There’s nothing like sitting around a warm fire when there’s a chill in the air. The worst thing is trying to use your fireplace when you need it, only to find that it doesn’t work properly! Now that fall is just around the corner, it’s time to give your fireplace a maintenance check for the season to come. Here, we’ll share the importance of fireplace maintenance and how to properly prepare your fireplace for use when the cold weather calls again.
Install Proper Alarms
Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are essential items in homes with wood or gas fireplaces. Carbon monoxide can easily back up if your chimney or vent system is clogged. This gas is particularly dangerous as it is both odorless and colorless. Today, many alarms can detect both substances, so you only need a single device on each floor of your home.
Cleaning the Interior
Burning wood or gas produces off-burning byproducts that need to be removed from your fireplace regularly. Wood is especially dirty burning compared to gas. Giving your wood burning fireplace a good cleaning will not only make it look better, it will also be more efficient at producing heat. You should always wear a mask or other face covering when cleaning the ashes of your fireplace.
Soot and creosote are both left behind when you burn wood. This is especially true if you use wood that hasn’t been properly dried and stored. Creosote is a black or brown residue that sticks to the interior of your fireplace and chimney and is incredibly flammable. Soot is softer than creosote, but sticks to a larger area, and is just as flammable. We recommend having both of these substances removed by a professional to ensure your fireplace remains in good working order.
Use the Correct Wood
Many people believe that when it comes to burning, all wood is created equal. All wood will burn but not in the same way. You should stick with hardwoods, such as oak, maple, or birch, that have been properly seasoned. Wood that is ready to burn has less than 20% moisture and has been dried for at least six months. Hardwood may cost more initially, but it produces more heat, less soot and creosote, and burns longer than softer woods, which will save you in the long term.
House fires resulting from wood or gas fireplace issues cause thousands of dollars of damage to homes each year. You can avoid many catastrophes by following a few easy safety tips.
Keep all combustible material away from the fire. This includes blankets, carpet, paper and magazines.
Use the proper tools to clean your fireplace. Never use any flammable liquids to remove soot or other buildup.
Always ensure your fire is completely extinguished and any dials, gauges, or switches are turned completely off before going to bed for the night or before leaving your home.
Do you have questions about your fireplace? Our team would be happy to help you, including assisting you in finding a qualified repairperson or chimney sweep. We provide a wide variety of inspection services, and have a large network of contractors and real estate agents. Contact us today to schedule an appointment! We are easy to find right in Lexington, KY, and are happy to serve Lexington, Louisville, Liberty, Somerset, Georgetown, Nicholasville, and Central, KY.