As the cold autumn nights set in and with winter fast approaching, nothing beats a warm and cosy, crackling open fire. However, before you set match to firewood, it’s important to put safety first and make sure your fireplace and chimney are in proper working order. At Bittern Garden Supplies we are the trusted choice for high quality firewood for sale on the Mornington Peninsula, and we understand the importance of safety around fires. Here’s a few things you should do to get your fireplace winter-ready.
Engage Professionals to Clean Your Chimney
You should have your chimney cleaned by a professional chimney sweeping company once a year, or around every 80 fires. A thorough, professional clean will remove any build-up of creosote, which is an oily and highly flammable by-product of burning wood. This will help to maximise the safety of your fireplace.
Check for Cracks and Damage
Check inside your fireplace for cracks, damaged mortar and loose bricks. You should also check the exterior masonry for any damage. All of these problems can interfere with correct chimney function, so be sure to have all repairs professionally done before you light any fires.
Inspect the Chimney Cap and Damper
Most chimneys have a cap to prevent leaves, rain, birds, pests and debris from entering. Check your cap is firmly attached and in good condition. If your chimney cap is damaged or missing, make sure you replace it before winter arrives. The chimney damper should also be in good working order. This is a valve that regulates the airflow inside the chimney. The damper should be closed when you aren’t using your fireplace, but you will need to open it when you want to start a fire. It is essential that the damper opens and closes with ease.
Prune Any Overhanging Trees
If you notice any tree limbs overhanging your chimney, these need to be trimmed or pruned. Not only do these present a fire hazard, they can also restrict the airflow and damage the chimney cap. If the limbs are too high for you to safely remove, contact a professional gardener, tree removalist or arborist.
Clear Out Old Ashes
If there are any ashes left over from last winter, ensure they are swept or vacuumed out and disposed of. Ashes are perfect for garden beds and compost piles so don’t just put them in the bin, make good use of them. After every fire, or at least once per week, you should clean out the ashes. Keep in mind that coals can remain hot for several days so make sure they are completely cold before removing and disposing of them.
Pick the Firewood
Dense, seasoned wood is the ideal wood to burn. Recently cut or “green” woods produce more creosote, which can build up in your chimney and cause problems. If you are cutting your own wood, use denser wood that has been split and stored in a dry place for at least six months. If you plan to purchase your wood, buy locally grown firewood such as red gum, which burns slowly and cleanly for long-lasting warmth. Never burn treated or painted wood, both of which produce dangerous fumes.
Fireplaces are a lovely way to heat your Mornington Peninsula home in the winter. Before you light up your wood-burning fireplace for the first time this season make sure you follow the above tips to ensure a safe fire for your home. If you looking for affordable firewood for sale, Bittern Garden Supplies has your needs covered. We harvest all our own red gum firewood from locations in northern Victoria and southern NSW. Contact us online to place your order or call our friendly team on 5983 9779 now.