Three Chimney Basics Every Homeowner Should Know

Chimney with fall leaves covering it

Fall is almost here! As the days turn cooler, you may be thinking of starting up your fireplace. Take a minute to review these three chimney basics to avoid a safety issue this fall or winter.

1. Check the flue liner and chimney cap

The chimney flue liner and chimney cap should be checked annually and repaired if necessary.

If the flue liner is damaged, the chimney can actually become damaged from the heat created by fire. This could weaken the structure and lead to more problems down the road, so it’s best to quickly repair and flue liner issues.

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What to Do if You Have a Chimney Fire

Close up of a campfire

Smoke is supposed to go up the chimney, so you can enjoy a fireplace, but what happens if the chimney actually catches fire while you’re using it? Chimney fires are rare but they can happen. Learn the warning signs of a chimney fire.

How Does a Chimney Fire Start?

Flammable substances such as creosote can stick to the sides of the chimney during normal operation. It becomes dangerous when these substances build up, as they can become hot and even catch fire.

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How to Close Your Fireplace for the Spring and Summer

Living room with fireplace

You hear a lot about how to prepare a fireplace for use in winter, but what about when winter is over? Find out the best way to close down a fireplace when the weather warms and you no longer need to use it.

Clean the Fireplace

When you don’t think you’ll have any more fires, clean the fireplace. Remove any wood that was not burned and have a bonfire or store it in a clean, dry place for next season. Sweep out ashes. Do this slowly, as ash can rise in the air if swept too vigorously. Cleaning ashes isn’t just tidying up, it actually protects the hearth from corrosion.

The last step in cleaning is to clean the fireplace grate, andirons, and tools. Fireplace grates are often coated with a protective product, so you never want to apply a chemical cleaner. These items can generally be wiped with a rag.

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Dangers of a Neglected Chimney

Chimney Neglect

You know your chimney needs maintenance, but do you know why? Find out the hidden dangers of a neglected chimney, then learn how Brandstetter’s KangaRoof can help.

Creosote buildup

Creosote is a natural substance that develops when wood is burned in your fireplace. Since it’s highly combustible, creosote poses a fire hazard unless Ii is regularly removed by a chimney sweep. To protect your home, have the chimney swept out annually.

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How to Prep a Fireplace for Winter

Winter fireplace

Fall is the perfect time to prepare the fireplace for winter, so you know everything is ready before you intend to use it. This checklist will help you prep your fireplace for a full winter of regular use.

Hire a Chimney Sweep

A chimney sweep removes all the debris from your chimney, so it’ll burn clean. Once the chimney is clean, you can assess its condition. Note that chimney sweeps tend to get booked up during the holiday season, so set up your appointment early to get in before the rush. […]

How to Restore a Chimney

Chimney in disrepair

All too often, older fireplaces don’t work as they should. This can be dangerous: if you try to use a chimney that’s not venting properly, carbon monoxide can build up. Here’s what you need to know about restoring a chimney.

Check the Chimney’s Integrity

You can’t tell the condition of your fireplace by looking at it. Have an expert out, who can assess the structure and condition of the chimney and let you know what kind of work is needed to bring it back to usable […]

How Do I Choose the Right Contractor?

Architect walking towards building

One of the most important decisions you will make is selecting a contractor for home repair projects. Since most roofing systems last 20 years or more, homeowners may not need a roofer as often as they’d need a plumber, so they may not have someone in mind when the roof develops a problem. Here’s how we recommend approaching the search for a roofing contractor.

Do Your Research

Even if you haven’t used a roofer, odds are someone you know has. Ask friends and neighbors for their recommendations. Social media apps such as Nextdoor or Facebook allow you to ask for recommendations, so those are good places to try.

Look for Red Flags

We’ve all heard stories of the roofing company that blew into town on the coattails of a big storm, offering cheap roofing work only to skip out once they were paid without doing the work. Be on the lookout for red flags when […]

What Causes a Home Chimney to Leak?

Rooftop with a brick chimney

Any number of problems can cause a chimney to leak. A chimney that is compromised by cracks and fissures will lead to water getting into a home, where it can cause extensive problems and property damage.

It is important to watch out for signs of chimney leaks, particularly during times of heavy rain, and have any signs of trouble checked out by a roofing professional, as soon as possible. Keep in mind these six common issues that can cause a chimney to leak. […]

Chimney Maintenance Tips

A two story home with no background

Since chimney maintenance keeps your chimney in good working order, which ensures the unit can be used safely, it should be performed every year before you begin using the chimney for the season. Use this maintenance checklist to keep your chimney safe.

Check the damper

The damper regulates the flow of air in your chimney. It should be closed when not in use, to prevent drafts from entering the house. If the damper is not tightly sealed, you’ll use more energy to heat the home — which means a spike in utility bills. If the damper can’t open properly, smoke can […]