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Is My Fireplace Safe to Use This Season?

6 Easy Steps to Get Your Fireplace Ready For Winter

Winter is characterized by short cold days, and we all look for somewhere warm to retreat to when the mercury dips too low outside. A fireplace can be a warm and cozy source of comfort during the cold nights of winter. It’s a good idea to attend to your fireplace before the start of the season so you can be assured that it is safe for usage. You can do much of the initial inspections, and if you find anything alarming, you can reach out to your trustworthy and reliable home services professionals at TriCounty Services. We can help you ensure your fireplace is safe and ready for the winter months. Before the temperature drops too low outside, go through our safety list of must-dos before firing up your wood heater.

1. Examine Chimney’s Exterior

You need to begin by examining the exterior of your chimney. You don’t need to climb to your roof or anything extreme. You can visually inspect your chimney to find out if it’s leaning or missing significant pieces of masonry. If you see any cracks or holes, then you will need to make a note. If your chimney is made of iron, then you’d want to check it for corrosion or rust stains. You should also ensure there are no missing sections or bent misshaped pieces. If portions of your chimney flow into your attic, make certain you inspect those areas as well.

2. Check Your Chimney Cap

An important piece of fireplace maintenance and care is a secure well-fitting chimney cap.

Check your chimney cap for signs of wear and tear and make sure it is working. Its sole job is to reduce the likelihood of damage to your chimney from wildlife and weather. If you don’t have a chimney cap, we strongly recommend getting one fitted. Small wildlife will make a home in your warm chimney stack and wreak havoc on it. You also want to protect your chimney from water and snow from entering your chimney and freezing and expanding, which can harm your masonry. Your chimney cap will also protect your roofline line from flying sparks and stray embers escaping into the air. You wouldn’t want those fiery devils landing on your roof.

3. Check Roof and Ceiling for Stains

If you found any missing sections in your chimney, you may have already assessed the ceiling and roofs for leak stains. You should check your roof and ceiling around the lines where they meet the chimney. You want to inspect these areas for water stains or any moisture. The flashing around your chimney could need replacing, or you could have missing sections allowing water to leak in from the roof. Either way, should you see any signs of moisture or staining, you will want to make a note and alert your fireplace services professional.

4. Clean and Inspect Your Flue

Inspect your flue for disrepair. It’s good to clean it well before the end of the season so you can start the new season with it in good shape. However, if that’s not possible, it’s good to start the season by opening the clean-out door and thoroughly cleaning the flue. After cleaning it, check it for soot buildup and cracks. If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning the flue, you can make a note of any build-up and call your fireplace and chimney specialists at TriCounty Services.

5. Check Your Firebox

The area that contains the fire is called the firebox. It’s where you place the logs, start the fire, and keep it going. You want to ensure this area is in good condition. You should inspect it for missing pieces and creosote buildup. A great deal of soot can build up inside the firebox, making it difficult to inspect. If you need to clean it first, then do so because the area holding fire must be in good condition. This is a reasonable caution as starting a fire in one’s house should always be done in the safest conditions. Once you are done, place the rate to the back of the box to ensure the fire burns up, and the smoke pulls into the chimney.

6. Check and Replace the Batteries: Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

While this is not directly related to your chimney, you should ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working condition and have fresh batteries. If you do not currently have one in your home near the fireplace, we strongly recommend placing one there as carbon monoxide is a byproduct of combustion.

How TriCounty Services Can Help Get Your Fireplace and Chimney Ready For Winter

Chimney safety is an important part of homeownership and the first step in determining if a fireplace is safe to use. Purposefully starting a fire in your own home in an unmaintained fireplace seems counterintuitive and like a risky endeavor. If you are concerned about your system after inspecting your chimney and fireplace for safe usage, contact the professionals at TriCounty Services. We can help you ensure your fireplace is safe to use before the winter months.

If you need fireplace maintenance and tune-up services before the start of winter, then call us now at (805) 500-2944 for more information about how we can help!