A wood burning fireplace is a wonderful addition to your Philadelphia area home for a variety of reasons. They’re still considered a bit of a status symbol because they do require a good bit of money to install and maintain, they add an air of romance to whatever room they’re in, and they’re an excellent heat source for when the power goes out. We all know there’s the potential for a blackout during winter, so a backup heat source is always a good investment. Today I’m going to give you several tips for maintaining your wood burning fireplace.

  1. Visually inspect your fireplace, damper, and chimney at least once a week. Call me if you notice any inconsistencies or potential problems.
  2. Schedule an annual cleaning and inspection. Most clients request a cleaning an inspection on a specific day each year so they don’t forget.
  3. Use your senses. Watch for soot or creosote buildup on the inside of the fireplace or the area leading to the chimney. A slight burning smell throughout the house is natural with a wood burning fireplace, but if you smell an unusual amount of smoke, something may be wrong.
  4. Burn hardwoods like maple, oak, birch, or ash whenever possible. They’re cleaner burners and last longer due to the composition of their fibers.
  5. Use a fire screen to prevent popping embers from landing on carpeting, home decor, pets, or humans who enjoy sitting near the fireplace.
  6. Improve your wood burning fireplace’s efficiency by installing heat proof glass doors and a fan blower to circulate heat. Clean the doors frequently to prevent soot buildup and allow a clean view to the fire.
  7. Remove ash and clean the interior of your fireplace box on a regular basis. Wood does burn efficiently, especially if you burn the right types of wood, but it always leaves ash. Ash buildup hinders the fireplace’s ability to efficiently burn and heat the home. Ash removal and cleaning of the fireplace box increases the overall efficiency of the fireplace.

Wood Burning Fireplace and Chimney Cleaning

Your fireplace is a priceless appliance that adds value to your home and to your lifestyle. Give it the attention due such a valued piece of your home. Keep it clean, have it inspected and professionally cleaned at least once per year, and teach family and friends the importance of fireplace safety.

Scheduling Your Annual Chimney Inspection

Many homeowners schedule their chimney inspection during late summer or early fall just before time to start using the fireplace again. I recommend scheduling during late spring or early summer to beat the fall rush. Schedule your chimney cleaning near your wedding anniversary, birthday, child’s birthday, pet’s birthday, favorite athlete’s birthday, or any other date you deem important so you won’t forget it from year to year. Change the batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector on the same day so everything is taken care of. Call me, Lou Curley, any time you discover a potential problem with your fireplace or chimney, or to schedule an annual cleaning and inspection.