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Now that chilly temperatures are here and, being that we're in the thick of the holiday season, what better time to snuggle up with your loved ones around a warm, cozy fireplace?   

But before you do, it’s important to ensure that these fixtures have been properly serviced, and are safe to use.  And to that end, The New York Cooperator’s November issue dedicated a a front-page story on the importance of ensuring these units are functioning correctly. 

While now considered a luxury item, not that long ago they were once critical to keeping residential tenants warm. “Wood-burners most commonly are found in converted townhouses built in the second half of the 19th century and in upper-floor and penthouse apartments in prewar luxury buildings, while newer construction generally features gas-powered or electric hearths,” notes the Cooperator.  (Interestingly, in 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law which made it illegal to install wood-burning fireplaces in new apartment units.) 

Like suburban home fireplaces, chimney-sweep inspections and a thorough examination of all components are required.

“Inspection should be done annually and by a properly licensed expert,” noted Eddie Delgardo, the sales manager of Westchester Fireplace and BBQ in Elmsford, New York.   

The Cooperator suggests that “when a building board or management chooses the inspector and maintenance people, it’s crucial that they verify that the chosen pro is licensed and carrying proper and adequate insurance that contains risk transfer language.” 

Best not to play with fire.

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For more tips on how to safely maintain your fireplace, click here.