High and Dry After Flood Damage

Repairing the damage done to your home after a flood can look like an overwhelming job. In most cases, it’s best to seek out the services of a professional flood damage restoration team. But when my home flooded a few years ago, I found out that there were some things that I could do myself. Books, clothes, and even furniture can recover from water damage under the right circumstances. Knowing how to prevent mold, and remove it when you find it, can also come in handy after a flood. I know that it can be a devastating event for a family. That’s why I started this blog – to share my experience with flood damage and share the things that I learned that helped me put my home back together. With both professional help, and amateur ideas, hopefully you can learn something useful from my experience.

Tips To Find Out If Your Fireplace Is Safe To Use During A Power Outage

Construction & Contractors Blog

A power outage during winter can leave you in the cold if you don't have a backup heating source. Fortunately, you can probably stay warm until the electricity is back on if you have a working fireplace. In many homes, though, the fireplace sits cold and unused, which means you don't know if it is safe to light a fire when an emergency occurs. These tips can help you determine if there are any concerns with using your fireplace for necessary heat.

Tip #1: Check the Chimney and Cap

A metal chimney cap sits on top of the chimney, where it keeps out moisture and pests while also preventing large embers from escaping and landing on your roof. It's a good idea to begin your inspection by making sure this is in place. There's no need to get a ladder or climb up on the roof. It's viewable from the ground or you can use a pair of binoculars if you have a multistory home and a higher chimney. The chimney itself should also be in generally good repair, with no missing or badly damaged brickwork. Make sure nothing flammable is overhanging the chimney, too, like a tree limb.

Tip #2: Inspect the Damper

Now it's time to go inside and make sure everything is in working order. The place to start is with the damper. Open and close the damper to make sure it is functioning properly. It's a good idea to reach in and open it quickly, just in case any debris falls out. Once open, peer up inside the chimney. Clear out any animal nests or other debris that may have collected above the damper, since these can ignite and cause a chimney fire. This next part needs to be performed during the daytime hours. Peer up the chimney – you should be able to see daylight at the top of the chimney if it is clear and safe to use.

Tip #3: Look for Firebox Damage

The final part of this inspection is the firebox itself. As long as the box is solid with no visible cracks or holes, it is safe to use for a fire during a heating emergency. Do not use the fireplace if you find a crack, since this can allow a fire to ignite in the walls of your home that surround the fireplace.

Tip #4: Manage the Flames

You must be careful with your first fire if the chimney hasn't been professionally cleaned and inspected. You can begin by burning a cleaning log. These logs help break down any creosote buildup on the walls of the chimney. Creosote is a byproduct of wood fires that can become combustible and cause a chimney fire. After the cleaning log, regular wood fires are fine but keep them small. The flames should stay within the firebox. You don't want them to shoot up into the chimney where they could ignite any creosote that remains or send embers out onto your roof. You should also plan for a professional inspection and repair visit so your fireplace will be ready next time you have a power outage. Contact a company like Excel Chimney & Fireplace Service or another location for more information.

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22 December 2015