February 18, 2011
Ensuring that your Chimney is well maintained will help you get the most out of your fireplace during the heating season. Here are some maintenance tips that will prove helpful for anyone operating their fireplace:
• Service your fireplaces and chimneys in the spring and summer months when they are not in operation.
• Soot is corrosive, so have all your winter deposits removed at the end of the burning season.
• Think ahead! Never light your fireplace if you are unsure of the last time it was serviced or checked by a professional.
• Chemicals used for helping break down creosote in your system are nothing new to the industry. Products claiming to remove creosote build-up are in no way a replacement for having your fireplace serviced by a qualified professional. Some of these products can be very effective when used properly along side routine sweeping.
• Artificial logs are an easy alternative to wood burning. Most undergo laboratory testing for low emissions; however they can cause excessive soot deposits in many systems.
Be sure to burn your wood properly:
• Burn clean, dry, seasoned (aged 6-12 months) firewood only
• Use a mix of hard wood and soft wood where possible, depending on what’s available in your area.
• Avoid wet or green wood. The moisture in these can cause creosote build up in your system. Creosote is a highly flammable material.
• Never burn garbage, plastics, particle board, driftwood, painted or treated wood.
• Burn small and hot fires. This style of burning uses more fuel but doing so causes less smoke, pollution and soot deposits in your system. More reason for seasonal cleaning and inspection.
Did you know that wood burning does not contribute to climate change like fossil fuels such as gas and oil? It’s true! Wood burning is “carbon neutral.” As trees grow they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then use it to build their structure. This carbon makes up about half the weight of the wood. When a tree dies and is left to rot on the forest floor, or burn in a forest fire (or fireplace) it releases the carbon dioxide it has absorbed back into the atmosphere, therefore making wood combustion “carbon neutral.”
Also it’s advisable, that you book your chimney inspection, repairs, or maintenance at least 3 to 4 months in advance, and when your chimney will not be in use, as many companies that service chimneys are virtually always in demand.
For more information regarding wood heating, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has a document called Guide to Residential Wood Heating
Information courtesy of Father & Son Chimney Service