Spring is nearly upon us! This is a great time of year as the snow starts melting and nicer days finally start making more of an appearance. Before long, flowers will be blooming and we’ll be ditching boots, gloves, and heavy coats for shorts and tank tops.
But with all this excitement comes another thing… the end of your burning season! And while we tend to quickly put fireplace maintenance out of the mind once things start to heat up outdoors, doing some simple end-of-season maintenance will make a big difference in keeping your system running healthier down the line.
We suggest doing the following to wrap up your burning season and avoid damages, odors, and other potential issues over the spring and summer months.
Clean Out Your Firebox
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you likely know that leaving a small 1-2 inch layer of ash behind is beneficial for starting future fires. It insulates the heat and helps it to spread to other pieces of wood in your fireplace, and it protects the floor of your firebox, too.
That said, if your ash pile gets too high, it could start causing your fireplace grate to deteriorate. Also, because ash is both acidic and tends to draw in moisture, you might notice some wear and tear throughout your firebox, as well. Needless to say, maintaining a good balance is key!
And at the end of your season? Cleaning out all of your ash is a must.
Here are our tips for safely removing ash from your fireplace when your done using it for the year:
- Wait until the embers have completely burned out. (Wait at least 24 hours after your last fire.)
- Scoop the ash with a metal shovel or scoop to avoid potential burns.
- Put your ash in a non-combustible container that has a sealable lid. This prevents oxygen from getting in an igniting any stray embers.
- Leave the ash in the sealed container for a few days before disposing of it.
- Never leave the ashes in your garage or shed or on your deck because it can sometimes ignite even through the container. Rather, store it away from your home on a non-flammable surface.
Also, before you start, we suggest laying down some tarps and dressing in old clothes to avoid ruining your carpet, furniture, or favorite clothes. Ash can get messy!
Clean Your Glass & Brickwork
By the end of winter, the glass doors of your fireplace are typically looking a bit worse for the wear. It’s true that there are glass cleaners out there that can shine them up fairly well, but there’s also a cost-free cleaner that we’re guessing you have plenty of access to – your fireplace ashes!
It’s recommended to take some old newspapers, get them slightly damp, dip them in your ash pile, then scrub away. You’d be surprised at how effective this method is, and it’s the go-to route for countless fireplace owners. And if you’re really looking to go the extra mile, finish the job with water and vinegar! Just mix equal parts together, spray it on the glass, then wipe it away. Clean and shiny.
There’s nothing like clean glass, but the downside of cleaning one section of the fireplace is that other areas tend look a bit more drab. If you have a brick fireplace, you can simply scrub it with water to try and remove any smudges or stains. Some even use salt to give your scrub brush some extra grip when wiping away soot and dirt.
For marble or stone fireplace, a mixture of dish soap and water typically works well when cleaning things up. Just remember to keep your cleaning solutions mild to avoid potential damage or discoloration.
And hey – if things are just too bad and all those cleaning hacks won’t cut it, ask us about fireplace refacing. It’s a fast and effective way to update your space and get it looking like new again!
Book Your Inspection Early
As you start enjoying warmer days, it can be easy to shove fireplace maintenance down on your to-do list. Why worry about it now when you can worry about it next fall, right?
Well, for some things in life this approach is just fine, but doing it with your chimney and fireplace can lead to some frustrating hiccups down the line.
For one thing, everyone with a fireplace gets eager to light it up once leaves start falling and cooler temperatures come back around. This leads to bursting schedule books on our end and inconvenience on yours as you struggle to find a convenient appointment time.
We suggest booking your annual inspection sometime in the late spring or early summer months. This guarantees you get a time and day that works well for you and, should you need repair work completed, you can easily schedule further maintenance well before the start of your burning season.
Did You Use a Chimney Sweeping Log?
Occasionally, a homeowner will toss a chimney sweeping log in their fireplace, then assume their system doesn’t need professional maintenance. Unfortunately, this is far from true, and this false sense of security could put you at risk.
All chimney sweeping logs do is help break down your creosote and cause it to flake off. They don’t remove it, and they in no way replace a chimney sweeping from a certified sweep. Essentially, you’ll be left with the same amount of creosote, only it will be in a form that’s a bit easier to remove.
Also, remember that a chimney sweeping log can’t detect missing parts, water damage, liner problems, deterioration, or any other issues that could make your system unsafe for use. Scheduling maintenance with a pro is always the best route to take!
That said, chimney sweeping logs won’t typically cause your system harm. The one concern is that once the creosote flakes and falls it might clog your flue. Otherwise, go ahead and use these if you wish… just remember to get your sweeping booked, too!
Need Chimney Care? Give Us a Call!
If you need chimney care, don’t wait to give us a call. The sooner you get your appointment on the books, the better off your system will be!
Reach out today.