Yes, it’s that time already! Did you know that the end of the burning season is the best time to clean and maintain your heating equipment for fall? Often chimney sweeps offer better pricing in the spring. Like snow tires, everybody waits till the storm is eminent before shopping. The same is true for chimneys. That means your sweep is under the gun in the fall, so price breaks are not the norm. The spring is also a good time to clean out the system so that smelly, corrosive creosote build-up doesn’t sit in the system all summer, causing odors and possible breakdown of liners and pipes.
Don’t forget to clean the ashes out of the stove, too. Check your door gasket. The basic rule of thumb is that if you can close a dollar bill in the door and then pull it out with the door latched, it’s time to replace the gasket. Many serious wood burners also keep a pot of water on the a stove to help keep the humidity in check. Often the water spills on the stove top causing rust. Spring is the perfect time of year to touch up the stove and pipe with a high temperature stove paint.
Check your masonry work as well. Are there loose bricks, missing mortar, or other apparent damage? Now is the time to repair, waterproof and rebuild any defective areas.
If you are in an area that is inhabited by chimney swifts, and you want birds in your fireplace or woodstove, you may want to have your sweep remove your chimney cap to provide nesting for these beautiful creatures. Be sure to have him stop back in the early fall to check for abandoned nests and replace your cap.
If you don't have a cap, now's the time to invest in a cap or a top-sealing damper to prevent animals from nesting in your chimney/fireplace/woodstove. Caps also protect against rain, leaf and debris entry.
Remember, there is no good reason to procrastinate! It’s less expensive, more protective, and the peace of mind that an early storm won’t catch you unprepared is priceless! And maybe... just maybe, you should consider a deal on next year’s snow tires as well!
Posted by Chuck Phillips, Business Coach, Northeast Region