Cinderella Bedroom Suite with fireplace. Photo copyright: Disney

Cinderella Suite with fireplace at Disney World. Photo copyright: Disney 2007

This is the time of year where everyone with a fireplace uses it actively. Who can forget Cinderella’s fireplace with all that cleaning? Remember to have a Chimney Sweep check out the one you use, which should be done annually. Tell A Friend Chimney Sweeps inspect and clean out the chimney, make minor repairs, and replace the interior lining. TIPS: When they clean, ask them to install a metal grid to mitigate birds and debris floating in. Fires of long duration may cause expansion of the masonry such as the cement crown, facial wall, and exterior chimney, resulting in clean breaks in the masonry. Our Best Advice cautions that holes and mortar bond breaks may be found in the smoke chamber and the chimney cover may be warped or damaged. Make sure its investigated thoroughly, burn only eco friendly products, then tuck yourself around the fire for warmth that cuts back energy bills.

modern fireplace without wood still needs care to ensure safety

modern fireplaces without wood still need care to ensure their safety

Some of my best memories are of those around the campfire and remarkable fireplace chats I’ve enjoyed with clients. I know my sustainable green friends won’t like this, but I won’t give up using a fireplace of hearth and home (and probably won’t live in a home without one). I have seen some of the most beautiful fireplaces in the world, a dying art form. In the future, we’ll tell kids about the days when fires were still allowed to burn in our homes. If you have one, don’t take yours for granted, new ones are not allowed to be constructed. Read your favorite books by the fire to also save on lighting. Our neighbors, Ann and Skipper (well into their nineties with Skipper just a couple years shy of 100) maintain a fire all winter long to help with energy bills. They’ve been living in the same home over sixty years watching in disbelief as energy costs rise, spiraling out of control.

When I run across an irresistible video it becomes a TIP, and this one is about another favorite subject that goes with fireplaces: books. It’s great viewing several times to enjoy the animation. Buy books! Publishers are having a really tuff time with sales dropping. You can find amazing deals for used books online, which keeps it eco friendly and further supports publishers. Use books lovingly around the fire, then give them away as gifts to others. If you live in Los Angeles visit the used bookstore at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore our friends own. Forward Our Best Advice link for more great TIPS to household care and our ISA staffing services.

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