Homeowners have a number of options this winter on how to heat their homes. The beauty of owning a property is versatility, but each option presents its own set of risks and challenges. 

One winter heating staple is the fireplace. For decades homes have had this feature prominently displayed in living rooms, and many nights have been spent stacking wood and stoking the flames. However, after a summer of neglect the fireplace may need attention before it gets too cold. A home inspection is the perfect solution, while some homeowners are also looking to take the fireplace in a new, unique direction.

Technology puts a spin on the fireplace

Regardless of whether the fireplace is a traditional or modern one, a property inspection is a great way to ensure that all heating needs are in good working order for the winter.

For several homeowners, they decided to remove their old, wood-burning fireplaces and instead go with electric or gas as a means to save on energy costs, according to The Wall Street Journal. Older fireplaces are essentially a giant hole in the wall, which means hot air can escape and cold air can enter. Instead of accepting this problem, people have turned to technology as a solution.

For example, James and Maryam Shapland installed a new gas-fired unit, the news source noted. It looks like a flat-screened TV and can be controlled via remote. When on, it heats up the room quickly. Many options are more efficient than their older counterparts, and hearths and other variations are all gaining popularity.

Fireplace home inspection crucial

Even if the heating system is based on modern technology or an old design, a home inspection is an important step to overall safety. For the traditional wood-burning type, an expert may be a smart hire as a precaution.

Overall, there are several areas that may need some attention. For starters, the firebox needs to be looked at, according to Realtor.com. This is where the actual fire takes place, and an inspection can check for loose bricks, cracks or damaged lining. Another area to pay attention to is the damper. This is located above the firebox, and it needs to be operating correctly so that all the smoke will vent outside the house.

In addition, homeowners should install a carbon monoxide detector near their fireplace, regardless of type. This device can be a life-saving tool, and an inspection can also help identify safety hazards within a home.