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Home Maintenance Topics

Exterior Maintenance


To identify sources of leaks or other problems
Twice a year
  • Look for open gaps between the house and chimney, cracks in mortar or stucco, and minor settlement.
  • Seal gaps with an appropriate caulk and repaint to match as required. Consult with a mason to repoint or repair mortar and stucco.
  • Never burn pressure-treated wood, Christmas trees, plastic, or flammable liquids in the fireplace.
  • Keep flue closed when not in use to reduce cooling and heating losses.
  • Clean chimney flue once a year by removing ashes as necessary and storing in a metal container to prevent fires.

Chimney Use

With the return of cold weather, before building the first fire, follow these three steps.

  1. Check to see if any of the “fire clay” (mortar) has fallen out and replace if necessary.
  2. Ensure damper works properly and closes tightly.
  3. Check the flue with a flashlight for soot build-up.

For heavy soot deposits, call a professional chimney cleaner.