Getting Fireplace Ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas
The closer we get to the winter holiday season, the busier it is for chimney sweeps throughout the region. Just like you, your neighbors are also getting ready to light their fireplace for the Thanksgiving and Christmas. With so many homeowners booking chimney sweep appointments at the same time, the demand is very high during this peak time of year. So, if you haven’t done so already, schedule a chimney sweep before they are booked up for the holiday season.
A chimney inspection is not something you should overlook, especially with a wet and cold winter on the way. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends homeowners with wood-burning and gas fireplaces have annual chimney inspections. The visual inspection is vital to assessing the condition of the chimney and fireplace. A chimney sweep can spot spalling bricks, gaps in the mortar joints, water leaks, flue obstructions, and other issues before they develop into more expensive repairs or health and safety hazards. It is also recommended that homeowners have a video scan of the flue to detect any liner damage that can increase the risk of fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Even though your chimney may have been dormant for several months, there could be hidden hazards brewing in the flue. The biggest concern is creosote build-up because it is the leading cause of residential fires. The creosote sticking to the walls, liner, and other components from last winter have likely hardened into a highly flammable thick and tarry substance. Also, birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other small animals may have been camping out in the chimney throughout the year, obstructing the flue vent. A flue obstruction inhibits the release of exhaust, causing dangerous fumes to back-up into your living space. A professional chimney sweep will ensure your chimney and fireplace are safe to operate during the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Gas fireplaces are a popular home heating solution for convenience, cleaner-burning fuel, and low maintenance. However, low maintenance doesn’t mean no maintenance. Your vented or ventless gas fireplace should be inspected annually and cleaned when necessary to reduce the risk of fire and gas leaks. A qualified gas heating specialist will check the fittings, ignition, burner, oxygen sensor, and other components to determine if any repairs or replacements are necessary. Before lighting the gas fireplace, check the ceramic logs and replace them if there are any cracks.
Best Wood for Cleaner Burning Fires
When getting your fireplace ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas, stock up on seasoned hardwood. Hardwood that has been seasoned or dried for at least six months has low moisture content and will burn cleaner with less smoke and creosote. It will also keep your home warmer for a more extended period. Also, hickory and cherry firewood have a pleasing aroma that will keep your holiday season merry and bright.
Fireplace Safety Tips
While enjoying the festivities of the holiday season, keep your family and guests safe with these fireplace safety tips:
- Fireplaces are best enjoyed when observed from a safe distance. Keep small children and pets away from the flames by installing glass fireplace doors or a safety barrier. Glass doors will also help radiate the heat throughout the room.
- Never toss a Christmas tree, wrapping paper, or any painted material into the fireplace. The tree needles, treated paper, paints, and other objects contain resins that can cause an explosion when exposed to high temperatures. It can also result in property damage and serious injuries.
- Don’t leave a fire unattended. Always extinguish the flames before leaving your home or retiring to bed for the evening.