Our Company Blog

Schedule a Fireplace Inspection for Valentine’s Day

Many homeowners leave their hearths untouched throughout the year, lighting it only for holidays and special occasions. Valentine’s Day is one of those days that inspires homeowners to ignite their otherwise unused fireplaces. Before you light your fireplace to strike a romantic mood this Valentine’s Day, schedule a chimney sweeping and inspection.

Inspections for Pellet Stoves and Wood-Burning Fireplaces

A chimney sweeping and inspection is crucial if you haven’t lit your fireplace since the last fire-burning season. For wood- and pellet-burning appliances, highly flammable creosote builds up in your chimney each time you burn a fire. When it builds up deep enough, a burning ember can cause the creosote to suddenly ignite. That’s why an annual chimney sweeping and inspection is recommended to prevent a dangerous and damaging chimney fire.

Your chimney inspection also will identify any damage that could lead to a chimney fire or any other problems with your chimney. During your inspection, your chimney sweep will locate any cracks or weaknesses in the chimney, blockages in the chimney or portions of the chimney that aren’t working. You’ll be able to rest assured that your chimney is safe to use this Valentine’s Day.

Inspections for Gas-Burning Appliances

Your gas-burning fireplace also needs a cleaning and inspection before you light it this Valentine’s Day! While gas-burning fireplaces burn cleaner than wood-burning fireplaces and don’t deposit creosote in the chimney, dirty gas fireplaces can cause plenty of problems, too. Dust or debris within the fireplace can cause the fireplace to malfunction or to fail to light entirely. A malfunctioning fireplace also can lead to a buildup of dangerous carbon monoxide in your home.

A cleaning and inspection of your gas-burning fireplace clears away any debris that could keep your fireplace from igniting this Valentine’s Day, and it ensures that all of the working components of your gas fireplace are functioning properly. Even though the fireplace for your gas chimney won’t accumulate creosote, it should still be cleared of corrosive soot and inspected for cracks or other damage that could render it unfit.

Don’t let a dirty or malfunctioning fireplace — or worse, a chimney fire — interfere with your romantic Valentine’s Day plans. Make  sure that your chimney is safe to use and ready to strike the romantic mood for your Valentine’s Day. Call to schedule your chimney sweeping and inspection with Your Chimney Sweep today!

By Joe Sauter on February 6th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Use seasoned firewood for a safer, hotter fire

Burning improperly seasoned firewood reduced your fire’s heating potential and puts your home at risk for increased air pollution, mold exposure and chimney fires. But what is properly seasoned firewood, and what can you do to make sure the wood you’ve chopped or purchased is ready for burning?

What is seasoned firewood?

Wood comprises a series of tubes that carry water from a tree’s roots to its branches. In fact, freshly cut wood contains about 45 percent water. Wood that is ideal for burning has been left to rest for at least six months, bringing its water content to between 20 and 25 percent.


Why is seasoned firewood important?

When firewood isn’t seasoned properly and moisture remains, it poses a risk to your home and reduced the efficiency of your fire. Wet firewood produces a lot of smoke. That smoke introduces more air pollution to your home, especially if you have an open-hearth fireplace. Even worse, the dense smoke put off by unseasoned firewood sticks more readily to your chimney’s walls. That can build up into dangerous-highly flammable creosote, which puts your home at danger for a chimney fire. Additionally, when wet wood is stacked, it leads to the potential for mold. Even if you don’t notice mold growing on your firewood, when moldy firewood is burned, it can send mold spores air born into your home.
Finally, when you light wet firewood, you’re not producing as warm of a fire as you could be. Much of the fire’s energy goes into evaporating the water from the firewood, meaning your fire is no longer heating your home as efficiently as it could.

How do I properly season my firewood?

If you’re chopping your own firewood or purchasing unseasoned firewood, you will need to store it properly to make sure it’s seasoned and ready to go for your fireplace or wood stove. First, logs should be cut to the appropriate length for your fireplace, generally 3 inches shorter than the firebox. Then, it should be split to the proper width of 3 to 6 inches. Wood should be stacked in a sunny place where the wind can blow through the woodpile. Don’t cover your seasoning woodpile, as the elements will help dry it over time. Once the wood is seasoned, it should be covered from rain and snow, as dried wood can reabsorb water.

How can I tell if my wood is properly seasoned?

There are several ways to tell if wood is dried and ready for a fire. First, you will notice cracks in the wood. Seasoned wood should feel lighter, and if you hit two pieces of wood together, you should hear a drum-like sound, while wet wood will let off a dull thud. The bark on dried wood will become loose, and the color will be yellow or brown, rather than a creamy white.

If you’re still not sure if your firewood is properly seasoned, try burning a few logs. Seasoned firewood will light easily and let off the pleasant crackling sound associated with fireplaces, while wet wood will be difficult to light and will hiss as the water inside turns to steam.