Your home needs to be prepared to prevent heat from leaking out of it as the winter months approach. Failure to do so results in higher energy bills and reduced comfort levels within your home. Your chimney can be a significant source of heat loss if it is not properly prepared for the cold weather.
Check for Leaks
The first thing that you should do is check your chimney to see if there are any leaks or signs of water damage. Check the flashing (the plastic or metal bond between the chimney and the roof) to ensure that the chimney is properly sealed against water and snow. On the inside of your home, keep an eye out for signs of water damage, such as peeling paint, discoloration in your walls or ceiling, or a musty smell.
Close the Damper
Make sure that you close the damper within your chimney is able to be open and closed. You want to make sure that the damper is closed in the winter when the fireplace is not in use, as if left open, cold drafts can sweep through your home. This will increase the amount of effort your heating system will have to go through to bring up the temperature to comfortable levels.
Get up on the roof and look for any signs of physical damage to the chimney, as well as signs of obstructions or strange smells coming from your chimney and fireplace. You should also look up the chimney from within your home to see if there is light shining through when the damper is closed – this means that the seal is not complete, and your chimney will allow cold air to enter your home in the winter. Furthermore, if you look up the chimney while the damper is open and are unable to see any light, your chimney may be obstructed. This can make using your fireplace a safety hazard, as fumes will not be able to be properly ventilated.
After you have checked for leaks, signs of damage, and ensured that the damper within your chimney is working properly, you should contact a professional to have any problems that you have noticed looked at. By inspecting the chimney yourself first, you allow a professional to get right to work looking at the problems that your chimney may have and formulating a plan to have them solved by the time the cold weather rolls in.
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