At Mr. Smokestack, we have the most correspondence with our valued clients during the cooler months, when fireplaces, stoves and chimneys are getting the most use and thus the most attention. But to us, making chimney care a part of your spring home maintenance routine ultimately makes your life easier, by taking the prep maintenance out of the mix when you’re all ready to warm up on that first cool fall night.
We’re all used to certain spring cleaning routines — making sure all the fall leaves are out of our gutters, re-mulching the flower beds, planting the vegetable garden. Here’s why we think it’s worth adding chimney care to that spring checklist, and what, specifically, we think the bullet points should be.
Prepping Your Chimney for the Warm Months
Make a Chimney Sweeping Appointment
As you use your wood-burning fireplace or stove all through the autumn and winter months, creosote develops along your flue walls. It’s a natural part of combustion — you burn fuel, and hot gases and byproducts rise, meeting the cooler flue walls, condensing and forming creosote.
Although their flue is lined with a season’s worth of creosote, some homeowners choose to wait until the next heating season to schedule a chimney sweeping appointment, the thought being, if the system isn’t being used for several months, it’s not necessary to perform any maintenance on it yet.
Here’s why we think it’s worth having your chimney swept in the spring.
First, you beat the heating-season rush. As the weather gets cooler and more folks start thinking about having a fire, our schedule gets stocked up fast. Taking care of your annual maintenance in the spring means you have more scheduling options and faster response for your appointment.
But beyond that, you’ll have a more pleasant spring and summer in your home. Creosote is removed largely because it can create a fire hazard and can negatively affect your chimney draft. Creosote has other negative attributes too, though — namely, a dank and strong odor. With the heat and humidity of Southern summers, that odor gets more pronounced — which is why you may notice a strong smoky smell in your living area despite it being months since your last fire. If you have Mr. Smokestack sweep the chimney at the start of spring, that creosote — and its smell — will be removed.
Schedule Your Annual Chimney Inspection
To take good care of your chimney system, having a professional inspection every year is key. And you absolutely should make sure an inspection is done before you start using your system during the heating season. But jumping on it early — at the start of spring — can be particularly beneficial.
For one, you’re making sure there aren’t problems that could lead to moisture intrusion ahead of the spring rains. If small cracks in your chimney crown widened over the winter or your flashing was damaged in storms, you could end up entering the rainy season with a chimney leak, and dealing with the damage that results. During a chimney inspection, Mr. Smokestack will check the entire system — including all of the parts of your chimney that are designed to protect against water intrusion — to make sure you don’t have any damage that will allow for a leak or develop into a leak. If we find an issue, we can recommend repairs, and our CSIA-certified technicians can do the work diligently and effectively.
Add Some Extra Protection
If you’d like to limit the possibility of masonry leaks and do more to protect your masonry chimney long-term, we can apply a waterproofing sealant that’ll stop your bricks and joints from absorbing water while still allowing the chimney to vent vapors and small particles, as it was designed to. Waterproofing can have a really positive impact on your masonry chimney, extending its service life considerably. We highly recommend this protective measure — it’s a small investment that makes a big impact.
Mr. Smokestack is here to help you keep your chimney system in top-shape every month of the year. If you want to make chimney maintenance part of your spring routine, we’d be honored to help. Just give us a call!