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There's nothing quite as comforting as the glow and crackle of a fireplace when temperatures drop. Before you light your first fire, however, make sure your fireplace is in good working order. Proper care and cleaning will ensure that your fireplace is both safe and efficient for heating your home. Follow these steps to inspect and prepare your fireplace for the colder months.
What's in it for you?
- Reduced risk of sparking a house fire
- More attractive appearance
- Improved efficiency
How to Get Your Fireplace Ready for Colder Weather
Part One: Outside Work
- Check the exterior. Get a ladder tall enough to reach the top of your chimney. Look over the masonry for chipping mortar or deteriorating brickwork. If you see damage or decay, call a professional mason to help you repoint (a fancy term for "fixing the exterior of the mortar") the chimney for safety.
- Trim nearby trees. Since you're already outside, check to make sure that there are no tree branches overhanging your chimney. These can catch fire when sparks fly. If you can't safely reach every branch, you may need to hire a tree service to take care of the pruning for you.
- Cap the chimney. Check your chimney cap to make sure the mesh is intact. This keeps birds and rodents out of your home, so it's a crucial piece of equipment. Replace if necessary.
Part Two: Inside Work
- Check the damper. Make sure the damper opens and closes properly so smoke vents out the chimney instead of flooding into your home. If you're not quite sure how your chimney works, call a professional chimney inspector to make sure everything is in good shape.
- Have the chimney swept. This is an important yearly maintenance step to rid the inside of your chimney from creosote build up, too much of which can be a major fire hazard.
- Keep the firebox clear of ash. Once a week or so, be sure to sweep out the build-up of ash inside your hearth. You can do this with a brush and dustpan or a vacuum.
Pro Tip: Cleaning a chimney is a dirty job, and it's nearly always best left to the professionals, who will also be happy to perform an annual inspection to ensure that your chimney is ready for the winter. Let Super help you get the job done right.