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Safety is essential if you plan on enjoying your fireplace during the cold months ahead. But how do you know if your fireplace is safe and ready to use?
To ensure you and your family enjoy the beauty and warmth of your fireplace this winter, make sure you consider five key factors before lighting your next fire.
If you haven’t had your fireplace and chimney cleaned in a while, do so immediately. Professional fireplace maintenance and repair companies, such as Ed’s Woodshed in Pittsburgh, recommend that you have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected annually. It is important to make sure your chimney is free of leaves and other debris that may have made their way into your chimney since its last use. Birds and squirrels tend to nest in the warmth of chimneys, so it is necessary to inspect and clean your fireplace and chimney to prevent any potential problems.
Inspect the Firebox
Check the firebox, or interior of the fireplace, for any cracks, gaps or loosening joints. If the steel body underneath is visible, you will need to call a fireplace repair service near you. If not addressed immediately, the build-up of excessive heat in your fireplace can cause permanent damage. Additionally, check for damage to bricks or missing mortar.
Sizing of Grate
Fireplace grates are an integral part of having a safe burning fire. Typically made of steel or cast iron, fireplace grates hold the logs or wood off of the fireplace floor, allowing the oxygen in the air to circulate better and the fire to burn more evenly and efficiently. It is recommended that your grate be no more than two-thirds the size of your fireplace opening. One that is too large will tempt you to add more wood than is needed and will not allow proper air circulation.
Flues, Dampers, and Caps
There are many parts of a fireplace and chimney. Therefore it is important that you make sure they are all in good working condition and functioning properly. Check your flue system for any cracks, missing mortar or signs of deterioration. If repairs are needed, call a professional fireplace repair service near you. Be sure your damper is moving freely and sitting snug against the throat by opening the damper completely. Ensure that your chimney cap, which keeps animals, debris, snow and rain out of your chimney, is present and in good condition.
Presence of Creosote
Creosote, a black or brown residue that clings to the flue liner, is highly flammable. It forms when the warm vapors of the burning wood reach the upper parts of the chimney encountering the colder air and condensing. Flue fires can be ignited when the fireplace burns hot enough and long enough to spark the creosote in the flue. Therefore, it is extremely important to make sure the creosote is removed with annual or regular cleanings.
When looking for a fireplace repair service near you, call Ed’s Woodshed, your local fireplace shop located in Bridgeville, PA, at 412-257-0492. Our knowledgeable and reliable staff has been providing premier fireplace products and fireplace maintenance and repair to Pittsburgh area residents for over 30 years. Call Ed’s Woodshed today or stop by to have a look around.
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