Pella — People looking to embrace the cold-weather season often find snuggling up in front of a roaring fire is both relaxing and warming. Fireplaces are popular components of homes across the country. Ensuring fireplaces are prepared for a season of use is important from a safety standpoint and for personal comfort as well.
The U.S. Fire Administration states that heating fires account for 36 percent of residential home fires in rural areas every year. Often these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes. All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently.
One of the most important steps to fireplace maintenance and preparation is having the entire thing cleaned by a professional. A chimney sweep provides a variety of services. According to Ace Chimney Sweeps of Maryland, a chimney sweep will clean out the entire chimney. Many use a high-powered vacuum so that there is no soot or dust entering the home. Depending on the range of services, some sweeps also offer a series of inspections of the chimney, interior flue and checks of attic spaces for any damaged areas that will need repair.
The next step will be securing your source of fuel. Many homeowners contract with a provider of seasoned firewood. A delivery of one or two cords of wood may take the average fireplace user through the season. Wood can also be purchased at supermarkets or picked up free in different areas. It's not adviseable to use wood that has just been cut down. It likely contains high levels of moisture that will result in more smoke than burn power, and could lead to deposits forming on the inside of the chimney. Synthetic logs are also available, but use caution because they may burn unevenly and put out higher levels of carbon monoxide. Follow directions on the packages of these products carefully.