Your fireplace is a central feature in your home, an architectural detail that inspires warmth and a sense of home. The comfort of gathering around a fireplace, or even centering your furniture around it, creates feelings of calm and relief, even when it is not cold outside. Unfortunately, it is about to become colder out as fall approaches, which means that your fireplace may get some use again fairly soon. Before you open the flue and light a fire, there are a few things you need to do to prepare your fireplace for the fall season. It is important to do these tasks now, as the warm weather of summer is just beginning to fade, rather than wait until the cool air begins to bite. What do you need to do and why is it important to schedule these tasks soon? What can you gain from professional resources like Atlanta Chimney Doctor? Read on for all the pertinent information that can help you care for your fireplace.
Gas or Wood-Burning?
First of all, your care tasks and the type of chimney inspection that you need depend on the type of fireplace you own. Because they burn from different fuel sources, there are different problems associated with each one. A chimney care professional or chimney sweep will be able to ascertain the problems that may be facing the specific type, size, and building materials of your fireplace. For this reason alone, it is important to hire professional chimney care.
- First, a chimney sweep should remove deposits before you light your first fire. It is important to do this in the fall because the deposits may have hardened or thickened during the summer, when the fireplace likely went unused.
- Creosote is a common deposit found along the fireplaces and chimneys of wood-burning fireplaces. Creosote deposits are a major fire risk if they over-accumulate.
- A chimney inspector can also review the gaskets, doors, damper, and ash dump for any signs of decline or pest activity. These areas need to be in top shape to prevent accidents with your fireplace.
- Your fireplace lining needs to be inspected for cracks or holes. A non-airtight fireplace can result in fire spreading into your living room or up through your chimney.
- Last but not least, have your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms checked. This is extremely important if you are going to have a controlled fire inside your residence.
- A chimney sweep should give your fireplace and chimney and thorough cleaning, just to be safe. Gas-burning fireplaces tend to be cleaner than wood-burning ones, but safety is key to a controlled fire.
- Pest activity is common during the summer, so a chimney care expert should look for signs of nests or holes created by pests in your fireplace. They can repair any damage or recommend pest control, if necessary.
- A gas technician should inspect the pilot and burner airways and clean them thoroughly. They should also clean the blower or filter. Their work will prevent a deadly gas leak from occurring.
- Have a chimney inspector check the lining of your fireplace for any leaks or cracks to prevent a draft from entering or exiting the fireplace.
- Replace the batteries in your alarms, and be sure your remote control—if your fireplace comes with one—has a good battery.
If you want more information on preparing your fireplace for the first fire of the fall season, check online resources like http://www.atlantachimneydoctor.com/services/video.htm or call a chimney sweep in your area to schedule service.