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A Simple Guide to Fireplace Care and Maintenance

July 16, 2022
A Simple Guide to Fireplace Care and Maintenance

Every now and then, our fireplace needs some love and care. Due to the sensitive nature of the job, relying on a chimney sweep is highly recommended more than doing it yourself.

But aside from getting professional help, you can also do your part in the maintenance of your fireplace. And if you want to know how, here’s our guide to caring and maintaining your fireplace:

1) Call a chimney sweep

Call a chimney sweep

Thoroughly cleaning the fireplace may require on-the-roof or in-room cleaning and inspection. These are dangerous jobs since a mistake can damage the flue further and become a fire hazard.

It takes special equipment and skills to go up the roof and detect creosote and obstructions. Creosote is a tar buildup in your chimney that can easily be ignited, which leads to sudden fire.

Thus, your best bet is to call a chimney sweep. They can do the whole lot for you from inspection to testing to give you maximum peace of mind while enjoying your wood burner.

As for when to call a chimney sweep, make it yearly before you start using the fireplace in the season.

2) Buy the right kind of firewood

Buy the right kind of firewood

The quality of the fire hinges on the type of firewood you burn in the fireplace. Softwoods, such as balsam, cedar, poplar, and others, burn up quickly and leave fine ash that’s harder to clean.

Whereas, hardwoods, like maple, oak, birch, and ash, give a nice and even crackling burn, though they cost higher. They are easy to clean up and leave less creosote than softwoods, which makes the household safer too.

3) Close the fireplace damper

Close the fireplace damper

A fireplace damper is a small mechanism that can be opened and closed. Its purpose is to control the air coming in through your chimney.

Basically, you open it to allow the burner to make the room toasty warm. And you close it after use so the heat in the room can be retained and cold air sealed from entering from outside. 

Having it can help you save wood fuel, as well as energy and heating costs during the winter. So, you might want to consider having one installed, if your flue doesn’t have one yet.

4) Repair your brick chimney

Repair your brick chimney

Your chimney may have missing bricks, a cracked crown, or a gapped base. If you can do roof work safely, you can climb the ladder and repair your chimney to extend its lifespan.

Repoint the mortar joints on leaky and worn parts of your chimney, replace or repair damaged bricks, and seal the areas around the flue and crown with a caulking gun.

The work may take a while to finish but it can be well worth it and save you from spending more on chimney maintenance.

5) Install a firebox screen

Install a firebox screen

A firebox screen prevents embers and ashes inside the hearth from coming out to your home. Whether you have it or not, your furniture should still at least be kept 3 feet away from the fireplace to avoid accidental sparks and fire.

In short, it promotes extra safety whenever you’re using the fireplace and we strongly advise having one. You might also want to replace the one you have in case it’s old and blackened on the inside and you’d want a style change.

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