As fall gets closer, many homeowners are starting to fire up their heating systems. There’s nothing like the smell of a good fire in the winter, and if you have a fireplace in your home you may be wondering if it is still working well after all the use it got last season. There are a few tell–tale signs that you should look for that might mean that you need some chimney repair before you start lighting more fires. Read on below and be sure to get your fireplace and chimney maintained each year before the fall and winter seasons.
- Improper venting. Is smoke billowing out of your fireplace into your home? This is an obvious sign that you have an updraft problem. First check to make sure that the flue is open. Your fireplace and chimney rely on a proper balance of pressure in order to generate the updraft necessary to pull the smoke out of your fireplace and out the chimney. If there are any cracks in the chimney on the way up, it could make the updraft too weak.
- Water leaks. If you’ve noticed water leaking down into your fireplace it likely means that you need chimney repair. Water leaks can be caused by cracks in the chimney or bad flashing around the base of your chimney and the roof.
- Creosote and soot build–up. As your chimney burns fuel, it will naturally create creosote and soot. These two by–products of combustion can start to build up on the sides of your chimney. Not only can they restrict the flow of air through your chimney but they can also start a chimney fire. In fact, creosote and soot build–up is one of the most common causes of chimney fires.
- Cracks. While chimneys can sometimes last up to 100 years, they can also start to break down long before that. If you notice that your chimney is leaning, if it has separated from your roof, or if it is cracked, make sure that you call for chimney repair. These problems will usually only get worse with time.
As we mentioned above, getting regular maintenance, cleaning and repairs for your chimney is truly the best way to prevent problems from starting to develop. When you have a chimney expert regularly inspecting your fireplace and chimney, they’ll be able to find problems early before they get larger.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year when we get together with family, eat great food, watch football and spend time together. But why do we actually do all of this? Is it just about the Pilgrims and Native Americans or the turkey and the mashed potatoes? Those definitely are parts of it, but there’s also something more: something that many of us may quickly forget in the hustle and bustle of the impending Christmas season, planning flights, planning vacation days from work, buying gifts and all of those tasks that we have to do.
When we think about the first Thanksgiving meal that the Pilgrims had with the Native Americans, we need to put ourselves in their shoes. The Pilgrims left England in September of 1620 and didn’t actually arrive at Plymouth until December—in the dead of winter. When they arrived, they didn’t have enough food and had trouble locating a suitable place to set up a colony. During that first winter nearly half of the people died from harsh conditions, sickness and lack of food. It was only because of the help of the Native Americans that they were able to survive. So that they had much to be grateful for: not only for their very lives, but for the gifts that the Native Americans brought to them in their time of need.
For most of us, we will never experience a day of hunger or thirst; we will never have to spend a cold night sleeping outdoors because of a lack of shelter. That is a privilege and something unique to humanity in just the last 200 years. We all take it for granted and Thanksgiving is a perfect time to reflect on just how incredible it is to live in this era of technological and medical advancements.
This Thanksgiving, consider talking a few moments of the day to sit with your family or friends and talk about all of the things that you’re thankful for. Whether it’s the ability to fly across the country in a few hours or the fact that you’re alive to spend time with your loved ones, make sure that the people who are important to you know that you’re grateful.