Well, the leaves are falling, the days are getting shorter, and the chilly winds are starting to blow in London, Ontario, and that means it’s time to get your fireplace ready to keep you warm and cozy through the long winter nights to come.

Fireplaces are beautiful and practical, especially in these days of high heating costs, but if they’re not properly maintained, they can also be dangerous. Fireplaces and dirty chimneys are responsible for many thousands of house fires each year.

And then of course you want your fireplace to look it’s best. Nothing’s more embarrassing than to have unexpected company see a dirty fireplace. Here are a few simple tips for getting your fireplace ready for the season.

  • Have it inspected. Contact a professional to give your fireplace a safety check before you use it for the first time. It’s not expensive, and it’s well worth it for safety’s sake.
  • Give it a good cleaning. Shovel out any ashes left over from last year, and use a soft brush and warm soap and water on the brick or stone. If you have glass doors, give them a good polishing with window cleaner.
  • Use a firescreen. If you don’t have one, buy one. It’s necessary to keep errant sparks off of your carpet and furniture, a safety essential.
  • Buy carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. You probably already have smoke detectors in your home, but if you’re going to be burning wood in your fireplace, you really need to have carbon monoxide detectors too, placed in strategic locations throughout the house.
  • Have a fire extinguisher handy. An obvious precaution, it can be placed out of sight behind a piece of furniture or even drapery, just as long as it’s within easy reach.
  • Decorate your mantle. Buy some whimsical pieces to brighten up the area.
  • Add some custom built-in cabinetry. To make your fireplace look really elegant and sophisticated, and much more practical and functional also, consider investing in some custom cabinets and bookcases. You’ll be surprised at how your old fireplace can be transformed. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

For more information about custom built-in cabinetry for your fireplace, contact Allen’s Custom Built-Ins of London, ON  at  519 652 0013.