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It’s that time of year again. The trees have started changing color and cold weather will be here before you know it. Thoughts of cozying up with a blanket next to your fireplace are at the forefront of your mind, but is your fireplace ready for the changing season?

Before it gets too cold, it is time to see if your fireplace has been properly maintained and is in good working order. Here are a few things that you can do to ensure that your fireplace is in ready to go:

Wood Fireplaces

Wood fireplaces are timeless and gorgeous to look at, but they can also be difficult to clean and maintain.

Before you throw a log in, do the following maintenance and safety checks: look carefully at the outside of the fireplace. Are there any cracks or damage to the integrity of the exterior? Is the flu clean and clear of debris?

As we know, critters, especially birds love to call chimney’s home. Because of this you will need to make sure that there are no obstructions, like sticks or even nests in your chiminey before starting your first fire. Next you want to clean the fireplace interior by sweeping out the ash, soot and other debris. You can simply shovel it out or grab your vacuum cleaner and vacuum it up. Lastly, it may sound cumbersome, but if you have a brick fireplace, it may be a good idea to give the brick a good scrub. Many believe regularly cleaning the brick around your fireplace is key to keeping it in good conditions.

There are a couple of methods that you can use to clean the brick on the outside of your fireplace. Choose which works best for you. Mild dish detergent and water. With this option all you need to do is get a bucket of clean soapy water, soak a washcloth in it and get to scrubbing. This is a very similar technique to washing your car, but hopefully much easier! Another technique is to use a small amount of liquid laundry detergent and salt, instead of dish detergent. Either way give the brick and good scrub, rinse it will a clean, wet rag and be amazed at the difference you will see. Once these maintenance items have been completed you are now ready to start using your wood burning fireplace!

Gas Fireplaces

Gas fireplace are fairly easy to maintain, but there are a few things that you want to ensure before starting it up for the first time this season. Just like with a wood burning fireplace, you want to check the exterior and interior of your gas fireplace to verify that there are no cracks or damage. Included in this check should be the logs, lines and burner equipment. Then you want to check the vents for any obstructions, such as leaves or other debris. Also it’s a good idea to wipe down the outside of your gas fireplace and clean the glass with window cleaner. Once this quick checks are done you are almost ready to turn on your fireplace. But before you do make sure your pilot light is on and that the gas valve is turned on. Now you are ready to safely start your gas fireplace. Enjoy!

Electric Fireplaces

Like gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces are also easy to maintain, but you do want to follow a few steps to ensure your safety. First, verify that all the electric components are in good condition and free from any visual damage, next wipe down the exterior of your electric fireplace with a damp, soapy close being extra careful to stay away from any electrical components. Once this has been done, you are ready to go! It’s that simple!

No matter what type of fireplace that you use, it is always a good idea to follow a few, quick and easy maintenance steps prior to use. These maintenance checks will ensure that you, your home and your family are safe.