How to Get Your Fireplace Ready for Winter

 
Get your fireplace ready

There's nothing like cozying up in front of the fireplace on these cold days. Before you fire up the logs however, there are a few steps you should complete first.

Have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned

Fireplaces and chimneys should be inspected and cleaned annually by a professional chimney cleaning professional. During the inspection, they should look for cracks, loose bricks, missing mortar, and deterioration or cracks in the chimney liner, all of which can represent a significant Fire risk. Cleaning will remove dangerous buildups of creosote, a flammable byproduct of burning wood, giving you a safer fireplace.

You can find a certified chimney cleaning professional through the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Should repairs be necessary, contact a qualified mason to perform this work, as these repairs are specialized and require mortar mixtures intended for high heat.

Install a chimney cap

A chimney cap fitted with wire mesh is a great investment that will prevent rain, birds, squirrels, and debris from getting in through the top of the chimney. If an existing chimney cap is showing signs of damage or deterioration, it should be replaced.

Selecting the right wood

When choosing the right wood for your fireplace, select dense woods, such as oak, that have been split and stored in a high and dry place for at least six months. Soft, green, or resinous woods produce more creosote, a flammable byproduct of burning wood that can build up in the chimney and will necessitate more frequent maintenance and cleaning.

Tips for building a fire

When building the fire, Place logs at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate, which encourages airflow and more efficient burning. Rather than building a large fire, we recommend building a small fire and adding wood to it as needed. This is much safer, as fires that are too large or too hot can crack the chimney or chimney liner. Small fires also generate less smoke and result in less creosote buildup making for a safer fireplace.

When starting a fire, always use kindling rather than flammable liquids, as slower combustion is safer and generates a more steady and comfortable heat.

Use a spark guard

Spark guards, such as mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors, prevent errant embers from shooting out of the fireplace and potentially burning or igniting carpeting or content items. Even with fireplace doors, it is never recommended to leave a fire unattended.

Keep your fireplace clean

An accumulation of ashes in your fireplace can represent a serious safety hazard. Wait until the ashes are thoroughly cooled, and then clean out the fireplace and dispose of the ashes outside. Wood ashes are perfect for garden beds and compost piles.

Using a vacuum to clean out your fireplace is not recommended, as most vacuum cleaners are not closed systems and can spew ash and smoke through your living area.

Now that your fireplace is ready and the fire is started, make yourself some hot cocoa or tea and relax. It may be cold outside, but it should be nice and cozy in front of your fireplace!

We hope you never have an issue with your fireplace, but if you ever do have a need for one of our services, please do not hesitate to Contact Our Offices!

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