Helpful fireplace maintenance tips.
While Southern California only experiences a relatively mild winter compared to the rest of the country, it is nice to have your fireplace roaring as it storms outside.
If you have a wood burning fireplace at home, there are some important maintenance tips we would like to share with our readers:
- Clean your wood-burning fireplace’s interior including its floor regularly. Sweep out or vacuum up cold ashes. Make sure to wear a dust mask and gloves when cleaning the fireplace.
- Check the interior of your wood-burning fireplace’s chimney for creosote buildup. Creosote is a dark colored or black substance that can accumulate if wood isn’t burning completely. It is flammable and, therefore, a buildup of creosote is a fire hazard and should be cleaned away with a creosote remover as soon as possible.
- Hire a professional chimney sweep to inspect your wood-burning fireplace at least once a year and more often if creosote builds up on the chimney walls rapidly.
- Inspect your chimney cap regularly. A chimney cap is used to keep out rain, birds, squirrels and other animals, and other debris from entering the chimney.
- Watch for soot buildup in the chimney of your wood-burning fireplace. Soot is softer than creosote, flammable and should be cleaned out of the chimney regularly.
- If possible, burn hardwoods like maple, oak, ash and birch. The advantages of hardwoods are that they burn hot and long; have less pitch and sap, making them cleaner to handle; and tend to cause less creosote buildup. On the other hand, they generally are more expensive than softwoods.
- Take caution anytime there is smoke indoors from your wood-burning fireplace and immediately correct any problems that you find. Possible causes of smoke are a dirty chimney with creosote or soot buildup, other debris in the chimney, a damper that isn’t open or is only partly open and wood that is not burning completely.