In many ways, the fireplace is the heart of the home. It is typically situated in the most active part of the house where it offers warmth and comfort on the coldest days. Whether it’s for a romantic dinner, a holiday party or just some quality family time, a crackling fire sets the mood for many memorable occasions. Popular throughout much of the country, at least one fireplace is featured in the majority of new single-family homes. As the calendar turns to spring, however, many homeowners move the fireplace to the back burner. The warm weather months should instead be a time for important upkeep. Ensure your hearthside health with these helpful hints.

Sweep It Clean

The first step in your summer maintenance should be to clean the firebox of ashes that accumulated throughout the winter. From there, use a fireplace-safe cleaning solution and water to wipe down the area. Additionally, take the opportunity to clean your fireplace gate or doors of any soot buildup.

Sweep the Chimney

One of the most important things you can do to get your fireplace ready for the fall is to have your chimney cleaned and inspected. Damage to the chimney liner and buildup of creosote – tar-like accumulations of hydrocarbons resulting from wood smoke – can produce chimney fires that damage your home or lead to far more fatal consequences. Be sure to search for chimney cleaning in MD or your area to schedule a professional cleaning every summer.

Sweep for Debris

Some rooftop reconnaissance can help prevent future fireplace failings. Installing a mesh chimney cap can keep birds, animals, insects, branches and other debris from falling into your flue. While on the roof, check your chimney for signs of cracking or other damage. It is also advised to trim away any overhanging tree limbs to avoid the potential of a fire hazard.

Don’t let your family’s wishes for winter warmth go up in smoke. A little summer love can go a long way in keeping your fireplace in a fine place.

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