Tips and Talk from the Home Wizards on all things “Fireplace”

During the colder seasons, whether you experience the frigid temps of a Chicago winter or whether the Southern Californian nights have you grabbing a big Irish sweater, there’s nothing more comforting then cozying up by a warm fireplace with the ones you love. But a fireplace can also be tedious in its upkeep and also an aesthetic eyesore in some cases, when it’s not in use. What to do?  Fear not, we offer fireplace safety and beauty tips below including referrals to the best in home repair professionals who can help with fireplace safety and repairs.

Fireplace Safety

A natural and less expensive source of heat, the fireplace will not only help cut your home-heating bills, but also provide beauty and comfort to the home. But a certain amount of upkeep is necessary when it comes to fireplaces as a lack of care can lead to dangerous home fires. In fact according to the U.S. Fire Administration, “Heating fires account for 36% of residential home fires in rural areas every year.”  Here are some first rules in safety. Make sure your chimney is free of debris. To do this you can hire a chimney sweep. It’s always a good idea to consult with home repair professionals like those at ServiceLive on these types of tasks if you are not a fireplace installation and/or safety expert. “Home Wizards” co-hosts Eric Stromer and Cindy Dole offer some great suggestions including starting first and foremost with a chimney sweep among other tips.

Stromer said recently on Home Wizards :

Make sure you do a chimney sweep to ensure all the brick is not leaking, get that creosote build-up out… make sure the flue is operating properly…

Here are some more helpful tips!

  • Inspect the Chimney Structure for Damage

Look for cracks, loose bricks, or missing mortar. Chimney liners should also be checked for cracking or deterioration.

  • Don’t Over Stack

Small fires are safer. They generate less smoke, thus less creosote buildup. A fire that’s too large or too high in temperature can cause damage to the chimney.

  • Install a Spark Guard

Errant embers can erupt into a full blown fire if they manage to escape from the fireplace into the room. Install a mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors as a spark guard.

Is Your Out-of-Use Fireplace Ruining the Decor?

If fireplace safety is less of a concern than the ever-present eyesore that your empty fireplace has become in your home, steal a few tips from our recent article titled What to Do with an Empty Fireplace. Here are some fun ways to turn your empty fireplace into an intellectual conversation piece or a work of art!

  • A large vase and fill it with seasonal flowers placed artfully in front of the fireplace can work

  • Make a mini-art gallery. Pasadena designer Paul Devine displayed one at a show that layered a patchwork of frames.

  • Fill the entire empty space with books. Place a few small shelves inside and stack books that match a color or theme in your room.

If you like this topic, tune in to Home Wizards Syndicated Nationally. Cindy and Eric can be heard live Saturdays 8-10 AM PST via this streaming link on their flagship station in Los Angeles KFWB NEWS Talk 980, For more info on fireplaces and heating be sure to catch cohost Eric Stromer on the January 21st episode of The Today Show on NBC