Fireplace Maintenance Tips for Homeowners
A well-built fireplace should give you years of safe, consistent service. Trouble begins when fireplace maintenance is neglected. Chimney Saver Solutions of Richmond and Midlothian, Virginia, would like to share some fireplace maintenance tips that will help you keep your gas or wood fireplace in top shape.
Two primary fireplace types
The two main fuels that power most fireplaces are gas (either natural gas or propane) and wood. The type of fireplace you have will dictate many of your maintenance needs. Let’s look at both kinds of fireplaces and what you need to know to properly take care of them.
Gas fireplace maintenance
A gas fireplace can be an actual gas-burning unit, a gas fireplace insert or a gas log set. All of these styles run on gas and require similar maintenance activities.
Your primary job with a gas fireplace will be to keep it clean and relatively dust-free. One benefit of a gas fireplace is that you won’t need to deal with the heavy creosote and soot buildups that are common with wood-burning fireplaces.
Cleaning a gas appliance involves just a few simple steps. We have outlined those steps below:
- Use an approved fireplace glass cleaner to remove buildup or cloudiness from the fireplace doors.
- Use a normal household vacuum to remove dust and debris from the inside of the firebox, paying special attention to the logs, rocks or whatever decorative material your fireplace features. You can wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth.
- While cleaning, look closely at the materials through which the flames rise, checking for cracks, chips or anything else that appears unusual.
- Do a visual inspection of the facing of the fireplace, the areas surrounding the fireplace and the outside vent pipe or chimney. Report concerns to your chimney technician.
Wood fireplace maintenance
Wood fireplace maintenance focuses on the fireplace as well as the chimney.
- Remove ash and wood chunks from the firebox and then vacuum it out. Use a sponge with a good cleaning solution to remove creosote and soot from surfaces.
- If needed, clean the area around the firebox opening, including the mantel, hearth and fireplace surround, if you have one. The goal is to keep soot and smoke residue from building up.
- Visually inspect the exterior chimney for signs of damaged bricks and crumbling mortar. If you feel safe being on the roof, check the concrete chimney crown, the chimney cap and the flashing that seals the gap between the roof and chimney. These components should show no signs of damage, warping, cracking or rusting.
- The inside of the chimney must be cleaned by a professional chimney sweep. The sweep’s goal is to remove flammable creosote and any drafting obstructions that have found their way into your flue.
Both gas and wood fireplaces require regular inspections to keep them safe. Contract with a licensed chimney services provider for this work.
For most fireplaces, annual inspections are recommended so you can learn of early signs of problems and get them fixed before dangerous and expensive damage occurs.
Treat your fireplace right
With you doing your part and the fireplace and chimney experts at Chimney Saver Solutions doing theirs, you can enjoy a safe, efficient fireplace. If it’s time for a proper chimney sweep or inspection, give us a call in the Richmond, VA, area at (804) 440-5000. In and around Midlothian, VA, call (804) 794-6009. You also can reach out through our handy contact form.