Summer is an easy time to forget about your home heating. But by mid-summer when the nights start getting shorter, we recommend that you take a moment to consider your fall and winter heating needs, as well as the status of your stove or fireplace. Dozens of home and chimney fires happen every year from stoves that weren’t prepared or inspected properly before being lit for the first time. At the very least, you don’t want to be caught in the cold on the first chilly night and find your stove isn’t working properly from smaller problems like a mouse nest or broken parts.
Here’s a few tips for how to get your stove and your home ready now before the cold comes, so you can be warm and safe all winter long. If there are issues detected after a self-inspection or basic cleaning, it’s best to call a professional to clean or service your stove before lighting it or turning it on for the first time.
Step 1: Be prepared—safety first!
Go through your home before starting any preparations on your stove and check for fire extinguishers, smoke alarms (and fresh batteries), and double check you have emergency numbers on hand in case of a stove or chimney fire.
In case of a fire, you want to be ready before anything bad happens. Regularly check these items throughout the colder months also—safety always comes first.
Step 2: Check for broken parts or structures.
Ensure that all major structures on your stove are intact and secure, including glass, pipes, hinges, doors (as well as seals and joints), panels, vents, fans, bricks, screens, flues and liners.
If there are any major cracks or damage from overuse or age, replace the parts or contact a professional for a proper inspection or repair.
Step 3: Clean your stove or fireplace.
It is best to regularly clean your heating appliance, but after a few months of sitting unused, it’s best to do a deep clean to ensure that there are not any issues that could cause major damage during use.
- Clear any soot and debris out from the body of the stove and from any applicable pipes or chimney. Also check for soot or creosote on or between parts and be sure to secure and fit tightly back together after clearing debris.
- Clean the glass face if applicable and double-check for cracks. Replace the glass if cracks are found, and do not burn your stove or fireplace with cracks in the glass, as it could shatter in the heat.
- Brush and vacuum any debris from the stove, hearth, catch pit, and/or ash drawer.
- If you have a door to the stove, check the seal for proper tightness all the way around. You may need a new gasket if the door does not seal properly.
- Double check that the fan or blower is functional and clear of any debris.
- Check your applicable stove pipe as well as joints, seams, and connections to the chimney or vent pipe for any damage including cracks, worn spots, or deterioration. Replace the pipe if cracks or damage is found.
Step 4: Stock up on fuel.
No matter what you’re burning—pellets, wood, gas, oil—it’s important to make sure you have enough fuel to get through the winter. Be sure to call your fuel provider to place an order for a refill, and prepare your fuel stock so you have enough when that first cold week shows up!
Step 5: Call a professional!
If you have any concerns or questions about your stove and its individual needs, be sure to get in touch with a certified technician or service department and request a professional service appointment or cleaning. If you need parts or any repair on your stove, getting in touch now will ensure your winter is safe and your stove or fireplace keeps you warm all season long.
If you live within our service area, our service team here at Higgins Energy is professionally trained, nationally certified, and skilled to be able to handle many of your stove needs. Give us a call at 978-355-6343 or request an appointment online to clean or service your stove now so you can be ready later.