The short weeks between Halloween and New Years go by in the blink of an eye! With so much going on, fireplace maintenance often gets put on the back burner. Before you and your family get cozy in front of a fire this holiday season, make sure your fireplace has been swept and inspected!
How Often Should my Chimney be Swept?
Whether you use your fireplace only a few times each year or on a near-daily basis during the winter, a chimney sweeping is one of the best ways to keep your chimney system well maintained. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends homeowners have their chimneys swept at least once per year – regardless of how much it is used. Chimneys should also “be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances.”
Having the chimney swept before the holidays not only ensures it is safe to enjoy with family and friends, but also keeps your fireplace system free from blockages or creosote buildup. Removing creosote, a tarry black byproduct of fuel burning fires is especially important; because it is highly flammable, creosote ignition is the primary cause of accidental chimney fire. An annual chimney sweeping can help prevent this and protect you and your family.
What to Expect During a Chimney Sweeping
During a chimney sweeping, the certified chimney technician will use special brushes, brooms, and vacuums to remove soot, ash, and creosote from the flue. During the sweeping, they will also check for blockages in the chimney as well as signs of damage or deterioration. Because the holiday season is busy for both families and chimney sweeps, it is important to schedule your next chimney sweeping as soon as possible to avoid delays or long wait times.
Fireplace Safety Tips During the Holidays
In addition to having your chimney swept before the holidays arrive, the following safety tips can help keep you and your family, friends, and guests safe during this season of celebration.
- Avoid the temptation to burn wrapping paper and packaging. After unwrapping gifts, it can be tempting to save time – and trash can space – by throwing paper and packaging into the fire. However, fires fed by paper can flare quickly, damaging the area surrounding the fireplace. Likewise, the colored dyes in wrapping paper can sometimes release toxic chemicals into the air while burning.
- Keep holiday décor away when the fireplace is in use. Draped garland and hanging stockings are among some of the most common types of holiday mantle décor. However, low-hanging holiday décor should be removed before using the fireplace. This prevents stray sparks and embers from singeing or igniting the décor.
The Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons are a popular time to use and enjoy your home’s fireplace. This holiday season, keep your family safe by having your fireplace swept and by practicing easy to follow fireplace safety tips. For more information on fireplace safety during the holidays or to schedule your chimney sweeping, contact Chimney TEK today!