Nothing says fall like curling up next to a cozy fire, but a poorly maintained fireplace can put an end to that comfy night and cost you serious money in repairs.
Fortunately, these proper chimney care tips will keep your fireplace clean and functional.
Get a regular chimney inspection and sweep
While a chimney inspection might not be cheap (at about $300 to $600 for an inspection and cleaning), taking this chimney maintenance step will save you money in the long run. It’s no surprise the part of your house that deals with fire on the inside and the elements on the outside is prone to damage. Regular chimney inspections will help you catch any problems with the masonry or flue before they get worse and cost more to repair. While the inspector is there, have your chimney cleaned. Acidic creosote deposits form each time you burn something in your chimney. The more creosote builds up, the more likely it is to damage the mortar. An annual inspection and sweep is usually enough to keep your chimney functioning well.
Replace your chimney cap regularly
Another way to avoid big expensive problems with your chimney is to regularly replace your chimney cap or a chase cover. This essential component keeps out leaves, snow, rain, and animals to keep your chimney in tip-top shape.
Waterproof your chimney
Just as you’ll want to protect the inside of your chimney from the elements with a cap, you’ll also want to waterproof the outside. Adding awater sealantto your chimney will protect the bricks and mortar and buy you more time before repairs or replacements are necessary.
Close your damper
Your chimney damper is located inside the flue and helps control ventilation to keep your home from getting too smokey when you light a fire. Forgetting to close the damper after the fire goes out can be costly. You might notice your heating bills go up if you forget to close it. Higher heating bills can also be caused by a damaged flue which should come up in a chimney inspection.
Use well-seasoned wood
Keep your fire from getting too smokey by sticking to well-seasoned wood that’s been dried for at least a year. Not only will this be more pleasant for you, it’ll also cut down on the amount of wood you need to use to build a fire.
I had the honor of reading an advance copy of “You and Me and Us” (William Morrow) by Alison Hammer and haven’t been able to stop thinking (or talking) about it. It’s hard to believe this is a debut. Alexis has given up on finding a good work/life balance. But when her partner and father of their teenage daughter is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Alexis puts her career on hold and agrees to spend their last summer as a family at “their” beach. This is a beautifully written story about love and loss and guilt and moving forward. It’ll rip your heart to shreds and duct tape it back together.
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