·If you’re buying a home, have a chimney professional check the fireplace to insure it is functioning properly and not in need of repairs
·Have a chimney sweep clean and inspect the fireplace. Between inspections do your own checks and maintenance
·Examine the outer mortar between bricks or stone to make sure it is intact
·Read and follow the label when using fire logs
·Do not use lighter fluid to start a fire
·Keep decorations and flammables away from the fire
·Do not use charcoal in your fireplace doing so puts you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning
·Watch for the formation of creosote, a flammable substance that is hard, dark, and crust-like. An accumulation of creosote can cause a chimney fire, so it must be removed
·Minimize creosote by burning dry hardwoods; their lower moisture content promotes more complete burning
·Inspect for soot which is a flammable deposit, dark in color but softer than creosote. Most chimney sweeps recommend cleaning when deposits reach 1/8-inch in depth
·Keep wood stacked, covered, and out-of-doors, away from the house and off the ground. Bring in only as much as you need for one evening
·Keep the top of your chimney and roof clear of debris, like pine needles and even low hanging branches
·With a gas fireplace, you should stay aware of any unusual smells or flames they could be a sign that your fireplace is not working properly
·With a gas fireplace, check the damper to make sure there is a damper stop to insure that the damper will not fully close. If a gas fireplace is used with the damper closed you will get dangerous combustion gasses in the home, unlike smoke from a wood-burning fireplace.
For more information, contact Scott at www.scottsauer.com.