How To Care For Your Fireplace

Let’s face it—winter can be brutal. Once we start feeling the chilly wind and seeing the snow flurries outside our window, we’ll need some extra heat and comfort. This is why many people obtain a fireplace for use within their homes. Fireplaces are wonderful on those bitter cold nights, whether you’re by yourself with a cup of hot tea and a book, or playing games with close loved ones.

If you are a homeowner who relies on a fireplace during this cold season for heat and comfort, you need to know how to properly care for it. Cleaning a fireplace is not the most enjoyable job around, but it is necessary for upkeep and your health and safety. Whether you have a wood fireplace or a gas fireplace, annual cleanings will keep it in good condition and reduce the overall risk of a fire. Let’s take a closer look at how to care for your fireplace and prepare it for optimal usage this season.

Gas Fireplaces

Gas fireplaces are a popular alternative to traditional wood fireplaces. Each type of fireplace has its own pros and cons to consider, but gas fireplaces are typically more energy-efficient, faster to light, and more cost-effective in the long run. A gas-burning fireplace will also have lower maintenance costs and fewer long-term issues. For the most part, you’ll need to perform preventative maintenance on the vents, as well as professional calibration adjustments. These checkups will enable the fireplace to burn most efficiently.

Unlike the hassle of burning wood, gas fireplaces don’t leave behind any ash, soot, or debris. They require practically no deep cleaning or daily upkeep. However, the chimney is an important ventilation component of the entire fireplace system. If your fireplace has a flue and chimney, you will need to inspect the vent pipe yearly. Be on the lookout for any draft dysfunctions in the vent, such as incomplete combustion or the presence of condensation. You may need to call a professional for these types of major concerns.

To stay up-to-date with minor maintenance throughout the seasons, ensure you turn off the gas before cleaning the fireplace. You can use a handheld vacuum to remove any dust or dirt around the decorative logs and clean the screen to remove any grime. This is basic, regular care that will keep your fireplace looking fresh for years to come.

Wood Fireplaces

People have used traditional wood fires as heat sources and means for cooking for centuries. People began installing wood fireplaces during the 1800s, as they rose in popularity due to the Industrial Revolution. Wood fireplaces have their own advantages and disadvantages to consider, as they require more maintenance and care than alternative fireplace models.

You can care for your wood burning fireplace by conducting annual chimney inspections and removing ash when necessary. The burden of chimney maintenance isn’t heavy, but it can be hazardous. Chimney sweeping is hard work, so it’s best to hire a professional to ensure the job gets done right. Proper chimney maintenance will reduce the risk of damage to your home, and reduce the chance of smoke or carbon monoxide inhalation.

Chimney Inspection and Creosote Removal

If you are wondering how else to care for your fireplace, remember that keeping chimneys nice and clean will diminish the risk of chimney fires. Wood burning fireplaces naturally accumulate soot and debris, as the wood produces ash as a byproduct. This burning wood creates creosote, which piles up inside the lining of a chimney and requires frequent removal.

You should clean your chimney depending on how often you use your fireplace throughout the year. Generally, you should have your fireplace professionally cleaned at least once a year, typically prior to the start of the coldest season. Also, you should always check that there is no blockage in the chimney before the first fire of the winter. A thorough chimney inspection will ensure that there are no cracks inside or outside that could start a fire and put your home in jeopardy.

Tools To Use

If you want to do any DIY maintenance projects on your fireplace, you must obtain the necessary tools to save you the most time and grievance. Wear long sleeves and old clothes, and use safety glasses, gloves, and a mask to protect yourself. Nobody wants to inhale creosote or ash soot from a wood fireplace. Cover the ground with old sheets or newspaper and gather up plenty of rags and various cleaners. Sweep out ashes with a brush once they cool off and dispose of them in a container. If you see soot build-up, you can scrub it off with a stiff scrub brush and a bit of vinegar. Don’t use harsh or flammable chemicals.

For glass fireplaces, you can restore your screen’s condition by removing smoke stains with ammonia-based glass cleaner. For metal fireplace screens, a little dish soap and warm water should do the trick. Don’t forget that the brick surrounding your fireplace may also need some spot cleaning. Diluted vinegar can remove these types of stains.

Tips for Maintenance

Here are a few other tips to keep in mind while using your fireplace. For long-term maintenance, you should always allow fires to burn out naturally. You shouldn’t use water to put out a fire, and you should avoid starting fires with paper. When you avoid these temptations, you can keep your fireplace even cleaner. Burning dry firewood can also reduce soot or creosote buildup. Better yet, you can invest in a gas-insert fireplace for high-efficiency convenience and smart technology that requires low maintenance.

If you’re in the market for a high-quality fireplace, check out the products our fireplace stores have to offer. At Haven Spa Pool & Hearth, we have experience and expertise that you can trust. We have owned our fireplace stores in the Portland, Oregon area for over 45 years. We can provide the most exceptional fireplaces for our customer’s style, budget, and heating needs. Stop by one of our stores or contact us today.

Fireplace Care