Seasonal fireplace preparation
As you gear up to the cold season, we’ve compiled some helpful tips on how best to prepare your fireplace. When warming your home this winter, consider taking preventive measures against potential fire hazards and injuries. Seasonal fireplace maintenance is important when you have a fireplace in your home.
Fireplaces and chimneys account for 42 percent of all home-heating fires. To protect your home against fire hazards make sure your chimney is swept for debris and soot at least once a year by a certified sweep.
Apart from a chimney sweep, make sure you inspect the chimney structure for cracks, loose bricks or missing mortar. Also, check chimney liners for cracking or wear and tear. It is important to check the chimney for animal nests or other blockages that could prevent smoke from escaping.
Ensure the chimney is firmly covered at the top to prevent rain, birds, squirrel, and debris from entering the house. Use a capped fitted wire-mesh side cover for this purpose.
Use seasoned hardwoods
Avoid green wood and resinous softwoods like pine as they produce the flammable creosote substance. Instead, use dense wood such as oak, that's been split and stored in a high and dry place for at least six months. Creosote is a flammable by-product of combustion that can build up in the chimney.
Do not overload wood onto the fireplace. This is because large fires generate more smoke, this more creosote buildup. Large fires can also crack the chimney due to excess heat.
When placing logs, make sure they are arranged at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. Besides, use kindling, rather than flammable liquids, to start the fire. A fireplace should be used for no more than five hours at a time. To prevent embers from shooting out of the firebox, place a mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors in front of an open flame as a guard.
For additional information on Seasonal Fireplace Maintenance there are some wonderful instructional videos out there or simply click here.