At long last, summer is here and you no longer need the warmth of your fireplace and chimney. That doesn’t mean you should ignore it for the next few months. Instead, there are certain things you can do to maintain your chimney in the summer so that it remains in good working order and is ready to warm you up next fall.
4 Ways to Maintain Your Chimney in the Summer
Keep the Fireplace Clean
First and foremost, make sure the fireplace is cleaned up after winter and kept clean throughout the summer. A clean fireplace is a safe fireplace. Summer is a great time to have your chimney professionally cleaned and inspected. A thorough cleaning will remove creosote and soot from your chimney – damaging elements that can lead to a chimney fire.
The first step to cleaning your fireplace is to remove all ashes from your firebox; make sure the ashes are completely cooled before doing so. Once the ashes are removed, you can use a cleaning solution diluted with water to deep clean surfaces. Always check that the cleaning solution you use has no flammable properties or else, as you can imagine, this could cause a serious issue when you light your next fire.
Take the time to clean the glass doors as well to remove a buildup of soot and creosote.
Close the Damper
Make sure you close the damper off for the summer. The damper is a metal plate that is situated at the top of the firebox. It can be opened or closed with a lever or handle when you are not using your fireplace. A quality damper should offer an airtight seal so that no airflow can get in or out.
There are some rumors floating around about keeping your damper open during the summer, but it’s not something you want to do. For one, the cool air your HVAC system produces will float out and away through an open damper – leading to waste and higher bills than necessary. Some people will say that hot air rises and therefore hot air will leave your home through your chimney, but that’s not how it ends up working. Instead, the cool air inside of your home ends up floating out through the chimney.
In addition, closing the damper will help prevent draft issues as well as unpleasant odors from getting inside of your home. Hot and humid weather produces some funky chimney odors, especially if your chimney is plagued by creosote buildup. Keeping the damper closed will help keep these odors out of your home.
Lastly, while your chimney cap prevents water, debris, and animal nests outside of your chimney, the damper provides a secondary layer of protection against the elements. Let’s say a bird breaks into your chimney, if the damper is open it can fly right into your home. The same is true for bugs and other unwanted intruders.
Make Sure Your Chimney Cap & Crown Are in Working Order
When cleaning and inspecting your chimney in the summer, make sure the chimney cap and crown are working and unbroken. This is your chimney’s first line of defense against the elements and will prevent animals from building a nest inside of your chimney while it is out of commission for the summer. A cracked, broken or missing cap or crown can let the elements get right inside, causing issue when you go to use your fireplace again. Blocks in your chimney caused by debris or nests could lead to toxic smoke blowing back into your home, it could also increase your risk for a chimney fire.
Have Gas Fireplaces Serviced
If you have a gas fireplace, make sure to have it serviced in the summer to prevent any potential for gas leaks caused by loose connections.
Turnbull Masonry is here to service all of your chimney needs – from maintenance to repairs and rebuilds too! Contact us today to learn more.