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How to Prepare Your Fireplace for the Cold

The leaves are turning, and the scent of pumpkin spice is in the air, which means fall is here and winter is around the corner. And if you own a fireplace, you look forward to cold weather because nothing beats a crackling fire on a chilly evening. However, before you light your first fire of the season, there are a few steps to take to prepare your fireplace, so your fire burns efficiently and safely. Let’s look at how to prepare your fireplace for cold weather.

Professional Chimney Sweep, Laconia NHArrange an Inspection & Cleaning

The number one thing to do to get your fireplace ready for the season is to hire a professional chimney service company to inspect and clean your chimney and fireplace. A thorough cleaning removes creosote buildup from the previous year, which is key to preventing chimney fires and harmful gases from backing up into your home. Furthermore, an inspection by a trained professional can identify issues that compromise your fireplace’s safe operation and allow you to correct them to ensure your family’s protection.

Clean the Hearth

It’s a good habit to clean the hearth at the end of the season, but many people put it off and never get around to it. So, if you have mounds of ash and residue in your hearth from last winter, clean them out before building your first fire.

Declutter Your Fireplace

It’s normal for clutter to build around your fireplace during spring and summer. Whether it’s boxes, pet, or children’s toys, magazines, etc., it’s best to clean the area around your fireplace before using it again. Clearing away clutter from the fireplace makes your home neater and protects your family against fires. When cleaning, be mindful about rugs or other furnishings that are too close to the fireplace as well.

Clean & Test the Blower

If you have a gas fireplace, now is the time to clean and test the blower, if it has one. Unlike furnace blowers, the typical gas fireplace blower doesn’t have a filter to prevent dust and debris from building up. If dust becomes a problem, it can affect the blower’s performance by wearing out the bearings and preventing the motor from cooling properly.

Check the Damper & Chimney Cap

If you’re new to operating a fireplace, you may wonder what role all components play, including the damper. The damper is a mechanism that controls airflow through the flue. When the damper is closed, it prevents the outside air from getting into the house, and when it’s open, it allows the smoke and gas byproducts of burning a fire to exit through the chimney. So, it’s crucial to inspect the damper every season for problems such as corrosion, difficulty opening and closing, and broken parts. Also, check the chimney cap to ensure it’s secure to prevent leaves, twigs, and critters from getting into the chimney and compromising performance.

Check Carbon Monoxide & Smoke Detectors

Although carbon monoxide and smoke detectors can last for years, it’s wise not to take them for granted and inspect them yearly to ensure they’re functioning and replace the batteries. If your carbon monoxide detector is nearing the end of its life, it won’t detect the presence of this deadly gas. Experts recommend replacing your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors every ten years and inspecting them monthly.

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Stock Your Firewood

Finally, once your fireplace is clean and inspected and your alarms are in good working condition, it’s time to gather your firewood, so you have enough to get you through the season.

A good rule of thumb is to get enough firewood for regular usage, plus 20 percent more if you experience an extended winter with freezing temperatures, to be safe. Remember to get pre-seasoned firewood ready to burn and store it where it will remain dry all season long.

To ensure your fireplace and chimney are ready for the long winter ahead, call the fireplace and chimney experts at Fire N’ Stone.

Our technicians are highly trained and certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and the National Fireplace Institute. Besides offering a complete list of fireplace and chimney services, we do custom stone work and repairs. Visit our 3,400 square-foot showroom at 539 Laconia Rd., Tilton, NH, or call 603-293-4040 to speak to one of our friendly staff and schedule an appointment to get your fireplace ready for fall and winter.