Keeping your chimney in good shape is not only better for the chimney, it is better for the safety of you and your home. Dirty chimneys can cause fires that quickly spread to the entire house. Maintaining your chimney is the only way to ensure your home is safe. Learn how to maintain a chimney by following these steps.
- Have a professional chimney sweep examine your chimney at least yearly. Have them inspect your chimney either before the first time you use it for the year or in the spring when you are done using the chimney or anytime you suspect there may be problems.
- Clean your chimney annually by hiring a professional chimney sweep. The hearth and firebox can be cleaned by you at any time, but a chimney sweep should clean your chimney with professional sweeping tools to thoroughly remove all soot and debris. These can build up and cause destructive fires that spread to the entire house.
- Install a cap at the top of the chimney and have it inspected each year. The cap prevents animals and debris from entering the top of the chimney. The cap can become brittle and may deteriorate from the weather. Inspect it to ensure it is in good condition.
- Keep a fire alarm and a carbon monoxicde detector near the fire place and test them frequently. Replace the batteries twice a year. Keep a fire extinguisher available.
- Clear the area surrounding the fireplace of any flammable materials. Store books and paper materials at least 3 feet or more from the hearth.