Fall is here, and that means the weather is turning colder. For many people, this means the fireplace in the home will start to get a lot more usage in the next few weeks or months.
At Comfort Solutions, we’re here to help you with all preparation elements for the colder season. Here are a few areas you should consider as you get things started in the fall.
Preparing for Use
Proper maintenance of the fireplace is always necessary. There are several things you can do, including keeping the chimneys clean and clear – this includes the flues, smoke chambers, dampers and vents. Ensuring this is done is the best way to make sure you’ll be ready to use the machine right away.
Professional chimney cleaners can help here, and the National Fire Protection Agency recommends that this is done annually and before you light the first fire of the season. It’s also recommended every 60 to 80 fires for people in a cold climate.
Wood Burning Tips
A wood-burning fireplace can be a very attractive feature, but it can carry risks if it’s not properly maintained. Before the first fire of the fall or winter season check for the following:
- Creosote buildup: This is a toxic and highly flammable result of burning wood, and it should be cleared right out if discovered. Ignited creosote can become a fire that’s out of control in a hurry, and exposure to creosote smoke is dangerous to the lungs and other organs.
- Cracks or loose bricks
- Missing or damaged chimney cap: This piece prevents stray embers from igniting the home’s roof, and also deters birds from building nests while keeping other animals and debris out.
- Trees: If there are tree branches blocking the chimney and sending smoke back into your home, you will need to trim these back.
Gas Burning Tips
A gas fireplace is generally easier to maintain than wood, but still does require annual maintenance. Ventilation is particularly important – carbon monoxide can enter the home if there are problems here. If you notice any of these signs, this could be an issue:
- Dampness in the home, especially on the walls
- Stains on the outside of the chimney, especially white stains
- Erosion around mortar joints or crumbling bricks
Fireplace for Heating
Some homeowners rely on fireplaces for winter heating and comfort. If this is a priority, here are some tips:
- Make sure the flue damper is in good shape to seal heat in the home.
- Install a tempered glass door at the front of the firebox instead of a movable screen. This will seal the fireplace off more effectively.
- For wood fireplaces, clean the inside of the firebox regularly to remove buildup and prime the area for future fires. This will allow for optimal space.