Winter is on the way, which means that it’s the perfect time to ensure that your fireplace is in good condition before you start using it for warmth. Although fireplaces are not so common anymore, the heat they provide in winter makes the effort of cleaning and servicing them worth it! To make sure that your fireplace is equipped for the cold months, follow these service and repair tips.
Clean Out The Firebox
Fireplaces get dirty, which is why they need to be cleaned out. The firebox gets filled with ash and soot and will need to be cleaned before you start using it again. Although some people do this after winter ends, you can also leave it until before winter begins. It’s a big job, and you don’t know when the cold weather will end until summer arrives in full force. Either way, making sure that it’s cleaned out before you start using it more frequently is an excellent way to keep it maintained. You can recycle the ash from inside the firebox and use it as garden fertiliser. However, make sure that you don’t remove all the ash – it can help you start the first fire of the new season when the weather gets cold enough.
Sweep The Chimney
It’s always best to start the new cold season with a clean chimney. After a few months of using your fireplace, creosote residue can build up inside the chimney. Not only can the buildup of creosote cause damage to the chimney, but it’s also a major contributor to most common house fires. To be safe, a qualified chimney sweep should be hired to clean it out for you. Fireplace repair services can provide this service, and it’s best if you let them do it for you. This is not a job that you can just DIY; creosote is toxic, and chimney sweeping can be dangerous, especially if you need to get onto the roof to do it. Chimney repair services and chimney sweep professionals have the experience and know-how to do the job safely.
Remove Obstructions From The Flue
When cleaning out the flue, you need to go onto the roof. When the fireplace isn’t used for months at a time, birds, squirrels, rats and other pests can make nests in the flue. These obstructions need to be removed before you build your first fire of the season. If not, they can block up the vents and flue, restricting airflow and preventing the smoke from going outside. Airflow is essential for a functioning fireplace. If you have a blockage in the flue, the smoke has nowhere to go but down, filling your home with smoke, and possibly causing carbon monoxide poisoning.
It’s is another job that your chimney sweep or fireplace repair services will perform for you. Again, because the task is done on the roof, it’s not recommended that you do this job yourself. You could risk falling and injuring yourself or damaging the chimney or roof.
Get A Chimney Inspection Performed
Anything can happen to your fireplace and chimney in the months that you don’t use it. And because you’re not using it, you won’t know about any damage that has occurred until you need it. If that happens, the last thing you need is to be unable to use your fireplace when it’s cold because it needs to be repaired.
To prepare for winter, you need to inspect the fireplace and chimney system so that it can be used safely. Your fireplace repair technician should lookout for the following:
- Cracks, chips or missing bricks and mortar in the masonry inside the chimney and fireplace
- Signs of water damage and mould
- Signs of wear and fire damage in the flue and liner
- Signs of rust
- Cracks in the chimney cap and crown
- Signs of rust or damage in the smoke shelf
Perform The Necessary Repairs
If you used a gas heater or another source of heat in the winter, you would get them repaired if they had issues or had been damaged. Fireplace repairs are no different. You need to ensure that your fireplace is restored before winter arrives so that you’re prepared for the cold weather. Performing these inspections gives much-needed insight into the condition of your fireplace and chimney.
Winter is still a month or so away, which means that now is the perfect time to call out for fireplace repairs, inspections and maintenance. PG Plumbing & Gasfitting can provide these services for you, making sure that you’re prepared for when the cold weather arrives.