Having a wood burning fireplace is a nice feature for any home. A fireplace can be a nice way to keep your house warm during the winter months, but using a fireplace does require some basic maintenance to keep it working efficiently and safely. While some specific types of fireplaces might need different types of maintenance to stay in good working order, there are some steps that are necessary for every wood burning fireplace.
HAVE YOUR FIREPLACE INSPECTED ANNUALLY
It is important to have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned every year at the beginning of the usage season. This will ensure that all of the parts are clean and in good working order. Hiring a chimney specialist to perform an annual inspection and cleaning is an important safety measure that should be taken by every fireplace owner.
CLEAN OUT ASHES REGULARLY
If you use your fireplace on a regular basis, it is recommended that you clean out the ashes on at least a weekly basis. Always allow the ashes to cool before you shovel them out of the firebox. To assist in this job, you can keep a metal bucket near the fireplace as an ash repository. Do not use a regular vacuum to clean the ashes out of your firebox. However, some hardware stores do sell fireplace vacuums that are made for cleaning ashes.
WATCH FOR CREOSOTE BUILDUP
A buildup of creosote in the chimney or flue can be a significant fire risk. It is important to monitor the buildup of creosote in your chimney and to clean it out regularly. You can help to avoid the buildup of creosote by using a chimney brush regularly. Some hardware stores also sell logs that can help to remove the creosote from a chimney.
BURN THE PROPER FUEL IN YOUR FIREPLACE
Burning seasoned hardwood is the best option for a wood burning fireplace. It burns cleaner than softer wood and it will result in less creosote buildup. Don’t burn things like cardboard and plastic in your fireplace. These materials give off a lot of heat and smoke and they can be dangerous when burned in a fireplace.
KEEP YOUR CHIMNEY CLEAR
During the usage season, you should check your chimney about once a month to make sure that it is clear. This will ensure that smoke can easily exit through chimney and it will help the homeowner to avoid a situation where smoke could buildup in the house.
CLEAN IN AND AROUND YOUR FIREPLACE REGULARLY
Along with removing ashes from the firebox on a weekly basis, you will also want to perform other regular cleaning jobs on your fireplace. Depending on how much you use the fireplace, you will want to regularly clean the inside of the firebox, brush out the chimney and clean the fireplace accessories. It is also important to give the entire fireplace and chimney a good cleaning at the end of every usage season.
One of the most important factors when it comes to fireplace safety is proper maintenance. With a little bit of time and effort, you can ensure that your fireplace is working properly and in safe operating condition.