Fall has officially started and so have our reasons to use the fireplace! You might notice the weather getting much colder in most regions from now on, which is why you need to get yours ready for business.
But even more important, Winter is right around the corner! It’s much better to get your fireplace ready now so that when the season finally hits, you will already have everything in place. Plus, if it’s your first time using one, you should learn and get accustomed to it, since learning how to light a fireplace is a skill for life.
Keep reading to learn how to prepare the fireplace and how to set it up for the first time this season!
“It always seems impossible until it's done."– Nelson Mandela
Clean and sweep the chimney
The first thing you should consider about how to prepare a fireplace is:
How long ago was your last chimney sweep?
It’s recommended that you get this done at least once a year, but perhaps more if you get use out of your chimney often. Assuming this is your first time using it this year (or at least since the end of last Winter) then you should have it inspected before firing it up. Your chimney could be clogged by any sort of debris, which traps fumes inside your home and is extremely harmful to your health.
The fumes from the fire can accumulate on the insides of the chimney and slowly create a hard flammable crust that can become a fire hazard and also prevent smoke from properly exiting. You can imagine why this is important to take care of!
This only happens over a long course of time though, so as long as you schedule a regular chimney sweep, you shouldn’t have any issues.
Use a fireplace screen
You often see fireplaces with no screens, but it’s good practice to always have one – especially if you enjoy sitting close to the fireplace to warm yourself during cold nights. Fire embers can occasionally fly out, which is quite harmless for the most part, but they can minorly burn you, damage nearby surfaces, or in the worst case scenario, ignite things like cloth, paper, and plastic.
Besides, it’s an extra layer of safety if you have children or pets in the house. Always be careful when managing the screen once the fire is on though, as it can get pretty hot.
How to light the fireplace
The easiest way to light your fireplace is by using proper firewood (which you can purchase) and using kindling such as twigs and newspapers.
- Place two logs parallel to the back wall of the fireplace and a bit apart from each other.
- Gather the kindling between the logs and then position two more logs perpendicular to the first two – this should create a simple structure resembling a log cabin.
- Then all you have to do is light the kindling with a match or lighter – taking care to not burn yourself – and the fire from the kindling will catch on the firewood.
- Once the fire is alive and well, cover the fireplace with your screen and enjoy!
- If necessary later to keep the fire burning, you can stoke the wood using a proper metal tool.
It’s important to note that you should never leave the house with an unattended lit fireplace. Always make sure the fire is completely out before leaving!
Is your chimney smoking the house?
So you light up the fire and it’s warm and cozy... but you notice a lot more smoke smell than usual. In a few minutes, there’s a noticeable smoke build up in your living room. What’s happening?
This is usually a problem on chimneys that haven’t been properly maintained, though it can be caused by unexpected incidents – such as having a bird set up a nest inside your chimney or debris (such as snow or leaves) blocking the exit. The smoke can’t rise and exit properly, which causes it to accumulate inside your home.
The best solution for a smoking fireplace is to extinguish the fire immediately, open the windows, and call for a chimney inspection. A pro will be able to identify the problem right away so that your fireplace works perfectly again.
Need to have your chimney inspected this Fall? Get free quotes from professional chimney sweepers in your area!