At the calendar turn to 2021, it is important for every homeowner to make sure that their fireplace is ready. It might have been a long time since you last turned on your fireplace. If you are a homeowner, you need to make sure that your fireplace is up to the job. There are a few important tasks that you need to complete to make sure that your fireplace can heat your home efficiently and safely. Take a look at our key tips below.
If you want to make sure that your fireplace is ready for the winter, the first thing you need to do is get an annual inspection completed. In general, you should get your fireplace inspected about once per year or every 80 fires, whichever comes first. When the inspector comes to take a look at your fireplace, he or she is also going to clean it. This cleaning is important because it will remove the dangerous combination of creosote and unburnt wood, which is incredibly flammable. Ultimately, this is key because it will provide you with a safer fireplace.
Even though you might not realize it, the chimney can actually get damaged along with the fireplace. Therefore, make sure you step outside and take a look up at the chimney. Take a look at your chimney cap and ensure it is still in good condition. Add some protective screening around the chimney cap if it is not already present. This is important for keeping out bats, pests, and squirrels who would otherwise make their home in your chimney. You should make sure the fireplace damper is working properly as well. If there is debris that is preventing it from opening and closing, this is going to lead to some serious issues.
In addition, you should also take a look at the masonry of your fireplace. This includes the brick foundation. Look closely at the craftsmanship for any signs of damage. Specifically, you should be looking for cracks in the bricks themselves. If you notice cracks, then you need to reach out to a professional immediately. These cracks will weaken the integrity of your fireplace, meaning that it will not be able to take the stress of high heat from the fire. Do not light a fire if you notice damage to the masonry as this will make any existing damage worse, placing your house at risk while damaging your fireplace in the process.
As you are looking at the chimney, check to see if there are any trees hanging over the top of it. If there are tree limbs that grow and encroach on your chimney, this can lead to serious issues. First, these limbs might catch fire and lead to a serious hazard. Second, they can also restrict the draft coming from your chimney, which could damage the cap. Clear away these tree limbs if they are present. If you need help, reach out to a professional service. Unless you have professional training, don’t climb up trees and remove the limbs yourself. You could risk hurting yourself or dropping a large tree limb on the roof of your house.
As you are looking at your fireplace, think about a few ways that you can upgrade it as well. For example, if you are interested in reducing the cost of your fireplace, think about installing some heatproof glass. If you install some fancy glass doors, they can make your fireplace more energy-efficient. Furthermore, they can also protect your surrounding floors by preventing sparks from escaping. At the very least, make sure that you clean your glass doors with some glass cleaner. This will improve the aesthetic value of your fireplace.
While you are at it, clean the rest of your fireplace as well. If you have a brass fireplace, one of the safe, simple ways to keep them clean is to actually reach for a tomato product such as tomato paste or tomato sauce! Spread a thin layer along the brass. Then, let it sit for about an hour. Finally, come back with some hot, soapy water. Your fireplace should look as good as new. If you don’t have any tomato products, then reach for some brass polish. Use a small microfiber cloth and gently wipe down the fireplace. It should look better immediately. When you are cleaning your fireplace, try to stay away from steel wool, metal brushes, or scrubbing clothes. These materials will scratch the fireplace and harm its value.
When you are getting your fireplace ready for this year, you also need to take a close look at your fireplace and make sure there are no rodents hiding in there. When you go a long time without using your fireplace, you give animals a chance to make their home in there. This could include squirrels, birds, bats, and even the occasional raccoon. If you boot up your fireplace with these rodents still in there, then you have a house fire waiting to happen. Go in there with a flashlight and see if anything stares back at you. If you find animals in there, then reach out to professionals for assistance. They know how to do this quickly and safely.
When you are collecting wood for your fireplace, make sure that you store it far away from your house. Pests are going to like firewood and if you store it too close to your house, then you are going to end up with an infestation. Of course, when you are storing your firewood outside, make sure that you store it in a dry place. Cover it with a tarp or a roof to prevent it from getting wet. If you store it a few inches off of the ground, you reduce the chances of pests making their home in your wood.
Finally, you also need to arrange for an annual maintenance review of your fireplace. Even if you think there is nothing wrong with your fireplace because it worked well last year, the goal is to prevent serious problems from happening. If you skip the routine maintenance visit, there are several consequences that are going to arise. First, your fireplace is not going to burn as efficiently, shortening its lifespan. This will also increase your utility bills. In addition, there might be a minor repair hiding under the surface that could be made much worse. Finally, you also will not get the chance to ask the pros about potential upgrades to your fireplace. When you are ready for your next maintenance visit, we are here to help you.
Clearly, there is a lot that you need to do in order to make sure that your fireplace can heat your home efficiently and safely. Instead of having to do all of this yourself, rely on trained professionals who can check off these tasks in short order. That is where we can help you. We are Midtown Chimney Sweeps and we have an unparalleled level of experience when it comes to fireplace preparation. We will work with you personally, making sure that your fireplace is ready to go. To learn more about how we can help you, contact Midtown Chimney Sweeps for all of your fireplace needs today!