Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's Getting Cold So Let's Talk About Chimneys

We have two good sized fireplaces in our home. One has a beautiful cast iron insert and the other is old and odd sized. We mostly heat our home with wood burning in these fireplaces and so their maintenance is of great concern to us. I am sure I have posted about chimney care in the past, but as the cold weather finally starts to make its way to us I feel the need to post again. I simply cannot stress the importance of maintaining your chimneys. Hundreds of homes each winter burn because of chimney fires and hundreds more come close but don't even know it. We are diligent about maintaining our chimneys, but we never do it all by ourselves. You can purchase chimney sweep brushes and such as big box hardware stores, but they can't replace the expertise of having a true chimney sweep out to clean and INSPECT your chimneys. During the winter months our fireplaces are going daily and we do use a brush to sweep the chimney about once a month. However, our most important maintenance task is to have the professionals come out. They sweep and inspect with a camera both chimneys for 150.00 dollars. It is the best money that we spend all winter. With the cast iron fireplace we don't worry too much, but the old (100 year old) masonry fireplace we do have concern. With its age there are bound to be problems that develop from age and the last thing I want is a fire in my attic that I don't know about until too late. In fact there have been some minor problems and the repairs were made in a very timely fashion with very little additional cost to the cleaning. Each year at the end of summer we call them to come out and take care of the chimneys and so each year we feel safe knowing that our chimneys are well maintained. Folks, do yourself and your family a favor...keep your chimneys in good working order. I can't imagine anything more awful than to smell smoke on a cold winter evening only to step outside and find your entire roof engulfed in flames. The cost to call the chimney sweeps is minimal to the damage that a chimney fire can cause. Stay warm and safe this winter. Blessings from the farm, Kat


Amy said...

Thanks for the reminder. Now, how do I convince my husband that it is not okay to burn wet wood? The other day he even threw a log that had been sitting in a pool of water. ?!?!?!?!?

Kat said...

Wet wood is not so much of an issue because as it gets hot it simply releases steam. Green wood is the worst because it really leads to heavy creosote buildup. My husband was notorious for thinking he could burn green wood. I had the chimney sweep guy give him some instruction while he was here and explain that our chimney was full of unnecessary creosote. When you burn properly dried hardwood you should see very little smoke coming from the chimney. In fact, it really should be barely visible. Lots of smoke means that your wood is not yet seasoned. Blessings, Kat

katlupe said...

My husband takes great care of our chimneys himself. Since we burn a lot of wood in the winter, he cleans the chimney usually once a month. But it depends on the wood, and if it was banked back a lot. Found you on Homesteading Today.

Kat said...

Katlupe, good to see you. We now sweep our chimney out once a month or so also during the winter. However, once a year I like having the sweeps come out especially since one of our chimneys is really really old. We are saving to put a wood stove there and run metal pipe up the chimney, but just aren't there yet. So each year we pray that it will pass inspection with the sweeps or that the repairs will be minor. Blessings, Kat