Whether you have just purchased a home with a fireplace or wood stove, or have just added wood heat to your existing home, you are sure to enjoy the radiant heat created by the first crackling fire. In order to prevent the risk of flue fires and keep your family safe, however, it is important to make sure that you understand how to properly use and maintain the chimney. These tips will help you go from novice level to seasoned pro and stay safe and warm, too.
Inspect Before Use
If you have just had your chimney installed and no problems were found during the final inspection, you should not need a second inspection as long as the chimney is used within a few weeks of actual installation. If, however, the chimney sits unused for long periods or you have just purchased the home, a professional inspection is a must before you light the first fire.
Most chimneys are constructed so that large portions of them are obscured by the walls of the home. Because of this, you may not be able to see hidden defects or any damage or deterioration that may have occurred. For safety's sake, have a professional, reputable chimney cleaning specialist from a company like Early Times Home Solutions to inspect and clean the flue before use.
In addition to the actual condition of your home's flue, it is important to make sure that it is sized correctly for the wood heating appliance or fireplace you have or want to install. Masonry flues for residential use are typically built in one of the following sizes:
These dimensions are exterior dimensions and allow for the installation of vitrified clay flue tiles, plus the mortar joints that connect them and the insulating 1" air space between the flue blocks and the clay flue tiles. Your chimney specialist, wood stove dealer or masonry contractor are all good sources of information on selecting the proper flue size for your home's needs.
Burn Only Properly Seasoned Wood
Just like your car requires quality fuel to perform with peak efficiency, your wood stove or fireplace must also be fueled with dry, properly seasoned wood to put out optimal heat and burn cleanly. If the wood is wet or not well-seasoned, it will burn at reduced temperatures, creating excessive smoke and a flammable substance called creosote that will coat the interior of the flue and greatly increase the risk of fire damage to your home. In addition, remember that your wood heating stove or fireplace is only meant to burn wood, so do not give in to the temptation to burn paper, trash or other items in it.
Watch Over the Exterior of the Flue
The exterior of your flue is constantly exposed to the elements as well as being at risk for lighting strikes, damage from falling tree limbs and damage from birds, squirrels and rodents who want to nest in it. Make it a point to visually inspect the exterior of your flue periodically, especially after any major storm and before heating season arrives.
Here are some signs of trouble to watch for and what to do about them.
My name is Ian Flaherty and this is my home and garden blog about painting. Many people don't enjoy painting the rooms in their house, but I think it's a very relaxing task that I often do after work. I frequently change the colors of the rooms in my home and every time I do, it gives the home an entirely new appearance, I learned how to paint rooms many years ago when I first started changing the paint colors in my house. When I was first learning how to paint, I had a few mishaps, but then I would do research to learn how it's done right. If you want to discover a whole new world that can be achieved with paint, I hope you'll read my blog and apply these tips and ideas.