Chimney And Fireplace Use For New Homeowners: What You Should Know

Posted on: 26 May 2016

Many new homeowners have little or no experience with proper fireplace use. If you're buying a home this spring or summer and will be acquiring your first fireplace in the transaction, these tips will help you enjoy your new fireplace and chimney.

Get Your Chimney Cleaned and Repaired

You may have paid for a home inspection when you bought the house, but many home inspections only cover an overview of the chimney. Unless your home inspector confirms that he or she has checked inside the chimney for soot, creosote, cracks in the chimney liner and other damage, it's important to get your chimney cleaned and inspected for necessary chimney repair before burning your first fire.

Once your chimney is ready to use, establish a regular cleaning schedule that will correspond to the amount of use your chimney gets. Even if you plan to use your chimney only a few times per year around the holidays, the Chimney Safety Institute of America still recommends cleaning the chimney once per year to get rid of bird nests, check for blockages and to keep the chimney in good repair. If you plan to use your chimney more frequently than a few times per year, your chimney sweep can tell you how often you should get your chimney cleaned based on your anticipated usage.

Get the Right Tools

Unless the previous homeowners left you with their tools, you'll need to acquire basic chimney cleaning tools before you can make a fire. At the minimum, you should have:

  • Fireplace grate. This keeps the logs up off the chimney floor, enabling air to flow through the chimney.
  • Fireplace screen. Shutting the screen keeps sparks in the chimney from flying out into the room.
  • Tongs and poker. The tongs and poker can help you move burning logs safely and can also be used to put more wood on the fire.

Burn Seasoned Wood

Wet wood is difficult to burn. In addition, wet wood creates a lot of smoke that can contribute to the buildup of soot and creosote in the chimney. Seasoned wood is wood that has been sufficiently dried. Check all your wood before burning it. Seasoned wood will have some or all of the following characteristics:

  • Loose or falling off bark
  • Cracks in the ends
  • Wood is darkened to gray or deep yellow

You'll also be able to tell if the wood is seasoned by the way it burns. Wet wood will hiss in the fire and will be difficult to ignite.

For more information about how to use your chimney properly, talk professionals from a company like Clean Sweep. They can give you pointers that can help you enjoy your fireplace in your new home.


Everyone Deserves a Little Luxury in Their Home

When I was growing up, my parents worked very hard to make ends meet for my family and we lived in a small, basic home. After I landed my first job as an adult, I purchased my first home. When I got a promotion at work, my salary increased dramatically and I started dreaming of having my bathroom remodeled to give it a "luxury spa" feeling. I felt guilty having a luxury spa in my home when my parents still lived in the same small home they raised us in, so I had their bathroom turned into a "luxury spa" as well! It felt great being able to "pay it back" to them for all the hard work they did in raising our family. I am looking into other home remodeling projects now, and I want to share what I am learning with others who would need the information!

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