Checklist: Prepping Your Fireplace for the First Fire of the Season

Time spent around the fireplace is all about togetherness — from playing board games to snuggling with the family pet. Before you and your family gather around the hearth, use this checklist to ensure it’s an enjoyable, and safe time for everyone.

Safety first. Be sure you’ve installed smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors — and make sure they’re in working condition by testing them monthly.

Clear debris. Check your chimney for debris like bird nests, leaves, sticks — even animals. If your chimney doesn’t already have a cover, consider installing one.

Clean it up. Sweep out your fireplace, and remove as much soot and creosote — a tar produced from wood burning — as you can, since excess build-up can cause chimney fires. It’s also a great idea to get the interior and exterior of your chimney checked by a pro yearly.

Double check air flow. Be sure the damper on your fireplace is in working condition by opening and closing it. When you start your fire, check that it’s open in order to provide proper air flow.

Create a barrier. Consider buying a fire screen or metal fire curtain for your fireplace, that way, sparks and wood pieces won’t singe your carpet or furniture.

Collect kindling. As fall approaches, start collecting potential kindling. Stockpile newspapers and paper bags, or make it a family affair by scavenging pinecones, dried corn cobs, and sticks.

Now that you’ve taken the proactive steps to prepping your fireplace, it’s time to warm the hearth and make some memories. When it comes time to start your fire, relax and enjoy the time spent with family and friends around the crackling fire.


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