Getting your Fireplace Ready for Winter

A fire is cozy during the winter. However, before you light the logs, there are a few tasks you need to complete in order to prepare your fireplace for use.

It’s important to make sure the fireplace is both functional and safe. Here are tips for getting the fireplace ready and keeping it in working order during the winter months:

Replace the Batteries in the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

When you use your fireplace and other heating systems, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are more critical than ever. Replace the batteries and test your alarms to ensure they work when you need them.

Many carbon monoxide alarms come with batteries that are meant to last for years. Never assume the battery has power and always double-check that your carbon monoxide alarm is working. It’s easy to do and batteries are a small price to pay when they can potentially save a life.

Make an Appointment for a Fireplace Inspection

Prepare your fireplace by having it cleaned and checked by a professional. During this service, creosote and other combustible material will be removed from the chimney, reducing the risk of a chimney fire.

Prepare Your Fireplace by Inspecting the Chimney Cap

The chimney cap is exposed to the weather and, as a result, susceptible to damage and corrosion. If you’re using a chimney cap with a guard or screening, make sure it’s free of debris.

If you don’t already have one, get a chimney cap. Birds and other animals will use open chimney cavities as dwellings, which can serve as fuel for a chimney fire.

Prepare Your Fireplace by Checking for Cracks and Damage

Examine the masonry in the chimney for any holes, cracks, or loose joints. These can lead to a fire if left unchecked. Do not attempt to repair firebrick with a standard mortar because the material can’t endure high temperatures. Hire a licensed mason to perform any necessary repairs.

Clear the Clutter from Around Your Fireplace

Unless you keep your fireplace clean between seasons, clutter may have accumulated since you last used the fireplace. Before you light the first fire of the season, be sure to clear any objects from in front of the fireplace, especially anything that may be combustible or produce noxious fumes when warmed. Make sure no furniture or carpets are too close.

Prepare Your Fireplace with Firewood

With the days getting colder, it’s a good idea to get the firewood ready. If you’re preparing your own firewood, it’ll need to be split into pieces and cured for at least 6 months to a year. Place the wood in a dry area outside to keep it out of the rain and out of reach of pests. When stacking your wood, make sure the split side is down and off the ground.

Only burn cured wood in your fireplace. Wood with a high moisture content burns less efficiently and creates more creosote than seasoned wood.

Blackbird Home Inspections provides inspection services to homes in Central Arkansas. Contact us to schedule an inspection.