family enjoying themselves in front of a fireplace

Take Care of Your Chimney: For New Owners

Sweep Your Chimney

When was the last time you thought about the right choice for your chimney? It’s not common knowledge to know what is best for your chimney. It’s not like a grill or a car—many people throw in wood or start up the gas and enjoy the show. But some things will greatly impact the life of your chimney. Still, the good news is that with regular basic maintenance to your fireplace and chimney and armed with a bit of common knowledge; your fireplace will bring you a lifetime of enjoyment, warmth, and comfort.

If you are unsure if your fireplace and chimney are in good working order, you should always schedule a chimney inspection with a licensed and certified professional.   At Sweep Your Chimney, all of our technicians are licensed and certified with the CSIA, the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Fireplace Safety First and Always

First-time chimney owners will be surprised at how easy it is to care for a chimney, especially once you understand what you’re doing. But make no mistake—it does require some maintenance to keep the chimney clean and safe to use. Here is a list of tools to keep near the fireplace when it’s being used, regardless of the type of fireplace.

  • Fireplace Tool Set: These are what you tend to see in movies; the shovel, poker, tongs, and broom, all mounted on their very own hanging rack. Keep these near the fireplace, even when it is not in use. (It looks cool and old-time.)
  • Mesh Screen: If your fireplace does not come with its own (you would know), then you need to buy one. This is necessary because it will stop embers from flying back into your home instead of up the chimney shoot. It’s important to keep it closed when you aren’t actively watching the fire, and a good idea to keep it there even when there is no fire going.
  • Ash Bucket: You’ll want this for fast and easy removal of the soot and ash that is left after lighting a fire.
  • Andirons: These are the brackets that hold up the wood while the fire is active—they allow for better airflow, meaningless smoke, and a hotter burn.
  • Wood Holder: You can keep all your wood in this holder when you’re not burning it—but keep it far away from the fireplace since it will, you know, burn.
  • Fire Gloves: Even if you are committed to the art of fire poker, you should still get a pair of these gloves. These are more than your average heat-resistant gloves; they are fully fireproof and meant for you to dive your hands into the fire (while wearing them).
  • Hearth Rug: These are a different rug than your average version. These are fireproof, designed to stop and suffocate any embers that make it past your mesh screen. This is a necessity, especially if you have hardwood floors.

Fire is All the Same—Wood is Special

Okay, that’s a little too general, but you get the idea. Anyone who has experienced a campfire with kids (or as a kid) knows that there’s a difference in certain burning materials. Just like all those years ago, what you burn in your chimney matters; the good wood is fun and safe—the bad wood can be toxic. Look for birch, oak, ash, or commercial-made wood bricks for the best wood to use. And avoid, at all costs, softwoods, wet wood, endangered woods, or any bushes, leaves, or other trash, organic or not. Keeping the distinction between what you do and don’t burn will save you a lot of heartaches, especially if you stop any accidents from happening, like a shower of embers resulting from wet wood.

What Else Can You Do for Your Chimney?

Your chimney is just as important to your house running smoothly as any other amenity, including your furnace and your air conditioning. Your chimney is a literal window to the outside, so ensuring that it is up to date will ensure that you aren’t welcoming unwanted creatures. Getting your chimney inspected and cleaned once a year, even if you haven’t used it in that year—will help find and stop any lasting damage that may have happened and gone unnoticed. It’s also a good idea to call on a chimney expert after large storms since debris and strong winds can expose issues that weren’t there before the storm.

Call Us for Your Annual Chimney Sweep Service

Sweep Your Chimney is a family-owned, full-service chimney business. We believe that your chimney maintenance needs to go beyond a wipe-down and a sweep. There needs to be real care and attention given to your home, and we have provided that for the entire surrounding area of Rockville, Maryland.

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