Summer Fireplace Care Tips
Summer is the perfect time to give your fireplace some needed attention and get it in top shape for when cooler weather comes calling. Here are some summer fireplace care tips you’ll find helpful.
Schedule your annual fireplace and chimney inspection
All fireplaces and heating stoves – and their chimneys and stove pipes – should be inspected once a year by a certified technician. By having regular inspections, you’ll be able to spot minor issues that can be remedied quickly, before they turn into serious repair problems.
Basic chimney inspections are important, but a more involved inspection is critical if you’ve experienced a chimney fire or if there is known damage to the chimney’s masonry.
Bring out a chimney sweep
Wood-burning fireplaces and fireplace inserts add creosote to the flue every time a fire is burned. Creosote is highly flammable and is responsible for the majority of chimney fires in the U.S. each year. Professional chimney sweeps have special brushes, vacuums and other tools as well as years of hands-on experience to do a thorough job in cleaning your chimney. Every fire-safety agency in America recommends annual chimney cleaning.
Along with creosote, a chimney sweep also can remove any obstructions that could impede the drafting of smoke. These include small-animal nests, small animals who have died in the chimney, and various debris such as leaves, twigs and dust.
Have your gas fireplace serviced
While gas fireplaces don’t have soot and creosote issues like wood-burning appliances, they still need to be looked at on an annual basis. Common service tasks include making sure the vent system is not obstructed, checking the burners, pilot light, ports, thermocouple, glass doors and other components for damage, and replacing any components that no longer operate correctly and safely.
A note on gas fireplaces, inserts and stoves: burning gas produces carbon monoxide (CO), which is a highly toxic substance that can be fatal to humans and animals. CO is invisible and odorless, so you can’t detect it in your home. During gas fireplace service and inspection, your technician will ensure that no compromises exist in the system that could allow CO to back up into your house.
Clean your firebox
You probably remove ashes and wood chips regularly during the burning season, but summer is the ideal time to do a really thorough cleaning. First, don a breathing mask (like painters use) and scoop out and then thoroughly vacuum the firebox. Wash all surfaces with a sponge dipped in a detergent solution such as dish soap. Wipe down afterward with a clean, wet rag. Clean glass fireplace doors with a cleaner recommended by their manufacturer.
Soapy water and a sponge also will work well in most cases to clean smoke and soot stains from your mantel and brick or rock surround. With more porous surfaces, you might need a strong scrub brush to get into all the crevices.
After you’ve followed all these summer fireplace care tips, you can keep enjoying your summer, knowing that your heating appliance is safe, clean and ready to roll into another winter season.
Chimney Solutions of Alpharetta, GA, is ready to help with all your chimney cleaning, inspection, service and repair needs. Call us now, and we’ll get your fireplace in top shape for the cold weather. Reach us at (770) 255-1300.