If you are fortunate enough to have a fireplace in your home as an extra heat source, make sure it’s in good shape before you build a fire. Without proper maintenance, it can be a hazard to your family’s health and safety. Prepare your fireplace before use by following these tips.

Hire a Chimney Sweep to Prepare Your Fireplace Before Use

Each season that you use your fireplace, creosote and soot build up inside the chimney. If these flammable substances aren’t cleaned out first, it’s risky to build a fire. The flue could be clogged and send dangerous smoke into the living room, or the creosote could start a chimney fire. Sometimes chimney fires are not discovered until they have caused significant damage.

Check the Damper

The damper regulates the flow of air in the fireplace and chimney. Your damper needs to be in good condition and should open and close easily to have a safe fire in the fireplace. Before starting a fire, test out the damper and make sure it moves freely. If it is obstructed by debris, address the issue before building a fire.

Have the Chimney Looked at to Prepare Your Fireplace Before Use

Cracks, holes, and missing bricks in your chimney should be repaired if you plan to have a fire in the fireplace. Hire a professional to inspect your chimney before you put your fireplace to use. The chimney cap should also be in good condition and securely fastened.

Burn the Right Wood

Stock up on seasoned hardwood to burn in your fireplace. Soft and damp wood will smolder and create too much smoke. Too much smoke in the fireplace leads to more creosote buildup. Get quality, dry wood and only burn small amounts at a time.

Have a Barrier in Front of the Fireplace

Even if you do everything right to prepare your fireplace before use, sparks may still fly out of it. Install glass doors or a spark screen to keep the sparks contained. Also, put down a fireproof hearth mat to protect your floor.

Healthy Home Inspections provides home inspection services to Southwest Florida. Schedule an inspection by contacting us.