For many people, gathering around a cozy fire is one of their favorite parts of colder weather. A fireplace is a source of supplemental heat in a home, and when temperatures drop, the warmth of the fire is comforting. However, if you haven’t used your fireplace in a while, it might need preparation before building a fire this season. Here are a few ways to prepare your fireplace for use.

Declutter the Hearth

The first step in preparing the fireplace is to declutter around the hearth. Remove belongings from the immediate vicinity, including rugs, draperies, furniture, and bookshelves. Decluttering creates a clear area around the fireplace, making it safer and reducing the risk of fire. If embers escape the firebox, there will be nothing nearby to ignite.

Install a Chimney Cap

Prepare the fireplace by installing a chimney cap. The purpose of a chimney cap is twofold: it keeps out animals that might otherwise take up residence in your flue, and, just as important, it helps prevent sparks from escaping and landing on your roof where they could start a fire.

If you already have a chimney cap, check to see that it is in good repair and securely attached. If you don’t have a cap or it needs replacing, purchase one at your local home improvement store.

Check the Damper to Prepare the Fireplace for Use

Before you enjoy a fire in your fireplace, test the damper. The damper is an essential component of the fireplace; it helps to regulate the flow of air and allows you to manage the fire. To test the damper, open it fully and then close it again. Repeat this several times to make sure that it opens and closes smoothly.

Prepare Your Fireplace for Use with a Chimney Inspection

A crucial part of fireplace safety has a chimney inspection. The chimney inspector will look for any blockages or damage that could impede the flow of smoke and create a fire hazard. They will also check for any nesting animals living in the chimney. If cracks or damaged bricks are found, have a professional make repairs before using the fireplace.

Fireplaces are essential in helping to keep your house warm during the cold months. The information above will help you when preparing your fireplace for winter. With this guide, you can make repairs and improve the performance of the fireplace in your home.

ProHome Inspection LLC provides home inspections, including thermal imaging, in and around Bluffton, South Carolina. Contact us to schedule your appointment.