Tis the Season, to Embrace Your Fireplace

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Contrary to what folks from the north might think, it does get cold in Florida for a few months during the year, and those months are upon us. Many homes in Florida are equipped with functional fireplaces, but are often neglected. Granted, there are not that many consistently cold nights that would require the use of a fireplace, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever use it if you are fortunate enough to have one.

Lighting a fire in a fireplace offers a number of enjoyable benefits. Not only does it add extra warmth to the room, but the luminous flames are lovely to look at, and the sounds of the crackling kindling are unmatched. Before you start chopping logs outside to make firewood, make sure your fireplace is ready to be used. Here are a few tips to consider:

1. Maintain your fireplace year-round by cleaning it with a chimney sweep and having a professional inspector ensure that it is safe for usage. Soot and creosote buildup are common and can create fire hazards.

2. Make sure the chimney flue opens and closes properly. During fireplace use, the flue should be completely open, and when not being used, it needs to be totally shut.

3. The type of wood you burn in your fireplace does matter. Harder woods are best because they burn at higher temperatures and last longer. These harder woods are a little bit more expensive, but they also create less creosote buildup, which is a definite plus.

4. Make sure the wood you plan to burn is stored properly and is not the least bit damp.

5. Do not allow ashes to accumulate when you are using your fireplace. Remove them and dispose of them outside.

6. Use kindling – newspaper, sticks, leaves, and any other non-toxic paper products – to start your fire and do not stack logs tightly together.

7. Make sure not to use any chemically treated wood if you plan on roasting marshmallows with the family, which is of course one of the added benefits of having an indoor fireplace.