The last thing you need during the busy holiday season is to deal with the aftermath of a chimney fire; however, without taking care of certain precautions, your chimney and fireplace system may not be safe to use. For years, Blue Ridge Chimney Services has been dedicated to providing the Shenandoah Valley region with superior professional chimney maintenance, repair, and installation services, and you can trust our team of professionals to make sure you are prepared to safely use your fireplace this winter. We have been trained and certified by industry leaders like the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) to give you the best customer service experience possible whenever we work on your chimney. Your safety is our top priority, which is why we would like to take this opportunity to tell you what you need to do before you use your fireplace this year.

fireplaceSchedule your annual professional chimney sweeping and inspection service appointment with Blue Ridge Chimney Services.

According to national fire safety experts such as the CSIA and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), you should have your chimney professionally swept and inspected at least once a year to ensure that it will work safely and efficiently. One of the biggest reasons why your chimney needs to be swept every year is to have all of the creosote deposits removed from the interior flue walls. Developing naturally during the combustion process, creosote is a residue that can accumulate into large deposits that stick to the inner walls of your chimney. Not only could these deposits create a hazard by blocking the flue, but creosote is so flammable that the CSIA has named it as a leading cause of chimney fires. When Blue Ridge Chimney Services sweeps your chimney, we take great care to be sure to remove every bit of creosote from your home, and this greatly reduces your risk of experiencing a chimney fire. After our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps have finished sweeping your chimney, we will take a look at the exterior chimney to see if there are any damaged bricks and mortar joints that could lead to bigger problems in the future. If we do find any damage, you can count on us to provide a fair and honest written estimate of any necessary repairs to ensure the safe and efficient operation of your chimney.

Only burn seasoned firewood.

Blue Ridge Chimney Services knows the secret to enjoy long-lasting, clean-burning, warm wood fires, and it is only using firewood that has been properly seasoned, or dried for at least six months after being cut. When you try to burn green wood, it can be challenging to start because of its water content, and once you do get a fire going, it has to use most of its energy-burning off the water before it can begin to provide any heat to your home. This also results in an overproduction of smoke and creosote and can be dangerously hazardous. Freshly-cut wood has a high moisture content, but if the wood is allowed to dry in the sun for a period of six months to a year after it has been cut, it can reduce the amount of water from 45 percent to as low as 20 to 25 percent. If you do not have the ability to cut and season your own firewood, you can find it locally from a reputable firewood dealer. Properly seasoned firewood should be lightweight and grayish in color with darkened ends and visible splits. If you knock two pieces of seasoned firewood together, you should hear a clear, hollow clunking sound. Comparatively, greenwood will make a dull thudding sound when you knock two pieces of it together. Once you have found seasoned firewood, you should store it properly to keep it dry over the winter. If you do not have a storage shed, you can stack the wood on a pallet, gravel, or any surface that is off the ground.

Prevent water penetration damage.

Although masonry chimneys are built to be durable and strong enough to last a lifetime, they can suffer from damage due to years of constant exposure to the elements of weather. To prevent this type of water penetration damage, Blue Ridge Chimney Services provides several different types of professional chimney services, such as chimney cap sales and installation and waterproofing services. Recommended by the CSIA as the most economical way that a homeowner can prevent water penetration chimney damage, a chimney cap also protects your flue from being invaded by birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other wild animals. We can show you a wide variety of different styles and shapes of chimney caps that we can customize to perfectly fit on the top of your chimney. We can also assess how well your chimney is protected against water leaks and recommend other services like flashing and waterproofing that can give your chimney the ultimate protection against water penetration damage. We know the most likely places where water leaks occur, and we want to make sure that you will not have to worry about any issues that could happen because of a water leak in your chimney.

Before you light the first fire of the year, it is important to be sure that your chimney and fireplace system is working as safely and efficiently as possible. Blue Ridge Chimney Services can help you be ready to use your fireplace with our professional chimney maintenance services. Contact us today to schedule your appointment for a chimney sweeping and inspection from our CSIA-certified professionals.