Maintaining a Wood-Burning Fireplace: A Quick Guide

Your wood-burning fireplace creates warmth and atmosphere unlike any other heat source, so it’s important to keep it maintained not only so that it works well, but so that you avoid dangers from fire and carbon monoxide. Here what you should know about maintaining your fireplace and how additional services from a Dallas fireplace repair company can make sure your fireplace is safe this winter.

Regularly Clean Your Fireplace

You should be regularly removing the ashes from your fireplace so that no more than an inch builds up. Leaving ash in the firebox can be a fire hazard, so once the ashes are cold, or after about 24 hours, remove the ashes into a metal pail or other container. After a few days of accumulation, you can dump that outside. Ashes can actually be used as a source of nutrients for flowers or other vegetation in your yard.

The chimney should also be cleaned regularly to remove soot and creosote that can become a serious fire hazard. Do this before winter starts every year to avoid chimney fires. This can be a difficult job, so it’s best to contact a professional chimney sweep to take care of it for you.

Install or Check Chimney Cap

If your chimney already has a chimney cap, be sure to check its condition or have a professional look at it. If you don’t have one, have one installed because it’ll keep animals and debris from entering and causing blockages. It also keeps excess water out of your fireplace and chimney, which is critical because moisture will cause damage and deterioration that can reduce safety and efficiency.

Inspect the Damper

The damper should also be regularly inspected. It’s the vent that allows air to help fuel the fire when the fireplace is in use and keep drafts out when it’s not in use. If you notice it’s having trouble opening properly, be sure to call for fireplace repair in Dallas because the fireplace shouldn’t be used if the damper won’t open, or else smoke and carbon monoxide will enter the home.

Burn the Best Wood

Be picky about the type of wood you use in your fireplace. The wood needs to have been cut and dried out for a minimum of six months. Wood that hasn’t seasoned this long will most likely be green, which means that it’ll create more creosote as it burns. Hardwoods, like oak, maple, and ash are preferable woods to burn because they have less sap and pitch, which also reduces the amount of creosote that will build up. Regardless of the type of wood you use, make sure the wood looks faded and sounds hollow. These are good indicators of well-seasoned wood.

Have Regular Professional Inspections

Have a qualified contractor experienced in chimney repair in Kennesaw inspect your fireplace and chimney regularly. A good time to do this would be before you use it for the first time each year and after the season is over. Here at Atlanta Chimney Doctor, our experts perform thorough inspections to spot any issues.

Check Often for Buildup

As you use your fireplace, a substance known as creosote will build up in your fireplace and in your chimney. As it is safe to do so, check your chimney for excess creosote buildup and have a chimney sweep come to perform a chimney inspection and cleanup of this buildup so that you can continue to use your fireplace throughout the season without serious health issues and fire damage.

Only Burn Firewood

Often people will burn whatever wood they can find without really thinking about whether that wood has been treated. Pretreated and wood that has been treated or painted will release toxic fumes into your home if burned in your fireplace, so make sure not to burn these at all. Make sure that you are only ever burning firewood in your fireplace and leave any construction scraps, garbage, or wood that you are unsure whether it has been treated already out where it belongs.

Do Not Make It Easily Accessible

Many people have fire-related accidents in their homes because they simply did not take the proper precautions to protect their homes and families from the fire damage. Make sure that you have installed sufficient screens and fire-resistant glass doors in front of your fire that have locking mechanisms on it to keep small hands out of the fireplace, even when you think it is not hot enough to burn them.

Have Any Blockages Cleared

Make sure that there are no blockages in your chimney or flue that would prevent smoke and ash from escaping your home. Smoke inhalation is a very serious danger to home occupants and if you have young children in the home, this can be especially dangerous for lungs that are not completely developed yet. Professional chimney repair can help you determine whether your wood fireplace is safe to use as well as identify any blockages that might prevent smoke and ash from ventilating out and away from your home properly.

Get a Professional Inspection

Finally, be sure to have a yearly professional inspection. This not only helps keep the level of creosote buildup down, but the technician will also look for any additional issues with your chimney. There may be damage or leaks that are allowing smoke or carbon monoxide to enter your home without your knowledge. The technician will check the condition of the chimney lining and all the other components. Contact Atlanta Chimney Doctor today to schedule your next inspection, as repairs are easier to make when they’re detected in the early stages.