Before you begin using your fireplace this fall and winter, it’s a good idea to perform a thorough inspection to make sure it’s safe and clean enough to use. With this in mind, here are some tips regarding the checks you should make to adhere to the standard regulations for fireplace safety in Seattle:
- Firebox: Check the firebox for any signs of damage, including loosened joints or any type of cracks. If you have a masonry fireplace, make sure you specifically look for damage to the bricks and mortar as well, so you can make the proper repairs before you begin using the fireplace. Refractory cement is usually the type of material you’ll use to fix up those joints and cracks, as it is specially designed to deal with the heat inside a fireplace.
- Damper: Your next step will be to completely open up the damper and check that it is still operating properly. You’ll know it is if it still moves freely, while sitting snugly against the throat. The metal on the damper should not have any cracks or sections that appear to be rusted through. If there are any signs of damage on the damper, this is likely a job you’ll have to have a professional take on, because replacing a damper can be quite a difficult proposition for a person without professional fireplace repair and maintenance experience.
- Flue: After you’ve thoroughly inspected the damper, your next step is to check the flue for damage. You’ll need a high-powered flashlight to be able to get a good look, as it’s going to be dark inside your fireplace. The flue liners should be sufficiently clean, and all the joints should be in proper alignment. They should also be free of cracks, particularly if they’re made of tile or masonry. Here again, any repairs to the flue liner should be performed by a professional fireplace technician—this isn’t a DIY sort of job.
- Roof: If you’re unable to get a good look at the entire flue from the bottom of your fireplace, this could result in the need for a roof inspection. Some chimneys are more easily accessible than others, depending on the pitch of the roof, so if you’re at all uncomfortable getting up on the roof of your house and peering down into the chimney, then you should be sure to have a professional chimney sweep or fireplace inspector handle the job for you.
- Debris: If you notice any leaves or debris, such as birds’ nests, that may have fallen into the chimney, be sure to clear it out. This debris can quickly turn into a fire hazard if left alone all year long. You’ll need to remove that hazard before you use the fireplace for the first time this season.
For more information about fireplace safety in Seattle and inspecting your fireplace this year, contact the team at Stewart Lumber & Hardware Co. today. We have the supplies you need to handle a huge variety of household projects!