How to Prep Your Fireplace for the Cold Season
Before you spark up the logs, make a clean sweep using these seven crucial safety tips
1. Hire a Chimney Sweep
2. Check for Damage
In addition to cleaning, a chimney sweep should inspect the chimney structure for cracks, loose bricks, or missing mortar. Chimney liners should also be checked for cracking or deterioration.
3. Cap the Chimney
A cap fitted with wire-mesh sides covers the top of the chimney and keeps rain, birds, squirrels, and debris from entering. Replace or repair a cap that’s missing or damaged.
4. Burn Seasoned Hardwoods
Choose dense wood, such as oak, that’s been split and stored in a high and dry place for at least six months. Green wood and resinous softwoods like pine produce more creosote, a flammable by-product of combustion that can build up in the chimney.
5. Don’t Overload
Small fires generate less smoke, thus less creosote buildup. Also, a fire that’s too large or too hot can crack the chimney.
6. Build It Right
Place logs at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. Use kindling, rather than flammable liquids, to start the fire.