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As temperatures start to lower and more time is spent indoors, we’re guessing you’ll be putting your fireplace to use a lot more often. I mean, let’s face it, there’s no better way to spend a chilly evening than curled up by a cozy fire! Add a good book or movie, some hot cocoa, and you’ve got yourself a relaxing night ahead.

That being said, just one or two things gone wrong can turn your peaceful night-in into a disaster. When it comes to your fireplace, you can never be too careful, so making sure you’re doing everything right and investing in appropriate maintenance is a must.

Check out some of the more common mistakes we hear about below, so you aren’t stuck with a malfunctioning or broken down fireplace this holiday season. And if you need professional care, be sure to rely on Ashbusters Chimney Service for it all!Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Your Fireplace

Skipping Your Annual Inspection

All too often we hear that the homeowners we serve skipped their annual inspection because everything “looked good” and they didn’t think it was necessary. Or they think that if their chimney has been running fine for years, then professional care won’t be needed. Don’t fall into these habits!

We recommended an inspection every year because there’s a lot that can go wrong internally in your chimney in a short span of time. That means during those months of no use, crumbling or cracking could have occurred along with water damage, broken-down parts, decay, mold accumulation, and more.

And if it’s been quite a while since anyone has taken a look, there’s a good chance that your creosote deposits are reaching dangerous levels, too. Most assume chimney fires are loud, obvious events, but this is usually not the case, so your system could be facing serious damage without you even realizing it! The best option is to always get that creosote cleared out before anything serious occurs.

Also, don’t forget that gas fireplaces need annual service, too! Most assume if they switch from a wood-burning unit, then they can go longer without an inspection, but this is not the case. Gas fireplaces can emit carbon monoxide and other dangerous fumes when not functioning correctly, putting your household at serious risk. Just one inspection a year could save a life!

Forgetting to Open Your Damper

Did you light things up in your fireplace only to have smoke billow back out at you? While there’s a lot of damage and structural issues that could trigger this, there’s a good chance that you simply just forgot to open your damper. This is an easy fix, and an important one, too! If smoke and carbon monoxide enters your home, the health of you and your loved ones could be in jeopardy.

Always remember: Opening the damper is always your first step when using your fireplace for the evening!

Burning Unseasoned Wood or Garbage

If you own a wood-burning fireplace, then avoid the common mistake of burning unseasoned wood. The fuel you use should have had plenty of time to dry out (at least six months), otherwise, it will take a lot of extra time for the flames to burn through all the moisture. In the end, you’ll have a less efficient fire, a lot more smoke, and a bunch of unwanted acidic water deposits in your flue.

On this same note, be sure you’re never burning trash in your fireplace. We know how tempting it can be to toss paper cups/plates, wrapping paper, napkins, and other items for easy disposal (especially during the holidays), but this is really bad for your chimney, and it will cause creosote to form much faster than usual.

Not Scooping Your Ash Pile

Now, a little bit of ash in your fireplace isn’t such a bad thing. In fact, about a one-inch layer can actually help fuel your fires! That being said, if your ash pile gets too out of control, it’ll start wearing on your fireplace grate. Do your best to keep an eye on it, and scoop it out throughout the season to ensure everything stays in tip-top shape.

Forgetting to Check Your Batteries

If you have a wood-burning unit, this won’t apply but if you use a remote to fire things up, then make sure you’re changing the batteries in both the appliance itself and the remote control. Many of our customers don’t realize there are two sets of batteries that need to be replaced, so they call us in to fix something that’s not actually broken.

Save yourself a service charge by double-checking both spots and trying some new batteries before making an appointment.

Putting Off Service

Now, this time of year we get a lot of people calling in wanting inspections, sweepings, and more, so they’re ready to go for winter. Because our books fill up quickly, we urge you to call now to schedule your appointment! This isn’t something you’ll want to put off, and if you reach out soon, we’ll do everything we can to get you all set and ready to go for Christmas.

Our qualified crew is ready to serve. Call us at 615-510-7380 today!