Preparing Your Home for Autumn and Winter - Don't Forget The Chimney Sweep

By: Chris Robertson

Autumn has arrived here in the United States, and you know what that means! In many areas of the country Autumn brings a cool crispness in the air, beautiful colors as the leaves turn and begin to fall, along with occasional gray skies, and rainy, all around blustery days. Who doesn't love the idea of spending several hours of a cold, rainy, blustery day curled up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket and a good book next to a warm, cozy fire in the fireplace? To many of us, a rainy weekend day usually means we enjoy staying at home with family and friends to watch a good football game on television, we often have a pot of chili or soup simmering on the stove, and quite often some hot cocoa to warm us up. It's a wonderful idea, but before the day arrives when you want to build your first fire of the season in your fireplace, it's always a good idea to have a certified professional chimney sweep come by to clean and inspect your fireplace and chimney.

We take for granted that the chimney and fireplace might look fine on the outside, but internally and structurally, that might be a different matter. Chimney sweeps inspect your chimney cap, chimney crown, flashing, and brickwork. They also check for broken or loose roofing tiles or shingles. Chimney sweeps clean the inside of your chimney and fireplace, then do a full inspection. This inspection includes checking the damper, the firebox, the hearth, smoke chamber, lintel, and the ash dump door.

Sometimes birds build nests in chimneys and that can easily cause a fire, but occasionally more extensive work is required to get your fireplace and chimney back to safe working order. Whether your chimney is leaking, has cracks or missing mortar, or has to be completely rebuilt, a certified chimney sweep can take care of your problems.

Not only can a professional chimney sweep perform chimney cleaning and chimney repair, but many will perform other safety checks and repairs to help you keep your home safe from potential fire hazards. When you call to schedule an appointment, ask what other services they offer. Many will offer additional services such as gutter cleaning, and even dryer vent cleaning.

Before you hire a chimney sweep, it's a good idea to do some research first. Ask for their credentials, ask how long they've been in business, and ask for references, just as you would with any building project. After all, inspecting a chimney and its construction involves structural engineering knowledge.

Although smoking is the leading cause of house fires, there are other ways for damaging fires to start. During the holiday season Christmas trees lead the list. Cooking, burning candles, dryer vents, and fireplaces all are potential hazards, too. Protecting yourself, your family, and your property against chimney fires is only a phone call away. Calling a chimney sweep for an annual inspection should be on your permanent list of preventive maintenance items for your home, such as changing the batteries in your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, changing the filters in your heat and air system, and having your furnace inspected.

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Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies. For tips/information, click here: chimney sweep
Visit Majon's home-improvement directory.

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