You Ask, We Answer: How Do I Know if My Fireplace is Safe to Use?
With the temps in Connecticut dipping at night, many of us here at Calcagni Real Estate are anxious to use our fireplaces for the first time all season. Is there anything better than curling up in front of a warming fire on a chilly evening? But while it may be tempting to do so, lighting a fire without a few small checks on your fireplace can actually be dangerous. Here are a few things to consider before you strike that match for your first fire this season.
Check the interior of your fireplace
When it comes to checking your fireplace this fall, begin with the firebox, or interior of the fireplace. You want to make note of any gaps or cracks, and check to see if the lining has deteriorated. If so, it’s time to call in the professionals to repair it. Cracks or damaged lining can allow excessive heat to build in your fireplace–and this can lead to permanent damage. When it comes to your fireplace, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Next, look at the exterior
If everything looks good on the inside of the fireplace, it’s time to examine the exterior. You want to search for any smoke stains that may appear on or around the ceiling, as this can be a sign of a gap between the interior and the hearth. Also pay attention to any smoke stains on the front of the fireplace, above the opening. If you find any, it can be a sign that your flue is damaged or needs to be cleaned. In either case, you’ll want to have a professional take a look, as they can determine if it’s a minor fix (like cleaning buildup out of your flue) or a more involved issue, such as mason work to repair gaps in your hearth and firebox.
Then, get your chimney cleaned
Getting your chimney professionally serviced is a very important part of fireplace maintenance. A clean and functioning chimney can prevent your home from falling victim to a chimney fire, of which there are tens of thousands every year. Generally, chimney inspections cost a couple of hundred dollars, but that’s a much smaller price tag than the damage you might incur if your chimney has a fire–not to mention it’s a whole lot safer! A professional inspector can climb up on your roof and inspect your fireplace from above (as well as below), leaving you with peace of mind that the fireplace in your Connecticut home is safe for you and your loved ones to enjoy.
Last but not least, ready the safety measures
Once you’ve inspected your fireplace inside and out and had your chimney cleaned by a qualified professional inspector, it’s time to take the final precaution for using your fireplace for the first time this season. That means always having a fire extinguisher on hand nearby–and ensuring you and your family members know how to use it.
Now that you’ve done the safety checks on the fireplace in your Connecticut home and addressed any issues, you can open the flue, start your fire, and enjoy all the beauty of a cozy autumn night. Just don’t forget the hot cider!