Growing up in Iowa, I always looked forward to the warm glow of a fire in winter. Whether it’s gas, electric or wood, a fireplace adds ambiance to holiday gatherings.
First fire of the season. If you rent a home or apartment with a working fireplace, spend a few minutes with the Management Company or owner on how best to open up the fireplace for the season. Does the chimney need to be swept? Do you need to buy and burn a special creosote cleaning log?
Remember that birds and animals may nest in the chimney if there’s no chimney cap, and many renters have faced finding animals in a dormant chimney. If that happens, contact your maintenance team or manager for help.
If your home has a gas fireplace, you may want to ask your management company to show you how to turn this on. Turning on the gas for the first time in winter can cause a distinct odor, and a dry run during business hours may save you from a panicked call later.
Staying safe: Once you have used the fireplace, keeping it clean and closed is important. Be sure to properly dispose of any ash if you are burning wood or fire logs. Let the fire die out, perhaps overnight. The next day, feel the ash and be sure that it’s cooled and can be disposed of properly.
Close the flue when your fire is completely extinguished. This will keep cold air from coming into your home and warm air inside. Gas fireplaces must be properly turned off as you leave the room. They should never be left unattended.