With one round of cold weather already behind us and another on us now, it’s not the most pro-active time to get your fireplace ready for burning.  That being said, here are some things that need addressing:

  • Have a certified chimney sweep come and sweep out your chimney after every cord of wood burned and especially at the beginning of each burning season.  A good sweep can also do a chimney inspection to see if yours has sustained any damage to its major parts: the chimney cap, the flue lining, outside mortar, and the damper.
  • Trees.  Branches from nearby trees should be no closer than 15’ from your chimney.  Trim them back every season.
  • Clean soot from the hearth and fireplace area.  Warm, soapy water and a brush should do the trick.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you don’t need a chimney sweep because you ‘burn aluminum cans’ or ‘creosote cleaning logs’ in your fireplace.  While they may soften the creosote in the flue, those products do not clean it away.