Your Guide to Caring for Your Wood Burning Fireplaces

A fire burning in a wood burning stone fireplace.

Did you know a fireplace can help you save on energy bills and give you an alternative heat source if the power goes out?

While not every home has a fireplace these days, many of them do. And in addition to helping to keep your home nice and toasty in the wintertime, a fireplace can add an esthetic charm to your living room or den.

But you need to maintain and clean it to get the best results. Do you know what it takes to take care of wood burning fireplaces?

Continue reading for suggestions to help you care for your wood burning fireplace.

Get Your Chimney Swept

If you have a wood burning fireplace, you must get the chimney swept periodically. It’s good to do it once annually — such as before the winter season arrives — to remove debris, soot, and any creosote that has built up.

So, if you have a wood fireplace, book an appointment with a certified chimney sweep to prepare your fireplace for the burning season.

That’s not to say you can only use the fireplace in the fall and winter. You may use a fireplace to take the chill out of the air other times of the year as well.

Chimney cleaning is vital. So, consider the importance of removing soot, debris, and creosote. Failing to do will jeopardize the safe operation of your fireplace and reduce its performance.

Inspect Chimney for Damage

It’s a good idea to have your chimney checked for any damage. Loose bricks, missing mortar, or cracks could suggest issues with the structure. If there are any issues, have a professional fix them before using your fireplace.

Any damage will only worsen over time if it’s not addressed as soon as possible. Correct problems as part of the annual maintenance appointment.

Check the Cap

Your chimney has a cap that helps keep the elements and animals from getting inside. It makes sense to get the wire-mesh cap checked annually. If there are signs of damage, you should get the cap replaced.

It’s not in your best interests to delay replacing a damaged cap since doing so can lead to problems that hit you in the wallet. You can avoid such issues by ensuring your chimney cap is in good repair.

Remove the Ashes

Cleaning a wood fireplace also involves removing the ashes from the firebox. You can make things easier by using an ash vacuum designed to handle ashes that have cooled down.

But ensure that there are no live embers. You don’t want to dump the ashes outside someplace and accidentally start a fire.

After you’ve cleaned out the firebox, start stacking seasoned wood in the fireplace. That means you’ll be ready to start a fire when the time comes.

Put Fireplace Doors in Place

An important safety feature for your wood burning fireplace is the screen. It keeps hot embers from exiting the firebox, landing in your living space, and igniting in your living room or den.

That’s a nightmare scenario you’ll want to avoid — and you can with the right equipment. Whether you have glass fireplace doors or a fireplace screen, you’ll want to ensure it’s in place when the wood burning fireplace is in use.

Only Burn Seasoned Wood

If you want to be safer, get better heat, and make wood fireplace maintenance easier, only burn seasoned wood in your fireplace.

Green wood is another term for freshly cut wood that has a high water content. Such wood isn’t suitable for burning until it’s been given sufficient time to dry.

Before burning wood, it should be split, stacked, covered, and allowed to dry for half a year or longer. Hardwood takes longer to dry than softwood.

If you try to burn green wood, it’ll be hard to burn and produce little heat. You’ll be frustrated when the wood does more sizzling than burning. If you want to create a cozy environment, you won’t be able to with green wood.

Another problem with using unseasoned or green wood is that it will produce more creosote. That could boost the odds of a chimney fire. And a chimney fire can quickly get out of control and spread to your entire house.

If you burn unseasoned wood and your chimney becomes full of creosote, the creosote buildup will be challenging to clean up. It will take a professional chimney sweep more time and effort than you think.

It’s not worth your while to burn green wood for these and other reasons. Either buy your wood early enough for it to dry by winter or purchase from suppliers who sell seasoned wood ready to burn.

Wood Burning Fireplaces Are Worth the Investment

A wood burning fireplace is an asset in any home. If you use yours, you must maintain and repair it as needed to ensure top performance. But if your home doesn’t have one, you can install one.

At Dreifuss Fireplaces, we’ve been offering high-quality fireplace installation services since 1876. Whether you want a traditional fireplace, gas fireplace, or electric fireplace in PA or NJ, we have you covered.

And, yes, we can install a traditional or modern fireplace in your home. There are many options, so finding something that fits your decor won’t be an issue.

You can count on us for all your wood burning fireplaces needs. For answers to your questions or to book an appointment, get in touch. You can also get a free estimate for whatever work you’re considering. We’re here to help.

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