If you are currently considering homes for sale in Windsor Ontario and you desire a fireplace, you are not alone. This is the time of year, when temperatures are cooler and holidays are just around the corner, where the vast majority of buyers insist that any property they view have a fireplace.
Some of the top reasons we hear from buyers on why they want a fireplace:
1. Creates a cozy home
2. Sets a romantic setting
3. Warmth when electricity goes out
4. Cuts energy costs
5. Eco-friendly heating
6. Doubles as a cook stove
Of course, like everything, fireplaces, while adding appeal and value, must be properly maintained. The good news is that most simple inspections and cleaning can be done by the homeowner. But of course, if at any time a homeowner has any concern, then it is necessary to hire a professional chimney sweep or fireplace installer.
Why hire a chimney sweep?
The leading cause of fire in wood burning fireplaces is when unburned fuel (creosote) has accumulated in the chimney. Therefore, it is important that your chimney is cleaned annually. Now is an excellent time to have this service done, especially if it has not been done in several years. During the summer, critters as well as birds can make their homes in chimneys if there is access. This also can cause serious problems down the road.
Check for any damage:
Go outside and look over the chimney for any cracks, missing bricks or mortar. If you suspect any possible damage, a chimney sweep can made the needed repairs. Chimney liners will also need to be inspected for any issues that can cause long-term damage.
Cap the chimney:
Not too long a client, who was in the process of selling his home, was preparing for a showing when a bird flew out of his chimney and straight into his kitchen! Can you imagine the look on a potential buyer’s face if this had happened during their appointment? Thankfully, my client was able to remove the bird and quickly realized that his fireplace needed a cap that somehow went missing. Caps are necessary for keeping out rain, squirrels, birds and debris among other things.
Choose the right firewood:
The best firewood for your wood burning fireplace is seasoned hardwood, such as oak that has been split and properly stored in a dry location for at least six months. Avoid green wood as it creates more creosote that can build up in your chimney causing the type of fire you DON’T want to have.
Keep area clean:
It is important to keep the area clean and free of any materials, such as newspapers, that can catch on fire. Also, safely remove fire ash regularly and use a metal screen that can catch any sparks.
During a housing inspection, a client was stunned to find out that he did not have a damper in his fireplace! Sure enough, he looked, and nothing was there. Make sure that you not only have a damper, but that it is opening and closing properly.
Finally, this is a good time to bring up safety issues regarding home space heaters. Unfortunately, improper care and use of these type of heaters is one of the leading causes of fires during the fall and winter months.
1. Before you even plug a space heater in, take the time to inspect it. Is the cord in good shape? Does it have any tears or breaks?
2. Space heaters were not designed to be the sole source of heat for a large home. They can be extremely dangerous when left unattended or when a home is unoccupied.
3. Keep space heaters at least three feet away from any household combustibles.
4. Make sure the outlet is secure and working properly. If you notice that after a while the outlet is hot, unplug and contact an electrician.
5. Do not place heaters on furniture or any unsteady surface.
6. Do not use extension cords with space heaters.
Again, space heaters should be used ONLY as a secondary source of heat. Keep careful watch over the appliance, and certainly, keep away from children. Only select a space heater that has a guard around the flame area and educate every member of your family on the correct way to use a space heater. This is especially important to share if you are not home.
Finally, check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are operating correctly.