A fireplace can be a beautiful focal point in a room. They can also be a great selling point when putting a home up for sale. Lit on a chilly night, the fireplace can make your home seem warm and cozy. Fireplaces can also be a hazard, if they're not well-maintained. If you're a homeowner with a fireplace, here's what you need to know about keeping your fireplace functional and safe.
Why Fireplace Maintenance is Important
When not properly maintained, fireplaces and chimneys can pose a fire hazard. Loose bricks and stones can fall off of poorly maintained chimneys, potentially damaging the roof or injuring people below.
Seek Professional Inspection and Cleaning
Fireplaces that are used regularly can develop a buildup of creosote, a flammable, tar-like byproduct from smoke. If not removed, creosote can lead to chimney fires.
Chimneys need to be inspected at least annually. During the inspection, the chimney contractor will check for defects that might make the chimney and fireplace unsafe for use. If any problems are discovered, the contractor will inform the homeowner about what needs to be done to restore their fireplace to a condition where it can be safely used again.
Most homeowners have the cleaning done at the same time as the inspection. During the cleaning, the chimney contractor will remove creosote and soot inside the chimney and firebox.
Fire Prevention Tips
Fireplaces can pose a safety risk if basic precautions are not followed. The following tips can help keep homeowners and their family members safe.
- Keep the hearth clear of flammable items that could be hit by a stray spark.
- Never leave a burning fire unattended.
- Keep the metal fire screen closed while the fire is burning.
- Keep children and pets away from the fire, and use a protective gate if necessary.
- Burn seasoned wood to prevent a buildup of creosote in the fireplace.
Before burning a fire in the fireplace for the first time, homeowners should test and replace the batteries in their smoke detectors. Batteries in smoke detectors should be tested quarterly to ensure they're still operational. Each room of the house needs smoke detectors, as do hallways, the basement and attic.
Maintain Your Fireplace to Protect Your Home
A poorly maintained fireplace can be dangerous. By having inspections at least once a year and promptly addressing any issues that are discovered by the inspection, you can ensure that your fireplace will continue to be safely enjoyed for years to come. Taking care of your fireplace can also help you maintain your Nashville home's value.
When planning for a chimney inspection, choose a reputable chimney contractor. Working with a good chimney contractor will help ensure that the chimney is safe, and the cleaning is done right.
The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage
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