Our Company Blog

Starting A Cold Fireplace

After a long summer of disuse, many homeowners are unsure of how to start the first fireplace of the season in their fireplace. Learning how to start a cold fireplace can allow you to better enjoy your first fire – as well as the rest of the burning season. The following tips will help you better start your cold fireplace this fall.


1. Have the chimney swept

The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that chimneys should be swept at least once per year. Having a chimney swept removes creosote, a flammable buildup created by burning wood that can lead to chimney fires; likewise, it also ensures that there is no debris or other flammable material in the chimney. By having the chimney swept before you begin to use your fireplace for the season you can ensure it is clean and safe to use all winter long.

2. Check your smoke detectors

Having a fireplace means it is necessary to have certain safety equipment – namely, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These need to be placed on every level of the home as well as outside of sleeping areas. Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors should be tested every month to prevent the batteries in them from dying. Likewise, detectors should be replaced at least once every 10 years to ensure they meet current safety standards.

3. Fully open the damper

Opening the damper before you start a fire allows the chimney to begin drawing air in. This drafting process is what prevents ash, soot, and smoke from blowing back into the room when the fire is lit. Dampers should be fully opened during the entire burning process, from lighting kindling to waiting for the ashes to extinguish.

4. Warm the flue

A traditional throat damper seals off the firebox from flue, but leaves the rest of the chimney open to outside air. Because of this, the temperature in the chimney may be significantly colder than the temperature inside your home. Too much cold air in the flue can sink when a fire is lit; this can cause smoke, ash, and soot to blow back into your home. However, this can be prevented by warming the flue. To warm the flue, simply hold a bundle of lit kindling or newspaper under the open damper for several minutes before lighting the fire; this small amount of heat can help warm the air temperature in the flue and prevent a major blowback of cold air.

5. Choose the right firewood

The kind of firewood you use can have a major impact on how well your fireplace functions. Homeowners should do their best to only burn seasoned hardwoods in indoor fireplaces; well-seasoned wood has a significantly lower moisture content then fresh cut or green wood. This lower moisture content allows it to ignite quickly and burn more efficiently with minimal creosote creation. Likewise, hardwoods like oak or maple are preferred because they burn hotter and create less smoke than softwoods such as fir or pine.

The Great City of Seattle

Here at Pristine Sweeps, we love the great city of Seattle! Our founder Aaron Woodward was born here, and our company was started and continues to grow here. Unlike other seasonal companies, we both live and work in the communities that we serve. We love helping our friends and neighbors keep their fireplaces and chimneys in excellent and safe condition!

The Pacific Northwest is known for its unique weather – specifically the rain! Because we are from the Seattle area, you can trust our certified chimney sweeps to understand the unique challenges facing fireplaces, chimneys, and other masonry structures in this part of the country. Don’t just let anyone work on your chimney; trust the local experts at Pristine Sweeps!


About us

Founded in 2008 by Seattle native Aaron Woodward, Pristine Sweeps is proud to have cleaned over 2000 chimneys in the Seattle area! Our mission statement is “To provide superior service and ensure safety through our knowledge, education & integrity.” We do our best to live up to our mission statement by providing our customers with exceptional service no matter how big or how small the job is. Likewise, we take the time to help homeowners understand what is going on with their chimney systems, helping them become more informed consumers.

Our services

At Pristine Sweeps, we are proud to offer our customers a wide variety of fireplace and chimney services. Whether you need a routine chimney sweeping, a major fireplace repair, or anything in between, Pristine Sweeps is the company for you.

In addition to our fireplace, chimney, and masonry services, we also sell and install a variety of stoves and inserts. By buying your new heating appliance from a true fireplace company, you can rest assured that you are getting the best appliance to fit your family’s home and heating needs. Additionally, we also offer dryer vent services, we can improve your dryer’s performance and help prevent dryer fire.

Why choose Pristine Sweeps

We know that choosing a chimney sweep company can be difficult, especially in an area as large as Seattle. However, we are confident that Pristine Sweeps can provide you with the best chimney and fireplaces services in the Pacific Northwest!

One thing that sets Pristine Sweeps apart from our competitors is our dedication to continuing education. We are one of the only chimney companies in the area to belong to the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) as well as attend the five day National Chimney Sweep Convention every year. Likewise, we also employ one of the area’s few Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney sweeps. These memberships and certifications ensure that our technicians are up to date on the latest developments in safety and technology in the fireplace industry.

We love the great city of Seattle and are proud to be a part of this community. Because our certified chimney sweeps both live and work in the area, we are well versed in the unique challenges facing chimneys and fireplaces in the Pacific Northwest. To use a local company that prides itself on high quality workmanship and customer service, contact Pristine Sweeps today to schedule an appointment!