How To Get Your Fireplace Ready For Fall
When the leaves turn, you know that Old Man Winter is on his way, and soon it’ll be time to light your fireplace for extra warmth and comfort. However, whether you have a wood-burning fireplace or a gas fireplace, there are necessary steps to take to prepare it for the cold months ahead. Let’s look at how to get your fireplace ready for fall.
Clean The Area Around Your Fireplace
It’s easy for the space around your fireplace or fireplace insert to become cluttered during the summer with children’s toys, pet toys, magazines, furniture, boxes, etc. Before lighting your first fire this season, take a few hours to clean the area around your fireplace and remove any items that could be fire or safety hazards. Furthermore, be mindful of furniture that’s too close to the fireplace and move it a safe distance away.
Inspect The Gasket
If your fireplace has glass doors, check the gasket seal for wear and tear. A worn or damaged gasket can allow too much smoke to spill into the home and too much oxygen to reach the fire, which can cause it to burn too hot. If the gasket appears damaged or worn, replace it for safety and a better burning fire.
Check The Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are crucial to your family’s safety during winter, when you frequently use your fireplace. Before you build and light your first fire of the season, check these detectors to ensure the batteries are fresh and working correctly. The National Fire Protection Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that many deaths are caused by malfunctioning smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. Experts recommend replacing smoke alarms every ten years and carbon monoxide detectors every five years.
Inspect The Damper
The damper is a device that regulates airflow through the chimney, so if it’s rusted or malfunctioning, your fire may burn inefficiently, or you may get too much smoke in the house. Dampers wear down through continuous exposure to heat and moisture, so check it to ensure it opens and closes correctly and repair it if necessary.
Clean The Chimney
Burning wood produces a byproduct called creosote that sticks to the chimney’s walls and builds up to a thick residue over time. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, Most chimney fires are caused by a dirty chimney, and creosote buildup is a primary culprit. Some fireplace owners rely on creosote-removing logs, which can work on light creosote buildup; however, they’re not nearly as effective as a thorough cleaning performed by a trained chimney sweep. Chimney sweeps also check for blockages like birds’ nest, twigs, leaves, and debris that cause problems, something the cleaning logs can’t remove.
Check The Blower
If your fireplace uses a blower to circulate heat, check it for dirt and debris buildup. Most blower systems don’t use a filter like your furnace or HVAC, so you must clean these components yearly for safety and performance and ensure the blower’s lifespan.
Inspect The Cap
Most chimneys have a cap, which stops debris from getting into the flue. However, the cap can get clogged with birds’ nests, leaves, etc., which can impair your chimney’s ability to vent correctly. Furthermore, because the cap is exposed to the elements, it’s prone to damage, so it’s wise to call a professional to inspect it before you use your fireplace this fall.
Check The Pilot Light
For gas fireplaces, you must check the pilot light for loose connections or wires that could cause safety issues.
Hire A Professional
Finally, the best way to ensure your fireplace is ready to battle the cold weather ahead is to hire a certified professional to perform a thorough cleaning and inspection of your entire system.
Professionals can identify minor damage and repair it before it becomes a hazard and will ensure your system is clean, safe, and ready to keep you comfortable for the next several months.
Felgemacher Fireplace Shop is a division of Felgemacher Masonry. We’re a third-generation fireplace company serving homeowners in Rochester NY, Buffalo NY, Williamsville NY, Pittsofrd NY, Charlotte NC, and the surrounding areas. We have over 60 years of experience and employ expert masons who are masters in their craft.
Our technicians are fully insured and certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, and we deliver unmatched customer service on every job we perform. Contact us today and let us get your fireplace ready for winter. In Buffalo, call (716) 452-9155. In Rochester, call 716-482-1820. You can also reach us online.