Prepare for Cooler Weather: A checklist for making sure your fireplace or stove is ready

The pumpkins are out, the corn is being collected, and the nights (and some days) are getting cooler. It’s time to think of the perfect fire weather – and making sure your fireplaces & inserts or stoves are ready for the season. We have a checklist of six areas you should focus on as you prepare for a beautifully warm winter indoors.


1. Clean your fireplace or stove thoroughly

Often, cleaning your fireplaces & inserts isn’t a DIY job. For the best quality, make sure the professional has been certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). 

As far as timing, “the National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys be swept at least once a year at the beginning of the winter to remove soot and debris,” according to Shyra Peyton from This Old House. If you just installed a new fireplace or wood-burning stove, have it checked midway through the season to make sure everything is in proper working order and don’t hesitate to call the installer if you have issues.


2. If you haven’t yet, get your fireplace inspected

Your chimney cleaner would also be able to inspect your fireplace, so while you are at it, get it checked out. It might be an extra cost, but it is worth it. The inspector will check the chimney structure for cracks, loose bricks, or missing mortar, and the liners for cracking or deterioration.

If you need your chimney and fireplace inspected or repaired, contact AES Hearth & Patio’s CSIA-certified chimney sweeps.


3. Check your chimney cap

Your chimney should have a cap fitted with wire-mesh sides covers the top that will keep out rain, birds, squirrels, and debris from entering (again). This is very important during the fall and winter, when you will probably run your fireplace frequently. The warmth will be attractive to those little critters. If there is damage, repair or replace your cap.


4. Check your alarms

When burning a fire, you will have smoke and other natural gases released into the air. Make sure to check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the house to ensure they are working properly. Replace batteries as needed, or just do it if this is your first check of the year.


5. Clean the area

Your mantle or the area in front of your fireplace probably became a catch-all during the summer months, when your fireplace was in less use. There could be hanging decorations, toys all over the ledges, in addition to papers and discarded art projects, or damage to your screen or spark guard. Now is the time to remove these items and fix or replace your fireplace essentials. It’s also a great time to remind your family about fire safety.


6. Pick out the perfect firewood

Make sure to burn dense, seasoned wood such as oak that has been split and stored in a dry place for at least six months. You also can buy a wood moisture meter to test the wood. If you cut your own wood, make sure to split and store it correctly. If you rather buy already prepared wood, your best bet is to buy local. Many cities and states have special ordinances regarding firewood.

Now that you have your fireplace or stove prepared for fall and winter, contact AES Hearth and Patio to make an appointment for fireplace or stove cleaning and repair if you live in Camp Hill, Carlisle & Central PA.

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