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Chimney and Fireplace Maintenance
Posted By Ethan On January 26, 2011 @ 7:00 am In HVAC,NotIndexed | 2 Comments
I love building fires in the winter. There’s something about that mesmerizing glow that I could watch for hours. Unfortunately, we haven’t really had a chance for any fires this year. In fact, the other day we had our first fire of the season, and it reminded me that I’m behind on some general maintenance. Every year you should run through this short checklist to make sure your fireplace is ready to go.
Every year you should have a Certified Chimney Sweep  out clean your chimney. This reduces the chance of a fire and carbon monoxide poisonings due to creosote buildup or an obstruction in the chimney. They can also check your chimney cap to ensure everything is in good condition. This is an important step even if you don’t build fires very often as animals or deterioration can make the chimney unsafe. Have you chimney cleaned during the off-season for cheaper prices- early spring to late summer.
Creosote is a byproduct of burning fuel in your fireplace. It clings to the inside of your chimney as a highly combustible, black or brown substance. It can be flaky, gummy or hardened. To reduce creosote buildup, there are a couple things to keep in mind:
Creosote sweeping logs (CSL’s) can treat and reduce existing creosote but CSL’s do not replace a certified chimney sweep. A certified sweep will use brushes and sometimes chemical to removed buildup.
Refractory panels reflect heat back into the room, protecting the firebox. If you observe any cracks large enough that you can insert a nickel, on-end, it’s time to have them replaced by a qualified professional. You should also replace any panels where the surface is worn away more than a ¼”.
The damper closes the flue and stops the flow of air. Check out your damper and make sure it isn’t obstructed and opens / closes properly.
What do you think? How do you keep your fireplace in shape?
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 Certified Chimney Sweep: http://www.csia.org/
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