Cleaning fireplaces helps ensure that they function properly and safely. If you do not take care of regular maintenance, you may experience excessive soot entering your house, and you could also have an unsafe burning environment. |
Perform Regular Cleanings
If you use your fireplace often, you should consider doing a light cleaning of your every week during the burning season. If you do not burn often, you might extend the time between cleaning to one month. To begin, remove the grate and andirons from the unit and place them on a plastic tarp. Carry the tarp outdoors, where you can scrub them thoroughly with a brush to remove all soot. Rinse the pieces well and wipe them dry with a soft cloth.
Shovel out the soot and debris from the inside of the firebox, and discard the debris. Scrub the inner surfaces of the firebox with a brush to loosen and remove all remaining ash. Vacuum the loosened debris with a shop-vac to finish. Do not use a regular vacuum, as soot can clog filters quickly.
For a deeper cleaning, mix a gallon of warm water with heavy-duty dishwashing detergent. Saturate a scrub brush with the soapy mixture and scrub the interior walls of the firebox. Continue scrubbing until you remove as much soot and buildup as possible from the interior walls. Rinse the detergent away and dry the walls with an old cloth. Return the grate and andirons to finish the job.
Cleaning Glass Doors
Glass doors on fireplaces can become darkened with soot. Allow the glass to cool completely before cleaning. Once cool, remove all sooty buildup by scraping it off with a razor blade, if necessary. Mix a gallon of warm water with a cup of white vinegar and apply the solution to the glass to saturate it. Allow the solution to sit on the glass surface for several minutes and then wipe it off with paper towel or newspaper. Clean the glass with commercial glass cleaner to finish the task.
Hire a Professional
Once each year prior to burning season, hire a professional to inspect your chimney and clean out dangerous debris. Experts recommend having a chimney checked after 80 fires. Although it's possible for the average homeowner to perform chimney checks, having a professional perform the inspection is the safest and most prudent course of action. A chimney inspector should also check for damage in the structure of the chimney and the chimney liner, including loose bricks, cracks, or missing mortar. Repair any issues promptly before you continue lighting fires. Always keep a cap at the top of the chimney to minimize the amount of precipitation that falls inside the opening. A chimney cap will also keep animals and other debris from entering this area.
As pleasant and beautiful as fireplaces are, using them involves significant risk, especially if you do not perform regular maintenance to keep them clean. By cleaning and maintaining fireplaces correctly, you can enjoy using them for warmth and ambiance in your home.
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