The morning and evening air is presenting a  chill – it’s time to ready your fireplace for the season.

Before you click that lighter to start your first fire, make sure your fireplace is safe.

  1. Visually check the outside for repairs. Do you see any cracks in the brick, or corrosion in the metal?
  2. Make sure the chimney cap is up to code, and in doesn’t show any signs of damage.
  3. Check to make sure no bird or squirrel nests sit in the space.
  4. Check the full length of your chimney for dampness, or stains. This is another sign of needed repairs.
  5. Open the clean-out door at the base of the flue and look to see if there is a build-up of soot. Look for anything that might indicate a need for repair. (We can give you a recommendation to a  certified chimney specialist to check it for you.)
  6. Make sure the damper opens and closes easily and fully.
  7. Check to brick firebox – is it ready for the high heat of a fire?
  8. Clear the area around the hearth of any decorations, debris, flammable materials.
  9. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they’re working properly.
  10. Store your fire extinguisher close by and learn how to use it.


Many homeowners are remodeling traditional fireplaces into a showcase feature of the room, like this before and after photo of a Walnut Creek home.

* As always, call Pacific Gas and Electric immediately to check any gas-related safety hazards, like leaks or odd smells.