how to prepare your chimney for winter

Use these tips to prepare your fireplace and chimney for cold weather

It’s September in Highland, IL, which means that the weather can be pretty unpredictable this time of the year. While you’re probably still enjoying mild to warm and even hot temperatures, there’s always the threat that the thermometer will take a sudden dive, thrusting you into winter faster than you had originally planned. While it may be your first instinct to get a fire roaring in the fireplace, ask yourself; when was the last time you maintained your fireplace? It’s been sitting there all spring and summer without being lit. Is it okay or safe to use? Read more below about the steps you need to take to prepare your fireplace and chimney for winter!

clean your chimney

Clean the Chimney

If you’re thinking about using your fireplace at any time this winter, you should call a professional chimney cleaning company to clean the creosote and soot off of the walls of your chimney. This is of the utmost importance due to the fact that creosote buildup can spark fires that could engulf the entire home.

inspect your chimney for damages

Inspect for Damage

The next step you’ll want to take is to inspect every part of the fireplace and chimney for damage. On the fireplace, you’ll want to inspect the door, gasket, blower, and damper to ensure everything is working properly. For the chimney, you’ll want to ensure there are no blockages, damage to the exterior masonry, or damage to the chimney cap. If there is no chimney cap, you should install one to keep animals and debris from entering the chimney.

test your smoke alarms before using your fireplace and chimney

Smoke Alarms

This is a great time to look at all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in the house to ensure they work properly. By checking and testing the batteries, you’ll be creating a safer environment in which to use the fireplace.

keep the area in front of your fireplace clean

Clear Fire Hazards

It may have been a while since you used the fireplace, meaning you may have put something on or near the fireplace that’s highly flammable. Take some time to survey the room and make sure there isn‘t anything in harm’s way.

go over the rules of your chimney and fireplace

Take Safety Precautions

Before the first use of the year, it’s important to educate young members of the family on the fireplace, rules for operation, rules for pets, and anything else that governs the safety of the fireplace user.