Maintaining Your Fireplace During Winter

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Dec 28, 2016

run-in-shed-for-storage-or-firewood.jpg

Run in sheds can not only be used for horses but also for equipment or a place to stack firewood to help keep it dry.

Over the years, I've noticed that a fire crackling in a fireplace has a way of drawing people into a room. The warmth of the fire combined with its familiar fragrance is a pleasant addition to a cold, snowy evening. I love to put up my feet near the fireplace and enjoy some delicious popcorn. But it's important to make sure that you maintain your fireplace so it's ready to go during the winter months. Use these tips to keep your fireplace in safe working order.

Inspect the Chimney

This is the most important maintenance tip to remember. Creosote, soot, and ashes build up on the inside of your chimney. These elements can create blockage that can lead to a fire or smoke flowing back into your home. It's a good idea to hire a professional who has the equipment to safely inspect and clean your chimney. A professional chimney cleaner will be able to find cracks and other damage. An inspection/cleaning should be done about once a year or more frequently, depending on how often you use your fireplace.

Sweep the Fireplace

It's a smart idea to clean the ashes and partially burned logs out of the fireplace every time you use it. This prevents a buildup of flammable debris in your fireplace. A set of fireplace tools including a special broom and shovel can be helpful in getting the job done in an efficient way. Be sure to vacuum any stray ashes off the hearth of your fireplace so they don't get tracked onto the carpet.

Install a Chimney Cap

Installing a chimney cap can keep leaves, sticks, and other debris out of your chimney flue. Plus, it stops rain from running into your flue and causing damage. Squirrels and birds are notorious for trying to build nests in chimneys, and a chimney cap can also deter them from trying to take up residence in your flue. Installing a chimney cap can help you simplify some of your chimney maintenance tasks this time of year.

Inspect Your Fireplace Doors

Chances are good that you have glass doors on your fireplace. Inspect the glass on your doors to find any cracks or damage. Also, open and close the doors to make sure that the hinges and latch are in proper working order. Now is the best time to make necessary repairs to your fireplace doors.

Maintain Smoke Detectors

You may already have a smoke detector near your fireplace. If so, check the batteries and test it to make sure it is working properly. If you don't have a smoke detector near your fireplace, consider installing one. This can give you extra peace of mind, especially when you aren't in the room to monitor the fire in your fireplace.

Finally, check the condition of your firewood. Take two logs and bang them together. If you hear a crack, it means they are dry and in good condition. A thudding sound means they have taken on moisture and should not be used in your fireplace.

Enjoy your fireplace this winter, and thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: maintaining fireplace

 

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