As the temperature turns colder in the coming months, there are few things homeowners will likely enjoy more than curling up by the fireplace for a cozy evening. A gas or wood-burning fireplace is a welcome addition to any home, but there are several things you should do to make sure your fireplace and chimney are ready for use. Adhering to the following guidelines will reduce the risk of problems in the colder months ahead:
Schedule routine chimney sweeps – To ensure your fireplace and chimney are in proper working condition, schedule a chimney sweep and inspection once a year. The best time to do this is before the start of a burning season.
Burn fires safely – Only burn wood that was cut at least six months ago. Store any excess firewood in an elevated and covered area. Although it may be tempting, steer clear of using flammable starting fluids in your fireplace.
Check chimneys outside – Make sure there are no tree branches within 15 feet of your chimney. Install a chimney cap to keep out unwanted debris or animals.
Ensure interior safety – Arrange furniture so that it is at least three feet away from your fireplace’s hearth and install a mesh screen to keep sparks from flying.
Discard ashes – When the fire is finished burning, discard ashes by placing them in a metal container that you store away from your home so they can properly cool.
Take a look at your owner’s manual – As there are many types and brands of gas fireplaces, read your owner’s manual to learn about the type of cleaning and maintenance your fireplace needs to stay functional and safe.
Inspect for problems – Look for latch issues or cracks in the glass and make sure logs are clean, free of dust, and in the proper position. Turn off the gas at the shut-off valve and test the igniter before using.
Assess the outdoor vent – Inspect the outdoor vent as it can become clogged with debris.
Schedule an inspection – Gas fireplaces require a professional inspection yearly to identify any issues such as gas leaks.
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