When the weather is cold, there is nothing like staying in front of the fireplace enjoying whatever you love to do. A wood-burning fireplace is simply incredible. However, as opposed to the gas fireplace, which is more convenient, you would need to be much more careful with regular maintenance.
Make it safer and easier for yourself by keeping the fireplace well-maintained at all times. The following tips will help you to do exactly that.
Fix Any Gap You See In Firebox Brick Mortar
Brick mortar gaps tend to develop in time inside the fireplace. Because of constant contraction and expansion, some mortar bits will end up loosening, and eventually falling.
Remember that fire will always look for a path through gaps. This ends up burning structural elements. As a result, you need to make sure that all mortar gaps are fixed as soon as possible. You can use refractory caulk or fireplace mortar to do this.
The good news is this is a very simple DIY project. You just need a standard putty knife and the material. Clean out all the loose mortar. Then, use compressed air (can use the can version) and blow out what remains. The last step is just caulking joints.
Clean Your Chimney
A wood-burning fireplace generates a lot of smoke and heat. You will have creosote building inside fireplaces. These can accelerate chimney fires. The fire department will even find it very difficult to stop the fires that appear.
As a fireplace owner, you need to keep an eye on your chimney. Professional chimney cleaners have to be called and you have to stick to the routine you set up with them.
Chimneys are cleaned from the top to the bottom. This should also remove firebox ashes. While you could buy your very own tools for chimney-cleaning, the professional is a much better choice.
Inspect The Flashing And Make Repairs When Needed
There is metal flashing between your roof and the chimney. This is protection against water reaching the property.
In time, flashing will tear away or it will fold back. This can be caused by different reasons, including birds and squirrels. As a result, it is very important to inspect roof flashing so you are sure it is 100% intact. Whenever needed, perform the necessary repairs.
Always Buy Good Firewood
The fireplace is never as great as the wood you choose to burn inside it. It is so common to see homeowners burning the incorrect wood. This dirties the inside of your fireplace very fast, usually leading to frequent cleaning.
Softwoods is not as expensive as hardwoods. They also burn much faster, usually leaving fine ash behind. The ash is very difficult to remove. Creosote is also created faster.
Try to avoid softwoods like cedar, balsam, poplar, and spruce. Always burn hardwoods, like oak, birch, ash, and oak. These just offer a hotter, much more consistent burn.
Don’t Forget About The Outside Of The Brick Chimney
Use a sturdy extension ladder and common masonry tools to repoint missing brick mortar, patch the cracks you see inside crowns, and replace or repair bricks. Use a caulking gun to caulk around the corwn and the flue.
Clean Fireplace Bricks
No matter what you do, eventually, smoke will get out of the firebox. Based on how heavily blackened fireplace bricks are, it is easy to clean with strong, moderate, or mild methods. You have to choose what is appropriate in your case.
- Strong Method – When chimney bricks are thickly blackened, TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) and hot water are needed to clean.
- Moderate Method – In this case, you use ammonia, pumice, and dishwashing detergent.
- Mild Method – When the project is not too serious, you can use dishwashing detergent with warm water. If you need an abrasive, you can use table salt.
Replace Fireplace Screens
You do not want ashes and embers to leave your firebox since you surely want to keep the house safe and clean. When you have problems with sparks or embers, there is a huge possibility you need to replace your fireplace screen.
You can choose out of many different metals and styles when you choose fireplace screens. Make it much more difficult for smoke to escape the firebox through the installation of a fireplace screen made out of glass. You can choose heat-proof glass, which can hold back the majority of the smoke while heat can still go through.
Carefully Store Firewood
Firewood needs to be stored in an appropriate area, preferably in a rack, which is kept outside the home, always in an area that is dry. Insects and vermin need to be kept away as they would then be moved to the house.
Every single exterior chimney repair project should be treated as a huge one. This is why you have to contact chimney repair specialists when you feel that the work is way beyond your skills. A minor chimney defect can easily be worsened because of outside elements. This would always lead to major problems. You could end up faced with damp attic insulation, wet ceilings, and some mushy wall drywall.