Home Maintenance Blog

Keep the Home Fires Burning – Safely

Posted by Andrew Balfour on Nov 21, 2014 11:47:24 AM

While most people do not look forward to the long cold months of winter, there is something particularly comforting about curling up in front of a nice warm fire on a winter’s eve.  Before you start making the cocoa, however, it is important to make sure that your fireplace, whether wood burning or gas, is safe for use.  The best way to do so is to schedule a professional inspection and cleaning.

Wood-burning fireplaces:

The inspector will look for a number of issues, including deterioration of the liner on the inside of the chimney that can lead to smoke/carbon monoxide leaking out into the house, build up of creosote or other blockages in the flue which can create a fire hazard and missing mortar on the exterior of the chimney and/or cracking of the cement crown (see photos) which can lead to water damage in the house as well as damage to the flue.  The cleaning should take care of the blockages and creosote, but the other issues could require costly repairs.  If a new liner is needed then we suggest getting a couple of quotes to make sure you are getting a reasonable price.

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Gas fireplace:

During the tune up the technician should be checking gas pressure, making sure the fireplace has proper ventilation, checking the readings on any electrical components and making sure the unit is burning in safe manner.  They will also clean/replace the embers and clean the glass on the fireplace doors to enhance the quality of the fireplace experience.

One final note of the fireplace work: most chimney companies offer discounted pricing if you have your fireplace serviced during the summer months when business is slower for them so plan ahead!

Topics: Seasonal Home Maintenance, Ask The Expert, HVAC Maintenance

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