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Your Safety Is Our Business

As the temperature begins to drop, homeowners like yourselves are eagerly anticipating the cozy warmth of their fireplace. While a crackling fire can create a delightful atmosphere, using your fireplace safely during the winter is essential. In this month’s blog, our CCP-certified chimney professionals have compiled five tips to ensure you have a safe and efficient burning season.

1. Perform regular maintenance.

  • Before the winter season, have your fireplace and chimney inspected by a professional chimney sweep. They will check for any blockages, creosote buildup, or damage that could pose a safety hazard.

  • Schedule a professional cleaning at least once a year or more if your fireplace or wood stove are used frequently.

2. Store and burn quality firewood.

  • Burn only seasoned hardwoods like oak, maple, or cherry. Seasoned wood has been allowed to dry for at least six months. Green, or wet, wood can lead to more creosote buildup and less efficient burning.

  • Store firewood away from your home to prevent pests and moisture problems.

3. Ensure proper ventilation.

  • Open the damper or flue before lighting a fire to ensure proper ventilation. This allows smoke and gases to escape through the chimney rather than entering your home.

  • Keep a window cracked open slightly while the fire is burning to provide a source of fresh air and help maintain proper airflow.

  • Remove ashes and debris from the firebox to ensure proper airflow and reduce the risk of a chimney fire.

4. Use fireplace tools.

  • Install a sturdy fireplace screen or glass doors to prevent sparks, embers, and logs from popping out of the fire. Ensure the screen or doors are securely in place while the fire is burning.

  • Use appropriate tools, such as a poker and tongs, to adjust and move logs as needed. Never use your hands to adjust burning logs.

5. Practice fireplace safety.

  • Keep flammable materials, such as curtains, furniture, and decorations, a safe distance away from the fireplace. We recommend a three-foot clearance.

  • Always supervise the fire and never leave it unattended, especially if you have pets or children in the house.

  • Extinguish the fire completely before going to bed or leaving the house. Use a fireplace shovel to spread out the embers and cover them with ashes.

  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, especially near the fireplace and sleeping areas. Regularly test and replace the batteries in these detectors to ensure they are functioning properly.

Chimney Cleaning, Inspection, Maintenance and Repair in NH and MA

Professional inspections and cleanings, coupled with responsible burning practices, not only keep your home safe but also ensure that you enjoy a cozy and warm winter season. Is your chimney due for an appointment? Contact us today. We’re your local CCP-certified chimney professionals.

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As the first signs of fall appear, many of us eagerly anticipate the return of the burning season. Before you light that first fire, it’s important to ensure your chimney is safe and efficient to use. By performing a few maintenance and inspection tasks, you can prevent potential hazards, decreased efficiency, and costly repairs. To help you prepare, Admiralty Chimney’s CCP-certified chimney pros walk you through eight steps to get your chimney ready for the fall.

1. Schedule a professional inspection and cleaning.

Start by scheduling a comprehensive cleaning and inspection with our certified chimney sweeps. We will assess the condition of your chimney cap, flashing, and masonry, looking for cracks, blockages, or any structural issues that may pose a risk. We will also check for creosote, a flammable byproduct of burning wood that accumulates in your flue and causes chimney fires. If creosote is present, we’ll remove the hazardous deposits, allowing your fireplace to function safely and properly.

2. Check the damper.

Inspect the damper to ensure it opens, closes, and seals properly. A properly functioning damper helps control the airflow, conserving heat and energy when the fireplace is not in use. If you notice any issues with the damper, have it repaired or replaced by a professional.

3. Choose the right firewood.

Selecting the right firewood is essential for a safe and efficient fireplace experience. Choose seasoned hardwood, such as oak, maple, or cherry, which burns cleaner and produces less creosote. Avoid burning softwoods like pine or cedar, as they tend to create more creosote and can lead to faster buildup in the chimney.

