Winter is one of the best times to enjoy a cozy fire in the fireplace. The fire offers warmth and provides a place for your family to spend time. To keep your property safe, verify the fireplace and chimney are in good condition. A blocked or damaged chimney poses a hazard to your home. Here are a few basic tips for chimney maintenance.

Chimney Care and Maintenance

1. Clean the Chimney Annually

Keep your chimney in good condition by cleaning it regularly to remove leaves, pine needles, animal nests, and creosote. Creosote is a flammable by-product of burning wood, and it can accumulate in the chimney, increasing the risk of a fire. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends having your chimney inspected and cleaned once a year by a professional chimney sweep.

2. Check for Damage

Your chimney is exposed to harsh weather conditions – including sun, rain, and ice – and high temperatures, making it vulnerable to damage. Regularly check the chimney for cracks or damage to the masonry or liner. Damaged bricks or mortar can leak harmful gases, threatening your health. It is essential to address damages as soon as possible.

3. Maintain Proper Ventilation

By design, a home’s chimney vents harmful gases produced by burning wood. However, inadequate airflow or a blocked chimney can cause dangerous gases like carbon monoxide to accumulate in your home, risking your family’s health. Verify the damper functions properly and that the chimney has proper ventilation.

4. Practice Safe Burning

Safe and efficient burning practices go a long way in preventing chimney hazards. Always use dry, well-seasoned hardwood to prevent creosote buildup, and never burn paper, cardboard, or trash in the fireplace. Also, don’t leave the fire unattended, and have a fire extinguisher nearby in an emergency.

5. Call a Professional for Chimney Maintenance

While regular chimney upkeep and maintenance can go a long way in preventing hazards, sometimes it’s best to call a professional. Here are a few signs your chimney needs professional attention.

  • Excess soot buildup
  • Crumbling or cracked chimney bricks
  • Animal noises in the chimney
  • Bad odor coming from the fireplace
  • The damper won’t open or close properly

Take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable season around the fireplace. Practice these basic tips for chimney care and maintenance to reduce hazards. At least yearly, have the chimney inspected and cleaned regularly by a professional and seek their services when necessary to keep your home and family safe.

Legacy Property Inspections offers professional inspection services to homebuyers and sellers in Southeast Georgia. Contact us to request an appointment.