Fall is upon us and for many parts of the country, cold weather is already creeping in. There is arguably nothing better than cozying up to a fireplace when temperatures drop. That means it’s time to make sure our fireplaces and chimneys are in good working order.
Before preparing everything for use, it’s important to make sure everything is clean. A dirty or neglected chimney can actually be dangerous when operated. So, before you get ready to light your first fire, make sure you hire a professional chimney sweep for an annual inspection and cleaning of any soot and debris. Once you’re ready to go, here are some things you can do to prepare.
Do your own inspection.
Check for anything odd you may notice like cracks, loose bricks or any other abnormalities in the chimney. Clean the blower if it’s dirty and make sure the damper is working properly. Also, doing a chimney and fireplace inspection makes for a good reminder to check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. It’s always a good idea to change your batteries every six months.
Use the correct firewood.
Start splitting wood and keeping it in a dry place until you’re ready to use it. It needs to be kept dry and no larger than six inches in diameter to ensure proper burning. It’s actually recommended to store your softwood (recommended) for at least six months. If you’re out of time, we suggest purchasing wood from a trusted source. You can also buy a wood moisture meter if you’re unsure if your wood is useable or not. It needs to read 20 percent or less moisture.
Build a fire.
Believe it or not, there’s actually a correct way to build a fire in your fireplace. Overloading your fireplace with too big of a fire can cause cracks and give off more smoke – leading to creosote buildup (a toxic chemical). Also, use kindling to start the fire instead of flammable liquids and keep space between the logs to fuel the fire with plenty of air.
Always stay safe.
Make sure you’re using a spark guard when using the fireplace. Also, keep the area around the fireplace clear of any clutter and flammable objects. And lastly, don’t leave a fire unattended as it can easily get out of hand and end up with deadly consequences.
If you’re looking for your own home in the country that has your own fireplace, contact one of our professionals at United Country Real Estate to help you find your dream property. Learn more at www.UCCountryHomes.com.