Get Your Fireplace Ready for Winter

As the colder months approach, it’s time to think about how to prepare your fireplace for use. A crackling fire will heat your home and be a comfort to your family, but it may cause a house fire if not properly maintained. Service your fireplace early to avoid any issues that could arise. Here are some easy steps you should follow to prepare your fireplace for use this winter.‏

Prepare Your Fireplace by ‏Sweeping It Clean‏

According to the National Fire Protection Association, inspecting the fireplace and sweeping the firebox and flue walls should be done at least once a year. Creosote, a highly flammable byproduct of fires, can build up around the inside walls of your chimney, increasing the chance of a house fire. Hire a professional to remove soot and creosote from the fireplace and chimney.

‏Check for Chimney Damage‏

‏Prepare your fireplace by inspecting the chimney for any damage. Look inside the firebox, the outside masonry, and inspect the chimney cap. Any cracks or damage should be repaired by a professional. Look for include hairline fractures, loose bricks, any deterioration, and any problems with the mortar.‏

When inspecting your chimney, check to see if it’s dislodged or damaged in any way. An ill-fitted cap can let debris into your chimney including leaves and twigs which can lead to a blockage. If the cap is in poor condition, have it replaced as soon as possible.‏

‏Prepare Your Fireplace Damper‏

‏When checking your fireplace, make sure the damper opens and closes fully. Dampers are essential for controlling the airflow and help prevent a build-up of creosote. ‏

‏If the damper opens and closes without issue then it’s good to use this winter. If it’s getting stuck or is broken in any way, repair or replace it before you start using the fireplace.‏

‏Prepare Your Fireplace by Cleaning Up Ashes‏

‏If you haven’t touched your fireplace since last winter there may still be a buildup of ash. Clean up the ashes to prepare your fireplace for use this winter. You can sweep them up with a dustpan or use a vacuum to clear away the mess.‏

‏Ashes need to be routinely cleaned because they will build up again with every fire. Because they can retain heat long after the fire is dead, make sure that the ashes are cool before cleaning.

‏Keep a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule and you’ll be able to enjoy your fireplace all winter long. There is a level of risk involved with operating a fireplace, so always keep safety in mind when you’re lighting a fire.

Catawba Island Home Inspections provides inspections to customers in Northwest Ohio. Contact us to schedule our services.