• Ready for Winter?

    Ready for Winter?

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    I know you don’t want to hear it, but winter is just around the corner. Are you prepared so you don’t have to deal with all those last minute heating stressors? If not, don’t worry, there’s still time to get it taken care of before the fall rush sets in.

    One of the most important things to consider is making sure your chimney is in working order. It’s one of the most important appliances in your home. Yes, you can think of it as an appliance that operates under extreme conditions. It actually functions just like an appliance only you don’t see all of the mechanics. Like an oven, it’s designed to handle a certain amount of heat. It’s not designed to handle extremely high temperatures for prolonged periods as in a chimney fire. So make sure it’s cleaned and inspected before the winter winds and cold set in.

    Just as you wouldn’t want your pipes to leak water in your home, you don’t want your chimney to leak. A leaking chimney can cause a much more dangerous situation like carbon monoxide and other byproducts of combustion to leak into the home. We can scan your chimney like an X-ray and can show you if there are any cracks or damage.

    A refrigerator is designed to cool your groceries and most have a freezer with a defrost function. Your chimney has to handle warm temperatures inside while also being exposed to outside freezing temperatures. This means it needs to be in top condition to handle the extreme temperature conditions it’s exposed to on a daily basis. Making sure there’s no water entry is very important. Moisture can freeze in the brick and split the brick front or facing and make it pop off. This is known as spalling. By having your chimney waterproofed with ChimneySaver (which keeps water out, yet lets your chimney breathe) this helps avoid countless dollars that would eventually be spent to repair the chimney.

    Speaking of refrigerators, if the seal on your refrigerator was deteriorated so it wasn’t sealing well, wouldn’t you make sure it was replaced before that next big family gathering? This can also happen to a fireplace damper. If you can close a dollar bill in your fireplace damper and pull it out, then it’s not sealing effectively. We can install an Energy Top Damper that will seal out the cold air and preserve “paid” heated air from your home. This chimney top damper also seal out rain, insects and animals and can pay for itself within a short period of time in energy dollar savings.

    One last major thing to consider is fuel. Let’s assume you have to purchase electricity in bulk to power your refrigerator. Would you wait until the last minute to do this? “Hmmm. Thanksgiving is next week, I think I should purchase electricity” only to find out that you are put on a waiting list a mile long. It’s the same thing with fuel and with having your chimney inspected and cleaned. It’s best to purchase wood now and have any cleaning or work done while time is on your side. When buying wood in the summer, you have top pick of the quality of wood as well as getting summertime pricing. Waiting until the fall rush could cost you more as well as putting you on the backburner or a waiting list.

    It only makes sense to be prepared for winter while it’s still around the corner. Will you be caught without electricity this winter? Will you have to wait to use your furnace chimney because it needs repairs? Don’t get caught short this year. Be one of those people who can kick back, relax and enjoy the fall while your neighbors are running circles around you preparing for winter. In fact, you might be amused to watch your neighbors preparing for winter and tell them, “well, I took care of that last summer. I’m going in to watch football now. Let me know if you need anything.”

    Posted by Karen Stickels Lamansky, author of Design Ideas for Fireplaces, published by Creative Homeowner Press.

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