A wood burning fireplace can be a wonderful addition to your home or it can create more nightmares than you care to deal with throughout the year. Ideally, they’re the perfect addition to add a focal point to your living area and they’re a cost effective way to supplement the main source of heat. They offer a very romantic ambience simply by being present. But don’t let the beauty blind you to the potential problems lurking. Here are 7 tips for maintaining your wood burning fireplace and avoiding the nightmares.

  1. Follow all installation instructions and keep all combustibles away from the heat.
  2. Clean ash from the fireplace when it reaches the bottom of the grate, otherwise it will impede air flow and reduce the effective heat producing ability of the fireplace.
  3. Test the functionality of the fireplace occasionally by lighting a few small pieces of seasoned wood from the top. The smoke should exit vertically from the fireplace without drifting to other areas. If it does not flow directly up the chimney, put the fire out immediately and find out what the problem is.
  4. Schedule a yearly inspection and cleaning to ensure that everything is working as intended. A properly maintained and cleaned fireplace shouldn’t cause any problems.
  5. Always burn seasoned wood. Never burn wet wood. Wood is considered seasoned when it contains less than 20% moisture. Generally it is well-seasoned when it has been cut and protected under a cover or in a dry area for about a year.
  6. Burn hardwoods instead of soft woods. Oak, ash, and maple are denser and heavier wood. They deliver more heat and produce less creosote than soft woods like pine, poplar, and cedar.
  7. Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home as code requires and change their batteries at least once per year.

Many people schedule their inspection and cleaning with us on a date that is important to them so they don’t easily forget. They choose to change the batteries in the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at the same time so they’re taken care of simultaneously. Always rely on a professional chimney sweep with experience and certifications to take care of your chimney and fireplace needs.

Request to see certifications and licenses when you choose to work with a professional chimney sweep. This will ensure that you are indeed working with a professional, and not someone who just tossed a sticker on their truck and started going door to door drumming up business. Lou Curley Chimney Service is located in Drexel Hill and we provide all types of chimney services throughout the Main Line. Call us at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a consultation.