Spring Chimney Cleaning Checklist
Spring is my favorite time of year. It’s not too hot, not too cold and there’s plenty of sunshine. With the flowers in bloom and birds singing in the trees, everything is bright and cheerful. And now that winter is over, it’s the perfect time for an annual spring chimney cleaning.
Check for chimney damage and water leaks
Spring is the perfect time to check your chimney to see what old man winter left behind. The effects of winter, snow and ice can wreak havoc on chimneys. The pounding forces of Mother Nature can soften and damage the mortar and masonry causing bricks and other pieces to deteriorate, chip and eventually fall off. Even a small gap in the chimney structure can allow water to leak inside the flue. To avoid the surprise of costly repairs when you need your fireplace most, we recommend inspecting the entire chimney and flue system every spring.
Sweep away the creosote
While your fireplace was keeping your family warm all winter, creosote was sticking around inside the flue and chimney. This tarry and oily substance, which is a natural by-product of combustion, continues to grow every time you light the fireplace. Since creosote is highly flammable, it is the leading cause of chimney fires in the U.S. All homeowners are urged to have their chimney swept at least once per year by a certified chimney sweep.
Clean the ash in the firebox
Having about a one-inch layer of ash in the firebox is actually helpful during the fireplace season, but it should be removed at the end of the season, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Ash attracts moisture so sweeping it from the firebox every spring will help prevent rusting and deterioration of metal parts and components inside the fireplace.
Inspect the chimney cap
The chimney cap is a device installed on top of the chimney and it plays an important role in helping to keep water and pests out of the flue while allowing smoke to escape. But the impacts of environmental conditions, along with rain, snow and ice can damage the cap leaving your chimney at risk. Also, high winds can blow the cap clear off the chimney, especially if it has already been damaged from previous storms. That’s why it’s critical to inspect the chimney cap every spring and have it replaced if it is missing or damaged beyond repair.
Inspect and re-apply waterproofing
The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is worth its weight in bricks when it comes to your chimney. That’s because porous masonry materials like bricks and concrete soak up water like a sponge which speeds up the normal deterioration process. A waterproof chimney coating can help prevent this, but usually have a 5 to 10 year warranty. It is highly recommended to inspect the chimney for signs of water damage and reapply the waterproof coating when necessary.
A clean fireplace is a safe fireplace. Contact us to schedule your annual spring chimney inspection and cleaning with a certified chimney sweep today!