Preparing Your Fireplace for Winter

November 5, 2016

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It’s going to be pretty hard to dream by the fire this holiday season if your fireplace hasn’t been well maintained. Because your chimney has been out of commission through the summer season, it’s important to clean it before throwing the yule log on. From hiring a chimney sweep in Alpharetta to inspecting your flashing, here is everything you need to do to keep your fireplace cozy this season.

  • Sweep your chimney. Chances are that you haven’t had your chimney swept recently. Before you light a fire this season, a sweep is absolutely necessary. This removes leftover soot and debris that has accumulated, making it easier and safer to light a fire.
  • Inspect the chimney. While keeping your chimney clean is important, it’s equally important to check for structural damage. Each season, get up on your roof to get a closer look at the liner, brick, and stone. If you notice any cracks, missing mortar, or loose stone, have it replaced before you use your fireplace.
  • Have your chimney fitted with a cap. If your chimney doesn’t have a cap on it, it’s a good time to get one. Having a wire or mesh cap placed on top of your chimney prevents rain, birds, squirrels, and debris from interfering with the integrity of your chimney. If your cap is damaged, have it fixed before the season begins.
  • Choose the right wood to burn. What you put in your fireplace matters. If you burn green wood or resinous softwoods, an excess of creosote will be given off. This flammable byproduct builds up in the chimney and causes a fire hazard for you and your family.
  • Burn the right amount of wood. Each time you start a fire in your fireplace, be aware of how much wood you are using. By building a smaller fire, you generate less smoke. This means that you won’t have a large amount of creosote built up at the end of the season. Plus, a larger fire could become too hot—cracking or damaging the exterior of the chimney.
  • Install a spark guard. If you don’t have one already, take the time to pick out a spark guard before the season begins. A spark guard can be made of metal mesh or glass. It stands in front of the open flame in the fireplace and prevents any sparks from escaping from the hearth, reducing the chance of an unwanted fire.
  • Clean the blower. Many electric or gas fireplaces have blowers. If you have fireplace inserts in Alpharetta, make sure that the blower is cleaned. This prevents any unwanted buildup.
  • Check your alarms. At the beginning of the cold season, it’s important to check your carbon monoxide detectors and fire alarms to ensure that they are working correctly. Switch the batteries and test them from time to time to keep your family safe while using the fireplace.

It’s important to care for your fireplace before even striking a match this season. If you’re not sure where to begin, hire a chimney sweep in Alpharetta to clean out the flue. You’ll be able to see more clearly when performing the rest of the chimney inspection.

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