and chimney flashing are installed and functioning properly. A quick and easy method to start the waterproofing process is to add a water sealant to the outside of your chimney. This will prevent moisture from breaking down the bricks and mortar. Furthermore, it will prevent the water from entering your home where it can quickly become mold…and harmful.
Have Your Chimney Inspected Once Per Year
Simply giving your chimney the eye test isn’t enough. Your chimney could have underlying problems that are not visible to the untrained professional. Having a chimney inspection once per year is critical to ensure your chimney’s safety. Chimney inspections can be offered in three different levels.
Level 1 Chimney Inspection: Used for chimneys that for all intents and purposes are functioning properly. Examines all readily accessible portions.
Level 2 Chimney Inspection: Utilized for homes that are changing their heat source (i.e. from gas to log). This inspection is required prior to selling a property and includes everything in a Level 1 Inspection, plus attic, crawlspace, and exterior inspections.
Level 3 Chimney Inspection: Includes both Level 1 & 2 Inspections plus checks more concealed areas. This inspection is for chimneys that have a major problem that needs addressing.
Austin Chimney Sweeps & Duct Cleaning: Chimney Cleaning Experts in Austin, Texas
It should be pretty clear that keeping your chimney in top form should be a priority for every Austin homeowner. At Austin Chimney Sweeps & Duct Cleaning, we specialize in chimney cleaning in Austin area homes as they prepare for the winter. Contact us today to learn more about our chimney sweeping services and more.