fireplace toolsOne of the joys of winter in New England is coming home to a roaring fire. On those cold evenings when the temperature is in the single digits and snow is falling, sitting down with family and friends beside a warm fire helps take your mind off the harsh conditions outdoors.

If you have a traditional fireplace in your home, you know it isn’t easy keeping it in great condition. Aside from the work it takes to build and maintain a fire, you also need to spend time on the upkeep when the fireplace is not being used to ensure it is ready for your next fire.

Here are some essential tools you’ll need to keep your fireplace looking great and working properly.

Tongs & Pokers

When a fire is in full blaze, using your hands to adjust the wood or to add another log is not recommended! The best way to manage a fire is to use durable iron tongs and pokers. You may also want to invest in a special fire mitt that will protect your hands when you get close to the flames. Tongs are perfect for positioning logs and kindling, so you get an even burn and for adding logs to a roaring fire. A poker is another iron tool that helps create space among the wood, so you can prevent uneven burning.

Brushes

During and after a fire, you will have no shortage of bark, soot and wood chips. A high-quality brush will allow you to keep your fireplace free from debris that can be a fire hazard to the rest of your home. Using a brush while a fire is blazing will help keep the soot and wood chips in the fire, instead of inching their way onto the carpet. You can also use the brush after the fire is extinguished to clean up the residue and have the fireplace ready for the next round.

Shovel

After each fire, you will want to perform a thorough clean-up. A sturdy scoop shovel will let you easily remove the gathered debris and soot, so you can dispose of it properly without making a mess of your living room. Using your brush, you can reach all areas of the fireplace and sweep the debris into the shovel before dumping it in a trash bag.