Be careful with that fireplace

During cool weather, many families look forward to the warmth and ambience of crackling fires in their home fireplace. But before lighting a fire, there are some tips to consider:

Get the fireplace ready. Past fires may have left soot deposits inside the chimney, so it is always a good idea to have it swept before use. Also, take a look up the flue. Make sure that it is clear of obstructions and debris.

Cracks in the mortar and crumbling cement are warning signs that the chimney may need repair. Contact a professional.

Another area to check is the fireplace damper. Make sure it works properly and fits snugly so that the fireplace won’t allow cold air in or heat out.

Be sure to replenish the wood supply. Well-seasoned firewood is easier to start, produces more heat and burns cleaner, reducing the amount of dangerous buildup.

There are a few things to look for to tell if wood is seasoned.

Wellseasoned firewood generally has darkened ends with cracks or splits visible, it is relatively lightweight and makes a clear “clunk” when two pieces are knocked together. “Green” wood has a much higher water content, making it harder to start and less efficient when burning.

Firewood can harbor insects. Because of insects, it’s important to not move firewood and instead purchase it close to where it will be used. Also, make sure that the firewood purchased is from local resources.

At the end of the season, be sure to burn all the wood that has been ordered, so that any insects or larvae in the wood do not have the chance to spread.

This story is provided by North American Precis Syndicate Inc.

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