Preparing Your Fireplace for the Cooler Months

On chilly fall mornings, there’s nothing quite like curling up in front of the fireplace with a hot cup of coffee or tea. Here are some tips to make sure your fireplace is ready before the cool, damp mornings of autumn set in.

Clean the fireplace

For traditional wood-burning stoves, the National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys be professionally swept at least once a year to remove soot and debris. Fall’s a good time to thoroughly clean the fireplace box, chop kindling and make sure you have enough dry wood to last a season.

Natural gas or propane fireplaces still need to be cleaned, as dust and cobwebs can collect.

Turn off the gas

Turn the gas off at both the pilot light and at the gas shut-off valve. Visibly check that the pilot light is off and make sure the fireplace is also completely cool. Additionally, if you suspect a gas leak, call a professional immediately.

Dismantle the fireplace

This includes removing the glass front (if applicable) and the logs. Pro Tip: Take a photo of the logs before disassembly so you know how to reinsert them after cleaning is complete.

Clean the fireplace of debris

Use the hose attachment of your shop-vac or vacuum cleaner to clean the interior of your fireplace of cobwebs and dirt.

Bust the dust

Clean dusty logs with a brush, such as a paintbrush or a toothbrush, and wipe them down with a dry cloth. Next, clean the glass cover with glass cleaner, and then clean the exterior of the frame with warm, soapy water.

Reassemble the fireplace

Using the picture you took earlier as a guide, place the logs back into the fireplace. Remember, these need to be placed exactly as they were for proper functionality and to reduce carbon monoxide poisoning.

Check detectors and fire extinguishers

Now is an ideal time to make sure your carbon monoxide and fire detectors are in good working order. Also, make sure your fire extinguishers are charged and are easily located should you need them.