A fireplace is an amenity often sought-after by homeowners, and some research even indicates that a fireplace can have a positive effect on a home's selling price. It can add a feeling of warmth and luxury to a home, especially in our climate. But if a fireplace isn't properly maintained, it can quickly become a liability, whether your home is on the market or not. Fireplaces and chimneys are involved in 43% of all home-heating fires. Proper care and maintenance will keep your home and family safe.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, have your chimney swept at least once a year, assuming that your fireplace is in regular use. This will remove any built-up soot and debris that may have accumulated over time. The chimney sweep can also check your chimney's brick, mortar, and liner to make sure all are in working order. You might also check your chimney's cap, which helps to keep rain, leaves, and animals from finding their way in.
Throughout the year make sure to burn well-seasoned hard wood, which burns clean and won't leave as much residue inside your chimney. Building smaller fires produces less smoke, which leads to less build-up, too.
Installing a spark guard can keep you - and your floor and furniture - safe from flying embers. Choose an attractive, decorative guard that will accent the beauty of your fireplace and make it a focal-point of the room.
For gas-powered fireplaces, arrange a service appointment with a certified gas technician who can clean your pilot and main burners and check that everything is working properly. If your unit has a blower, it should be dusted once a year to prevent dust build-up from interfering with its operation. Change batteries in any remote devices at the beginning of the season to avoid surprises on a cold winter night.
This is also a great time of year to check the smoke and CO detectors throughout your home.