A fireplace provides warmth and ambiance. Because it’s only used seasonally each year, it’s important to make sure the fireplace is safe for use. Learn how to prepare your fireplace with these steps.
Sweep the Chimney
The first step to prepare your fireplace for use is to have the chimney swept. Soot and creosote build up on the chimney walls and increase the risk of a fire. Hire a professional to clean the chimney and clear it of debris. Check the bricks and mortar for signs of damage or cracks. Have problems repaired by a professional to make sure the chimney is safe.
Prepare the Fireplace by Checking the Damper
The damper is an important part of the fireplace. It allows air to enter and smoke to exit. It can be difficult to adjust a rusted or stuck damper. Check the damper and make sure it is working smoothly and opens and closes completely.
Stock Up on Quality Firewood
If purchasing precut firewood, choose a hardwood variety that has been seasoned for at least 6 months. Softwoods, such as pine, have a higher resin content. When burned, these types of wood produce thicker smoke and will cause creosote to build up faster. Store the firewood in a dry place several yards away from the home.
Prepare Your Fireplace by Checking the Alarms
Test the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home to make sure they are working properly. Replace the batteries so you know they will work through the season. Your smoke and carbon dioxide alarms will notify you if a hazard occurs from your heating devices and give you enough time to take action.
Use a Spark Barrier and a Hearth Mat
Install a glass door or screen on your fireplace to prevent sparks from jumping out of the firebox. Place a fireproof hearth mat in front of your fireplace to protect your flooring. Purchase these accessories if you don’t already have them to get your fireplace ready for use.
Check the Chimney Cap
A chimney cap is susceptible to damage and can easily be displaced from its original position. If it is not secured, leaves, twigs, and other debris can enter the chimney. While checking on or installing the chimney cap, inspect the chimney for damage, and call a professional to repair any issues.
Clean the Firebox to Prepare Your Fireplace
Burned pieces of wood and ash may still be present from last season. Remove the ashes and charred wood to prepare your fireplace for use. A clean firebox means less dust will be stirred up when you place new logs on the grate.
A fireplace needs regular care and maintenance to keep it safe. Before you build your first fire of the season, prepare the fireplace. A clean and well-maintained fireplace offers peace of mind and provides warmth to your home.