I love being warm (probably why I love Safepact’s sunny Gulf Shores location), but while I’m home in Indiana for the winter I have to deal with the dreaded winter. The good thing about that though is that I can do one of my favorite things in the world, and that’s standing in front of the warm fireplace.
I highly doubt I’m alone in loving the warmth, sound, and feeling of being in front of the fire, but after sitting there all spring and summer and most of fall there are some precautions that you need to take to make sure that your fireplace is safe to use for the up and coming winter months. Here are a couple of tips and tricks and things to look for when preparing your fireplace for winter (and Santa too of course).
Once you get it planned to have your fireplace checked you have to decide which level of inspection you need. There are multiple levels of inspection that you can choose from when getting your job done, but to save you the time of looking at the link I’ll go ahead and tell you that a level one inspection is all you really need to start.
Something that you’ll find is pretty common amongst some of these advice articles is to have your chimney inspected by a professional, and it’s one that I agree with. The thing about chimneys is that they are very easy to see that some work needs to be done with them, but very hard to actually DO the work unless you have the right equipment.
I’ve got a couple articles that explains just how to clean the entire thing yourself (watch out on that link…large paragraphs…hard to read), but it’s a complicated and dirty job that can easily and affordably be done by a professional, so I say just do that. Here is a link to an article that has a bit of a checklist in things to look for when you are selecting your sweep.
Once you actually have your fireplace cleaned and prepared and ready for the winter, there are some things that you can do during the winter to keep your fireplace healthy and happy.
One of things you can do is burn a synthetic log vs. burning real ones. Synthetic logs like your Duraflames and such are actually specially engineered to prevent the creosote from building up in your chimney and starting a fire. They also emit less carbon monoxide than your typical from-a-tree logs, which makes Mother Earth happy.
Last but not least I want to talk about chimney caps. Chimney caps are the decorative little pieces that you see on top of chimneys that give them a “finished look”. Aside from being aesthetically pleasing chimney caps do a lot of help for your home and neighborhood. Caps prevent sparks and embers from escaping your chimney, which can potentially cause a fire by igniting surrounding bushes or trees.
The best part about chimney caps however are what they do for you in the months you aren’t using your fireplace. Chimney caps will prevent leaves, birds, raccoons, and other airborne maladies from entering your chimney and damaging the inside of it. Birds make nests, raccoons scratch, and leaves can just sit there, all causing the inside of the chimney to either get scratched up or, at the very least, greatly increase the chance of something catching on fire. I would highly doubt that a bird or a raccoon is going to be sitting in your chimney when you are lighting the fire, but their nests are usually made of leaves, newspaper, and paper products….which are big fire hazards. Having a chimney cap will prevent these potential fire hazards from entering your chimney and increasing your chances of a fire.
For the lazy people among us to don’t want to read my entire article (too late! It’s already the end muahaha) Here is a youtube video about all this.
Everybody build (a fire) safe out there!