Things have certainly gotten chillier in the last few weeks, and temperatures will likely continue to drop from here on out. Fortunately for those with a fireplacefireplace in their home, the harsh winds and heavy snows of winter will be much more bearable, thanks to their cozy and comfortable hearth.

That being said, there are some important things to keep in mind when putting your system to use, all of which ensure you get the most from every fire you build. These practices also ensure your home and family stay as safe as possible. Read up on some mistakes to avoid below, and please feel free to reach out to our sweeps with any questions. The Sweeps & Ladders team is happy to help with it all!

Putting Off Maintenance

Most issues that occur when operating a fireplace can be easily avoided by scheduling a routine inspection and sweeping before the start of the burning season. By putting off maintenance you increase your risk of experiencing countless disasters, including house fires, chimney fires, carbon monoxide exposure, smoke back-up, and more. All of these things put a strain on your chimney, your household, and your budget, and they all threaten the health and wellbeing of family members within the home.

It’s not worth taking any chances, so follow the CSIA’s guidelines and be sure to get at least one inspection completed every single year. From there, your sweeps can advise you on what type of maintenance needs to be done, whether it’s a few minor repair jobs, some reconstruction work, glazed creosote removal, or something else. Affordable care now is always a better investment than expensive (and avoidable) home repairs down the line! Call today to set up an appointment with our team. We’d love to get this process started for you.

Forgetting To Open The Damper

If you’ve checked off all necessary professional maintenance and find yourself eager to put your fireplace to use, then great! Just don’t forget to open the damper. This is a simple step to take and it ensures your home stays smoke- and fume-free, but many forget to do it before getting those flames going. Failing to open the damper will leave you with a smokey living room, causing your furniture to smell, your loved ones to cough, and your evening to be ruined. Stay safer by opening your damper before doing anything else!

Leaving The Fire Unattended

We get it. At the end of a long day, you’re probably eager to finally get some shut-eye, but if you have a fire running, it’s vital that you ensure it is completely out before going to bed. The same goes with leaving the home while flames are still going! Waiting for everything to die out on its own, without supervision, is extremely dangerous, and many have experienced house fires due to this careless behavior of this nature.

Should a fire occur, people in the home typically only have a couple of minutes to get out safely. It’s not worth taking any risks! Play it safer by putting out every last ember before hitting the hay or leaving the area.

Burning Unseasoned Wood

One of the more common mistakes homeowners make when building fires are burning wood that has not been properly seasoned. Fresh, wet wood uses up a lot more energy to burn through, resulting in cooler fires, and it causes acidic water and excess smoke to enter your flue and wreak havoc, as well. In the end, burning unseasoned wood will lead to larger amounts of creosote deposits, and your risk of experiencing a chimney fire will increase dramatically.

So, how can you know if your fuel is ready for use? Well-seasoned wood is lighter in weight, due to lower moisture content, and it’s typically cut shorter since this allows it to dry out faster. It should also look older, and its ends should be dark and split. We encourage customers to smack some pieces together and listen for a hollow, clunking sound, as well. This implies less water, which will guarantee a hotter and more efficient fire every time!

Not Checking Your Smoke & CO2 Detectors

Finally, one of the easiest ways to keep your home safer when operating a fireplace is to regularly check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. (And if you don’t have either of these in your home, go buy some now!) Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors often offer the first warning signs that there is trouble somewhere in your home, and they are responsible for saving countless lives year after year. That is if they are working right!

Be sure to test them regularly, change the batteries as necessary, and replace the unit itself at least once every 10 years. These are small, simple steps that make a big impact on your family’s overall safety.

Ready To Work With The Best?

If you’re ready to put your chimney and fireplace in the best hands around, then give our experts a call today, and we can set you up with an appointment time that works well for you. Your safety and satisfaction are our number one priority. Reach out now!