With the burn season right around the corner it is a good idea to inspect your wood burning fireplace and ensure that it will operate safely and efficiently. Virtually all woodburning fireplaces sold today are sealed door high efficiency units. While these fireplaces provide an enormous amount of heat to a room they also suffer degradation much quicker than the low efficient decorative units of the past.
Things to check
Check door seals to make sure that they seat properly, if they do not or if they seem worn the gasket can be replaced very inexpensively. Failure to replace a seal that is leaking air can very quickly cause the fireplace to over fire and cause damage
Check the refractories inside the fireplace, If the refractory has small hairline cracks you may be able to get away without replacing it but if there are large cracks or visible spalling they need to be replaced. To be safe and comfortable knowing that you are not going to have problems we always recommend that you replace refractories if they show ANY signs of cracking.
Most importantly either get your chimney cleaned or purchase correct chimney cleaning brushes and clean it yourself...top to bottom. It does not matter if you are an accomplished wood burner and burn the perfect wood at the perfect temperature or a novice still trying to figure out all of the ins and outs of burning wood. Burning wood creates creosote, creosote causes house fires when it ignites. Most of todays chimneys are rated to withstand temperatures of 2100 degrees so it is unlikely that a chimney fire would spread and cause a whole home fire...but it is possible and not work risking. In perfect burning conditions with recreational burning a once a year cleaning is all you will probably need. If you are burning constantly or using your fireplace as supplementary or main source heating you should consider cleaning it at least two to three times a year. We do not offer chimney cleaning services however will be happy to recommend a selection of reliable chimney cleaning companies should you require.