Your fireplace needs to be well-maintained so that it’s a safe heat source during the colder months. It’s essential to take proper precautions before lighting up the first fire of the season. Read on to learn seven ways to prepare your fireplace for use this winter.

Hire a Professional Chimney Cleaner to Prepare Your Fireplace

The fireplace and chimney should be cleaned and swept before building a fire. Have an expert clear away the creosote build-up, charred wood chunks, and ashes from last winter. Creosote is highly flammable and a fire hazard when it builds up in excess, which is why a chimney cleaning is so important.

Inspect for any Damages and Debris

For a fireplace to function properly, all of its elements must be in good working condition. A damaged chimney may have cracks, debris, and loose bricks. Failing to repair it may result in serious fire hazards. That is why you should hire a chimney professional to thoroughly check your chimney’s structure and lining.

Do not attempt to fix anything on your own using regular mortar. Instead, leave any chimney repairs to the experts. You can check the chimney for birds, bird nests, and other rodents.

Check the Chimney Cover

To prepare your fireplace for use, make sure your chimney is capped correctly. A good chimney cap is fitted with wire mesh sides and keeps out rain, birds, rodents, and debris. If you already have a chimney cap in place, check that it’s installed correctly and in good condition. If not, replace a missing cap or repair a damaged one.

Prepare Your Fireplace Damper

The damper is a valve that regulates the airflow through the chimney. There should be no debris around the damper that prevents it from opening and closing. Before using the fireplace to heat your home, check that the damper opens and closes easily.

Consider a Heatproof Guard

Having a heatproof glass screen improves the energy efficiency of your fireplace. If your fireplace already has a glass door, clean it with a paper towel and cleaning solution. Consider installing a metal screen or a glass guard if nothing is in place. They help prevent sparks from escaping and damaging your home or causing injury.

Prepare your Fireplace by Cleaning the Blower

In most cases, fireplace blowers do not come with filters. Check if your gas burning fireplace is equipped with one. If so, clean it out before lighting the first fire of the season.

Frequent use of your fireplace may result in dust build-up in the blower blades. The accumulated dust on the blower tends to cause premature wear on the bearings. Also, it insulates the motor, causing cooling failure and potentially a malfunction.

Professionally Service your Gas-Burning Fireplace

Proper maintenance and cleaning of a gas fireplace are also essential. Schedule a full inspection of the system by a qualified service technician. The service should include proper cleaning of the airways in the pilot and main burners.

Also, replace all the batteries in the remote transmitters. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure that they are working properly. Remember to schedule regular maintenance before using your fireplace.

Fireplaces are a great way to heat your home during the fall and winter seasons. Before the weather gets colder, follow these tips to prepare your fireplace for use this winter and keep your home safe and warm.

Master Home Inspections provides home inspection services to Southwest Virginia. Contact us to book an appointment.