Maintaining your fireplace during the fall and winter will allow you to enjoy the fire with peace of mind. When you are dealing with fire, there is always a possibility for something to go wrong, but if you follow good safety practices while you use your fireplace, you are lessening the chance of a hazardous situation. Since our staff at Mr. Smokestack places safety as our top priority, we would like to share with you some tips from The DIY Network about keeping your fireplace well-maintained this year.
Schedule a professional chimney sweeping and inspection once a year, every year.
To ensure your fireplace and chimney are clean and free from damage, hire a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweep, such as one of our technicians at Mr. Smokestack before fireplace season begins. If you notice a buildup of soot or creosote that is more than an eighth of an inch on the inside of your chimney, you may need to also have this maintenance service done at the end of burning season.
Keep the area around your fireplace clear from combustible items.
To prevent a fire from occurring in your home, do not place flammable items such as curtains, carpet, and furniture near your fireplace. You also want to be sure you do not have any combustibles within 12 inches above the metal plate at the top of the fireplace opening. To keep children and animals from getting too close to the fire and becoming hurt, place a guard in front of the fireplace if you do not have glass fireplace doors.
Test out the function of your fireplace.
Place a few small pieces of seasoned firewood, and light them from the top down. If the smoke does not exit up into the chimney and enters the room instead, you should contact us at Mr. Smokestack to help you troubleshoot the problem. You could have a flue blockage from debris from soot, creosote, or animal nesting, and this could lead to a more hazardous situation.
Only use seasoned firewood to burn a fire.
Firewood that has been cut and dried for at least six months, seasoned wood should have a moisture content of less than 20 percent. If you do not have a moisture meter, you can tell if firewood has been properly seasoned by knocking two pieces together. If you hear a sharp, ringing sound, the wood is dry and seasoned. If you hear a dull thud, the wood is too green to burn as it will not burn as thoroughly and leave behind more soot and creosote.
Want to learn more about how to keep your fireplace well-maintained? Contact us at Mr. Smokestack to find out everything you need to know about using your fireplace safely.