Prep Your Fireplace for the Cold Season
Is your fireplace ready for this winter season?
We want you to be able to cozy up next to your fireplace this winter, but before you spark any logs, it is important that you make sure your fireplace is ready to go. Fireplaces and chimneys are involved in 42% of all home-heating fires, so we want you to know these seven crucial safety tips to go over before you get comfy and cozy.
The first tip is to hire a chimney sweep. According to The National Fire Protection Association, your chimney should be swept at least once a year. It is recommended that this takes place at the beginning of the winter to remove soot and debris. You can find a certified sweep in your area through the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
Once you have swept your chimney, it is important that you check for damage. This means looking for cracks in the structure, loose bricks, or missing mortar, and making sure your chimney liners don’t have any cracks or signs of deterioration.
Next, make sure that you cap the chimney. By capping the chimney with wire-mesh that covers the top of the chimney, you will help keep rain, birds, squirrels, and other debris from entering. If your cap is missing or damaged, you should replace or repair it.
You’ve checked all the preliminaries, now it’s time to think about your fire. When preparing to start your fire, make sure that you burn seasoned hardwoods. You want to choose a dense wood, such as oak, that has already been split and stored in a high and dry place for sixth months.
With your hardwood, you want to make sure not to overload your fire. Small fires generate less smoke, and fires that are too large and/or too hot can crack the chimney.
In order to not overload your fire, you need to build it right. Place your hardwood logs at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. Then, use kindling, rather than flammable liquids, to start the fire.
Lastly, use a spark guard to prevent embers from shooting out of the firebox with a mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors. This is especially important for any room where your fire is left unaccompanied.
Enjoy your warm fireplace safely this winter season!
View the original article from This Old House, by Shyra Peyton here, at thisoldhouse.com