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Be Sure To Have a Chimney Cap

The weather is changing, and this means your chimney will once again be put to use. Before lighting that first fire, look at your chimney and make sure you have a chimney cap installed. If not, you should seriously consider getting one before the winter really kicks in and you are using your fireplace every day.

Be sure to have a chimney cap

A chimney cap is relatively inexpensive to have installed. In fact, its preventative value may exceed the installation costs. There are multiple benefits, as you will soon see, in having a chimney cap installed on your chimney.

  1. Prevents Animals from Entering Chimney – while birds are probably the most common, there are other animals that can find their way into the chimney. This can cause problems with the interior of the lining as well as leave your chimney inoperable for fear of killing the animal that has found its way inside. In the worst-case scenario, chimney swifts, a bird protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty, will find a home in your chimney and you will not be able to remove it until the birds migrate for the summer.
  2. Rain Water – rainwater is a definitive problem for homeowners that have not had a chimney cap installed. Heavy storms can cause water to literally pour down into your chimney, which is dangerous on several levels. Firstly, it can put out the fire and cause massive amounts of smoke to enter the home. Secondly, it can cause structural problem with the liner and end up creating mold inside the chimney, resulting in expensive repairs.
  3. Debris – winter is known for high winds in many areas. With wind often comes a large amount of dust, dirt, and debris. Without a chimney cap, this debris can find its way into your chimney.
  4. Inadvertent Fires – while enjoying your fire, have you ever noticed the embers that fly up in the chimney flue? Well, guess what the leading cause of external fires related to fireplace use is? The cap will prevent the embers from ever leaving the flue, therefore, avoiding any chance of a fire starting outside your home from stray embers.
By Ronald Caillais on December 27th, 2012 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

What Causes Chimney Fires?

Fireplaces and chimneys play a very important role in our homes. This has been true for as long as fires have been around. Their efficiency in providing heat is undeniable. Also, people enjoy them because they give off natural heat and can be beautiful to look at and enjoy as well. Some homes use their wood burning fireplaces often, despite the fact that electric and gas units tend to be more convenient. With any fireplace, you and your family and friends are able to sit in front of a fire, and enjoy each others company in a warm, comfortable place. You just can’t do that with a HVAC unit. In fact, when there is central heating only, the family tends to go off to their own private spaces instead of coming together. In essence, fires not only bring warmth to the family, but also brings the family closer together.

Despite these wonderful aspects to having a fireplace, there are some important things to keep in mind. Chimney fires are a real danger. One of the main reasons a chimney can catch on fire is the lack of proper maintenance. If each and every homeowner with a chimney would observe the proper ways to maintain a chimney, then this becomes a much smaller risk. To do this, all you need to do is call a certified professional sweep so the recommended yearly maintenance is performed correctly. If you wait, the situation can be worse than you ever expected.

Other causes of chimney fire are the presence of foreign objects inside the chimney. This is not a rare situation considering that even squirrels can sometimes get trapped in the chimney. A chimney technician or sweep should check the inside of the chimney appliance, and remove any obstructions from it.

Keeping obstructions out of the appliance can be prevented by using bird screens, which is a very simple and inexpensive procedure. Also preventable is increasing build up of creosote and soot that can form over a season of burning. Using improperly seasoned firewood is one of the quickest ways to add to your chances of having a chimney fire. So use properly seasoned wood and cut down on the risk of fire. It will also save you money because the wood will burn slower and more efficiently.

By Ronald Caillais on June 26th, 2012 | Tagged with: Tags: , | Leave a Comment
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