Who doesn’t love the smell of a fireplace, the crackly of the burning wood, the warm cozy feeling of snuggling up around the fireplace! Before you get to comfy, you might want to do a few simple checks to make sure your fireplace is in good condition and safe to use for the season.
First let’s do a visual check of the burn area or firebox of the unit. Is there any loose mortar or bricks that are cracked? These areas need to be repaired with fireclay designed to withstand the heat produced in the fireplace. You can pick some up at any local hardware store and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. If your firebox (burn area) is metal, you need to check for damaged/fatigue metal that has weakened from the heat of the fireplace. If damaged/fatigue areas are noted then replacement is highly recommended by a qualified chimney sweep.
You also need to make sure that the dampener is operating properly. The damper should open easily and close tightly. If the damper does not work properly a replacement and/or repair is needed.
Look up the chimney and see how much creosote is in the chimney. Creosote is a by-product of burning wood and is flammable. More than a 1/8 inch and the chimney need to be swept and clean by a qualified chimney sweep. It is recommended that the chimney be cleaned yearly for safety. While cleaning the chimney a qualified chimney sweep will also inspect the chimney for damage and cracking and correct as needed (for an additional cost).
I also want to remind you to get Carbon Monoxide Detectors! Fireplaces can increase the deadly gas in your home and without the proper warning devices installed in your home; things can happen and happen fast.
Fireplaces are a great conversation piece, cozy and a focal point in the room. You must keep the system clean and working properly or the consequences can be deadly.