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How to Close a Fireplace for the Off Season

The cold weather in Connecticut is taking its time fading, to make way for warmer springtime temperatures. Once confident the off season for cozy fires has arrived, it’s a good time to close the fireplace for spring and summer. There are benefits to closing wood-burning and gas fireplaces when they aren’t in use, and how-to steps follow.

1-Schedule a Chimney Cleaning

Creosote buildup in chimneyIf you have a wood-burning fireplace, your chimney flue has a buildup of flammable creosote. By having the creosote removed, you help to prevent deterioration of the lining, in the event moisture gets into the chimney. The number one reason to remove creosote is to reduce the chances of a dangerous chimney fire in winter. During the off season, though, removing creosote means preventing smelly odors that tend to occur in warm weather.

When your chimney is cleaned, debris falls into the fireplace. For that reason, chimney cleaning typically includes some cleanup of the fireplace itself. Chimney professionals have the equipment to ensure that the home stays clean throughout the process of chimney cleaning. Special vacuums with HEPA filters are often used by experts, giving fireplaces a good start on being clean enough for the off season.

2-Clean the Fireplace

The job of cleaning your fireplace will not likely be completed by chimney sweeps. What remains may be removal of any remaining logs. The grate should be removed and taken outdoors, as well. Grates are usually cast iron. Iron paste and a dry brush should be used to clean a cast iron grate. The iron paste will help to protect the grate from moisture. Next, any remaining ash should be removed from the fireplace.

If your fireplace has any black soot, it should be removed with a stiff brush and cleaning solution made with baking soda and warm water.

Clean glass doors according to manufacturer’s instructions.

3-Schedule a Chimney Inspection

Your chimney and fireplace need to be inspected as well as cleaned. Annual chimney inspections are recommended by leading fire safety experts in the U.S., including the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Chimneys are subject to harsh elements inside and out. Fires create extreme temperatures; and the exterior chimney masonry is exposed to harsh weather conditions. Extreme heat, snow, and rain can all damage various components of a chimney.

The fireplace needs to be carefully inspected, too. The firebox, like the chimney flue, must be in good condition. If either has damage, repairs are a must. It’s dangerous to operate a fireplace if there is a breach in the chimney flue or firebox because combustible materials become exposed to the intense heat. Many house fires occur every year because of damaged chimneys and fireplaces.

Any repairs that your fireplace or chimney needs -can be made before winter, if you schedule an inspection when you’re closing your fireplace for spring and summer.

4-Close the Damper and Glass DoorsFireplace Damper

It’s important for the damper to form a seal when closed. Otherwise, your chimney can become like an open window, causing a spike in your utility costs. It helps with energy savings if you also have glass doors on your fireplace.

5-Turn Off the Pilot Light

You can save on energy costs by turning off the pilot light of your gas fireplace during off months.

Consider a New Fireplace

Besides closing your fireplace, you may want to have a new fireplace installed during spring or summer. If you live anywhere in or around Wilton CT, visit Yankee Doodle, Inc. Stove & Fireplace Center to see many gas and wood fireplaces in use. It’s important to have professional installation of a new fireplace or stove. This makes the off season the perfect time to have the fireplace you’ve been dreaming of installed. Chimney professionals begin to get their busiest once fall arrives. The job of fireplace installation can be done at your convenience in spring or summer.

Call Yankee Doodle Stove & Fireplace Center today at 203-544-8111 about a new fireplace as soon as you’ve closed your existing fireplace for the off season. Being all set for the cold weather, you can relax and enjoy the warm days just ahead.