Many people still utilize fireplaces to stay warm in colder months even though the modern furnace provides a better heating option. Maintaining your chimney will ensure that it runs efficiently and safely.
Before you find out how to maintain the fireplace, you should check if it is installed properly or not. If improperly operated or installed, wood-burning fireplaces can be a risk factor for house fires.
Here are some tips to help you maintain your fireplace and reduce the risk of hazards related to it.
Keep the Area Clean
Make sure to keep other things in the room away from the fireplace. Most importantly, furniture should be set a minimum of 36 inches away from the fireplace. Any clothing should be kept away as well since it could pose a threat of catching fire. Keep the surrounding area clean at all times.
Close the Damper
You may have seen a damper that is above the chimney which controls the air that passes through it. Even though it should remain open during a fire, close it when the flame is out. It helps keep the warm air inside and prevents the loss of heat.
Clean the Ash
Whenever the ash reaches the bottom of the grate, make sure to clean it. Otherwise, it can impede the airflow. Before you start cleaning it, wear gloves and a mask to avoid inhaling the ash dust.
Get the Chimney Inspected
Make sure to get your wood-burning fireplace inspected by an expert to carry out chimney sweeps at least once a year. Or you can get it checked more often if soot builds up inside of the chimney. A professional will thoroughly scrub and remove all the debris, allowing it to function properly.
Test the Function of the Fireplace
Light some small pieces of seasoned wood from the top down to test the function of your fireplace. If you notice that the smoke does not exit vertically from the fireplace into the chimney but rather enters the room, then you need to correct any problems.
It could indicate problems like debris building up in chimneys like a bird’s nest or a damper that is partially closed.
Water Proof the Chimney
When you call in an expert for chimney repair, also ask to waterproof the fireplace. Without waterproofing, tiny holes will begin to form on the brick surface every time it rains.
It can cause damage to other chimney components as well. Moreover, excessive exposure to moisture also decreases the efficiency of mortar.
Burn Seasoned Wood
Make to burn only seasoned wood for warming your home and not green wood. For people who don’t know, seasoned wood has been cut and dried for at least six to twelve months before use. You can go for split woods since they dry more quickly rather than whole logs.
Greenwoods will not burn thoroughly and ends up creating more soot and creosote. You can check whether the wood you bought is seasoned or green wood.
Knock two logs together to see what sounds they make. Well-seasoned wood will make a sharp ringing sound while green wood will make a dull thud sound.