Make Sure It Is Clean Inside And Out
If you notice a lot of smoke in your house after adding wood to your fireplace, it could be a sign that your chimney is not clean inside. It is important to have your chimney cleaned before the season turns cold and you use your fireplace a lot, and any time after that if the smoke does not seem to draw up into the pipe. It is also crucial to keep your fireplace clean inside as well by keeping the ashes swept out. Too many ashes under the grates could allow it to build up to the bottom of the grates and end up warping them because the heat will not be able to circulate properly.
Make Sure Damper Can Close To Not Lose Heat In Winter
If the damper does not close all the way air will be allowed to seep around it. In areas where it gets really cold, you can lose a lot of heat up the chimney when it is not in use. This will lead to higher electric bills and alternate fuel bills as your furnace struggles to keep up with the lost heat.
Use Only Dried Wood Not Green Wood
When green wood that is not properly cured is used there is a good chance creosote will build up in your chimney. Creosote is a black substance that can cause a chimney fire if you do not have it cleaned out. Should a chimney fire occur, call the fire department as it is a very dangerous situation that can quickly get out of hand.
If you don’t have a chimney cover consider having one put on. A couple of reasons to have a cover are to help prevent down drafts, keep rain out, and especially to keep animals from making a nest in your chimney. Sometimes animals like a raccoon could decide to make a home there. Other times birds lose their balance and fall down the chimney and are scratching around just in the damper area, unable to fly straight up to get out. You get curious and open the damper and you have a frantic bird in your house. A simple chimney cover will help prevent that.
Check Flues For Cracks
Your chimney is more than likely made from stacked flues. Over time, these flues can crack or gap. When this happens it is a fire hazard and needs to be corrected. The best way to know if your chimney is safe is to have it professionally inspected.