With Hurricane Dorian approaching the Florida coast (right by our Earthcore headquarters, no less!) we figured now would be a good time to share how we batten down our fireplaces for tropical storms!
Here’s a few tips to help secure your hearth, and home, against mother nature…
Check your firebox for any cracks or gaps.
Make sure to assess the state of your firebox for any signs of wear. Cracks and gaps could lead to major damage in multiple areas of your home – especially if flooding occurs. If possible, mend any obvious problems before the storm arrives!
Check your chimney for any pre-hurricane problems or structural issues.
An unstable chimney could seriously compromise your home’s ability to withstand major storms like hurricanes, considering their high force winds and heavy rainfall. That’s why it’s best to inspect your chimney for structural issues and try to remedy any problems as soon as possible. Likewise, exposed metal chimney is vulnerable to rust, and concrete, stone or brick can crack. Take all of these factors into consideration while evaluating how your chimney could withstand the approaching storm.
Make sure your fireplace dampers are closed.
Unless you want a waterpark in your living room, make sure all dampers are CLOSED! Most fireplaces have a throat damper, just above the firebox. Some also have a top mount damper at the top opening of the chimney flue. Whatever your setup make sure they are secure and sealed tight!
Invest in a secure chimney cap!
Chimney caps provide a “roof” over the hole at the top of your chimney flue. They keep most rain out and are an added defense in hurricanes. But keep in mind that your cap could be compromised by heavy winds if not secured tightly. So check that it’s secure before the storm!
Use hurricane straps on your chimney for added support.
If you’re anticipating extreme wind speeds and feel it necessary to keep your chimney from potentially collapsing or damaging other parts of your home, use hurricane straps. An article from hurricanepreparednesstips.com says it best here:
“Chimneys along the sides of a home should be firmly attached with hurricane straps to the roof where they meet to avoid it detaching and toppling over. Straps can also help connect chimneys atop the roof, if you attach them to the roof frame from inside. Place them at every corner and on the studs. If there isn’t framing available to attach the straps, the best thing to do is add more.”
Last but not least, stay safe! Know where the safest spots in your home are and if you have to evacuate, don’t hesitate! Gather belongings and take your designated evacuation route.
We hope everyone stays safe in the storm, and our thoughts and prayers go to citizens of the Abaco Islands and the Bahamas.