Your wood fireplace is both a pleasing aesthetic installation in your home and a functional heating element that can help maintain comfort levels throughout the winter season. However, fireplaces need to be regularly maintained to stay in good working order and continue to be effective and safe. Knowing what some of the basic maintenance tasks that you should complete to get your fireplace ready for the winter season can help you reduce headaches and maintenance later in the season.
The first thing that you should do to make sure that your fireplace is fully functional is to clean it out. If you have the tools, you can sweep out the soot and creosote that may have built up within the interior of the chimney.
You should also make an effort to remove any charcoal or ash that may still be within the fireplace from the last time it was used. A professional cleaning will be more expensive but will also be much more thorough and effective than any efforts you will complete yourself.
In a similar train of thought to the above point, you may want to consider hiring a chimney professional to inspect the structure of your chimney or to get up on your roof to do so yourself. Signs of physical damage, cracking, a stuck flue, or blockages like bird nests and other types of debris within the chimney can all represent a fire hazard or allow a great deal of cold air into your home.
Both of these are extremely undesirable occurrences to have happen in the dead of winter when maintenance is much harder to complete. A professional inspection will be able to identify potential water leak spots, as well as any other repairs to your chimney that need to be completed before winter hits.
Finally, the last thing that you should do is to store firewood in a shed, in the basement, or in another dry area where it is both easily accessible and protected from the elements. While this does not have to do with the structural integrity of your fireplace at all, it is still an extremely important maintenance task that you should complete before the snow falls.
Snow covered wood will be wet, which will make it much harder to burn. This will also require a trek through unpleasant weather conditions to collect, which can be a huge inconvenience.
For more information, or if you discover any issues, contact a chimney inspection and repair service such as G.H. Erickson & Son.