Basic Tips for Cleaning and Maintaining a Wood Burning Fireplace

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If you want lower home heating bills, using your fireplace during the cold season will be a big help. Of course, with this comes a dirty fireplace that will be in need of attention and maintenance. Sadly, this is something some homeowners ignore, but you don’t have to let this happen to you. Giving your fireplace the care it needs will increase efficiency make it safer to use.

  • Check the damper. Excessive heat takes a toll on the chimney damper, and you will be able to spot this with a careful inspection. You will need a flashlight to check this space properly. Look for anything that could be causing a blockage such as leaves or any other type of debris. If there is a blockage or warping, contact your chimney sweep for a professional inspection.
  • Clear the fireplace. A fireplace filled with ash does not burn as quickly or as cleanly as it should. Make sure it is cool, then sweep it into a dustbin.
  • Use seasoned wood. Properly dried wood produces less smoke and therefore less creosote. This will also mean the fireplace will be free of odors. Avoid using a lot of paper when starting your fire. Hardwood produces more heat and less creosote.
  • Take care of your firewood. This is an easy way to ensure that your fireplace stays healthy. Store it above ground to avoid moisture and the storage area should be well ventilated. The wood becomes lighter as it dries out, and the ends may become cracked.
  • Clean the glass front. If your fireplace has a glass front, soot can build up quickly. Each time you clean, wipe down the glass to remove the soot. A vinegar solution can usually do a good job, but it may be necessary to buy a product specifically made for this purpose.
  • Perform a test. If you have not used the fireplace in a while, light a test fire to make sure that the smoke leaves the fireplace properly. If smoke starts to enter the room this indicates a blockage in the system.

Following these tips will make it easier to enjoy a warm crackling fire on those cold nights. Maintaining your chimney is smart, but you should deal with other parts of the system as well. Be sure to get an annual inspection by a chimney sweep as this is the most basic requirement for the maintenance of the system.

The chimney sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service are CSIA Certified, and we participate in continued education throughout the year so that we’re always up to speed on the latest changes in our field. We’re located in Drexel Hill and provide all types of chimney services to homeowners and commercial property owners in the surrounding areas and along the Main Line. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 if you’re interested in scheduling an appointment for a consultation, a chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, or dryer vent cleaning.

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