As the temperature begins to drop even more in the coming months, there are few things that 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 working well. 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 liquids in your fireplace.
Check chimneys outside – Make sure your chimney is clear of any branches closer than 15 feet away. Install a chimney cap to keep out unwanted debris or animals.
Ensure interior safety – Arrange furniture at least three feet away from the hearth of your fireplace 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 away from your home so they can properly cool.
Inspect for problems – Look for latch issues or cracks in the glass and make sure logs are in the proper position. Turn off the gas at the shut-off valve and test the igniter before using.
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