It’s that time of year when you want to use your fireplace to help take the chill out of the air. They are wonderful heaters but if you don’t maintain your fireplace it can be dangerous. Use the following easy steps to help keep you and your family safe and sound.
Why Should You Prepare it For it’s First Use
Many people assume that if a fireplace was working fine last year, it should be ok this year. But something could have happened over that last few months that could cause a fire or carbon monoxide to enter the home. When you do some easy maintenance you keep it safe for everyone.
For wood burning fireplaces you want to clean out the old ash and soot from the fire box. Make sure its nice and clean for this season.
For Gas Burning fireplaces you want to clean the glass, vacuum underneath and clean out dust. Make sure the fan (if there is one) is clean and clear of debris. Most gas burning fireplaces have clips that keep the glass shut and they are really easy to clean once you know how.
Make sure it can vent properly.
For wood burning fireplaces again you want to check the gate & damper to ensure is operating properly and that nothing is blocking it’s operation. Get down low and using a flashlight, look up the chimney and make sure you can see all the way through to the sky. Rodent and birds often nest in the flu so you want to make sure its free and clear.
For gas fireplaces, take a look at the vent if you can see it. Direct vent fireplaces often vent out the side of the house. Make sure no animals have nested in there. Make sure all vegetation is cut back. These vents get very hot when they are in use and you don’t want anything to catch fire.
Pay Attention to the Visible Condition
This is applicable for all fireplaces. Look for cracks in the firebox, cracks in the glass, loose components etc… Anything that appears to be damaged should be reviewed by a fireplace professional to ensure it’s operating as it should.
Book a Professional Service
Wood burning fireplaces should really have their chimney cleaned annually. This step removes the flammable creosote that sticks in the flue and reduces the risk of a chimney fire.
For Gas Fireplaces, most of the HVAC companies can do a service on them when they come to service your furnace. They will give it a once over, clean everything up and ensure none of the gas supply is blocked. May not be required every year but once every few years is a good idea.