Before you light the first fire this fall you need to do a little home maintenance in order to ensure your fireplace and chimney will operate the way they are intended. It would be bad news for you to go through the trouble of having a warm, roaring fire only to have your home fill with smoke and you to start throwing open doors and windows just so you can breathe. That defeats the purpose, entirely, of having the fire in the first place.
- Make sure your chimney is clear of any nest – whether from birds, squirrels or whatever else could get in there.
- Make sure the flue damper not only opens and closes, but also that it can be locked in either position.
- Do a little experiment to see if your chimney drafts the fire and smoke properly. Take several sheets of newspaper, roll them up and light them – with the damper open. If the smoke does not rise up through the chimney you have a problem and need to call a professional to clean and inspect your chimney.
- You should also have a professional do this if it has been years (or never!!) since you have had your chimney cleaned. This is not a do-it-yourself project.
- Something to really be cautious about is the mortar between the fire brick. Inspect it thoroughly and repair any openings you see in the mortar joints. A fire can easily spread to the stud wall behind the masonry fire brick through open mortar joints.
- If you have a gas starter in your fireplace and it has been years since you used it, you should have the gas company inspect it to make sure it still safe to use.
Nothing beats a nice warm fire on a chilly or downright cold day, but safety must always come first when dealing with fire and especially when dealing with fire and your home. Hopefully, these tips will help you get your home ready to enjoy this fall and winter. Please call Carmine’s today 203-791-8089 for all of your heating, plumbing and air conditioning needs.