How to Prepare a Fireplace for Winter

Winter is coming. Now is the time to prepare a great fireplace for your home. A fireplace is the best way to create a relaxing warm ambience and to enhance your interior.

An average homeowner should be able to do most of the cleaning and inspections associated with preparing a fireplace. However, if you feel that you lack the skills, you should consider hiring a local fireplace installer.

Wood burning fireplaces

Everybody loves a wood burning fireplace. If you have one at home, you must take the following precautions before starting it. The first thing you need to do is to get the chimney cleared. Unburned fuel (creosote) accumulated in your chimney can easily catch fire from the sparks flying around.

Generally speaking, every heat-producing device in your house including the fireplace and wood stove should be inspected before their first use in winter. You must also check the damper and make sure that it closes and opens smoothly.

Inspect the mortar around the bricks in your chimney to ensure that there are no cracks. If there are unfixed cracks, they can lead to dangerous fires. Also inspect the chimney for rodents, birds, or their nests.

Do not keep inflammable items near the woodstove. Many people use their stove as a storehouse for magazines or newspapers during warmer months. Remove them before starting the fireplace.

All gasket materials should be properly inspected and repaired.  When airtight appliances are operated without the gaskets properly sealing the openings, any excess air may enter the firebox. This may cause serious damage to the appliance.

Some wood-burning appliances come with a blower. In this case, you have to clean it as well. Unlike a furnace blower, these types of blowers do not always have a built-in filtering system that prevents the accumulation of hair and dust on them.

Inspect the brick linings in the appliance and replace them if they are broken or deteriorated. While minor cracks aren’t necessarily a cause for concern, if the cracks are so large that the steel frame is exposed, you must get them repaired. Otherwise, heat generated by the fire will damage the appliance permanently.

If you have smoke detectors in your house, inspect them to make sure that they are working properly. If you haven’t already installed any defense monitors get them installed at the earliest.

And finally, make sure that you have stored enough wood to last an entire winter.

Gas burning fireplaces

If you have a gas burning fireplace, you must get it serviced by a qualified technician. Clean the airways of the pilot and the main burners to make sure that they are working correctly.

If your gas burning fireplace has a blower, get it cleaned to prevent the accumulation of dust or hair. If dust is allowed to accumulate on blower blades, the blower’s balance may change and cause premature bearing failures.

The dust may also insulate the motor and prevent it from cooling down. Eventually, the motor will stop working. The batteries in the receiver and optional remote transmitters should be replaced. Note that even when the battery is not used, the power stored in it is slowly depleted.

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