How to Prepare Your Fireplace for Winter

Feet in woollen socks by the Christmas fireplace. Woman relaxes by warm fire with a cup of hot drink and warming up her feet in woollen socks. Close up on feet. Winter and Christmas holidays concept.Winter in Acworth, GA, can be unrelenting. Utilizing your fireplace during these colder months helps reduce the cost of heating your home, by eliminating the need to use more expensive fossil fuels, like propane and natural gas. Unfortunately, statistics show that chimneys and fireplaces are involved in approximately 42% of all home-heating related fires.

Each time you burn a log in your fireplace, it releases creosote residue. Over time, this residue accumulates and gets stuck to inside your chimney. When a new flame comes into contact with this highly combustible residue, it can cause a raging fire. To avoid disaster and ensure the safety of your home, here are five steps you should take before lighting up the old hearth.

Clean Your Chimney

According to the National Fire Protection Association, chimneys should be swept at least once annually (preferably at the start of winter), to remove any built-up soot and debris.

While there are products you can purchase to self-maintenance your chimney, it’s recommended that you hire a professional sweep. A certified chimney sweep will not only clean your chimney, but will also inspect it for structural damage like cracks and loose bricks.

There are a number of reputable options for chimney repair in Acworth, should you require it. These services will typically provide you with a cost quote upon inspection.

Aside from averting a fire hazard, properly cleaning your chimney will remove insects and other small animals that may periodically get caught in the flue.

A clean chimney works at heating your home much more efficiently than a clogged chimney.

Use a Chimney Cap

A great way to keep your chimney free and clear of blockages in between yearly cleanings is to cap the top of it. Chimney caps are fitted with mesh wire on all sides to inhibit birds, rodents, leaves, and other debris from getting inside.

If your chimney cap is missing or damaged, you should have it repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

Build Your Fire Correctly

Building your fire correctly means placing the logs at back of the fireplace on a metal grate. You also should use kindling, instead of flammable liquids like lighter fluid to start your fire.

Don’t Overload Your Fireplace

Fire placeAcworth’s fireplace repair experts advise that you burn small fires instead of larger ones. The smaller your fire, the less smoke it produces, which means less creosote residue in your chimney. Additionally, fires that are too large and too hot can cause your chimney to crack.

Choose the Right Wood

Dense hardwoods like Ash and Oak are best to use for your fireplace. You should only buy firewood that has been seasoned, meaning it was split and stored in a high and dry place for at least six months. You’ll want to stay away from green, resinous, softwoods like Pine, as they tend to release more creosote than hardwoods.

Install a Spark Guard

Rouge embers can jut out from the fireplace and cause trouble at any time. Installing a spark guard (usually either a mesh metal screen, or set of glass fireplace doors) keeps these embers contained. This kind of protection is especially useful when a room is unoccupied, as fires that go unnoticed have more time to grow and spread.