When the air turns chilly, you may begin thinking about starting the first fire of the season in your fireplace. However, a fireplace can be dangerous if it’s not well-maintained and properly prepared first. When you prepare your fireplace by following a few easy steps, you can enjoy it safely.
Reasons to Prepare Your Fireplace for Its First Use
Many people assume that their fireplace doesn’t need maintenance or repairs since they had no problems last year. Keep in mind that you may not be aware of fireplace damage until a fire breaks out or carbon monoxide enters the home. When you prepare your fireplace for winter, you reduce the risk of fire hazards.
1. Remove Ashes and Soot
The firebox may be covered in soot and filled with ashes from last season. A dirty firebox may prevent you from burning a fire or create a fire hazard. After shoveling and sweeping the ashes out, focus on removing flammable soot.
2. Check the Gate and Damper
After cleaning the firebox, check the other components. The damper should open and close fully in order to keep smoke and carbon monoxide out of your home. As you open the damper for the first time this season, watch for falling debris. Rodents and birds often make nests in the flue. The gate prevents burning logs from rolling onto your floor and starting a fire, so make sure it is sturdy and secure.
3. Pay Attention to Visible Condition
You are not able to see the entire length of the flue or the chimney on your roof, but you can identify potential trouble spots by checking the firebox, hearth, and other features. Even an issue that seems minor, such as a thin crack in the firebox, could be a fire hazard.
Consult a professional home inspector if you have any concerns. Have the home inspector inspect the chimney from above, either by getting on the roof or using an aerial drone.
4. Book Professional Chimney Cleaning Service
While each of these steps is important to prepare your fireplace for its first use of the season, you should still hire a chimney sweep. This step will remove flammable creosote, soot, and other elements from the chimney.
As you prepare your fireplace for its first use through these steps, you ‘ll address any issues while keeping your family safe and protecting your home from damage.