With fall in full swing, it’s time to winterize your home. In Canada, that means closing up the pool, checking the furnace, inspecting insulation around windows and doors, and loading up the fireplace. Waiting too long to inspect your fireplace will make repairs all the more difficult when the winter weather becomes unbearable. A yearly fireplace inspection before you light your first fire is a smart way to get the most out of your hearth, whether it’s gas, wood-burning, ethanol, or electric. Here are a few essential fall fireplace tips, courtesy of Igne Ferro, your architectural fireplace studio.
Hire a Professional Chimney Sweep
Chimney sweeps aren’t merely for dancing on rooftops—they provide an invaluable service when it comes to ensuring your chimney is clean and clear of flammable build-ups, such as creosote and soot. These substances can build up along the inner side of the chimney and catch fire from a flying spark. A rigorous chimney cleaning will remove these flammable substances to make your fireplace safe again. Chimney sweeps can also remove more substantial blockages, such as dead birds and squirrels, branches, leaves, and other trapped debris.
For more information regarding the dangers of creosote, take a look at our blog, “Everything You Need to Know About Creosote.”
Inspect the Chimney for Cracks
Give your bricks and mortar a thorough inspection. Are there serious cracks? If so, you may need to hire a professional restorer to come and repair the problems, as cracks can lead to dangerous fires if not filled before regular use of your chimney.
Check the Damper
The damper controls the airflow in the chimney. If the damper is kept closed, smoke will back up into your home causing a sooty, dangerous mess. If the damper is kept open when the fireplace isn’t in use, all the heat will escape through your chimney and cause a quick spike in your heating bill. For a fully functional fireplace, the damper needs to open and close completely.
Make Sure You Have Enough Wood
If your fireplace is ornamental or even supplemental to another heat source, running out of firewood before warm weather arrives is not the end of the world. But if your only heat source is a wood-burning stove, it’s essential to buy enough wood for the winter well before you really need it. The best wood for your stove is seasoned hardwood that contains less than 20% moisture. Softwood or green wood that has not had enough time to dry out won’t burn as well and will end up costing more. Always buy 20% more wood than you think you need. Store your wood in a dry, covered place stacked neatly in a criss-cross pattern to allow airflow.
Igne Ferro has designed many cozy fireplaces around which to snuggle up and enjoy a hot cup of cocoa. If your living room is missing this essential feature, contact us today to discuss your fireplace needs.