Many homeowners use fireplaces as an extra heat source in colder weather. However, it is important to get it ready for the season before you light it up. Here are 8 tips to prepare your fireplace for fall.
Have the Chimney Swept
The first thing to do when you notice a chill in the air is to schedule a chimney cleaning. It is important to have the chimney swept once a year to remove soot and creosote and minimize the risk of a chimney fire.
A chimney sweep will also check the chimney cap and remove any debris that has accumulated in the chimney, like birds’ nests, sticks, and leaves.
Clean Out the Firebox
Clean out the firebox, which is the technical term for where you build the fire in the fireplace. Sweep out ashes and burned material from the previous season. Scrub away stubborn soot with some dishwashing soap and a brush. Spray the surfaces and walls with a cleaning solution and wipe it down thoroughly.
Check for Damages to Prepare Your Fireplace
When cleaning the firebox, inspect the masonry and note any cracks or holes. Check the damper and make sure it opens and closes smoothly. You’ll want to fix any issues before you begin using the fireplace.
Trim Trees Overhead
Tree branches hanging over or near your chimney are a fire hazard. Get on the roof and trim them yourself, or if it is a tricky job, hire a professional. Removing tree branches over your house also helps protect your roof.
Prepare Your Fireplace With Seasoned Hardwoods
Burn the right type of wood in your fireplace. Seasoned hardwoods produce less creosote because they have been dried out. When there’s less moisture, there’s less smoke.
Stock up on firewood and store it in a covered place outside, raised off the ground. Firewood should be seasoned for at least 6 months after being cut and stored.
Add a Screen or Glass Doors
If your fireplace doesn’t have a barrier between the firebox and the room, install a screen or glass doors to keep embers from flying out of the fireplace and into the room.
Place a Fireproof Mat in Front
Even with a screen, a stray ember may escape from the fireplace. Place a fireproof mat in front of the fireplace to protect your floors.
Prepare Your Gas Fireplace
A gas fireplace needs less maintenance than a wood-burning one, but the firebox and chimney vent still need to be cleaned before you begin using it for the season.