Nothing is more heartwarming than gathering around the fireplace with their loved ones and trading stories over some sips of hot chocolate, cider, and chardonnay. The question is, are you genuinely safe there? Research shows a chimney or fireplace started slightly under one-third of house fires between 2014 and 2018. If you own a home fireplace, you must know how to maintain and care for it safely.
Here’s a rundown of the top safety and maintenance tips you need to know to continue to enjoy positive fireplace memories for years to come.
Let’s dig in!
Clean the Firebox on a Regular Schedule
One of the top home fireplace maintenance tips is to clean your firebox weekly during the seasons when you’re using the fireplace. The firebox is the area of the fireplace where your logs burn.
During the cleaning process, you should leave behind one inch of the fireplace’s ash because the ash acts like insulation. This will allow your future coals to get hotter more quickly. As a result, they’ll have an easier time retaining heat, which means that burning firewood will be easier for you.
Note that your firebox should be completely free of ashes during the seasons when you don’t plan to use the fireplace. This means cleaning it out entirely and discarding the ashes safely.
Pay for Someone to Sweep and Service the Chimney
Another important fireplace maintenance tip is to have a chimney sweep company inspect your chimney and clean it when necessary. You should do this annually or after around 80 fires.
The chimney sweep company may also be able to teach you how you can check your chimney yourself as well.
Remember to Regularly Clean the Glass Doors
You should also be prepared to clean your fireplace’s glass doors regularly to maintain your fireplace’s beautiful aesthetic. After all, glass doors can develop hard-to-remove stains from heat and flames.
To clean your glass doors, you’ll first need to make sure that the doors aren’t hot. If they are cool to the touch, scrape off all of the thick gunk that has formed on the doors. A sharp razor blade is all you need to get the job done.
Afterward, apply a cleaner to the floor with a sponge or spray bottle, and wipe the cleaner away using a newspaper. An excellent cleaner is a DIY one featuring a mixture of dishwashing soap, vinegar (one cup), and warm water (a gallon). Alternatively, you can use a glass cleaner from a fireplace store to wipe down your doors.
Note that the glass doors should remain open when using the fireplace. This will let air into the chimney to cool it down.
However, you should still keep the fireplace screen closed. This will help to keep sparks from flying onto your carpeting.
Don’t Remove the Ashes Too Quickly
Yet another one of the top fireplace safety tips is to avoid removing your fireplace’s ashes too quickly.
Even if you stop using your fireplace today, the fireplace coals will have the potential to start a blaze within the next three days. In light of this, you should wait a few days to remove the ashes.
When performing this task, be sure to close the fireplace damper. Otherwise, the flue’s cold air may stir up extra dust. Also, open a nearby window to avoid a negative air pressure problem.
During the ash removal process, your excess ashes should be scooped up with a shovel and placed in a bucket made of metal. Never touch the ash with your hands, as the ash coals can hold heat long after extinguishing the fire.
In addition, you should store this container far away from wood floors, surfaces, and combustible materials.
Tap Into the Benefits of Chimney Caps
As a fireplace owner, you should also invest in a cap for your chimney.
Chimney caps are designed to keep water damage at bay. They are also ideal for keeping animals from making nests in the chimneys.
Likewise, with these caps, you don’t have to worry about debris blocking your chimney. This is important because carbon dioxide may flow into your house if your chimney is blocked.
A high-quality spark arrester can help to prevent sparks from landing on your lawn or roof and causing a fire.
Never, Ever Leaving Your Fire Unattended
You should never allow your fire to burn unattended. This is especially true if you have children in your home with you.
If you have a gas fireplace, turn the fireplace off before you leave the room. However, if you have a wood fireplace, you’ll need to wait for your fire to start burning low before you leave the room.
Always Burn Seasoned Wood
Finally, use only seasoned wood in your fireplace. This type of wood is simpler to burn. In addition, it burns cleaner compared with green timber, so it is better for your chimney.
How We Can Help With Your Home Fireplace Needs
The top maintenance and safety tips for a home fireplace include cleaning the firebox and servicing your chimney. You should also avoid leaving your fire unattended and removing all the ashes from your fireplace after you’ve extinguished the fire.
At Dreifuss Fireplaces, we take pride in offering quality wood, gas, and electric fireplaces. We can also create a custom fireplace for you.
Get in touch with us to learn more about our fireplaces, and let’s work together to turn your fireplace vision into a reality today!