Moving into a home with a fireplace can feel like a dream come true. You probably can't wait to curl up in front of a warm fire and listen to the crackling with your family members. But before you start enjoying your new fireplace, there are a few things you need to take care of.
Have the chimney cleaned.
You would not be the first person to have a chimney fire the first time you use your new fireplace. If it has been a long time since the old owners used the fireplace, there may be a birds' nest or other debris in the chimney. There may also be some soot buildup. You don't have the tools to reach up into the chimney, nor do you have the expertise to clean the chimney adequately. Hire a professional to do this for you. Most offer an annual maintenance program, which offers you discounts and priority service.
Install a smoke alarm.
Fires are risky, even when you have had your chimney cleaned. Make sure you have a smoke detector in the room where the fireplace is located. Place it about halfway up the wall; this is the best place to ensure smoke does not go undetected. Stock up on some extra batteries for your smoke detector, too, and remember to replace the battery once a year. Doing this maintenance on your birthday makes it easy to remember.
Have a talk with the kids.
If you have kids, make sure you sit them down and have a serious talk about fireplace safety before you light your first fire. Tell them that they are never allowed to put wood or anything else in the fire; that is mom and dad's job. Also make a rule as to how close to the fire they are allowed to get. For example, you could select a certain tile line and tell them not to go closer than that tile line.
Establish safe firewood storage.
Decide ahead of time where you will store your firewood so that it stays safe and dry. Don't store it too close to the fireplace. Most people prefer to keep most of the wood in a shed or the basement, and only keep a small amount in the fireplace room. If you store your wood outside, make sure it is covered and far from the base of your home so it does not attract termites.
Having a fireplace can be a wonderful addition to your new home, but it's important to be prepared. To learn more, talk to companies like Chimneys Unlimited.