There’s nothing more enjoyable than warming up by a crackling fire on a cold winter’s night, but before you strike a match, make sure your fireplace is safe to use by following these simple steps:

  1. Start by trimming any branches away from the chimney – then open the damper and check to make sure the flue is clear.
  2. Have your fireplace inspected regularly by a certified chimney sweep and cleaned when needed.
  3. To prevent creosote from building up in your flue, burn only seasoned hardwood and avoid low, smoldering fires.
  4. Always use a fireplace screen, and never leave a fire unattended.
  5. After the fire is completely out, clean out the ashes and close the damper to prevent heat loss.
  6. Most importantly, be sure you have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms in your house and replace the batteries at least once a year.

For more information about preparing your home for winter, check out the article titled “Winterize your home” in the November/December issue of Healthy Living Made Simple magazine.

Danny Lipfordis a 36-year veteran remodeling contractor and media personality known to audiences as host of the Emmy-nominated and nationally-syndicated home improvement TV show and nationally-syndicated radio show: Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford. Danny served as the home improvement expert for CBS’s The Early Show and The Weather Channel for more than a decade. Danny has made more than 160 national television appearances, has been a longtime contributor to Better Homes & Gardens magazine. To learn more about Danny and his Today’s Homeowner brand, visit