With the snow on the ground finally melting and winter giving way to spring there is no shortage of home maintenance to be done in cottage country. If you are looking for chores to do around your country home – start with the fireplace or wood stove.
At the end of a long winter filled with roaring fires, it is probably a good idea to get the clean the chimney.
A major concern with burning wood is the accumulation of creosote in chimneys and stove pipes. Getting your chimney cleaned once a year will help reduce your risk of having a chimney fire.
This is especially true if you are not burning wood constantly. If the smoke from the fire cools to below 250 degrees Fahrenheit, the gases will liquefy and then solidify, forming creosote along your chimney.
Just to be on the safe side, many of us who live in the Near North, heat our houses and cottages with wood and will get our chimneys cleaned out once in the middle of season.
Another fire related spring chore that should be done before the ground fully thaws is preparing next winters wood supply. Now is the best time to cut down trees for a few reasons:
1. The ground is still frozen. The ground in cottage country can definitely become quite muddy until the summer sun dries up all the excess water left by the snow.
2. There are no leaves on the trees that you have to remove while chopping it into firewood. This will save you time later!
3. Plenty of time for it to dry! Nothing is worse – or smokier than wet wood (because of the smoke, creosote will buildup in your chimney much faster).
There are always plenty of chores that can be done when you live in a country home. Starting with your fireplace is a good idea. It can be the most overlooked chore and often the most important – if gone ignored, you could be putting yourself at risk for chimney fires or smoke inhalation.
1. Use a mirror (when there is no fire burning) and place it directly under the chimney. If you cannot see any light, it is time to clean the chimney.
2. Check the batteries in your smoke alarms and make sure your fire extinguisher is in good working condition the same time your chimney is cleaned.