With the fall season in full swing, the weather will continue to grow colder. What better time than now to start using your fireplace?

There is nothing like a cozy indoor fire to keep you warm as the temperatures dip even lower. However, it’s important to properly prepare your fireplace for use. You can do that by following these steps.

Prepare Your Fireplace for Use By Having Your Chimney Inspected

Before relying on your chimney to safely vent your fireplace, you should have it inspected for any cracks, breaks, or missing pieces. If the liner is deteriorated, it should be replaced. The inspector can also detect if there are any birds nests in it or other items that need to be cleared. The inspector will recommend having a chimney sweep clean the chimney if it has creosote build-up to prepare your fireplace for use.

Hire a Chimney Sweep

The National Fire Prevention Association recommends having your chimney swept every year to prepare your fireplace for use. The best time to do this is just before winter starts or right at its onset. You can find a certified chimney sweep in your local area through the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Cap the Chimney

There should be a cap on the top of the chimney to keep birds, squirrels, rain, and debris from entering it. The cap should be fitted with mesh and wire on the sides and needs to be replaced if it’s damaged or missing. This also helps to prevent carbon monoxide from entering your home.

Get a Screen

Get a metal fire screen to place in front of your fireplace or replace one that’s old and worn. This keeps any sparks, ash, and pieces of wood inside of your fireplace and off of your furniture or floor. The screen must cover the entire front of the fireplace. Always keep your pets and children away from the area to keep them safe from burns.

Use Seasoned Hardwood

Only opt for harder types of wood to use in your fireplace, such as oak. Make sure it’s been split and stored in a dry area for at least six months. Avoid choosing softer wood like pine, which contains more sap and can cause flare-ups.

Avoid Overloads

Avoid overloading the fireplace with too much firewood. When a fire is too big, it can also be overly hot, which can damage your chimney by cracking it.

Load the Fireplace

Before you begin to make a fire, place the kindling, newspaper, and wooden logs inside the fireplace. You should also light a match inside the fireplace just to test it out. If the smoke goes up the chimney, then the fire you start should burn properly.

Keep Pokers Handy

Only use fireplace pokers to handle logs in the fireplace. Keep them available beside it and handle them with a fireplace glove to avoid burns.

The key to getting the most out of that cozy cold-weather fire is to prepare your fireplace for use at the right time. You should also use it properly, which means being smart and safe.

First Choice Home Inspectors serves Middle Tennessee with chimney inspections and other home inspection services. Contact us to book your appointment.