New Homeowners With A Chimney | Learn How To Maintain Your Chimney | Chimney Maintenance
New Homeowners' Chimneys
Congratulations on moving into your new home! If you are a new homeowner in the Montgomery County MD, Washington DC, and Northern VA area, welcome to the neighborhood. As one of the leading chimney companies in Bethesda MD, and the Greater Washington DC vicinity, we have a few tips to share to help you get the most enjoyment when using the fireplace in your home. Properly maintaining your fireplace and chimney will help protect your home and family, but it will also minimize costly repairs and prolong its lifespan.
Chimney & Fireplace Tips
Prior to Your Cleaning or Inspection
If you are scheduled for cleaning, inspection or service please be sure that you extinguish any fires 24 hours before we arrive in your home.
Mind Your Children & Pets
Even if your fireplace has a screen and glass doors, children and pets should never be left unattended near a hot fireplace. You may be surprised to learn that pets accidentally start over 1,000 fires per year in the home.
Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors
Before lighting the fireplace for the first time of the season, test your smoke and CO detectors to ensure they are in working order. A CO detector should be installed within 15 ft of any fireplace or stove in your home. Replace batteries every six months or per the manufacturer's instructions.
Prepare a Fire Escape Route
Make sure everyone in your household knows how to safely exit the home as quickly as possible in case of a fire or emergency. Practice with a fire drill every year.
Source Seasoned Firewood
There are numerous sources of firewood available in Kensington, MD, Arlington, VA, and around the Washington DC Metro Area, allowing you to choose from a variety of fragrant local species like ash, cherry, hickory, locust, and oak, to name a few. When sourcing wood for the fireplace, ensure that it has been "seasoned" or cured for at least six months. The drier wood burns hotter, and cleaner, producing a longer-lasting fire experience with significantly less smoke and creosote. You can typically order in full, ½ cord, and ¼ cord sizes. The ideal moisture content of the wood you burn should be 15%.
Don’t Toss Your Christmas Tree in the Fireplace
The pine needles on Spruce, fir, pine, and other species contain highly flammable and concentrated oils. In addition to producing a sticky coating and extra creosote buildup in the chimney, it could cause a significant chimney fire. Montgomery County, MD, offers year-round Christmas tree recycling with its regular curbside yard trim collection service. Other municipalities offer similar programs for tree collection.
Extinguish the Flames Before Going to Bed
Don’t forget to extinguish the flames in the fireplace before going to bed or leaving the house. An unattended fireplace can quickly get out of control when nobody is tending the fire.
Keep Your Fireplace Clean
When you notice that the ash is beginning to pile up near the top of the grate, it's time for a quick sweep. After allowing the fireplace to cool for 12-24 hours, remove the grate and sweep the ash into a metal container (never put the container on a wood surface after collection). Wear a mask, gloves, and goggles or glasses to avoid ash and other debris contacts. Vacuum any remaining ash and debris in the firebox. Use water and a mild detergent to wipe any stains on the firebrick. Place a thin 1” ash layer on the floor and replace the grate.
Our friendly, professional chimney sweeps will be more than happy to answer any questions you have about your fireplace and chimney. Just give us a call or contact us online.
Annual Chimney Inspection & Sweep
If you didn’t have a Certified Chimney Sweep® to conduct a level 2 real estate inspection before closing on the sale of your new home, contact us to schedule a Level 2 chimney inspection BEFORE you light the fireplace (a home inspection of your fireplace is NOT the same as a professional Level 2 chimney inspection).
There may be creosote buildup, flue obstructions, leaks, or other chimney damage that increase fire risk and exposure to toxic carbon monoxide fumes. National fire safety experts recommend that homeowners have annual chimney inspections and cleanings by a certified chimney professional.
Contact a Certified Chimney Sweep
Bethesda Chimney is your local Certified Chimney Sweep® service for homes, businesses, and government buildings in Montgomery County, MD, Washington DC, and Northern VA. Call 301-969-4444 or 703-935-4444 to schedule an appointment today!