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Check Your Chimney Before Turning On Your Heat This Winter

Key Takeaways –

  • This holiday season, don’t let your chimney play spoilsport: spot potential problems and schedule chimney repair.
  • Winter maintenance ensures the chimney and the fundamentals are well secured and in running order.
  • Chimney health is essential to home repair and maintenance; your energy bills and savings depend on them.
  • Without effective chimney maintenance, your chimney might face significant problems during the winter season.
  • Purcell’s Paving and Masonry offer exclusive chimney repair services in Basking Ridge, NJ.

No one wants to start their heating season off with a fire, so check your chimney before turning on your heat this winter. Have a professional look and clean it if necessary to avoid any unnecessary damage or danger. Follow these simple tips to keep your chimney safe and functioning properly all winter.

Prepare Your House Before Lighting the Fireplace –

Before you get to the point of fixing your chimney, there’s some housekeeping you need to take care of.

1. Clear the Clutter Around the Fireplace

This one should be obvious, but it’s worth repeating. Ensure the area around your fireplace is clear of flammable, including items like newspapers, magazines, blankets, and pillows. The last thing you’d want is for your home to go up in flames because you didn’t take the time to clear away the clutter.

2. Inspect the Fireplace Gasket

Your fireplace gasket is a seal that helps prevent heat and fumes from escaping through cracks in your fireplace. Over time, these gaskets can become damaged or worn out, so it’s essential to inspect them regularly and replace them as needed. A quick way to check if your gasket needs to be replaced is to hold a piece of paper up to the crack. If the paper flutters or blows away, you know it’s time for a new gasket. 

3. Replace the Batteries in the Carbon Monoxide And Smoke Alarms

This one is non-negotiable—if you don’t have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home, you need to install them immediately. And even if you have them, you should still replace the batteries at least once a year. It’s just good practice (and could potentially save your life). 

Also, read – What to Ask Masonry Contractor Before Hiring?

How to Prepare Your Chimney for Winter?

Now that you’ve completed a roundup of all essentials, it is time to dive into the chimney lane to determine possible loopholes and fix them before they become a headache.

  1. Check your chimney cap. The chimney cap is the metal cover at the top of your chimney. It’s there to keep debris and animals out of your chimney. Ensure the cap is securely fastened and there are no holes or gaps.
  2. Inspect for damage. Take a close look at your chimney to see if there are any cracks or missing mortar. Repair any damage before winter sets in. Cracks and gaps can let cold air into your home and cause your heating bill to go up.
  3. Trim trees near the chimney. Overhanging branches can damage your chimney and cause blockages. Cut back any branches that are within 10 feet of your chimney.
  4. Check the damper function. The damper is a metal flap that covers the fireplace’s opening when it’s not in use. The damper prevents heat from escaping the chimney when it’s not in use. If it needs to be fixed, it can be very costly to heat your home during winter. Check the damper function regularly and have it repaired if necessary.
  5. Hire a chimney sweep. This is the most crucial point on the list! A professional chimney sweep will have the necessary tools and experience to clean your chimney properly. They will also be able to spot any potential problems you might need to be aware of. It’s best to hire a sweep once a year, preferably before you start using your fireplace for the winter season.
Check Your Chimney Before Turning on Your Heat This Winter

What Are Common Chimney Repair Problems During Winter?

Chimneys are notoriously finicky, and even the tiniest crack can cause big problems. So, before you light that first fire of the season, read on for tidbits you need to know about keeping your chimney in tip-top shape.

1. Cracks in the Chimney Crown

The chimney crown is the cement cap at the top of your chimney and plays a vital role in keeping water out. If there are cracks in your crown, water will seep in and cause severe damage to your chimney. The good news is that this problem is relatively easy to fix. You can either patch the crown yourself with a repair kit or hire a professional to do it for you.

2. Leaks in the Flashing

The flashing is the metal strip that seals the connection between your roof and your chimney. If there are gaps or cracks in your flashing, water can get into your home, causing all sorts of problems. To fix this, you’ll need to reseal the flashing with a waterproof sealant. Again, you can either do this yourself or hire a professional. 

3. Missing Mortar Joints

Mortar joints hold bricks together, so if they’re missing or damaged, your entire chimney could collapse. To fix this problem, you’ll need to remove the loose mortar and replace it with new mortar mixed with water. Once dry, it would help if you sealed it with a waterproof sealant to prevent further damage.

4. Damaged Bricks

If bricks are cracked or damaged, they need to be replaced as soon as possible before more extensive damage is done. To do this, you’ll need to remove the damaged bricks and mortar and install new bricks and mortar. You should only attempt this if you have experience working with bricks; otherwise, you could cause more damage than you started. 

As the weather continues to cool down and winter approaches, it’s time to start considering getting your home ready for the cold months ahead. One of the most essential things you can do to prepare your home for winter is to have your chimney checked and repaired if necessary.

Purcell’s Paving and Masonry offer exclusive chimney repair services in Basking Ridge, NJ.

So don’t wait – get a free estimate today and ensure your chimney is in good working order before you turn on your heat this winter!