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5 Tips for Burning Your First Fire of the Year

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Nothing creates ambiance in the chilly winter months like warming your home with a fireplace. If you’re ready to burn your fireplace for the first time this winter, it’s important to take a few precautions in order to ensure that you are able to keep your family and your home safe. 

Here are 5 important tips for burning your first fire of the year – and ensuring that you are doing so safely.

1. Make Sure Your Fireplace is Clear

Before burning your first fire, make sure that your fireplace is free and clear of any animals and leaves. This can be done by opening up your fireplace flue and shining a flashlight to ensure that you can clearly see out of the top. Additionally, you should check to make sure that there are no branches stuck inside your fireplace, as this can inhibit the flow of air out of the chimney, causing a major fire hazard.

2. Inspect the Flue

Inspect your flue and the interior system of your fireplace to ensure that there is no excessive damage or any open cracks. Making sure that nothing looks abnormal on the fireplace’s exterior and interior can help to ensure that a fire will burn safely. If anything looks out of the ordinary, be sure to pay closer attention to this area, and contact professionals if you think you are dealing with a problem.

3. Check for Creosote

Check inside your fireplace for creosote; aka the grime that collects inside your fireplace. Creosote is often black and can appear fluffy, shiny, or even gummy. If you notice creosote inside your fireplace, DO NOT BURN a fire! This is extremely dangerous. Consult a professional chimney company.

4. Clean Your Fireplace

Ahead of your first fire of the winter, take the time to clean out your ash dump door (or the door inside your fireplace where the ashes fall when burning). Most professional sweeping companies will not take the time to clean dump doors out, leaving many homeowners responsible for this task in order to ensure a safe burn. Use a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner such as a ShopVac to make sure your fireplace is clean, including your ash dump door and above your smoke shelf.

5. Double Check Your Smoke Alarms

One of the most important precautions you can take ahead of burning your first fire is to ensure that you have working smoke detectors in all rooms of your home that are near your fireplace. Bear in mind that, although using a fireplace might seem like no big deal, you are intentionally lighting a fire in your home and attempting to keep it controlled – this means that having working smoke alarms is important.

Maintaining a fireplace and taking safety precautions ahead of your first fire takes a lot of consideration and hard work in order to protect yourself, your family, and your home. If you find that this level of preparation and maintenance is too much, contact Brickworks. From chimney repair to debris removal, our team of experts is here to help get your fireplace ready for the season.

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