A fireplace adds an incredible appeal to a home that many homeowners can’t quite put their finger on. They know the maintenance requirements and understand that it is considered an appliance that requires a basic understanding of fire, yet the fireplace is worth the trouble and maintenance. We want to help homeowners continue to love their fireplace and chimney, so we’ve put together some somewhat-random tips from maintenance and cleaning to loading the firebox. Let us know what you think by visiting our Facebook page and leaving us a comment.

Keep it Clean

A clean fireplace and chimney work more efficiently than a dirty one. Besides, no one wants to spend a nice romantic evening snuggled up by a dirty fireplace. Clean out the ashes when they reach the bottom of the grates to keep it looking nice and keep the air flowing as it should. Creosote buildup inside the chimney creates a very dangerous situation, so make sure to hire a chimney sweep at least once a year.

Schedule Yearly Maintenance

Yearly maintenance includes cleaning, waterproofing, repairing, and inspecting. Yes, you can use a flashlight and perform your own visual inspection, but you need to understand that any small imperfection inside the chimney can really mess up the air flow and create a dangerous situation for your family. A cracked flue can cause carbon monoxide or smoke to reverse course and enter your home.

Waterproof it Regularly

Waterproofing doesn’t necessarily have to happen every year, but it depends greatly on how much water damage has happened throughout the year. Most waterproofing agents need to be reapplied about every three to five years. We highly recommend ChimneySaver products because they’re very durable, easy to apply, and protect beautifully.

Caps, Crowns, and Flashings

The chimney cap, crown, and flashing fill specific roles in the health and wellbeing of your chimney and flue. They protect against water damage and the cap protects the chimney from inhabitation from birds and small animals. You can order and install custom caps and flashing if you really want to make a statement with customized chimney accessories.

Burn the Right Wood

Always look for well seasoned hardwoods when you’re purchasing or gathering firewood. Well seasoned wood contains 20% or less water content and burns much more effectively than green, or wet, wood. Look for ash, birch, beech, oak, maple, or other types of hardwood. Seasoned wood should have been cut at least 6 months to a year prior to burning.

Stack the Wood Correctly

Stored wood should be pre-cut to size and stacked in a dry place. If you store your firewood outside, make sure the bottom layer is on something that raises it a few inches off the ground so it stays dry until it is needed.

Burning wood should be arranged in the firebox in one of two ways – loosely stacked or compact stack. Loosely stacked firewood burns more quickly and is great for flash fires, when you need to warm the room quickly but sustainability isn’t an issue. Compact stacked firewood doesn’t allow as much air penetration so it burns much longer.

We hope these tips have helped answer some of your fireplace or chimney questions. If you have any other questions, head over to our Facebook age and ask away. We’ll get back to you as quickly as possible. 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.