The term chimney sweep may bring to mind images from a Charles Dickens novel, but fireplace maintenance is a serious business. There are several things you should be doing on a regular basis to keep your fireplace clean and maintained, and these steps will help keep your family and your home safe. If you’re not sure where to begin, just follow these five simple steps for fireplace maintenance.
Step 1: Get a Chimney Cap
A chimney cap is one of those amazing little devices that can do a bunch of different things. Mainly, the cap is designed to:
- Keep animals from entering your home through the chimney
- Keep precipitation and moisture out of your fireplace
- Prevent embers and sparks from shooting out your chimney
- Stop leaves, twigs, and other plant matter from getting into your fireplace
- Prevent downdrafts that can blow smoke into your home
And once you install your chimney cap, you never really have to worry about it again, other than ensuring that your annual chimney sweep also inspects the underside of the cap for creosote buildup.
Step 2: Open the Window
Propping open a nearby window when you have a fire blazing guarantees that the fire will warm your home. Fire needs oxygen to burn, and your fireplace will pull in warm air from your house, thereby cooling it off rather than warming it up. But if you open a window and provide the fire with a stream of fresh air, the fire will do its job to heat your house rather than cooling it down.
Step 3: Clean the Slate Hearth Monthly
One of the best things you can use to clean your hearth and keep its sheen glossy and dark is lemon oil. Clean your hearth every one or two months, and when it dries, apply a layer of lemon oil to the slate with a clean and soft cloth. Then use a clean part of the cloth to rub and buff the slate.
Step 4: Clean the Firebox Once a Week
One of the best things about the firebox is that it’s essentially a self-cleaning unit, so anytime you have a fire, the firebox will clean itself. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to scrub off soot. In fact, you should do this once a week with a stiff-bristled brush when you’re having regular fires.
Step 5: Hire a Chimney Sweep Yearly
Even if you don’t do anything else to maintain your fireplace, having a professional chimney sweep come in every year is vital to the health and safety of your family. The purpose of a chimney sweep is to clean creosote buildup from the walls because creosote can ignite and cause a chimney fire. And because professional sweeps are trained and experienced, they will also inspect your fireplace for cracks, breaks, and other problems.
With these simple maintenance steps, you can keep your fireplace clean and work efficiently for many years. And if you need any help with plumbing and heating issues around the house this fall and winter, call the experts at The Plumbing Service Company in Greensboro, NC for help. Give us a call at (336) 502-8540 to schedule an appointment.