Maybe you’ve just moved into your first home — and it’s one with a fireplace. You’re excited because you have so many vivid aspirations for the fall and winter ahead. You’re imagining a fire crackling away while you entertain guests at Halloween or Thanksgiving, and of course, you’ll have one blazing on Christmas morning while you’re opening presents. Then during those cold snowy nights throughout the winter, you’ll be able to gather as a family on the sofa to enjoy the fire and sip hot chocolate.
And of course, you’ve done your due diligence as a responsible homeowner and had the fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional. Any necessary repair work has been done, and it’s ready for use as soon as the weather turns cold.
But if you’re going to be building fires regularly throughout the winter, there are a few important tools you’re going to want to have on hand. Some of them are obvious (you might remember your family having some of these if you had a fireplace growing up) while others of them are more obscure but will still prove to be satisfyingly useful.
Here’s a friendly checklist of tools you should have on hand if you use your fireplace regularly:
Carrier to haul logs
Wood is surprisingly heavy, and it sometimes isn’t practical to carry logs from the woodpile to the backyard all the way to the house one at a time. A carrier will help you take several logs in one trip. Look for one that is waterproof, durable, and easy to grip even when it’s weighed down.
When you have a fire already burning, you’ll need to add kindling to keep it going. Avoid trying to add logs with your bare hands by using fireproof tongs.
When the kindling needs to be moved around inside the fire so the kindling can get air, a poke lets you easily do this from a safe distance.
Brush and Shovel
After a fire has died down, you’ll need to clean all the soot and debris out of your fireplace. A brush and shovel will make it easy to remove these and throw them out with the trash.
You’ve seen this before even if you don’t know the name for it — it’s the pump you use to blow air onto the fire. A bellows is able to produce far more air than just your lungs, so it’s much more effective for blowing air onto a fire to get it started.
Tool set and holder
You can usually find a poker, tongs, brush, shovel, and bellows sold as a matching set. Hanging each tool from a holder beside your fireplace makes them easily accessible. And getting a stylish matching set will also add to your living room décor.
After you pick up ash and debris with your shovel and brush, you need a place to put it. Having a metal bucket on hand will make it easy to transfer that waste to your trash can or out into your yard.
This useful tool goes up against the back of your fireplace and serves to trap the heat and push it back into your living room. Thanks to its effectiveness, you don’t have to worry about losing most of the heat from the fire going up the chimney.
Sometimes you have a huge mess of soot and ash in your fireplace that will take a long time to remove with the brush and shovel. In these situations, it’s convenient to have a special vacuum designed for sucking up ash that you can use to clean up quickly.
Indoor log rack
If you’re bringing several logs into the house at a time, you want a place to store them near the fire. Look for an indoor log rack that is heavy-duty and durable, as anything flimsy won’t hold up for very long. An indoor log rack saves you the hassle of hauling logs in from outside every time you’re ready to make a fire.
If your fireplace doesn’t have a built-in screen, you can get a freestanding one to place in front of it. A screen will stop sparks from popping out of your fire and landing on your rug or furniture — a potential fire hazard!
This goes on the floor of your fireplace and will hold your logs up off the ground. Using a basket grate as the base makes it easier to get the fire going because you get better air flow from underneath than you would if your logs were simply on the ground.
If you need more guidance on ways to safely and effectively build a fire in your new fireplace, our team at Chimney TEK is happy to help you out. Call us today at (410) 796-8450.