A fireplace can add charm, elegance, ambiance and of course, warmth to any home. But before you light that first log and relax by its warm glow with family and friends, make sure that both your fireplace and chimney are in safe working order.
Here are some important things you should do before using your fireplace for the first time this or any season:
Hire a chimney sweep. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you have your chimney swept by a qualified professional at least once a year to remove soot and debris that could pose a fire hazard for you and your loved ones.
Make sure the cap on your chimney is secure. Capping the chimney helps prevent rain, snow, birds, squirrels, and debris from entering. If the cap is missing or damaged, have it replaced or repaired.
Thoroughly examine the firebox. Check for cracks, gaps, or signs of wear in the lining of the firebox. If you notice that the lining has deteriorated and the steel body beneath is visible, call a professional to repair it. Otherwise, excessive heat can build up inside your fireplace, causing permanent damage.
Make sure the grate is sized for your fireplace. It should be no more than two-thirds the size of the fireplace opening. A larger grate might tempt you to pile on more wood and build a larger fire, which can overheat your fireplace and cause serious damage.
Inspect the fireplace guard. A mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors help prevent errant embers from shooting out of the firebox. Check for cracks or other signs of damage and repair or replace it if necessary.
Remember, safety first. Keep a fully charged and ready to use fire extinguisher nearby. Always open the flue before you start a fire and close it when not in use to save energy. And never leave a fire burning when you leave the house or turn in for the night.
As thoughts turn to fall and winter, here’s another timely tip from Absolute Air: contact us today for annual preventative maintenance for your home heating system. It’s the right move for ensuring a season’s worth of improved performance, a reduced likelihood of repairs, lower utility costs and, once again, added safety.