Winter Fireplace and Chimney Care

Learn more about caring for your fireplace and chimney this winter.Winter Fireplace and Chimney Care

When temperatures drop, there’s nothing better than cuddling up before a roaring fire.  However, before lighting up your first fire of the year, there are certain steps you must take to ensure your fireplace and chimney are safe to use.  Here are some of the precautions you should take.

1) Clean Your Chimney

Before you use your fireplace or chimney this winter, it’s important that you call a chimney sweep.  A professional chimney sweep will conduct a visual inspection of your fireplace and chimney, and will clean away build-up of a substance called creosote.  Creosote is a highly flammable substance that could lead to a house fire if not properly cleared out of your chimney.  You should have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a chimney sweep every year before using your fireplace.

2) Clear the Area

Before lighting a fire, make sure that the area around your fireplace is clear on any flammable materials.  Furniture should be at least 36 inches away from the fireplace to avoid contact with a rogue spark.  Even with a fireplace screen to catch sparks, you should keep paper products, cloth items, and wooden things away from the opening of your fireplace.

3) Close the Damper

A damper is a hinged flap in your chimney that controls the amount of air that passes through your chimney.  Opening up the damper before lighting a fire prevents smoke from accumulating inside your home.  Once your fire has burned out, make sure you close up your damper.  Leaving your damper open could result in heat loss.

4) Leave Some Ash

While it’s important to clean your fireplace, you should leave an inch-thick layer of ash behind.  Leaving a little ash in your fireplace will help your coals better retain heat.  Additionally, you can use residual ash to ensure that your fire is put out completely.  When you wish to put out your fire, simply scoop some of the ash over the logs to kill the flames.  When handling ash, be careful; they can remain very hot long after the fire has gone out.

Use these tips to help you safely use your chimney and fireplace this winter.  For another way to stay safe, make sure your home has the insurance coverage it needs.  To find the best policies to fit your needs, contact the experts at Miller Insurance Associates Inc. in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  We are eager to assist you with all your insurance needs.