Getting your fireplace ready for the cool winter months shouldn’t be an exhausting project, but there are a few important projects that you need to carry well before the first fire of the season. With a few simple maintenance tasks, you can rest assured that your fireplace will keep you warm and comfortable in the coming months.
Clean and Declutter
When a fireplace isn’t used for an extended period of time, it is very easy for clutter to accumulate around the hearth. Well before the fireplace is lit, you need to spend a little bit of time removing any clutter that is within a few feet of the fireplace doors. That includes shoes, rugs, furniture, toys, magazines, and any other items that could combust or melt. You can also spend a little bit of time sweeping and vacuuming away any dust that has collected around the fireplace.
Check the Gasket
The average gas or wood fireplace is going to have a set of doors with a gasket around the outside. That gasket is designed to keep smoke, cold air, unwanted pests, and dust from getting inside the home. Luckily, replacing an old gasket is usually a quick and inexpensive project that requires nothing more than a sharp knife, gasket material, and black gasket cement.
Double-Check All Alarms
Another important step in this process is checking all of the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms throughout your home. Even if your fireplace has worked perfectly for years, a few broken components could result in a dangerous accumulation of carbon monoxide that puts your family’s health at risk. As a general rule, you should plan on testing all of the alarms throughout your home at least once every 30 days or whenever you replace the batteries.
Hire a Chimney Sweep
Cleaning around your fireplace is a relatively simple job, but there are a few key steps in this process that should be left to professional chimney sweeps. One of those individuals will be able to inspect and clean the inside of the chimney with special tools and materials. They can also get on your roof to inspect the chimney crown and nearby seals to ensure that they are undamaged and pest-free.
Ignoring chimney maintenance is a serious mistake that could put your family in danger and cause extensive damage to your home. That is why you should plan on spending a little bit of time working on your fireplace at least once or twice every year.