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Insights and Tips for a Safer Home

Chimney Maintenance Tips: Summer Edition


July 3, 2023

Chimney Maintenance Tips: Summer Edition

While the cold months may seem far away, now is the perfect time to ensure your fireplace and chimney are in top shape. We have you covered from scheduling a professional inspection to check for animal nests and water damage. Plus, discover how to improve the aesthetic appeal of your fireplace without breaking the bank. Stay ahead of the game and follow our proactive tips for a safer and more attractive fireplace.

Schedule a chimney inspection

Getting your chimney inspected in Summer is vital! A thorough chimney inspection will ensure the safety, efficiency and current condition of your chimney system, most importantly you can prevent potential hazards. Addressing issues early prevents winter emergencies and allows time for any necessary repairs or cleaning to be completed before the rush of the Winter. Opting for a summer inspection allows you to take advantage of the higher availability of chimney professionals. Prioritizing chimney maintenance during this season will help guarantee a well-functioning and secure fireplace for the colder months.

Check for animal nests

During the summer, birds, squirrels, and other animals may take refuge in your chimney for shelter and to escape the heat. Before using the fireplace again, ensure that there are no nests or animals present. These obstructions can cause blockages and prevent proper ventilation, increasing the risk of carbon monoxide buildup. You can proactively prevent this from happening by installing a chimney cap, effectively blocking out the risk of animals entering the chimney. Chimney caps are specially designed to act as a protective barrier to block out various potential intrusions, including animals, debris, rainwater, and downdrafts, thereby preserving its functionality and enhancing overall safety.

Inspect the chimney cap and flashing

The chimney cap and flashing play a crucial role in keeping water, debris, and animals out of your chimney. Check for any damage or signs of wear and tear, such as cracks or rust. Replace or repair these components if necessary to prevent leaks and other issues!

Trim nearby tree branches

If there are trees close to your chimney, it’s important to trim any overhanging branches during the summer. This prevents leaves and debris from falling into the chimney and reduces the risk of branches damaging the chimney or obstructing the airflow.

Check for signs of water damage 

Inspect the interior walls of your home around the chimney for any signs of water damage, such as water stains or mold growth. This could indicate a chimney leak or poor flashing, which should be addressed promptly to prevent further damage.

Install a chimney cap or spark arrestor

Consider installing a chimney cap or spark arrestor if you don’t already have one. They help prevent debris, animals, and sparks from escaping the chimney, improving safety and reducing maintenance needs.

Get a chimney sweep! 

Over time, creosote and other debris can accumulate in the chimney, which can pose a fire hazard. Hire a professional chimney sweep to thoroughly clean the chimney and remove any built-up residue. This will improve the efficiency and safety of your fireplace when you use it again.

Close the Damper

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, be sure the damper is closed when the fireplace is not in use, this is especially important in the summertime. One purpose of the damper is to hinder the flow of air between the chimney and the home. When a damper does not close properly, the effect is similar to having a window open in the house at all times. Energy costs are significantly higher when summer air conditioning and winter heat escape through the chimney.

The exception would be if you have a gas fireplace – experts recommend that you keep the damper open at all times to prevent gas from building up in your home in the event of a gas leak.

Clean out the Ashes

If you leave ash and soot in the fireplace during the off season, you may be lowering your air quality and exposing your home to foul odors.  Also, your fireplace will simply look much better with the ashes cleaned out.

Upgrade your Fireplace’s Aesthetic Appeal

Without having to make a major investment, there are ways to aesthetically upgrade your fireplace during the off season.  

For Electric Fireplaces: Switch your electric fire to ‘effect only’

A large number of electric fires come with an ‘effect only’ mode. When in this mode, the electric fire will display its flame effect, but will not generate any heat.