Before You Use The Fireplace In Your New Home

Carlos Bowman

Congratulations on your new home and fireplace! If you've never lived in a house with a fireplace before, you have a few things to learn before you can use the fireplace safely. These tips will help you get started:

Have Your Chimney Inspected

Before you can use your chimney, it needs to be inspected by a masonry contractor. He or she can tell you if your chimney is viable and if it needs to be cleaned. Your masonry contractor may make recommendations for cleaning or repairing. It's critically important that you follow these recommendations before using your fireplace. 

Buy the Accessories

Fireplaces need accessories in order to function properly. The previous owners of your home may have left you some of their own accessories, but if they did not, you will need to purchase these items before you can light a fire:

  • Fireplace grate. This is an iron grate that sits inside the fireplace and supports the logs. Fireplace grates allow air to flow through the fire and upward, ensuring an upward draft in your chimney and preventing the smoke from filling the room.
  • Screen. Use a fireplace screen propped in front of the fireplace to prevent sparks from flying out of the fireplace and into the room.
  • Tool set. The tool set will include a poker and tongs. These tools are important for moving the burning logs while the fire is burning. 

There are many other accessories that you may want for your fireplace, such as a wood rack or glass doors. However, these accessories are less important and may be purchased at a later time. 

Burn Seasoned Firewood

If you burn many fires in your fireplace, you'll probably want to buy firewood in bulk from a firewood dealer in your area. Ask your friends or neighbors for recommendations. The firewood you purchase should be properly seasoned, meaning it has sat to dry for at least 6 months or more before burning. Burning green firewood can produce smoke and other pollutants that will dirty your chimney. 

Learn the Basics

  • Open the damper. The damper is often controlled with a chain near the opening of the fireplace. To open and close the damper, pull on the chain. If you forget to open the damper, your room will fill with smoke when you light the fire.
  • Let the fire burn out on its own. Never try to put a fire out with water. If you're ready to leave the room or go to bed and the fire is still burning, use the tongs and poker to separate the logs in the fire. This will encourage the fire to burn out more quickly.
  • Never leave a fire burning unattended. This is one of the first rules of fireplace safety. Leaving a fire burning unattended can result in a devastating house fire. 

Good luck with your new fireplace. Keeping a fire burning will make your house warm and cozy this winter. To learn more, contact a company like M Weiss Masonry Inc. with any questions.