So you’re ready to light that first fire of the chilly season? Whether you’ve had a fireplace for a while or you’re thinking about buying one for the first time (find out which type of Megamaster fireplace suits your decor style here), there are a few things you need to know about prepping your fireplace for winter to make sure it’s clean and safe.

1. INSPECT YOUR CHIMNEY ONCE A YEAR

Carefully inspect both your fireplace and chimney for any damage, obstructions, cracks or other abnormalities before lighting the first winter fire. It is recommended to have your chimney swept at least once a year to remove debris. For wood-burning fireplaces, it’s important to clear any buildup of soot or creosote, which can both be serious health hazards.

2. CHECK YOUR CHIMNEY CAP AND DAMPER

Your chimney cap prevents things like leaves, birds, rain and debris from entering. A damaged or missing cap should always be replaced. A damper is a plate or valve which regulates the flow of air inside your chimney. Always ensure it’s functioning as it should before you light the colder seasons' first fire.

3. INSPECT YOUR FIREPLACE GASKET

Often, wood and gas fireplaces have gaskets fitted around their doors. Gasket material helps keep gas and smoke from entering your home and keeps excess oxygen from entering the fire-burning area. If your fireplace has a gasket, carefully inspect it to ensure it is intact. Replace the gasket if it is damaged.

4. CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARM

Before making your first winter fire, remember to test your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace the batteries if needed. Always test your smoke alarms thoroughly to ensure they are working as they should.

5. KNOW THE SIGNS OF A CHIMNEY FIRE

Lots of smoke coming from either end of your chimney, strange tapping or clicking noises, a rumbling sound, and flames coming out of your chimney top are all signs of a chimney fire. If any of these things happen after you’ve lit your fire, call your local emergency services and have a professional inspect your chimney before you use the fireplace again.

6. GIVE YOUR GAS FIREPLACE SPECIAL ATTENTION

If you have a gas fireplace, switch on the pilot light, then check that all vents are clear of obstructions and are functioning as they should. Check all liners, burners and logs for cracks or other types of damage. Replace all damaged parts and components before lighting your first winter fire.

7. ALWAYS FOLLOW NEW-FIREPLACE GUIDELINES

Before using a brand-new fireplace for the first time, it’s crucial that you check on the correct steps to follow. These steps will vary depending on the type of fireplace you’ve selected. When you’re ready to buy a Megamaster fireplace, you can find all our product manuals here. Also check out our must-read guide to installing a fireplace.

8. STORE (DRY) WOOD CORRECTLY

Storing your wood neatly in a container by your fireplace will not only be more aesthetically pleasing, it will also ensure that insects and other pests don’t decide to make it their home! The Megamaster 280 Log Bucket with two convenient carry handles is perfect for the job. If you want a larger wood storage container with ventilation holes for quicker drying, consider our modern-look Megamaster Log Box.

On the subject of wood, make sure you buy dry firewood, as burning green wood will result in lots of smoke, soot up your chimney and create a fire hazard. Remember to always buy wood from alien or invasive tree species, to protect our indigenous trees.

9. CHECK YOUR FIRESCREEN

Speaking of safety – if you decide to go for a built-in fireplace, using a firescreen is non-negotiable. Our stylish Tuscan Firescreen is not just beautiful to look at, it is also black powder-coated to sustain high heat. If you prefer a more contemporary design, the Megamaster 1000 Firescreen might be your ideal match.

10. COMPLETE YOUR WINTER FIREPLACE TOOLSET

Lastly, having the correct tools close by will enhance your enjoyment of your fireplace. Our Megamaster Standard Fireplace Toolset includes a shovel, poker, log tong and ash sweeper that hang from a space-efficient stand. If you prefer a more decorative design, check out our beautiful Megamaster Avantgarde Toolset. It includes a shovel, poker, log tong and ash sweeper.

Looking for fireplace installation tips? Read our expert’s guide.