How to Prepare Your Fireplace for Winter

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Whether you have a wood burning or gas fireplace it is important to properly prepare them for the fall and winter seasons to ensure both their functionality and your safety. Napoleon Fireplaces have provided some helpful tips to consider when preparing your fireplace for the season. Most of the simple inspections and cleaning can be done by the average homeowner, however, if you have any doubt at all, contact your local fireplace installer or chimney sweep. 

Wood Burning:
 
• Have the chimney cleaned before starting your wood burning fireplace, stove or insert. The leading cause of fires from wood burning appliances is the result of creosote (unburned fuel) that has accumulated in the chimney.  
 
• Have any gasket material inspected and replaced as required, such as the gasket sealing the door, the door glass and in some cases the ash dump. If an airtight appliance is operated without these gaskets effectively sealing the openings, excess air can leak into the firebox creating an over fire condition, which may permanently damage the appliance.
 
• Clean the blower if your wood burning appliance is equipped with one.  Unlike your furnace blower, these blowers do not have a filtering system to prevent the buildup of dust and hair on the blower.  
 
• Replace any broken or deteriorated brick lining in the wood burning appliance. While cracks in the lining are not a concern, if the brick lining is deteriorated to the point that the steel body is exposed, the heat from the fire can cause permanent damage to the appliance. 
  
• Replace the batteries and test any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors you have in your home to ensure these defense monitors are operating properly.
 
Gas Burning:
 
• Have the appliance serviced by a qualified technician. A properly maintained fireplace can look as new as the day it was installed and a proper cleaning can help prevent permanent damages from occurring. Even the glass must be cleaned annually to keep it looking clear. Although gas fireplaces appear to be maintenance free, like a car engine, these combustion systems are affected by problems such as dust and insects which will impair performance. The airways of both the pilot and main burners should be regularly cleaned to ensure that they are operating correctly and a general inspection of the entire system including the safety controls is also beneficial.  
 
• Clean the blower if your gas burning appliance is equipped with one. Unlike your furnace blower, these blowers do not have a filtering system to prevent the buildup of dust and hair on the blower. As the dust accumulates on the blower blades, the balance of the blower will change causing premature wearing of the bearings. The dust also insulates the motor; preventing it from being cooled and can eventually cause the motor to cease up.
 
• Replace the batteries in any optional remote transmitters and in some cases, in the receiver as well. Even when not being used the power held in a battery is slowly depleted.
 
• Replace the batteries and test any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors you have in your home to ensure these defense monitors are operating properly.

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