How to Check the Fireplace Before Use - What You Need to Know? - Complete Chimneys LLC
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How to Check the Fireplace Before Use – What You Need to Know?

The demand for heating appliances is becoming increasingly popular among the people residing in colder areas. People tend to use gas or wood-burning fireplace at home to keep the place warmer and cozier. However, while using any type of fireplace, it is extremely important to ensure that it is safe to use throughout the season. 

To do this, you must learn some basics that can help you find if your fireplace is in useful condition.

First and foremost way of checking the fireplace is to observe its smell and smoke. If you’ve noticed visible smoke and grayish stains outside your fireplace or chimney, then it is a sign that there is a major problem with the unit. Apart from smell and smoke, falling debris, water streaks, and excessive soot or lack of heating efficiency are also warning indicators. 

In such situations, it is highly recommended to immediately get the service of a gas fireplace inspection as it helps you with the cleaning and repair of the fireplace by cleaning or repairing your fireplace. 

To help you learn more about the fireplace working condition, here is a blog describing six steps that will help you determine if your fireplace is safe to use. 

6 Essential Steps to Ensure Usefulness of Fireplace 

No matter if you are using a gas or wood fireplace, follow these six steps to ensure its safe operation. 

1. Open the Flue 

Before lighting a fire, the flue should be opened to ensure that the chimney will vent properly.  If the flue is closed, the smoke won’t go out from the chimney. Instead, it’ll force its way into your home, filling the room with smoke which is hazardous for the health of you and your loved ones.

Follow these simple steps to open the clogged chimney flue. 

  • With the help of a bristle brush, clean the flue in upward and downward directions. 
  • Use a flashlight to check the inner area before moving to the next step. 
  • Use a vacuum and start cleaning the chimney cap and fireplace.
  • Cross-check the fireplace chimney with the help of a rod and look whether it still needs further brushing. 
  • Next, clean the smoke chamber, again use the small brush to remove all the soot. 
  • Then, brush all the dust from the outside of the fireplace and vacuum the entire firebox.  

2. Do Frequent Maintenance

If your fireplace is operating properly, then the flame of the fire would always appear clean and safe. Apart from this, a well-maintained fireplace will exhaust smoke and flames upwards into the chimney and emit no burning odor.

However, regular maintenance will keep your chimney free of the dangerous buildup of soot and creosote. It helps identify and repair any potential hazards, such as cracks or dislodged bricks. Though, it’s ideal if you get annual chimney cleaning and inspection to ensure they function safely and efficiently. 

To prevent potential fire hazards, do self-clean methods to enhance the lifespan of the fireplace and chimney. 

  • Clean all the ashes coming out from the fireplace
  • Examine the interior and exterior of the chimney
  • Check the damper before lighting a fire in the fireplace
  • Clean the outer of the fireplace with the help of a stand brush/ vacuum

3. Use 6-Months Old Dry Wood

It is best to gather firewood that is dried for up to 6 months or a year in advance for burning purposes—as it produces less combustible material towards the chimney . 

However, if you use wet wood it can increase the creosote in your chimney, which can lead to chimney fires. It also releases pollution into the air and can cause issues in a gas fireplace unit. That’s why it’s important to use dry wood for burning, as it saves a lot of money and improves the heating efficiency. 

Select the wood wisely by looking in for the following components.


  • Firewood  should be well-seasoned (6-months older) and dry 
  • Firewood should have a moisture of 15% to 25%

4. Use a Fireplace Screen 

Fireplace screen, or metal mesh curtains, is an essential fire prevention and safety device. It is placed in front of the fireplace opening, especially when the wood is burning to protect the surroundings from the fire ashes, such as walls, furniture and other decor items.  

Fireplace screen is a shield to protect your kids or pets from the intense heat of the fire.

However, the cleaning process is too easy, if you have these simple tools.

  • Screwdrivers
  • Paper towel or towel cloth
  • Use Glass cleaner (Spray) 

5. Don’t Forget the Fire Extinguisher

Another essential step that you must take is to keep a fire extinguisher nearby whenever you use the fireplace. Ensure to keep it in a reachable zone!   

Follow these steps to inspect the fire extinguisher.  

  • Functionality to ensure it is ready for use
  • Verify the pressure gauge is in the “green” zone 
  • Safety pin is in place
  • Nozzles are clear of any obstructions

6. Examine Exterior of The Chimney

Sometimes the problem is with the exterior side of the chimney, which causes smoke, falling debris, water streaks, and excessive soot from the fireplace.

You need to check these things for safe use.  

  • A bird’s nest on the top of the chimney
  • Tree branches near the chimney
  • Cracks around the surface of the chimney 
  • Lose metal frames
  • White stains at the masonry
  • Broken or no chimney crown
  • Damaged or no chimney cap

Get the Gas Fireplace Repair Services in Maryland!  

Fireplaces continue to be a popular addition in Maryland homes. Owning a fireplace, on the other hand, is a responsibility — and to keep it in good shape for regular use, you should follow all of the above-mentioned steps. 

However, if at any point you notice any unusual problems with your fireplace or chimney and are looking for a gas fireplace repair in Columbia, MD, or in any nearby areas, then you can contact us by calling 410-544-7600. Our repairman will identify and repair the leaks, thermopile voltage, water column, firebox, fireplace screen, and gas logs. 

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