This winter, fires will be ablaze in fireplaces across the country. The holidays are fast approaching and with the holidays comes the family, the friends, and the parties, and man can it get cold. Make sure that your fireplace isn’t going to cause any problems or be a danger to this season by taking a few preventative measures.

Chimney Inspection
You should not light a fire in a hearth with Christmas stockings hanging from the mantle as this is a fire risk.

Have your chimney swept and inspected. By having a chimney professional come out to sweep the chimney and make sure there are not any problems in the flue system, such as debris, creosote, or cracked flue tiles, which can cause a chimney fire, you are taking a lot of pressure off of yourself. Have a chimney professional come out before you start burning wood for the season. Cracked flue tiles, missing mortar joints, and similar problems can only be detected by a video inspection of the flue system by a professional. When hiring a professional, make sure the service man will be running a video inspection after sweeping the chimney. Your professional will check for any leaks or stains and ensure that the fireplace is in operable condition.

Make sure your cap is properly installed. Before the roof gets icy, you’re going to want to take a look at the top of the chimney and make sure that everything is sound. A chimney cap that has come loose in a storm or has become damaged will allow cold critters to come and build nests in the warmth of your home. Spending  a few minutes on a day where no ice is present on the roof.

Spark Arrestor
This spark guard is beautiful and protects the living room from stray sparks. chimney or having your chimney professional inspect the chimney top for you is worth your time.

Keep the hearth clear. When the whole family is over and the room is full to the brim with people and presents, make sure that nothing is too close to the fireplace and that a screen is in place to prevent a stray spark from starting a fire in the room. Keep Christmas trees clear of the fireplace as well. Anything that is too close has the potential to catch on fire due to a stray spark if there is no screen in place.

What not to burn. Finally, after the holiday festivities have come to an end, do not burn wrapping paper or the Christmas tree in your fireplace. Wrapping paper has so many dyes on it that and Christmas trees are not seasoned so that large amounts of creosote will build up in your fireplace. Only burn seasoned wood, no matter what time of year it is.

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

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Clay Lamb

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