Essentials Of Wintertime Fireplace Usage
There are few things cozier than sitting in front of a crackling fire on a cold winter evening. And if you are opting for a fire rather than using your thermostat, nothing more energy-saving as well. However, disappointment can arrive if you haven’t taken measures to inspect your fireplace properly or regularly. From making sure you are using the right wood to fireplace maintenance, here are a few tips that will ensure you will have safe and cozy winter months ahead.
Use Seasoned Wood
The first step is making sure the wood you are using is well seasoned. This means no wet logs, garbage, or debris. The wood should have been dried out for at least 6 months and if you are sorting your own, should be kept in an area that is well protected and well ventilated at the same time. Sheds are perfect for this atmosphere. If you accidentally used unseasoned wood, tons of acidic water will work its way through the chimney damaging it along the way. Creosote will also form at a quicker rate, creating more smoke which will inevitably make its way into your home. So, seasoned wood is the way to go!
Check for good fireplace ventilation
It’s essential to make sure all pipes, chimneys, vents, and dampers aren’t blocked and open for adequate airflow. Making sure your damper is open for ventilation is super important before lighting anything so that smoke and dangerous fumes, such as carbon monoxide, can escape safely. A professional chimney cleaning can clear out soot, creosote, and blockages from your chimney’s venting.
Get your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed
To ensure everyone’s safety while the fireplace is going, installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is necessary for your home. These devices have done great jobs at saving people’s lives and offer the first warning signs that there is danger inside the house. Escaping a smoke-filled house as soon as possible is important or else the fumes could cause you to pass out and not get out safely. It is also imperative to leave if carbon monoxide is present, but since the gas has no color or odor, detectors are your best bet for a safe winter. Once they are installed, make sure to check the batteries once a month and replace them, per the manufacturer’s suggestion.
Clean out ash regularly
You want to make sure you periodically clear out ash from your fireplace because it can build up and eventually clog your vents. Make sure to completely allow the unit to cool before you clean out any ash, as well as store the ash in a thick metal bucket until it is fully cool before you discard it in your trash.
Get your system professionally inspected
The EPA advises you have a certified chimney sweep inspect your wood-burning appliances annually. A clean chimney will always provide a good draft and reduce the risk of chimney fires. If you burn wood to heat your home, the EPA also encourages using the cleanest wood-burning appliance possible. If you need a fireplace upgrade, consider an EPA-certified wood heater which will give you the added benefit of producing less smoke, minimal ash, and burn more efficiently. A properly installed and operated certified wood stove should also produce little to no smoke inside and outside your home.
Remember, it is best to prepare your fireplace in early autumn so it is safe and operational by the winter months. You want to give enough time for repairs and maintenance long before you get your needed dose of heat. Calling a professional chimney sweep for repairs is your best bet, who will remove ash and creosote from buildup that can lead to a fire hazard. Call Hudson Valley Chimney Inc. at (845) 471-1071 or inquire online for chimney inspections and fireplace sales.