Nothing will beat the comfort and coziness of a fireplace in those cold winter months. But most fireplaces, especially the wood-burning options, come with regular maintenance demands. We will share some fireplace maintenance tips that will guarantee you and your family comfort and safety all year long.
Make sure the firewood you use is good
Understand the kind of wood you are burning in your fireplace since there are different options available in the market. Don’t just go for the cheapest wood. Keep in mind that the cost doesn’t necessarily determine the quality, and thus choose wisely. We usually recommend burning hardwood. However, you must also understand the best wood-burning practices to get the best result.
- Some wood species like oak, birch and ash are known to burn longer and hotter so they may be considered as the best option for those cold winter days.
- Choose wood options that are cleaner and easier to handle, such as those that result in less creosote build-up.
- When buying softwood, be aware that many options don’t produce adequate heat and may emit smoke and creosote in large quantities.
- Store your firewood well in a rack that’s outside of your home and in a dry place.
- Ensure your firewood is not exposed to vermin and insects, which could easily be transported back to your home.
Fireplace bricks need to be cleaned
There are a handful of effective methods to clean your fireplace bricks and make them look shiny like new again. You can get a cleaner from the store or just use products that are in your pantry; the choice is yours. We’ll share some tips to remove even the toughest stains on fireplace bricks.
- You can remove grease from your fireplace bricks using a mixture of warm water and your favourite dishwashing detergent. Use some table salt to provide a mild abrasive for those heavily blackened areas.
- If you want to step up your chores, add some ammonia and pumice to the solution. This is a suitable addition if you have stronger grease to cut through.
- If the chimney bricks are completely blackened and need heavier cleaning, consider using hot water together with tri-sodium phosphate solution.
Check the bricks for gaps
If you have an older fireplace, the chances are that the brick mortar on the inside developed some gaps over time. This is natural because the fireplace has extreme heat, which causes the materials to expand and contract. The bits of mortar underneath will begin to loosen and fall, leaving gaps. This needs to be fixed because the gaps expose the building’s structural elements to fire. You can call an expert to fix the mortar gaps as part of regular safe home fireplace repair and maintenance. The repairs are usually done using mineral-based fillers. If you wish to take on the repairs on your own, you can get a fireplace mortar from our fireplace store and use a putty knife to clean out the loose mortar before caulking the joints. Sometimes these issues can be hard for the typical homeowner to troubleshoot and correct, which is why it’s important to have regular inspections. Keep in mind that even the smallest cracks in the mortar between the bricks of your chimney could bring major issues that are costly to fix.
How new is the fireplace screen?
You might possibly want to consider replacing your fireplace screen. Fireplace screens deteriorate over time, and when they do, burning embers and ashes find their way out of the firebox to your house. A proper screen will help keep your home safe and clean. Give your fireplace a fresh new look by changing the screen. You can opt for a screen that rests near the fireplace or against it. There are just too many options to choose from these days. If you have a problem with smoke escaping from the firebox, a glass screen can help curb this issue. Modern fireplace screens are designed to keep off smoke from your home while making sure you enjoy adequate warmth. Many of them are made of good quality materials that will last for many years. As a safety precaution, always keep the screen closed to prevent sparks from jumping out of the firebox and onto your carpeting.
Make sure the mantel is fine
If your fireplace mantel is looking dull and outdated, you can perform some simple upgrades to give that area a completely new look. You can build your fireplace mantel with just some pieces of reclaimed wood or walnut stock. Another alternative would be to redecorate your mantel and give it an entirely new vibe. Mantels are usually decorative features but can also help to provide support for appliances like the TV set. It’s important to ensure that the shape and size of your mantel are compatible with the rest of the room. When the mantel is too big, it makes the fireplace appear too small. A mantel that’s too small compared to the size of the room will look out of place.
Do not hesitate to ask for professional help if needed
Some fireplace maintenance tasks can be too complex for you to handle on your own. We recommend hiring a professional to handle work that’s beyond your scope, such as chimney repairs. Such issues can quickly deteriorate when not addressed immediately and cause serious problems. In fact, chimney and flashing issues can ruin attic insulation, ceilings, and drywall. These interior problems can be costly to reverse. Call a certified expert to inspect the chimney at least once a year or more frequently if you notice signs of trouble. Professionals can quickly spot and correct problems that may not appear obvious.
Fireplaces are certainly a good addition to any home. But it’s also important to remember that you must take the responsibility of maintaining it properly when you own one. This will ensure the fireplace works efficiently and prevent serious risks in your home. If you need help with chimney repairs and maintenance, reach out to our team.