Preparing the Fireplace for the Season
by Lee Wyatt
(last updated November 16, 2012)
There are several things in most homes that you will need to get ready right before the season to use them arrives. One of the things that will require a bit of extra attention is your fireplace. Preparing the fireplace for the season isn't all that difficult, and it is something that you can do yourself, as long as you remember a few simple things.
- Choose the right time. One of the key elements of preparing the fireplace for the season is to choose the right time to do the work. Ideally you will want to do this in the last few weeks of summer, while it is nice and warm. This way you will be able to access your roof safer, while also having less chance of inclement weather hindering your work. In addition, you will want to do this work while it is light out, and that way you can see what you are doing.
- Prepare properly. Cleaning and preparing your fireplace can actually get fairly dirty if you aren't careful. To avoid some excessive clean up, you really should remove anything and everything that you can from the room where the fireplace is located. Anything that you can't remove should be covered with an old sheet that you can use as a drop cloth. In addition, place a few of these sheets over the floor to help protect it as well.
- Get on the roof. When you have the room prepared, you then need to get on the roof and take a look at the chimney. When you get onto the roof, make sure that you are being as careful as possible so that you don't fall off. The best way to do this, without the use of specialized safety tools, is to have three points of contact with the roof at all times.
- Inspect the chimney. Make your way safely over to the chimney, and begin inspecting it as thoroughly as possible. Look at the mortar, flashing, and even the chimney cap to see that everything is in good working order. If it is not, then have the problem repaired as quickly as possible. Once you have finished inspecting the exterior, it is time to take a look at the interior. Remove the chimney cap, and then get off the roof and open the damper (or flue) on the chimney. This will allow you to see that it is working properly, and as long as you can see sunlight you don't have too many problems.
- Sweep it. Get back on top of the roof, and take your chimney brooms with you. You can actually find some of these tools at the local home improvement store, or from other similar stores. Some professional chimney sweeps even offer the options of renting some of their tools from them.
- Clean everything up. After you have finished sweeping the chimney (have a friend tell you that nothing else is coming down) replace the chimney cap, and then leave the roof. Go back into the house, and begin cleaning the room that the fireplace was in. Clean out the fireplace itself, and then begin cleaning up any mess that is in the room. Remove all of the drop sheets that you used, saving the ones on the floor for last. If necessary vacuum, and shampoo the floors, and wash the walls.
Now that you know the basics of preparing the fireplace for the season, you can begin getting it ready. Keep in mind that this process can be a bit messy, and as such you will want to be careful. If you do not want to do the work yourself, you can always go with an option that is more expensive—hire a professional chimney sweep to do the work for you.
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