Tips to Prepare Your Fireplace for Winter

Fireplaces are a great source of supplemental heat for homes in the colder months. As we approach fall, our experts at BHFCU Insurance have compiled several tips to prep your fireplace for use and run it safely.


#1 – Have your chimney swept.
If you have a wood burning fireplace, it’s recommended to schedule a professional chimney sweep each year before your first use. Companies are booked out far in advance, so we recommend making your appointment now.


#2 – Check for cracks and ensure your cap is secure.
Take time to inspect your chimney. Check for exterior cracks and ensure the cap at the top is secure. Cracks can increase fire danger and heat damage. And, an unsecured cap can allow birds to nest in your chimney, causing additional fire danger.


#3 – Keep the firebox (area where you burn) clean.
Coals can remain hot enough to start a fire for up to three days. After that time, make sure to clean out excess ash. Pro-tip, don’t use a vacuum, as coals may remain very hot.


#4 – Clear the area around your fireplace.
Avoid putting furniture, décor, or plants too close to the hearth as it will become warm while a fire is burning and could pose a hazard.


#5 – Don’t overuse your fireplace.
Your fireplace should be used as supplemental heat to aid your furnace in heating your home. Overuse can cause additional debris to build within your chimney, creating unsafe conditions.


#6 – Choose your burn pile wisely.
Keep it simple, and only burn regular wood or treated logs like Duraflame. Avoid burning treated papers like wrapping paper or shipping materials; these items are coated in chemicals that become toxic when burned.


#7 – Open fireplace doors when burning.
Always keep the doors of your wood burning fireplace open while actively burning. This allows heat to escape into your home and provides oxygen for the fire. Only when the fire is completely extinguished should you close the glass doors securely.