Fireplaces are the most enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing way to heat your home. Depending on location they can be used all year long. To ensure that your wood, gas, or pellet fireplace continues to perform well and heat your home for years to come regular attention. Regular inspection, cleaning, and taking care of repairs will make sure your fireplace functions efficiently and safely.
How Important is Keeping your Chimney Clean?
Simply put, it’s vitally important to keep both your chimney and fireplace in proper condition. Leaving your chimney unswept can put your home at risk. Buildups of soot, debris, and creosote can become severe fire hazards. What is creosote? It starts as soot that coats chimney walls and over time it hardens and builds up. Not only is it highly flammable, it’s also corrosive. All the more reason to get it out of there on the regular. A little known fact is that gas fireplaces are as susceptible to creosote buildup as wood fireplaces are.
Experts Who Can Help
The Canada Safety Council is an great place to learn about fireplace and chimney maintenance. According to these experts, you should inspect chimneys, fireplaces, and vents at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. If you rely more heavily on your fireplace, you should do maintenance every season. This includes cleaning and repairs as necessary.
If you notice any odor or smoke it’s important to act quickly. Chimney fires can have devastating consequences.
Fireplace Maintenance You Can Do Yourself
If you choose to do fireplace maintenance yourself, here are some best practices to follow:
- Check the exterior of the fireplace for cracks and gaps.
- Clean the glass using vinegar and water, or purchase a wood fireplace glass cleaner or gas fireplace glass cleaner.
- Check the logs for any deterioration or color changes.
- Test the gas ignition. Then, turn off the gas and clean the valves and ports.
- Vacuum the interior. Clean out all of the dust that has accumulated over the past year.
- Check your carbon monoxide detector for proper operation. If you don’t have one, now is the time to install one in your home near your fireplace.
- Outside of the fireplace, look for wet spots on the walls and in front of the fireplace. If you find condensation, it’s time to call in the experts.
Friendly Fires stocks thousands of replacement parts and accessories to help keep your Fireplace in top shape!
Calling In the Fireplace Experts
If you cannot complete any of these inspection tasks or find something unusual along the way, it’s time to call in a professional chimney sweep. A professional chimney sweep will take several necessary steps to keep your fireplace in safe working condition. In addition to inspection and cleaning, a chimney sweep’s service typically includes:
- Inspection and maintenance of the chimney’s exterior to keep it strong against water and weather.
- Prevention and removal of animals and birds nesting in chimneys that would create blockages or fire hazards.
- Use of cameras to snake down the length of the chimney to inspect it fully.
- Direction and next steps to deal with downdrafts, smoky fireplaces, and other identified repairs.
Be Well-Prepared for Your Sweeper
Licenses are not generally required in the chimney sweep industry. However, finding a chimney sweep who can provide proof of certification and insurance is a good idea. All Friendly Fires technicians are licensed, professionally trained, insured, and backed by years of fireplace experience.
Before you call a chimney sweep, make sure to prepare by doing these things:
- Note the last date of your chimney inspection and cleaning.
- Check for signs of creosote buildup.
- List any significant weather events or structural changes to your home in the past year.
- Clear items from your around fireplace such as tool sets, ash buckets, etc.
Enjoy Your Fire With A Sense of Security
Spending time in front of the fireplace with your family or with a good book is priceless. Ensure your peace of mind by keeping your fireplace and chimney serviced and inspected. With a regular service schedule and good maintenance habits your fireplace will keep your home warm and bright for years and years to come.
Do you have any questions about fireplace maintenance or need to book an inspection? Get in touch or drop into any of our locations and we’d be happy to help!