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When you’re pulling your parkas and mittens from the back of the closet, it’s also a good time to make sure your fireplace and chimney are safe and ready to operate at top efficiency.
Listen to BOB VILA ON FIREPLACE EFFICIENCY or read the text below:
First, be choosy about the wood you burn. Seasoned hardwoods are best. Stay away from burning scrap wood derived from crates or pallets; when ignited, they may emit toxic fumes.
Consider installing a top-mounted damper. Providing a tighter fit than conventional dampers, they function much like a chimney cap to help keep out rain and snow. If you decide to go with a conventional chimney cap, choose one that’s stainless steel. They’re a bit more expensive but last longer due to their rust resistance.
Of course, keeping the chimney clean is a must. Have the sweeps come in at least once each year. If you burn more than three cords of wood a season, have them come twice. What you gain in fireplace efficiency, not to mention peace of mind, is worth the extra cost.
Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.