Fall has arrived and temperatures are dropping. Before building your first fire of the season, prepare your fireplace for use. By making sure the chimney and fireplace are in good condition and functional, you will be helping to keep your family and home safe.

Sweep the Chimney to Prepare Your Fireplace for Use

In fall, hire a chimney sweep to remove animal nests, creosote, leaves, and other debris. This will reduce the risk of a chimney fire. Your chimney sweep may also offer inspections. Order a chimney inspection to examine the exterior of the chimney for cracks and damaged bricks.

Inspect the Chimney Cap

The chimney cap is a metal attachment that sits on top of your chimney. It works to keep water, animals, and leaves out of your chimney. The cap also helps prevent backdrafts, which is when smoke is blown back into the house.

Inspect the chimney cap to make sure it’s in good condition and functioning as it should. If your chimney doesn’t have a cap, hire a professional to install one.

Check the Damper

The damper of your fireplace should open completely when having a fire. This allows smoke from the fire to escape up the chimney as opposed to flowing into your living room. The damper also boosts airflow to help wood burn hotter, reducing creosote buildup in the chimney. It should be easy to open and close the damper.

Purchase Seasoned Firewood

Burning seasoned hardwood to heat your home produces less soot and creosote that fresh or softwoods. Green or new wood takes longer to ignite and burns with more smoke. Seasoned wood burns cleaner and hotter, which helps reduce the amount of creosote that accumulates in your chimney.

Prepare Your Fireplace for Use by Removing Flammable Materials

Before igniting a fire, relocate any flammable items that are near the fireplace. Embers and sparks can jump out and catch things on fire. Move all furniture, upholstery, rugs, and curtains at least 3 feet away from the hearth. You’ll be protecting your belongings and helping to prevent a house fire.

Spend a cozy winter safely enjoying warm fires. Prepare the fireplace for use in fall so you’re ready when the temperatures drop.

TMK Inspections offers home inspection services to Southeast Pennsylvania. Contact us if you’d like to schedule an appointment.