Despite the fact that it happens every winter, there is just something about welcoming in a brand new year. Full of promise, expectations, and new goals for a life well lived, January reminds us that life is about reflection, growth, and new opportunities. And for homeowners with a fireplace (or stove) and chimney, this time of year can spark the desire to prioritize safe hearth operation and maintenance. A clean chimney system is a safe chimney system…and one that will reward you with efficient performance and ample heat production for years to come.

Keep reading to learn a bit more about fireplace maintenance and some general chimney cleaning tips to ensure that 2024 is you and your home’s best year yet. Are you a homeowner in the Centereach, NY area looking to get a headstart and schedule your chimney cleaning? Trust the pros here at Dunrite Chimney and Stove for a job “done right!” Fill out this form or give us a call at 631-738-0005 to get started.

Why Is Chimney/Fireplace Maintenance Important?

First things first – why is it so important to keep your chimney clean and well-maintained anyway? After all, it does host an indoor fire…what’s the point in keeping it clean? Well, because as inherently filthy as a fireplace and its chimney is, if your appliance is not regularly inspected and swept out, the dangers are greater than a little dirt and grime. 

Take creosote for example. A natural byproduct of combustion, creosote forms and accumulates on the walls of your chimney flue liner. Found in three different, aggregative stages, when creosote is left to collect inside your system, there are a handful of dangers awaiting you. Not only is there a risk of developing more intense and harder-to-remove deposits, but also potential flue blockages – and an increased risk for chimney fires.

But, it’s not just creosote to be aware of. Regular, routine chimney inspections and cleanings also serve as a full-system overview meant to help you enjoy safer and more optimal system performance, as well as increase your appliance’s longevity. Annual inspections are designed to catch any inefficiencies or potential problem areas (before they become actual issues), and chimney cleanings ensure that everything is properly cleared out before another season of use. Both are vital services that will help you and your family get the most out of your fireplace, stove, or alternative hearth appliance.

Keep Your Chimney Cleaner With These Tips

So, developing – and following through with – a chimney maintenance plan is non-negotiable. But, what about little things here and there you can do to enhance fireplace safety and performance? This list is not exhaustive or exclusive, but gives you a good idea of practices that can help your chimney do its job well:

original infographic on ways to keep your chimney cleaner
  • Only burn seasoned firewood. Properly “seasoned” firewood is timber that has been dried and stored for at least six months. Hardwoods are generally preferred for burning, so look for kinds like beech, oak, elm, and birch. Their comparatively lower moisture content means that they won’t produce as much smoke and creosote as other varieties…as long as they’re well-seasoned. Along similar lines, never burn anything other than firewood in your fireplace. Things like paper, plastic, cardboard, etc. produce different toxins when burned and these byproducts can do a number on your flue liner.
  • Prepare your flue by preheating it. Though a bit odd, warming your flue before you plan to enjoy a fire is kind of like preheating the oven before cooking your meal – it prepares the appliance to operate as efficiently and seamlessly as possible. To avoid any draft problems and other issues with cold air, try creating little torches made of newspaper. Roll a few pages tightly into a cone, light it on fire, and hold it above your firebox, so the heat will travel up the length of your flue. Then, even when it is a particularly cold day, your flue won’t have any problem drawing the fire exhaust up and out.
  • Build hotter and quicker fires. Aside from the fact that a hotter, quicker-to-burn fire is more enjoyable than a weak and smoldering one, it’s also better for your appliance. Building hot fires means that your chimney will have an easier time drawing the toxin-filled smoke out of your home because that smoke is exceptionally hot. This can be accomplished by correctly stacking your wood in the firebox, as well as ensuring that you have proper airflow into your fireplace.
  • Invest in a quality chimney cap. Even if you take care to do all of the above, it means next to nothing if your structure isn’t safeguarded against the elements. Ensuring that your chimney cap is in good condition – and the right size and fit for your appliance’s flue – is crucial in maintaining safe and efficient operation. 
  • Trim any overhanging trees. If you notice that there is a decent amount of tree overhang near the entry of your chimney, you might want to consider trimming them down. Your chimney cap certainly does a great deal when it comes to protecting against leaves, twigs, and other debris from entering your chimney, but removing excess foliage will only help.

Looking for High Quality Chimney Service Near Centereach, NY? Trust the Pros at Dunrite

While there are certainly things you can do to maintain a healthy fireplace and chimney, the truth is that professional services are irreplaceable. The good news, though, is that for homeowners in the Centereach area scouring the internet for “chimney services near me,” Dunrite Chimney & Stove is a mere phone call away.

To schedule your appointment or learn more about us and what we can do for you, fill out this form, or give us a call at 631-738-0005. We look forward to helping you make this year your chimney’s best one yet!