Autumn is approaching, making now the best time to get your fireplace ready to use during the chilly months ahead. Preparing your system ensures it’s performing at its best this burning season. Before you light your first fire, be sure you’ve completed these seven steps.
1. Schedule a professional inspection.
We recommend that all chimneys be professionally inspected and cleaned at least once a year, or about once every 80 fires. A thorough cleaning will remove any buildup of creosote, a highly flammable byproduct of burning wood, giving you a safer fireplace. Your technician will inspect for worn parts, cracks, leaks and other issues with your chimney and fireplace that may cause a safety hazard or loss of function.
Pro Tip: During the inspection, tell your technician about any changes you have noticed from your chimney, such as a different smell, a new draft, and any other abnormalities.
2. Check the chimney cap.
A chimney should be capped with wire-mesh sides to keep leaves, rain, birds, and debris out. Unwanted nests and other blockages are a leading cause of chimney fires. During an inspection, your CCP-certified chimney specialist will check your cap to be sure it’s in good condition and securely fitted. If it is damaged or missing, your specialist can repair or replace it.
3. Test the damper.
The damper regulates the airflow inside your chimney. It should be closed when you aren’t using your fireplace, and opened when you want to start a fire. Make sure the damper works by opening and closing it. You can generally tell when the damper is open if you can feel a breeze or see up the flue when you peek your head in.
4. Trim trees near the roof and chimney.
Prune any overhanging tree limbs that may be encroaching on your chimney. Tree branches present a fire hazard, can damage the cap during a storm, and restrict the proper draft of the chimney.
5. Stock up on seasoned firewood.
Choose dense or hardwood that’s been split and stored in a high and dry place for at least six months. Green or wet wood, and softwoods like pine, produce more creosote. Store wood in a covered space outdoors and away from your house so it doesn’t attract pests into your home.
6. Clear the clutter from around the fireplace.
When you don’t use your fireplace between seasons, clutter naturally tends to fill up the surrounding area. Before you start your first fire, be sure to clear the clutter away from the fireplace to avoid fire hazards. Make sure anything flammable, such as furniture and rugs, are a safe distance from your hearth.
7. Replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors keep everyone in your home safe. Replace the batteries and run monthly tests to ensure the alarms will work when you need them.
Chimney Cleaning, Inspection, Service, and Repair in NH and MA
A proactive approach to fireplace and chimney maintenance ensures your system is ready for the upcoming burning season. If you need help, contact our CCP-certified team. We’re a full-service chimney company that delivers expertise, with an attention to detail and uncompromised customer service for all of your fireplace and chimney needs.
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