Summer has come to an end, which means fall is making its way. Many people will be preparing for tall boots, warm scarves, and cozy sweaters in preparation for the cooler temperatures. As it’s essential for us to prepare ourselves for the cold Fall temperatures ahead, you need to maintain your fireplace before relighting it.
We all know your fireplace has been unused during the summer months. However, the Fall and Winter months are here and you will be back to using your fireplace. We have created a Fall fireplace maintenance list for you.
Fireplaces Are Integral To Comfort In The Fall For Many Houses
With the crisp days of fall here and the colder days of winter around the corner, now’s the best time to get your fireplace ready for the cold weather. Considering that the National Fire Protection Association reports that 28 percent of home heating fires are caused by failure to clean the chimney, so it is essential to ensure that your fireplace is prepared for all those toasty fires.
Nothing is more awesome when the temperature falls than the light amber glow of a burning fire. However, before you light up those logs, there are lots of measures you want to take to prepare your fireplace, and for a good reason.
- Enhance the air quality
- Prevent fires
- Have your home warmer.
- Save energy
Here are steps to complete for the yearly Fireplace maintenance that’s a significant part of home maintenance in general. Wood-burning fireplaces need to be serviced once per year, while gas-burning fireplaces must be cleaned every alternate year.
Here is how to make sure you stay warm and safe this fall and winter. We’ve got the steps broken down into 3 categories: 1.) gas or electric fireplaces, 2.) wood-burning fireplaces, and 3.) outdoor patio fireplaces.
Wood-Burning Fireplace Maintenance
1. Inspect The Exterior
Have a look at the outside of your chimney and be sure that it isn’t leaning, and you do not see any loose sections, cracks, or holes. This is also a great time to check your chimney cover. A chimney cap will shield your chimney from wildlife and weather.
It prevents rain and snow from penetrating the chimney and creating water damage, and it prevents small animals from making nests, which will clog your chimney. A fantastic chimney cap will also protect your home from embers and sparks.
2. Clean The Interior
When you understand your outside chimney is ready for the season, it is time to inspect the interior portion of your fireplace. For those who have a glass front to fireplace, you can clean it with a mixture of vinegar and water or a cleaning solution made especially for fireplaces.
Then take a vacuum to clean pet fur or any dust which might have built up nearby your fireplace so that it will not get drawn in the first time you use it.
3. Search For Creosote
Creosote is an extremely flammable grime that accumulates in fireplace chimneys due to burning wood. As time passes, creosote can solidify along the sides of your chimney, and fire or spark can cause it to ignite.
Creosote is made whether you burn softwoods like cedar, pine, or fir or hardwoods like oak, maple, or walnut. This is the reason it’s essential to get your chimney cleaned at least once each year by a professional chimney sweeper.
4. Schedule an Inspection
A professional will assess your chimney and fireplace from top to bottom and both indoors and out for anything that may cause an issue when you use it. They will use specially angled mirrors to examine any hard-to-reach areas in the chimney and be sure the chimney’s inside is smooth and free of bumps or cracks.
They will ensure the chimneys’ exterior is free of damage and inspect the roof around the chimney. They will assess the flashing where the chimney and roof meet and ensure no tree branches are growing over the chimney.
5. Burn Seasoned Hardwoods
Pick dense wood, such as walnut, that’s been cut and kept in a high and dry spot for at least six months. Resinous softwoods such as pine create more creosote, a flammable by-product of combustion, which may build up in the chimney.
6. Don’t Overload
Small fires create less smoke, thus less creosote buildup. Additionally, a fire that is too big or too hot can crack the chimney.
7. Build It Right
Place logs at the back of the fireplace on a metal grate. Use kindling, instead of flammable liquids, to begin the fire.
8. Use a Spark Guard
Prevent wandering embers from shooting out of the firebox with a glass fireplace doors or mesh metal screen. A guard in front of an open fire is particularly important once the room is empty.
Prepare Your Gas Or Electric Fireplace
While electric and gas fireplaces do not need as much fireplace maintenance as a wood-burning fireplace, it is still a great idea to remove any dust that may have gathered inside. Get the pilot light on a gas fireplace repaired regularly and replace the light bulbs on an electrical fireplace after two or three decades.
1. Have it serviced regularly
Every alternate year, you need to have an experienced technician to service your gas-burning fireplace. The service plan should cover cleaning both the pilot and main burners’ airways to ensure they are functioning correctly.
2. Clean the blower
Check to determine if your gas-burning fireplace has a blower. Should it clean it? The gas-burning fireplaces blowers don’t have a filtering system to limit buildup. Dust collection can make the premature wearing of the bearings. Dust may also insulate the engine, which keeps it from cooling properly, eventually resulting in motor failure.
3. Replace batteries
Before every season, change the batteries in almost any remote receivers and transmitters, if applicable. Also, change the batteries and examine any smoke or carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they function correctly.
Before you throw a log to enjoy your first fire of the season, familiarize yourself with these fireplace maintenance safety tips to keep the entire family safe:
Common Sense Fireplace Maintenance Tips
- Don’t use charcoal in a fireplace as it can release carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Use a screen or glass enclosure to prevent sparks and embers from jumping from the fireplace and starting a fire.
- Keep your pets and kids away! The glass surface of your gas-burning fireplace can reach above 400° F and cool down to average temperature in 45 minutes.
Steps for Prepping your Outdoor Fireplace
Crisp fall nights are just around the corner. But before lighting your first outdoor fire of the season, make sure your outdoor fireplace is functioning correctly by following these easy steps.
- Clear and clean the flue — If you own a wood-burning outdoor fireplace, examine the flue for any barriers(like animals and animal nests) that may have accumulated during the summer months. Much like an indoor fireplace, it is a fantastic idea to have a chimney sweep to inspect the flue or be sure you have an apparent look inside to check for any creosote buildup. For gas stoves, check that the pilot assembly, gas valve, and other components are functioning well and are clear of any debris and dust.
- Start small —It is a good rule of thumb to begin little for your first fire of the season. A little fire will help dry out the unit without excessive overheating (which could result in cracking) and help show any problem spots in the flue should smoking be an outcome.
- Maintain the outside out — Be sure to cover your chimney between applications as far as possible to limit the moisture content which may be absorbed in the stone. This will enable your fireplace to survive longer and limit any cracking, which can be a consequence of rapid water expansion since it swells in the cold and shrinks in the heat.
- Always open the damper before lighting a fire and keep it open before the fire is entirely out.
- Follow appropriate local fire codes to ensure you’re not putting your loved ones, neighbors, or home at risk.
- Eliminate any hanging decor items before lighting a fire.
When you are confident that your fireplace is functioning, as usual, build your fire, invite over some friends and family, and enjoy those gorgeous fall evenings!
Before you enjoy the heat and coziness of a crackling fire, be sure that you take the correct fireplace maintenance steps and precautions to have it cold-weather ready.