With countless old and historic homes throughout Boston, many homeowners have visions of getting cozy around the fireplace in the winter. However, the reality might be a lot different if your fireplace is unused for many years.
If you’re ready to start using an old fireplace, fireplace care and maintenance is essential. This is the fireplace inspection checklist that we recommend you follow.
1. Check Your Smoke Detector
The first step for old fireplace safety is making sure your smoke detector is in working order. Ideally, you are already checking it once a month and replacing its batteries twice a year.
You need the smoke detector to alert you of excess smoke buildup. It will also inform you if there is carbon monoxide in your home, which is an odorless and dangerous gas that causes headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
2. Keep a Lookout for Critters
An unused chimney is viewed as a safe haven for some animals during the winter. You might find raccoons or birds nesting inside the chimney to escape the harsh winter weather.
Look around for animal droppings, vegetation, and even foul odors. These are 3 signs that animals are living inside your chimney.
3. Sound Fireplace Structure
If you live in an old home, you likely will not have a factory-built fireplace unless your home was recently remodeled. Old fireplaces are made from brick, stone, or block and mortar. Over the years, these structures settle which can result in cracking or crumbling. Be aware of any structural issues and have them repaired as necessary.
4. Get Your Chimney Inspected
In addition to your fireplace, you must also make sure that your chimney is in sound condition. This is a major element of fireplace safety!
A chimney inspection will help detect:
- Damage or obstruction to both the chimney and/or fireplace
- Soot or creosote buildup
- Camera inspection to view inside of the chimney
- Clearance to any combustibles
Before you start using an old fireplace, remember to follow our fireplace inspection checklist. Most importantly, get your fireplace and chimney inspected by a professional. Proper fireplace care and maintenance will allow you to enjoy your fireplace because you will know that it is safe. Boston’s Best Chimney offers several levels of chimney inspections, as well as repairing and even rebuilding of old and dangerous chimneys. Get safe before you cozy up next to an old fireplace by calling 781-893-6611.