4. Clear the area around the chimney.

Keep the area around your chimney free of any flammable materials, such as fallen leaves, branches, or firewood. Keep a safe distance between your fireplace and any furniture, curtains, or other combustible items to minimize the risk of accidental fires.

5. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

This is also a good time to check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. If you don’t already have these safety devices, make it a point to install them before the next burning season arrives. These alarms save lives by alerting you to potential dangers and giving you ample time to evacuate in case of emergencies.

6. Review fireplace safety practices.

Remind yourself and your family members about essential fireplace safety practices, such as using a fireplace screen, keeping children and pets at a safe distance, and never leaving a fire unattended.

7. Practice safe burning.

When it's finally time to light your first fire, follow safe burning practices. Use a fireplace grate to keep logs off the floor of the fireplace, allowing for better airflow and combustion. Never overload the fireplace with too much wood, as this can lead to excessive heat and increase the risk of a chimney fire.

8. Create a cleaning and maintenance schedule.

After completing all the necessary preparations, establish a cleaning and maintenance schedule for your chimney and fireplace or stove. Regular cleanings and proactive year-round maintenance will help ensure that your chimney remains safe and efficient.

Chimney Inspections, Cleaning, Maintenance, and Repair in NH and MA

At Admiralty Chimney, your safety is our top priority. Our seasoned experts can help you prepare your chimney for the fall season, so you can enjoy a safe, warm, and cozy environment throughout the colder months. We’re your local CCP-certified chimney professionals. Contact us to schedule your next appointment.

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Maintaining your chimney cap is essential to the functionality of your entire system and should be a part of your overall chimney care. A well-maintained cap protects your home from animal intrusions, blocks debris and moisture, preserves energy efficiency, and enhances indoor air quality. In this article, our CCP-certified chimney professionals explore the key role maintenance plays in the performance and longevity of your cap.

Safeguarding Your Home and Hearth

The primary purpose of a chimney cap is to keep out unwanted elements, such as rainwater, snow, and debris. By preventing water entry, it safeguards the interior of your chimney from costly water damage, including rusted flue liners and weakened mortar joints.

Moreover, a well-maintained chimney cap acts as a barrier against the invasion of small animals or birds that can create nests or cause blockages, potentially leading to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup or chimney fires.

Beyond protection, chimney caps also enhance the overall efficiency of your fireplace. It aids in controlling the draft, preventing downdrafts that could blow smoke back into your home, and promoting proper airflow for better combustion.

A Maintenance Checklist

1. Keep up with annual inspections.

Professional inspections of your cap are essential to ensure it remains intact and fully functional. Your technician will check for any signs of damage and make sure it’s securely attached to the chimney, with no gaps or openings. Additionally, they’ll clean any debris, nests, or animal activity around the cap.

2. Promptly address repairs.

Cracked or corroded chimney caps can allow water to seep into your chimney, leading to extensive damage. If any damage or structural issues are identified during the inspection, it is crucial to address them promptly. Timely repairs or replacement will prevent further deterioration and protect your chimney system from costly repairs down the line.

3. Schedule a professional cleaning.

Debris, leaves, and twigs can accumulate on and around the cap, potentially causing blockages, compromising ventilation and its overall functionality. A professional chimney sweep will remove visible debris, stubborn buildup, and ensure that the cap's screening is clear of all obstructions.

4. Consider waterproofing.

For optimal performance, we recommend sealing and waterproofing your chimney cap. This process helps to safeguard the cap against moisture, preventing rust, corrosion, and the growth of mold and mildew. It also helps maintain the cap's structural integrity and prolongs its lifespan.

Chimney Cap Installation, Inspection, Maintenance, and Repair in NH and MA

Your chimney cap may seem insignificant, but its impact is far-reaching. Contact our team of CCP-certified chimney professionals today to arrange your inspection and cleaning services. Rest assured, we will diligently ensure your cap is in prime condition, providing you with peace of mind.

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