From warming your feet after a day at the beach to cozying up with a book and cocoa in the colder months, fireplaces add warmth and comfort to your home. Keeping a clean and well maintained fireplace will keep your home safe and extend the useful life of your hearth.

Whether or not you’ll be cleaning the fireplace yourself, having it professionally inspected is a great first step. An experienced inspector will be able to give you tips and point out any problem areas that need to be addressed.

If you plan to clean and maintain your fireplace and chimney yourself, there are a few supplies you’ll want to have handy. A drop cloth will protect the area surrounding your fireplace from any dislodged dirt and ash. Chimney brushes and brooms are also handy, as well as a vacuum to suck up the ashes and debris. A respirator is also a great idea to protect yourself from exposure to the creosote dust that may be knocked loose.

During cleaning, don’t forget the damper. Always check the damper to make sure it’s positioned correctly to optimize safety and energy consumption. Also be sure to clean the damper ledge, since creosote dust can have a tendency to build up there.

In addition to cleaning, you’ll want to take a look at the bricks and mortar or other material that makes up your fireplace. In older chimneys, the mortar can begin to crumble, and it can be worth thinking about replacing it with high-temperature cement.

Paying attention to the outside of your chimney should be a regular part of your maintenance. Be sure that your chimney cap is properly in place. If your chimney isn’t capped, installing a cap is a great way to extend the life of your chimney by keeping animals, rainwater, leaves and other debris out of your home.

Following these simple tips can be the beginning of a long and useful life for one of the greatest features of many homes. 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.