If you aren’t considering lighting your fireplace this week, you might want to change your mind. The colder weather is moving into Houston, the Weather Network is calling for a balmy 55° degree on Wednesday with scattered thunderstorms and you’re going to need to warm up.

Before building your first fire of the season, you’ll have to inspect the fireplace and the chimney for any cracks or creosote buildup. You’ll have to install your animal guards or chimney caps on top of the chimney to keep animals from setting up a winter home in your chimney.

Another important tip is to use wood that has been sufficiently dried. The wood should be split and allowed to dry for a year before use. The advantage of dried wood is that it burns with less smoke and burns and more evenly than wood that isn’t dried sufficiently. In order to reduce sparks coming into the living area you should place a screen in front of the fireplace.

And don’t forget to open the damper before starting a fire, and keep it open until the fire is completely out.  To tell if a fireplace damper is open or closed you need to look up the chimney with a flashlight. If the damper is open you should be able to see the sky. A closed damper will just push the air smoke back into your home.

Keep flammable items far away from the fireplace and just in case have a fire extinguisher nearby. It might be cold outside but the team at PCS want you to have a safe fire this autumn