Temperatures are dropping and leaves are changing into beautiful colors. It must be fireplace season! Now through the fall and into the winter, it’s likely we’ll be spending more time around our fireplaces than we have in previous years, as we are staying safe in our homes.
The hearth is the heart of our homes, and the fireplace is a symbol of safety in an ever-changing world. It can provide warmth, ambiance and a feeling of security. Especially this year, our fireplace will be a near constant companion as we stay at home more through working remotely, distant learning, binging TV, reading books, celebrating holidays and making new memories.
October is #NationalFireplaceMonth, the ideal time to ensure your fireplace is in tip-top shape as you prepare for the coming months. Fireplace & Bar-B-Q Center encourages our customers to have their fireplaces, vents and chimneys inspected each year by a specialist. Feel free to contact us for recommendations. In the meantime, consider these tips to make the most of your time by the fire:
If you have a wood fireplace, be sure to:
- Hire a professional chimney sweep to clean out soot and debris from last season. While wood fires are romantic and appealing because of the sounds and smells, they are incredibly stressful on a chimney and need more maintenance than their gas counter parts.
- Check the chimney to ensure the structure is sound. Any cracks? Bricks coming loose? Loose mortar? Grab a ladder if you are able and do a proper inspection but be careful…chimneys and roofs are both taller and steeper than they look from the ground.
- Does your fireplace have an air-tight door? High efficiency fireplaces or stoves use air-tight gaskets to create that efficient seal. Be sure the gasket sealing the door is properly attached to regulate oxygen and keep the soot from coming inside the house.
- Before you light that first fire, check that your chimney damper is open.
If you have a sealed-gas fireplace, be sure to:
- Check your outside vents to ensure they are free of debris. Otherwise, a buildup of carbon monoxide could occur inside. Also, ensure your vent screens are properly attached to keep the critters out.
- Check the glass. It needs to be cleaned every year, especially on the inside. Use a non-ammonia based cleaner to remove the white residue on the inside. Be sure there are no chips or cracks or other signs of distress to prevent carbon monoxide leakage back into the room. Make sure you reattach it correctly to make sure it creates the air-tight seal again.
- With the fireplace off and cooled down, shop-vac the bottom and top cavities behind the louvers (if applicable). Dust, dirt, dander, cobwebs, and lint can build up over the spring and summer. It keeps your fireplace beautiful and helps minimize the odd smells when you start the fire the for the first time of the season.
- Clean the blower. Once a month, unplug your blower if possible, dust it with a small hand-held duster, then vacuum any remaining debris.
And for all gas and/or wood fireplaces, be sure to check the chimney cap to be sure it’s clear of debris and damage free to keep the outside from coming in.
Finally, if you have an electric only fireplace, be sure to:
- Keep all combustible materials – pillows, curtains, furniture, etc. – at least three feet away from the unit.
- Check the bulbs every few years. Some fireplaces have multiple bulbs and a few can go out without you being aware of it.
- Remove any obstructions to the fresh air intake and hot air discharge vent for easy air flow. A quick vacuuming of these vents can prevent overheating.
Fireplace& Bar-B-Q Center hopes that these fireplace tips will help you and your family stay safe this winter. We look forward to helping you with all of your fireplace needs!