A Safe, Efficient Chimney & Fireplace
A working fireplace in a home is a lovely accent. But a fireplace that works at peak efficiency is a pleasure for the entire family. Ye Olde Brit Chimney Sweep of San Bernardino, CA, presents five tips for keeping your chimney and fireplace in great shape and running at their best all year long.
Schedule annual chimney sweeping
This is probably the #1 maintenance task for homeowners with wood-burning fireplaces. Chimney sweeping focuses on two critical areas:
Removal of creosote
Creosote is a highly flammable substance that builds up when smoke condenses in the flue. It’s the biggest cause of chimney fires throughout Southern California every year. Professional chimney sweeps use specialized tools to safely remove creosote and reduce the chance of a chimney fire.
Removal of obstructions
Another reason for annual chimney cleaning is to check for flue obstructions. Leaves, twigs, the nests of small animals, and small animals that die inside the chimney can all cause smoke to draft inefficiently. This can lead to smoke and deadly carbon monoxide backing up into your home.
Upgrade to a wood or gas fireplace insert
Open masonry chimneys present a beautiful appearance, but they’re not very good at producing heat and keeping drafts out of your home. The solution is a new fireplace insert.
Fireplace inserts are factory-built appliances that fit into the open firebox of a masonry fireplace. They can run on wood or gas fuel and offer these benefits:
- Increased burn efficiency
- More heat for your home
- Protection against downdrafts
- Highly insulated and safe
- Vented through the existing chimney
- Gorgeous styles and finishes to choose from
Maintain consistent airflow when using the fireplace
Fire needs air to start and keep burning. Chimneys need air to create a draft that pulls smoke out of the fireplace. This air is provided by your home.
If your home is newer and particularly airtight, it might be creating a vacuum effect to keep air from flowing into the firebox. Simple solutions can include:
- Crack a window near the fireplace
- Turn off bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans
- Don’t run clothes dryers and the fireplace at the same time
- If you still have sluggish fires and smoke backups, have your chimney inspected to see what’s causing the problem
Use your fireplace damper
A closed or partially closed damper will impede air flow, so make sure yours is fully opened when getting a fire started.
When your fireplace isn’t in use, remember to close the damper completely to block the exchange of air between your home and outside.
If your damper squeaks and is hard to operate, it may be rusted. This could indicate a leak in the chimney system. Have squeaky dampers inspected and then cleaned, repaired, or replaced. Have chimney leaks fixed.
Add a set of lovely fireplace doors
Fireplace doors made of shiny glass work with a damper to block the exchange of air. But unlike the damper, fireplace doors add a touch of beauty and elegance to your room.
Help with all your chimney and fireplace needs
Ye Olde Brit has been keeping our customers’ chimneys and fireplaces working right for more than 30 years. We carry the Certified Chimney Professional designation and are proud members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild.
If your chimney or fireplace is acting up, call the experts today at (909) 880-2120. You can also get in touch through our handy contact form.