Fireplace Maintenance 101: Top Things to Remember

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fireplace being fittedWith everyone trying to set off the winter chill, the fireplace has become one of the most important fixtures in any home. While some homes already come with an electric heater, many old-style American houses still use firewood as one of their primary sources of heat.

However, fireplaces aren’t as simple as throwing in logs to a pit and lighting it up; you must consider many things as your start. As any fireplace restoration company in Utah will tell you, you need to remember a variety of important things when managing an open flame in your home.

Remember, this is a fire

This applies to both electric and old-style fireplaces. They are still open fires that might be near flammable objects. Given that around half of the number of the fireplaces in the country were constructed in old houses that may not be up to the latest fire safety guidelines, always be very careful when using one.

The wood matters

There’s a reason you rarely see anything else other than wood in a fireplace. Not all things are ideal to use as fuel. For example, never use treated wood because the chemicals used in it can be harmful once burnt, as well as lighter fluid and gas for burning since they can have adverse reactions to wood. Dried firewood such hickory and maple are the best options.

family wearing woolen socks warming near the fireplaceClean, but do it carefully

While it’s okay to leave an inch of ash on the firebox for future kindling, cleaning the fireplace should be done regularly, especially if you use the fireplace often. Usually, soapy water and a brush are enough to remove regular stains, but you’ll need something more effective, such as muriatic acid, to get the more stubborn ones out. Remember that goggles and masks go a long way in cleaning away the soot.

See if there’s any creosote buildup in the chimney

It’s not just the fireplace that you need to check and clean. The chimney can often contain creosote, which is the leftover or residue from wood that didn’t completely burn out. These particles often fly up the chimney and get stuck along the sides, posing a potential fire hazard if not cleaned out. If you’re unsure about the exact status of your creosote buildup, contact a professional to check and clean it for you.

The outside is just as important as the inside

While most of the action is happening inside the fire pit, you also need to pay attention to the outside parts of your fireplace, the chimney top, and the hearth (if you have one). Periodically check the top of the chimney for obstructions and buildup, and the hearth for any stray creosote or particles that may catch on fire the next time you use your fireplace.

Fireplaces are a wonderful source of warmth and often a staple part of the American household, but these should be treated with care to avoid problems and keep them in good working condition. Calling a professional is ideal if you think your fireplace needs immediate repair or restoration.

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