In many parts of the country as the colder weather approaches chainsaws are being fired up and logs cut in preparation for winter and the first lighting of the fireplace. Before you do, however, it is important that you ensure that your fireplace is safe to use.
The maintenance the average fireplace needs is relatively minor but it is crucial that is carried out at least once a year. If you have not lit the fireplace for months all kinds of things could have gone wrong in the interim.
What problems might a poorly maintained fireplace lead to? A chimney fire is probably the most obvious.
As a burning fire generates smoke, that smoke travels upwards in the chimney, mixes with the cooler air higher up and a black substance called creosote is created.
If creosote is allowed to accumulate too much the result is often a chimney fire that can have devastating consequences for the home and the people who live in it.
Another less recognized danger that a poorly maintained fireplace presents is carbon monoxide poisoning. With chimneys, fireplaces and furnaces, most carbon monoxide problems occur because of improper exhausting of fumes. Carbon monoxide is invisible, odorless and potentially lethal to those inhaling it in a very short time.
As frightening and fierce as the potential fireplace and chimney hazards are, they are almost entirely preventable with very little effort on your part. The simple act of calling in a fireplace maintenance specialist once or twice a year should be more than adequate.