Putting a crackle instead of a pop in your fireplace fires this season is a snap. A crackling fire when the weather gets cold is great. A fire that “pops” instead of burning properly is frustrating. It can also be dangerous.
It’s time to get your fireplace ready for winter. If you need help, call a chimney sweep or mason. The colder the weather, the busier they’ll get. If you wait, they may not get to you until spring.
OK, so that’s an exaggeration.
Why is it important to have your fireplace and chimney inspected? Because a fireplace with problems could result in a flash fire or small explosion. Even if the problem isn’t that bad, something as simple as an inappropriate spark arrester could allow rain in your chimney and fireplace, damaging both.
All fireplaces should be inspected annually. This is especially true if you burn lots of wood. It’s more so if you burn predominantly softwoods. Softwoods burn fast and at a lower temperature than hardwoods. The burning of softwoods often leaves creosote residue that can be highly flammable if left to build up.
That’s not to say that all fireplaces and chimneys need to be repaired or even cleaned annually. Many of the newer, steel fireplaces might not have to be cleaned for years.
Guidelines to help prevent problems in your fireplace or chimney include the following:
Burn only seasoned wood. Unseasoned, or green, wood promotes smoke buildup.
Make sure your chimney has an adequate spark arrester.
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