Cooler temperatures always mean logs crackling and flames dancing in your fireplace, but have you taken the necessary precautions to ensure that you and your family are safe when you light your first fire of the season?

There are a few things that you need to do every year before you light that first fire, so that you do not have to worry about a smoke-filled house or a chimney fire that quickly spreads.

Here are 6 things that you should do prior to lighting that first fire of the season:

Have your chimney cleaned

A professional chimney sweep will be able to clean all the creosote out of your chimney, so that you can keep the buildup from catching fire. They will also be able to clear out any debris like leaves, nests, and even animals that have been calling your chimney home.

Check for damage

After they have cleaned your chimney, a chimney sweep will then check for any damage including loose bricks, cracks, missing mortar, and liner deterioration. We always recommend that you have any damage repaired immediately, because once a chimney starts to deteriorate, the damage can become severe rather quickly.

Check the chimney cap

A damaged or missing chimney cap is an open invitation that asks for rain, snow, debris, and animals to enter your chimney. You will want to make sure that your chimney cap is in excellent shape prior to starting a fire, so that you know that the air flow inside your chimney is good. An animal that is stuck or a mound of debris is going to prevent the smoke from exiting the chimney and instead, it will billow up and go into your home.

Prevent creosote from building up

One of the best ways to prevent massive creosote buildup inside your chimney is to only burn seasoned hardwoods. If you choose to burn a softer wood or green wood, then you will notice that the creosote buildup inside your chimney will accumulate much more quickly.

Keep your fires small

Smaller fires create less smoke and less creosote, which is better for your chimney. A larger fire will not only create a lot more creosote, it will also make the chimney extremely hot, which may cause it to crack.

Use a fire screen or glass doors

We recommend that you use a screen or glass doors when you have a fire going inside your fireplace. These items will ensure that embers are not flying out and allowing an item in the room to catch on fire.

If you follow these recommendations, then you will be able to safely have your first fire of the season as well as many more over the colder winter months.

The chimney sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service are CSIA Certified and we have years of experience under our belts. We strive to continue our education as often as possible so we’re always in the position to offer you the best possible chimney services in Drexel Hill and all along the Main Line. Call us at 610-626-2439 to discuss your chimney needs or to schedule an appointment for a chimney cleaning, chimney inspection, or chimney repair.