Are Your Chimney and Fireplace Ready for Winter?
As cold weather begins to set in, thermostats are bumped up (much to the displeasure of some fathers and husbands), sweaters are donned, and tables are laden with warm food and drink. Nothing completes a cozy winter set-up quite like a fire softly crackling away in the fireplace. Are your fireplace and chimney ready for winter use?
Get Them Cleaned
The first thing you should do to get your chimney and fireplace ready for use this winter is to get them both thoroughly cleaned. Your chimney should have a cap that keeps it sheltered from the elements, debris, and critters that might try making their home inside. Make sure there’s one in place and that it’s in good condition. Trim away any nearby tree branches and inspect the chimney for damage. Cleaning the chimney can’t be done without the right tools and know-how, so hire a chimney sweep to clean it from the inside at least once a year. Remember to clean your fireplace too, especially if you have a fireplace blower that doesn’t have a filter.
Get Them Professionally Inspected
It can be tough to spot signs of damage to your chimney and fireplace if you don’t know what you’re looking for. That’s why it’s crucial to have them professionally inspected. Things like gas leaks and worn-out parts can prevent your fireplace from working effectively at best and be quite dangerous at worst. An inspection can bring these and other problems to your attention so you can address them before you try using your fireplace for the first time this winter.
Get Your Home Ready
Give some attention to the area surrounding your fireplace as well. Clear away any clutter that may have collected on or around your fireplace throughout the year. Make sure the area in front of the fireplace is clear as well. Items may be damaged or let off an unpleasant odor if they get too warm. Check the gasket and replace it if it appears damaged. Remember to replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well. Test the alarms to make sure they work.
House fires are more common in winter than in any other season. In addition to committing to never leaving the stove or candles unattended and remembering to unplug holiday lights when you’re not around, make sure you get your chimney and fireplace cleaned and inspected before you light it up. It may seem like a hassle, but avoiding that hassle isn’t worth the risk of a chimney fire. Get your chimney and fireplace ready so you can enjoy all the comforting warmth it offers this winter season.
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