A wood burning stove adds charm and warmth to a home, but there is another side that some people don’t like to think about. They require regular maintenance not just for efficiency, but also for safety. A well maintained fireplace can be a money saver as well.
The Importance of Maintenance
Safety is the main concern for any wood burning appliance. A poorly maintained fireplace increases the risk of a house fire. Creosote needs to be cleaned out regularly as it is highly flammable, and excessive accumulation can slow the escape of gases. At some point smoke may start to enter the home. This can be a health hazard for anyone, but anyone with respiratory issues will be immediately affected.
Another aspect of fireplace use you should be aware of is the potential for negative air pressure. This means that as the fire uses up air inside the home, air is pulled from the outside to replace it. This can force harmful flue gases inside, leading to a sharp decrease in air quality. In some cases this has caused death from carbon monoxide, so it is important to have detectors placed in every room in the home.
- Clean out ash regularly, but only after it has completely cooled. Some fireplaces have a door at the base that allows you to access the ashes. Be sure to take steps to prevent ashes from getting into the room.
- Consider installing a glass door to improve efficiency. This will also make the fireplace safer and help with proper airflow.
- Installing a fireplace insert can help to lower emissions and improve the efficiency of the fireplace. An insert can help to lower heating costs.
- Get both the fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned by a chimney professional at least once per year. It is best to do this before the cold season starts as it is easier get an appointment.
- Burn a test fire to make sure that the smoke is leaving the fireplace the way it should. If smoke enters the room, this gives you the opportunity to call a professional to address any issues before winter.
- Use only seasoned wood in your fireplace. This produces cleaner, more efficient fires with less creosote. Hardwoods are the better option for getting adequate, lasting warmth.
While professional attention is necessary, you should still spend some time dealing with your fireplace so you understand how it works. A fireplace and chimney should be thought of as heat producing appliances just like your stove, oven, water heater, and heat pump. Unlike chimney maintenance, fireplace maintenance should be carried out occasionally during the winter season.
Chimney Services in Havertown
Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule your chimney cleaning, chimney inspection, dryer vent cleaning, or utility flue cleaning and inspection. We’ll schedule your appointment as quickly as possible and get you on the books. Call soon, because fall and winter appointments fill up fast!