Plan ahead and get your heating ready for winter

There is nothing as cosy and inviting as a crackling fire, but, before you light your first fire this autumn take a good look around your fireplace and chimney to ensure you have a safe and warm winter.

Tips for getting your wood fired heater ready for winter

  • Arrange a yearly inspection. All chimneys should be inspected by a professional at least once a year. A thorough cleaning will remove the build-up of creosote which is an oily and highly flammable by-product of burning wood, to give you a safer fireplace.
  • If you still have an older brick style chimney check for any cracks and loose joints in the firebricks both inside and check the outside of the masonry for damage. If you find damage hire a professional to do any repairs. Never make repairs with regular mortar as the mixture is unable to stand up to the high heat your wood fired heater will generate.
  • Inspect the chimney cap and damper. Make sure your fireplace damper is working properly and that there is no debris that will stop it from opening and closing. Confirm that the chimney cap is attached AND in good condition. The cap should have protective screening to keep birds and other pests from entering the chimney.
  • Clear away tree limbs. While you are outside checking your chimney cap prune any overhanging tree limbs that may be hanging over or near the chimney. Tree branches can restrict the proper draft of the chimney and damage the cap, tree branches can also be a potential fire hazard.
  • Clear out the ashes. Clean out the firebox of your wood fired heater whenever the ash is more than an inch or 2.5cm deep. Coals can stay hot for up to three days, so make sure everything is cold then sweep up or vacuum out the cold ashes and dispose of them. If you have a garden, wood ashes are perfect for compost piles and garden beds.
  • Store your wood outside your home. Always stock up on good quality firewood and store it away from the house to avoid attracting pests. Hardwoods burn longer than soft wood or you can buy specially made fireplace logs. Never burn painted or treated wood as it produces very dangerous fumes.

Now is the perfect time to inspect your fireplace, or to call in a wood fired heater specialist to look over your fireplace and give it the clean and care and attention it may need, to ensure you have a safe, warm and cosy winter. The last thing you want to do is put yourself or your family in any danger, call a professional to look at and clean your chimney, creosote build-up is dangerous and can cause your chimney to catch fire.

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