A family room centerpiece. Warmth in the wintertime. Fireplaces are gorgeous features that will complement any home’s design.
Homeowners can choose from three main types of fireplaces: wood-burning, gas, and pellet fireplaces. You must care for each of these fabulous options in order for your fireplace to work correctly and safely. Here are the best ways to maintain your new fireplace to keep it in immaculate shape!
Wood-Burning Fireplace Maintenance
A wood-burning fireplace functions just as the name suggests! To get the fire burning, place pieces of wood into the firebox, then light the fire. It’s a timeless style that homeowners adore, but there is maintenance to perform to keep your wood-burning fireplace in pristine condition.
Use the Proper Firewood
The easiest way to keep your fireplace in good condition and light the perfect fire is to use the correct firewood.
Seasoned firewood is wood that’s been air-dried for a specific period of time to allow the moisture and sap to evaporate from the wood. It’s important to use this type of wood because it will reduce smoke production and ignite more easily. Seasoned woods of oak, maple, and birch are some of the best firewood options.
Clean the Interior of the Fireplace
A brand-new fireplace won’t have ashes lingering at the bottom before the first burn, but they will build up over time.
The good news is that it’s unnecessary to clean the fireplace after each use. If you use your fireplace frequently, you can clean it weekly or bi-weekly. Sweep out the ashes and debris inside the firebox. When the ashes are about an inch deep, it’s time to clean up the fireplace.
Check for Creosote Buildup
Creosote forms by burning wood, tar, and fossil fuels. It’s a chemical mass of carbon that lingers within chimneys and flues. They’re incredibly flammable and can cause dangerous fires to ignite.
While you can clean the creosote on your own, it’s sometimes safer to contact a professional to safely get the job done. It’s essential to conduct a cleaning at least twice a year, depending on the usage.
Not every wood-burning fireplace has a chimney. If you do, there are two important things to maintain for the chimney.
Wire-Mesh Chimney Cap
Coming in all shapes and sizes, a wire-mesh chimney cap is essential for your chimney. Place the cap over the chimney to keep wildlife and other debris from entering the chimney.
The caps are made from stainless steel, galvanized steel, aluminum, or copper. Each material has a different life span, ranging from three years to a lifetime. No matter the lifespan, these are important additions that will keep the fireplace and chimney working properly.
Check the Bricks
The temperatures start to fall, and you’re about to use your fireplace for the first time in the winter. Before lighting the wood, be sure to check the chimney bricks first. This is important to conduct at least once a year. Look for any cracked, loose, or missing bricks, or any signs of deterioration. A sturdy chimney makes for a safely functioning wood-burning fireplace.
Gas Fireplace Maintenance
Are you looking for a more modern fireplace without all the effort a wood-burning fireplace requires? A gas fireplace uses natural gas or propane to burn a real flame. While all it requires is the flip of the switch to work, don’t forget to regularly maintain the gas fireplace.
Turning Off the Pilot Light
The pilot light is a small flame created by a stream of gas. When the light is on, it produces a small amount of heat, so it’s ready to ignite. This causes the glass to be warm to the touch.
The pilot light needs to be turned off before conducting any maintenance. Give the fireplace enough time to cool down before starting to clean any items.
Keeping the pilot light on at all times doesn’t pose a threat. Many choose to constantly have their pilot light on, while others turn it on and off based on the seasons.
Clean the Glass
Once the fireplace cools down, use a fireplace glass cleaner to wipe down both sides of the glass. It’s essential to use this special cleaner because the average glass cleaner may contain chemicals that will negatively react with the gas fireplace.
As you’re cleaning, it’s always a good idea to check for any cracks or loose gasket seals to ensure the glass pane works properly.
Inspect the Logs
There aren’t any real wooden logs in a gas fireplace; instead, they’re made from ceramic or cement. After about two or three years of use, the logs will start to lose their color. To avoid fading quickly and purchasing new logs, clean the gas fire logs once every year. Not only will it preserve the logs’ quality, but it will also keep your gas fireplace running smoothly.
Vacuum the Interior
Gently vacuum away dust, debris, and pet hair using the wand attachment of the vacuum. Remember to remove any small rocks or decorative items inside. You want to avoid sucking up those small items in the vacuum.
Vacuum the space. Once you’ve completed vacuuming, place the small items back inside.
Pellet Fireplace Maintenance
Pellet fireplaces are comparable to wood-burning fireplaces, but they are quite different. If this is your ideal fireplace, don’t forget these important maintenance tips.
Use the Correct Pellets
Different types of pellets have varying effects on how your pellet fireplace functions. Use premium-grade pellets whenever possible because it produces less ash than low-grade pellets. This will allow you to clean the fireplace less frequently and ensures an efficient burn each time.
Empty the Burn Pot and Ash Pan
If you’re using your fireplace every day, you may need to empty the burn pot and ash pan every two days.
The burn pot is where the burning pellets are held. If there’s a large accumulation of burnt pellets, it will become challenging to burn another fire. Every two days, scrape away the pellets to ensure a proper burn.
Larger ash pans are emptied once every week since they can hold more ash. Sweep away the ash to clear the airways and prevent blockages that may impact the efficiency of the fireplace.
Wash the Glass
Just like for the gas fireplace, remember to clean the glass window of a pellet fireplace. If using the fireplace frequently, remember to clean the glass once or twice a week. A clean and clear window improves the appearance and allows you to easily monitor the flames within.
Keep up the incredible work by doing your best and maintaining your new fireplace! Gather up your essential fireplace supplies to maintain the fireplace on your own, but don’t forget to receive a professional inspection at least once a year. They’ll ensure everything runs smoothly and conduct any repairs necessary!
Although every fireplace looks and functions differently, they’re all amazing features that will make your house feel complete.