How to Properly Maintain Your Fireplace for Optimal Safety

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Having a fireplace in your home adds hominess, warmth, and luxury to your space. Properly and safely maintaining your fireplace will prevent costly repairs, extend the life of your fireplace, and allow you to enjoy it without worries. As homeowners, we should be accustomed to a variety of preventative maintenance routines by now, including changing the filters in the heat pump, filters for the water system, pressure washing the sidewalk and house, and many other parts of routine maintenance. Just add the fireplace and chimney inspection and cleaning to the list.

Proper Use

In most homes, fireplaces are made to be used for durations no longer than five hours. They provide heat, but are not meant to replace a furnace. Keeping the screen closed and the glass open will allow air to be drawn up to cool the chimney while preventing the escape of pesky sparks.

When using your fireplace, it is always a good idea to keep a nearby window cracked. The window only needs to be open a few inches, and outside air will be drawn up and out the chimney.

Chimney Cap

One way to prolong the life of your chimney and fireplace is the use of a chimney cap. A cap at the top of your chimney will keep nesting animals out and prevent water and debris from entering and blocking or damaging your chimney. Using a spark arrestor as well can prevent sparks from flying out, and eliminate the risk of fire on your roof or lawn.

Cleaning the Firebox

Cleaning your firebox (the area of your fireplace that holds the logs while they burn) is also very important. During the months your fireplace is in heavy use, it should be cleaned at least once a week to remove built up ash, leaving about an inch to act as insulation. When the fireplace is not in use, for instance during the summer, keep the firebox completely clean.

Disposal of Ashes

When disposing of ashes, make sure the fire has been out for a significant amount of time and place any ashes in a non-combustible container. Embers can burn for much longer than you’d think, and it’s important to prevent any stray sparks from igniting your home or garbage.

Hiring a certified chimney sweep to clean and inspect your chimney on a regular basis is a great investment for fireplace owners. We can show you how to check the fireplace and chimney, but it’s a good idea to have a professional look at least once a year to prevent issues. 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, or chimney cleaning.

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