Prepare your fireplace before putting it into use during the cold season. By taking these precautions, you may prevent house fires and feel peace of mind. Safely enjoy the warmth of the fireplace when temperatures drop. Before using your fireplace, follow these basic tips.
Hire Someone to Sweep the Chimney
It’s a good idea to get the chimney cleaned every year. A professional should complete this project. An annual chimney sweeping will remove flammable creosote and debris from the chimney.
Note Any Damage as You Prepare Your Fireplace
Make sure your chimney is securely attached to the house. Examine the chimney’s lining and overall structure. Look for any of the following issues:
- Loose bricks
- Missing mortar
- Water damage
If you notice any of these issues, discuss them with the chimney professional.
Clean the Blower
The blower helps distribute warm air from the fire to your living spaces. The blower should be cleaned before you start using the fireplace for the season. Clean the fins and remove as much dirt and debris as possible to allow the blower to operate efficiently.
Check the Damper to Prepare Your Fireplace for Winter
The fireplace damper seals your fireplace when it is not in use. It prevents the warm air from leaving your house from escaping up the chimney. The damper should close securely when the fireplace is not in use. Check the damper to make sure it opens and closes easily. An open or leaky damper affects your ability to efficiently heat your home and contributes to higher utility bills.
Examine the Chimney Cap
The chimney cap should be repaired or replaced if it is damaged or missing. The cap keeps rain, birds, leaves, squirrels, and debris from getting into the chimney and fireplace.
Test Smoke Alarms When You Prepare Your Fireplace
Test the smoke alarms in your home. Replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Make sure you have detectors on every floor of your home and in every bedroom.
Using Your Fireplace
After you have taken steps to prepare your fireplace, there are factors to consider as you start using it.
Select Your Firewood
Avoid using soft or green wood. Pine, for example, produces more creosote than other types of wood. Creosote is flammable, accumulates in the chimney, and has the potential to cause chimney issues. Instead, choose seasoned hardwood. It’s best to use wood that is split and has been stored for six months or more in a dry place.
Get the Firewood Prepared
If you chop your own wood, cut each piece small enough so it can fit in your fireplace. Keeping pieces no bigger than six inches in diameter will help make sure they burn evenly.
Find a place to stack your wood away from your home to help prevent termites. Keep the firewood off the ground and facing split-side down when stored. Store the wood in a covered area or under a tarp so snow or rain doesn’t soak it.
Prepare Your Fireplace and Maintain a Safety Mindset
When using a fireplace, fire safety should be your number one concern. Never leave a fire unattended. Don’t allow for any situation where a fire could get out of hand and cause destruction to your home. The above tips to prepare your fireplace will help you enjoy fires in the home safely.