How to Prepare Your Fireplace for Dangerous Winter Storms

Every winter, dangerous storms sweep through the country and take too many homeowners by surprise. If your fireplace isn’t up to the challenge, you may find yourself at the far end of a long line of other people waiting for repair service. This is why it’s key to prepare for bad winter storms before they hit. Here are a few strategies for getting our fireplace ready for challenging seasonal weather:

Have Your Chimney Cleaned

If the creosote is allowed to build up in your chimney, it could eventually ignite. These chimney fires are dangerous events that may burn through your chimney itself. Even if they don’t, they can create damage that is hard to see, much less repair. Regular chimney cleaning by professionals is a must for every fireplace. It prepares your chimney for what may be 24/7 use when creosote will build up faster than at any other time of the year. If you see stormy weather in the forecast, it’s time to pick up the phone.

Get a Chimney and Fireplace Inspection

Some problems are pretty obvious to a homeowner. Others require a professional to spot and diagnose. Chimney and fireplace inspections let you head off trouble and not be caught by surprise by hidden problems that worsen when the weather takes a bad turn.

A cursory chimney inspection involves the pro checking out the situation visually. More in-depth inspections could include using specialized tools or crawling around the roof and attic. The inspector will look for leaks, gaps, damage, obstructions, creosote buildup, and more. They will also discuss any concerns or problems that you may have. Finally, the inspector can explain to you what fixes are available, and what the repairs may cost you.

Repair and Waterproof Your Masonry

Your masonry may feel rock solid, but it has one powerful enemy: water damage. Over time, water can penetrate your mortar and fine cracks in the bricks. When that water freezes due to plummeting temperatures, this damage accelerates. This is why masonry repairs & waterproofing is vital to have done before winter storms come through. A little prevention here can greatly extend the life of your masonry and the fireplace itself.

Replace Worn Out Parts

Is your damper worn out? What about the fireplace doors’ sealing gaskets? Your home heating system has many parts and it undergoes a lot of wear and tears during cold weather. This may result in worn down components that technically still work, but they aren’t working as efficiently as they could. A related problem is that even if the worn-out part works now, it’s just a matter of time before it fails.

For example, think about a worn-down damper that doesn’t open completely. This results in the air not drawing as it should and overall poor fireplace performance. Meanwhile, if the damper gets stuck closed, your house can fill with smoke and toxic gasses.

Install a Chimney Cap and Chase Cover

Chimney caps and chimney chase covers (also called top pans) keep water, snow, animals, and bits of sticks or dead leaves out of your fireplace system. If you don’t have one, it’s vital that you get one installed. These devices protect the inside of your chimney and the rest of the system from debris and rust damage.

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