There is nothing more relaxing than gathering around the fireplace during the cold winter months. In that case, it is extremely important to always make sure your fireplace is working perfectly.
The good news is that prepping your fireplace for the grueling winter ahead is not that hard. If you can get the simple things right, then you won’t have to worry about anything else.
Here are a few ideas that may help you out.
The best way to deal with fireplace issues is to detect them as early as possible. This is why regular inspections are highly recommended. A comprehensive inspection that looks at the chimneys and the entire fireplace should be done each year by a qualified professional.
The inspection will involve thorough cleaning as well. This will help remove creosote buildup and, in turn, the fireplace will burn more efficiently.
Pay Attention to Cracks and Damages
Cracks and loose joints on the fireplace can be very problematic if not taken care of soon. The cracks can occur inside or outside the fireplace’s walls. If there is any damage, call in a professional for more help.
Do not try to fix cracks using regular mortar. Mortar cannot stand up to the high heat when the fire is burning. It will wear off in no time. A qualified professional will know what is required and even though it will cost you some money, it will be worth it.
Clear Tree Limbs
It is important to make sure that the chimney cap is as clear as possible. Any hanging tree limbs around it and other types of debris must be removed. Overgrown tree limbs, in particular, that encroach the chimney may present a serious fire hazard. They may also limit efficient chimney operation in the long run.
Clean Out the Ashes
The ash in the firebox must be removed every week, or when it reaches an inch deep. However, you need to be very careful when doing this to avoid potential burns. This is because coal can remain hot for up to three days. Before you start the job, make sure everything is cool enough to handle.
You can use a normal vacuum to collect the ash and dispose of it outside. Ash buildup limits the efficiency of your chimney. It also makes it harder for the fuel to burn.
Stock Up on Wood
Getting your fireplace ready for winter will also involve stocking up the wood you will need to keep the fire burning. Gather good quality wood and store it outside the house in a dry and secure location. Some of the best wood to use for the fire include maple, oak, and birch.
All the wood burned in your fireplace must be 100% safe. DO NOT burn painted or treated wood. Such fuel may produce dangerous fumes that may be harmful to your health and that of your family.
Add a Heatproof Glass
Installing a heat-proof glass door around the fireplace can go a long way in improving energy efficiency. Doors will also prevent sparks from escaping from the fireplace and onto the surrounding areas. This reduces the risk of fire and ensures that potential damages around the fireplace are avoided.
However, in case you already have a glass door on your fireplace, you must maintain it. Regular cleaning and inspections are crucial.
Every type of fireplace will have its maintenance routines. Whether it's a gas, electric, or wood-burning fireplace, regular maintenance is essential. In that case, create a maintenance checklist for your specific fireplace and make sure you follow it to the letter.
Keeping your fireplace in pristine condition is important for two reasons. It helps to enhance overall energy efficiency and reduces the risk of fire significantly.
Get the help of a professional to inspect, clean and get your fireplace ready for the colder weather!