Top 10 Tips for Good Chimney Maintenance
Good chimney maintenance techniques should be part of your regular household cleaning and repair routine.
10 Tips for Good Chimney Maintenance
- Maintain a safe perimeter. Keep tree branches and other objects at least 15 feet from the top of your chimney.
- Instruct your family on safe fireplace, furnace and stove practices.
- Retrofit a chimney cap on your existing chimney if you don’t have one now. Caps keep leaves and animals out of your chimney that could create dangerous obstructions.
- Use appropriate fuel. Green wood, dismantled furniture and other questionable fuels should always be avoided. Use your fireplace or other fuel burning feature in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have doubts about a particular fuel, err on the side of caution.
- Build fires correctly. Add fuel or build fires correctly by placing fire-logs in the back of the grate and supporting them so they don’t slip. Use kindling, and never add materials of a questionable nature, even small ones. Burning substances that don’t flare up can still release colorless and odorless toxic gasses into your home or the environment.
- Use fireplace screens and keep safety doors closed. Protect nearby areas that could catch fire by providing a reliable barrier and using it consistently.
- Clear the hearth or surrounding areas. Never keep old rags, newspaper, furniture or other objects near your stove, furnace or fireplace. If there’s an open flame or high heat, be sure to maintain a safe zone of 36 inches or more.
- Don’t leave fires unattended. Stay safe by developing good fire maintenance habits. Never leave a room where there’s an open flame, even a candle. You never know what will happen.
- Install monitoring equipment. One of the best precautions you can take is to install equipment, like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, that will alert you to problems before they become life threatening. If these devices aren’t wired to your household current, maintain their batteries on a set schedule by checking them twice a year. A common method is to check when you change your clocks to and from Daylight Savings Time in spring and fall.
- Have your chimney professionally inspected annually.
Good chimney maintenance is part education, part responsible and prudent practices, and always critical for insuring the safety of your home and family.