How to Keep Your Fireplace Insert Clean Between Chimney Sweepings
Fireplace inserts are great investments because they convert traditional masonry fireplaces into efficient heat sources that can help cut the cost of winter utilities. Safety must be number one. An insert must be installed by a professional, to ensure not only safety but also coverage by homeowner’s insurance. Wood fires in an insert cause creosote to be deposited in the chimney and hearth, same as with a regular fireplace. Creosote is highly flammable. There was a time when lack of maintenance of fireplace inserts led to many deadly house fires. Excessive creosote is the number one cause of hazardous fireplace insert fires. Inserts should be inspected and cleaned by a professional annually. If you use your fireplace insert heavily during the winter season, it’s important to keep it clean between scheduled chimney sweepings. Fireplace insert cleaning can be a do-it-yourself job between professional cleanings.
You can either hire a professional to clean your fireplace insert or you can do it yourself. Keep in mind that the soot and creosote can have an adverse effect on your health. According to experts, soot particulate matter is invisible. If it enters your bloodstream, it can cause many different serious health problems. If you are going to clean your fireplace insert, be sure that there is ventilation in the room. Wear a dust mask and use gloves to get the job done.
Cleaning a fireplace insert step-by-step
With proper preparation and supplies, you can get the dirty job of cleaning a fireplace insert completed. Put on your safety gear and follow this step-by-step fireplace insert cleaning guide:
· The fireplace should be completely cold, with no hot embers.
· To prevent the mess of your task from getting all over the floor, lay down a plastic tarp or layers of newspaper all across the area in front of the hearth.
· Take out any leftover wood and the fireplace grate.
· Scoop out ashes and debris using a small shovel, and place it in an appropriate container, such as a metal bucket. Be sure to place the bucket in a safe place away from the home and away from flammable materials, in the event there was an undetected hot ember.
· Use vacuuming equipment that is safe to use in a fireplace, to remove any remaining loose particles.
· Scrub the fireplace insert with a heavy-duty wire brush. Remove any creosote that has become baked onto the walls.
· Next, remove soot and other debris from the door and hinges of the insert using a small wire brush and another small brush such as a toothbrush.
· Again sweep or vacuum loosened debris.
· Create a solution in a large bucket that consists of one gallon of warm water, ½ cup of baking soda, and about a teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap.
· Saturate a rag or sturdy scrubbing sponge with the cleaning solution and vigorously scrub the walls of the fireplace insert. Do the same to the grates. This may require several sponges or rags to do a thorough job.
· Next, use a bucket of clean water to rinse off the cleaning solution.
· Use a clean towel or cloth to dry the insert thoroughly.
· Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning the glass doors. If the wrong solutions are used on the glass, it could be ruined, meaning that the doors could become impossible to see through. The aesthetics of your fireplace would be spoiled, as well.
· The final step is cleanup. Replace the grate and logs and throw away the newspapers or tarp.
Annual inspections and cleaning
Trust your fireplace and chimney to the highly trained experts at Chimney Saver Solutions, when it’s time for your annual cleaning and inspection. We are a most trusted full service chimney sweep company; and we would be happy to perform your fireplace insert cleaning mid-winter, as well.