5 Ways to Make Fireplace Maintenance Easy
A wood-burning fireplace is a comfortable, cozy, and traditional way to keep the home warm. But fireplaces do require cleaning and maintenance, and this may seem very daunting if you've never done it before.
But there are actually five simple steps that you can take to keep your fireplace properly maintained, and this will also help protect your family from fires and smoke. The key things to remember are having your chimney swept yearly, cleaning the firebox regularly, and making sure that there's plenty of fresh air in the house.
1. Keep the Firebox Clean
When you're using the fireplace regularly in the wintertime, you should be cleaning the firebox once a week. And while this may seem like a lot of maintenance, cleaning the firebox doesn't take long.
All you have to do is shovel out any thick ash buildup, as this can impede air flow into the fireplace. (It is, however, a good idea to leave an inch of ash in the bottom for insulation.)
Then, take a stiff-bristled brush and scrub the inside of the firebox. When you're done, vacuum up any soot and ash from around the fireplace opening.
2. Call in the Experts
Unless you have all the tools to scrub, scrape, and vacuum your chimney, you’re better off calling in a professional chimney sweep to remove creosote and soot buildup from the inside of your chimney. Creosote is unburned fuel that can easily ignite when it builds up in a chimney.
On top of having your chimney swept annually, you should also do it any time the creosote buildup becomes thicker than one-eighth of an inch. Another reason to call the professionals is because they are trained to:
- Inspect the firebox for cracks
- Locate cracks in the liner
- Find missing or loose bricks
- Check the damper
- Inspect the chimney for structural issues
3. Install a Chimney Cap
A chimney cap will protect your chimney and your fireplace from things like precipitation, animals, twigs and leaves, and even downdrafts that could blow in and fill your house with smoke. On top of that, a chimney cap will also prevent embers and sparks from shooting out the chimney, and this is a potential cause of roof and brush fires around your house.
4. Use Lemon Oil on the Hearth
To keep your slate hearth clean and in tiptop shape, you should wipe it down with a cloth soaked in soapy water every month or two. Rinse it down after, and when the slate is dry, apply a thin layer of lemon oil. Buff the oil with a soft cloth to make the slate clean, glossy, and beautiful.
5. Allow Airflow Into the House
It's always a good idea to open a window near the fireplace anytime you're having a fire, but this is especially important if your fireplace isn't equipped with a damper.
Fires require oxygen to burn, and you can ensure that your fire has plenty by keeping a window open. This will also help remove smoke from the house, and will stop the fire from stealing warm air from your home.
Fireplace maintenance is a necessary household task, but when you know what you’re doing, the cleaning will go quickly and easily. Just remember to call a professional chimney sweep when it comes time for your annual maintenance, and that way you'll be able to rest assured that your family and your home are safe.
When you need help with other plumbing and heating issues, call 702-362-9300 to get the specialists at Anytime Plumbing, Inc in Las Vegas, NV.