As the weather starts to get colder, it is the perfect time to prepare your home for the season. If you’re lucky enough, you have a fireplace to keep the home warm and keep the heating bill low. There’s nothing quite like spending time with loved ones while sipping on hot cocoa in front of the fireplace during the winter season.
There’s a reason the fireplace time lapse video has over 15 million views. While having a fireplace can be a blessing for the season, it also requires annual maintenance. Make sure the fireplace is ready to go for the holidays and follow these steps to preparing the fireplace for the season!
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that homeowners should have their chimney swept annually in the Fall. 42% of home warming fires happen as a result of mistakes or skipping this step, so make sure it gets done and is done correctly. Hire a professional to do this for your fireplace.
Or, to do it yourself, here is a DIY chimney sweep tutorial. If you’re afraid of heights, I would not recommend this method!
You can save a few dollars if you decided to chimney sweep yourself, however we do not endorse or recommend it for the average homeowner. If done incorrectly, the results could be catastrophic so proceed only if you are confident in your ability to do everything correctly.
Damage Check Your Chimney
After the chimney has been swept, most chimney sweeps will check for damage on the exterior of the chimney.
This includes looking for cracks, chips, loose bricks, and interior damage. It can be much more complicated than regular maintenance, which requires a professional. For example, Mike Haduck, a YouTuber who provides maintenance tutorials, shows a leaking chimney in the video below.
In the video, the homeowners noticed a leak coming in from the chimney. It wasn’t as simple as a crack in the brick. Instead, the cause was a bowing of the rock chimney cap. Most people wouldn’t think of that, or the water collecting etching he recommends for underneath the stone about an inch in from each end. It seems that when it comes to more complex damage checks, it is best to contact a professional.
Chimney Cap Check
The chimney cap is what protects the chimney from birds, squirrels, and any other critters that may try to get in. It also ensures that snow won’t fall down and put the fire out!
Every year the chimney should be inspected and a new one should be purchased if there is any damage to the current cap. This task is relatively simple, and doesn’t necessarily require a professional.
Test Your Home Fire Alarms
In the event that the fireplace has caught fire, the fire alarms should be in working condition so people in the home can either put the fire out or call emergency services and evacuate.
This is as simple as replacing the batteries before winter and testing the fire alarms in the house. To test the fire alarm, press and hold down the test button and wait for the alarm. If the alarm goes off, it is working!
Tips for Using Your Fireplace Safely
On top of preparing the fireplace for the season, it doesn’t hurt to know more about fireplace usage safety. It is recommended that homeowners use seasoned hardwoods when starting a fire in the fireplace. For people who store their own wood, make sure it is stored somewhere high and dry to avoid moisture that will ruin the wood. When building the fire, the wood should be stacked correctly and placed at the rear of the fireplace farthest from the spark guard. Don’t overload the fireplace as the fire could easily get out of control and set all the fire alarms off in the house.
Now that the fireplace is prepared for the season, it’s time to have that special moment. Heat up some hot cocoa. You deserve it!
Preparing the entire house for winter can be overwhelming. The yard, the patio furniture, weather guarding the windows, preparing the furnace and paying the incoming heat bill leaves a pretty extensive check list. Luckily, we have the professionals you need to make the preparation 10x times easier.