The nights have drawn in, summer is just a fond memory and it’s about now that it starts to get really cold. So it’s time to get your fireplace ready for the winter and some constant use.
Nothing beats a beautiful fire roaring away to cosy up your living room when outside the snow is falling and the days are dark. However, if you’ve got a log or coal fire and want to make the most of your hearth and really feel the benefits, then you need to make sure you prepare your fireplace in readiness for winter use. After all, it’s most likely been sat idle for a few months – so you need to bring it out of hibernation and get it ready for action!
Check out your chimney
First and foremost, you need to make sure your chimney is clear of blockages and free to let the smoke and excess heat head up and outwards. Leaves and even animal nests can accumulate while your fireplace is out of use, and when they do you can get a nasty surprise when you first light your fire for the winter and find yourself with a room full of smoke. A professional chimney sweep can ensure that your chimney is clean and ready to go, while you can arrange to have a cap or screen installed in your chimney to prevent any future blockages from occurring. You can also look at the exterior of the chimney yourself from ground level, making sure that no tree limbs have grown to hang over it and that the chimney itself is in good condition, not damaged, crumbling or leaning to one side.
You should also check for any cracks in the bricks and mortar around your fire indoors. Should you find any, ensure you get them filled in – professionally if you need to.
Clean your firebox out
If you didn’t clean out the leftover ash from last winter, then be sure to tidy it away in readiness for the winter to come. Lay some newspaper down on your floor to prevent ash going onto your home furnishings and sweep out the leftover ash neatly and gently. A small layer of ash can work as a good form of insulation at the base of your fire and keep it burning for longer, but don’t let too much accumulate there. Sweep the main part of ash from your firebox regularly.
Open the damper and banish the cold
Before you light your first winter fire, check that your damper opens and closes properly. Then open it up and light up a roll of newspaper (or similar) and hold it up to the opening for a few minutes. This will stop any cold air rushing in to fill your house with black smoke when you light up the fire.
Keep your fuel dry and your stocks high
Be sure to store your wood or coal somewhere dry and free from frost, and keep it off the ground. Damp fuel is much more difficult to burn and can give off more smoke. Be sure to use ready-treated wood and stock up on plenty of fuel in advance so that you don’t find yourself running short when you need it most.
At Embers Heating Studio in Derby we have a superb range of exquisite fires, stoves, fireplaces and hearths to make your home the perfect place to be when the weather turns cold this winter. Give us a call on 01332 242299, email [email protected] or pop in to our studio to see what we have on offer. Our fireplace specialists will be only too happy to advise you on the right type of fire for you, your home and your budget – and how best to maintain it to ensure you enjoy the warmest of winters year after year.