If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, it can be the perfect place to hang out with friends or family on cold winter nights. Before you light your fireplace, be sure that your chimney is safe to use. There are several measures you can take to check on its safety—which we will share with our readers now.
How to Tell If Your Chimney is Safe
Here are some ways to check your chimney before using it for the first time each season.
Have Your Chimney Inspected
The first and most important step of the process is to have your chimney inspected annually. Chimney inspections can be performed at three levels of depth, with each level checking for damage, leaks and cracks. Masonry issues such as obstructions or unsafe levels of creosote buildup are also noted during the inspection process.
Get a Chimney Sweep
A chimney sweep cleans the interior of a fireplace by removing buildup like soot and ash, as well as animal nests. Without regular cleanings, creosote or other substances can clog your chimney’s flue—creating the risk of fire or carbon monoxide leaks.
It is highly recommended that you hire a CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certified chimney sweep to take care of your fireplace. These professionals have undertaken extensive training courses and adhere to an ethical code, meaning they are qualified to ensure the safety of your home during their visit.
Though you may not be a professional, if something seems off with your chimney—like an odor that doesn’t seem right or unusual animal noises coming from inside it—you should investigate.
If you smell something odd or notice another sign that your chimney is in trouble, contact a team of professionals to examine it before lighting it.
Take Safety Precautions
Keeping your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in good working order with fresh batteries makes it much less likely that you will be poisoned by either of these gases.
Getting a chimney sweep and inspection are the best ways to ensure that your chimney is safe for use. If you have not already done so this year, contact an experienced team.