Summer is over, the kids are back in school, and Starbucks is bringing back their seasonal pumpkin spice lattes, which can only mean one thing: winter is fast approaching. And as you’re watching your neighbors spend their weekends chopping firewood to get ready for the cold, you can’t help but be grateful that you don’t have to join them. After all, you had that gas fireplace installed a few years back for that very reason.
But while you may not need to waste your Saturday mornings chopping wood, you’re not totally off the hook just yet. There’s still one thing you need to do before temperatures drop too low: get your chimney inspected to ensure your winter is as safe as it is warm.
Yes, even with a gas-heated fireplace, you should still be getting your chimney checked at least once per year. Here’s why:
Debris could be blocking your chimney causing harmful gases to enter your home.
Most people believe that a buildup of soot or creosote are the only culprits when it comes to chimney blockage. The unfortunate—not to mention dangerous—reality is that there can be many causes, one of which being animals’ nests. Surprising as it is, birds are particularly known for building their nests in chimneys creating fire/explosion hazards for the home itself. Fortunately, there are many signs that birds are nesting in your chimney which a trained professional would easily spot.
No matter what the cause of your chimney’s ventilation malfunctioning, the risk remains the same: exposing your home to carbon monoxide which poses a direct threat to its inhabitants (carbon monoxide poisoning) or, sometimes, an indirect threat (triggering an explosion from another appliance’s pilot light). As MyChimney.com has noted, “It can be dangerous to assume that a gas fireplace is operating as it’s supposed to, year after year. Over time, thermopile and thermocouple could be worn and/or need cleaning. Connections and valves could develop leaks. Ceramic logs may not be properly placed any longer, and they may not be in good working condition.”
The bottom line is that when it comes to any chimney’s functionality, you’re always better safe than sorry.
At the end of the day, gas fireplaces have many advantages but should never be taken as 100% self-sustaining. While some decide to turn their chimney inspection into a DIY project, the best and surest inspection should be completed by a trained professional. And if you’re located in Nashville, contact Chimney & Masonry Outfitters today to schedule your appointment! We’d love to help put your mind at ease to make sure you enjoy another happy, warm winter season.