The cozy season is officially here and nothing compares to the appeal of the soft amber glow of a crackling fire. But your fireplace is more than just a pretty face; it’s an essential component of your home and needs the same regular TLC as other major appliances in order to function safely and properly.
So, before you fire up a gas or wood-burning fireplace this season, there are a few important things you must first address. Here are tips to prepare your fireplace for fall and winter.
How to Prep a Wood-Burning Fireplace
- Hire a chimney sweep. According to the National Fire Protections Agency (NFPA), a chimney should be professionally swept at least once a year to get rid of soot and debris that could present a fire hazard.
- Check for damage and debris. Inspect the chimney for birds, nests, and other pests and check the mortar and brick for cracks and signs of damage. Also, ensure the fireplace damper opens and closes smoothly.
- Inspect the chimney cap. A properly fitted chimney cap keeps rain, birds, pests, and debris from entering the chimney and your home. Don’t have a chimney cap? Have one installed to ensure good working conditions for the chimney top.
- Only use seasoned hardwood. Seasoned, dense hardwoods such as oak produce less smoke and create less creosote – a combustible byproduct of burning wood – than green wood and resinous softwoods.
- Install a spark guard. A spark guard prevents wayward cinders from exiting the firebox where they can land of furnishings and spark a house fire.
How to Prep a Gas-Burning Fireplace
- Schedule regular service. Hire a qualified technician to inspect your fireplace at least every to years for safe and proper operation.
- Clean out the blower. Unlike a furnace blower, the blower of a gas-burning fireplace is not equipped with a filtering system that prevents the accumulation of dust and soot. Buildup can cause premature wear to the appliance and prevent the motor from cooling properly.
- Change the batteries. Check and replace the batteries in your fireplace remote transmitters and receivers to ensure smooth operation. Also, test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly and change the batteries every 6 months.
Safety Tips to Keep in Mind
Before lighting logs in your fireplace, whether wood or gas-burning, familiarize yourself with these safety tips.
- Never use charcoal in a fireplace as it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Install and use a screen or spark guard to keep sparks and embers from getting out of the fireplace.
- Always supervise kids and pets when a fire is burning.
- Remove any hanging decorations from the fireplace mantel before lighting a fire.
- Make sure that the damper is open before lighting a fire and keep it open until the fire is completely out.
Here’s something else to put on your fall “to do” list: contact C&D Cooling & Heating for annual heating system preventive maintenance service. It’s your best assurance of reliable performance, fewer repairs, lower repair costs, lower utility bills , and longer equipment life. We look forward to serving you.