If you don’t regularly use your fireplace, it’s imperative that you inspect it first before firing it up this winter. Otherwise, the pleasure of using your fireplace could turn sour very quickly if it fails to operate or if you or others get hurt while using it.
Whether you have a wood-burning or gas fireplace, an experienced fireplace installer in Salt Lake City recommends that before lighting up your fireplace, do these necessary checks first:
Check for Smoke Stains
These are telltale signs that your fireplace won’t function properly. Check if there are smoke stains on your ceiling, if there is, smoke could be escaping through a space between the firebox and hearth. The most common reason for this is due to the hearth settling, which is common in older fireplaces. If this is the case, sparks falling into the gap would then send the smoke upwards, and make the gap work sort of like a secondary chimney. You would need help from a fireplace professional, handyman, or mason to fix the gap.
If you spot stains above the opening of your fireplace, you might have an issue with the flue damper, which is the lever you use for controlling airflow into your fireplace. If this lever has significant gunk buildup or is damaged, you might not be able to operate the flue damper properly, which in turn could result in smoke leaking out of your fireplace.
Examine The Firebox
Check for signs of significant wear and tear, gaps, or cracks in the firebox’s lining. If you see the steel body under it is already visible, the firebox needs to be repaired by a professional. If not, excessive heat would accumulate inside the fireplace and lead to permanent damage.
Inspect Your Chimney
This is undoubtedly one of the most crucial steps you need to take before lighting your fireplace. Did you know that aside from soot and creosote, birds could easily access your chimney and build their nest there, which would, in turn, hampers efficient ventilation of your fireplace! The NFPA, National Fire Protection Association, strongly recommend that you get your chimney inspected once a year to see if your chimney requires repair or cleaning.
So before you light your fireplace after a long period of not using it, take the time to do the recommended safety measures first to help increase the service life of your fireplace, prevent further damage, and ensure the safety of your family and home.