A fireplace is a great feature to have in a home. It gives your family a supplemental heat source and a cozy place to gather around on cold evenings. Like any other component of the home, the fireplace needs proper maintenance. These three steps will help you prepare your fireplace for use each fall.
Prepare Your Fireplace from the Top Down
It’s not hard to keep the fireplace itself, technically the firebox, ready for use. However, the most critical areas to maintain are the flue and chimney. The flue and chimney should be checked by a professional each year before use.
Make sure the damper operates correctly and is open before you build a fire. Look for any buildup of creosote or obstructions like bird nests. Make sure your cap is intact on top of the chimney and look for any loose bricks or cracked areas in the masonry. Have a professional chimney service clean and inspect it annually.
Empty the Firebox
Before lighting a fire, remove all the ashes and unburned materials from the firebox. Old ash and debris make it difficult to light a new fire. The cold ash will slow the fire’s ability to build heat.
Use a fireplace shovel to remove larger pieces of debris and then sweep the ashes into a metal bin. If there is creosote stuck to the surfaces of the firebox, scrub it clean with dish detergent.
Check The Screen
A fireplace is designed to release heat without allowing the fire or smoke into the living space. The next step to prepare your fireplace is to make sure the screen and doors operate properly.
When the doors do not move smoothly, you could have a problem closing them if sparking wood starts to send embers out of the fireplace. If you don’t have a secure screen or glass doors as a barrier to the fireplace, have them installed.
If maintained properly, your fireplace will add warmth, beauty, and comfort to your home. Each fall, make sure you take the time to prepare your fireplace for use so that it will burn safely through the fall and winter.