Preparing and Decorating Fires for the Holidays

Holiday fireplace Ideas for your Wheeling, WV, and Ohio Valley home.

With colder temperatures starting to blanket the Wheeling, WV and Ohio Valley areas, now is a good time to schedule your fireplace and chimney inspection before company arrives. It’s also a good time to practice fire safety when decorating mantelpieces and the surrounding hearth. Whether you’re expecting a slew of guests or plan on laying low, it’s important to prepare your fireplace for the upcoming winter festivities. You’re friends at Fireplace ‘n’ Fixin’s in Martin’s Ferry, OH has a few tips so you can enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.
1. The importance of creosote removal.
Wood Burning FireplacesFor many, it’s been a good while since you’ve used your fireplace. For this reason, it’s a good idea to schedule your annual chimney inspection with one of our Fireplace ‘n’ Fixin’s chimney experts. Over time, smoke, gas, water and unburned wood particles can form thick tar, called creosote, which sticks along the walls of your chimney or flue tile. Creosote is dangerous because too much build up can create a fuel source for a chimney fire. Conducting an annual chimney inspection in your Wheeling, WV home can help prevent a chimney fire.

2. Inspect for issues in your chimney brick or mortar.
It’s not uncommon for older homes in the Ohio Valley area to have cracked or chipped chimney bricks or loose mortar. Over the years, rain and snow could have worked its way into your chimney causing some water damage to your masonry. While your exterior brick may look fine, the interior walls may indicate something different. If you suspect water damage has occurred or you simply know your chimney is old, it’s a good idea to have someone look at it. Fireplace ‘n’ Fixins can examine your chimney during its annual inspection. If necessary, we can further perform tuckpointing repairs at an affordable cost. Tuckpointing is a process in which we will cut out and replace deteriorating bricks and mortar joints within the masonry walls to prevent further damage to your chimney. If you let this go too long, your entire chimney may need to be replaced, which can cost upwards to $10,000!

3. Check the fireplace damper.
If you already tried to light a fire and the room filled with smoke, there may be an issue with your fireplace’s “throat damper”. If you forgot to open your damper, open it. If you’re trying to open it, but it’s not opening all the way, buildup since the last burning season may be inhibiting the smoke from fully escaping. Call Fireplace ‘n’ Fixin’s to take an in-depth look at your fireplace damper before burning any more fires this season. Better yet, we’ll check it out during your upcoming fireplace inspection.

4. Decorating your mantels.
“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…”. These famous lines from Clement C. Moore’s Christmas classic are wise words to live by when decorating your mantle. We know it’s tempting to decorate your fireplace, but it’s really important to consider your choice of décor. Real greens will dry out and can ignite quickly, while fake greens can melt and also catch fire. So can other types of plastic and paper garlands, along with decorative faux snow. While we suggest avoiding decorating your fireplace altogether, should you choose to do so, be sure to place your decorations atop the mantle – against the wall and out of sparks reach. Do NOT droop or swag anything across an open hearth. And those stockings you’re planning to hang with care, we recommend removing them before light your next fire, especially if you’re using wood or don’t have a screen. All it takes is one small spark to ignite a fire.

5. Decorating around the hearth.
It’s also best to avoid flammable décor around the hearth itself. While this part of your fireplace lends itself to being decorated, save that for the time of year your not actually using it! Your fireplace is magical enough, don’t clutter it up with flammable holiday decorations that can create a nightmare for your family.

Prepping your fireplace and chimney for the long winter is just a phone call away! Call Fireplace ‘n’ Fixin’s for all of your Wheeling, WV and Ohio Valley fireplace and chimney care! Schedule your fireplace inspection today (740) 635-37766!