Because fireplaces are an investment, it’s wise to take good care of them over the years. With this, it’s not surprising that one of the most commonly asked questions by our clients is: What kind of maintenance does my fireplace require?
It’s a question we’re more than happy to answer, because a well-cared for fireplace is a gift that keeps giving year after year.
Wood-burning and gas fireplaces both need regular maintenance
Some people make the assumption that because a gas fireplace doesn’t use real wood or produce ash, it doesn’t need maintenance. Not so. Glass needs regular cleaning, logs can deteriorate over time, and residue can occur even with a clean-burning fireplace.
Depending on how frequently a gas fireplace is used, it should be cleaned every 1 to 2 years. As well, units should be properly inspected by a qualified technician at the same time. Inspections should include a thorough interior and exterior examination. Glass should be checked for cracks, logs checked for deterioration, valves and connections should be assessed.
Wood-burning fireplaces need extra care
Needless to say, wood-burning fireplaces are a bit messier than gas units inserts because they produce smoke, ash and soot. Because of this, they require more regular care and should be cleaned and inspected at least once a year by a certified chimney sweep.
And it’s always a good idea to burn only seasoned hardwood. Seasoned wood is cut and dried wood that has been under cover 6-12 months. It makes a ringing sound when two logs are knocked together. Green wood creates a dull thud and doesn’t burn as thoroughly, ultimately creating more soot and creosote.
There’s no such thing as a silly question
It’s important to remember that all questions are important when it comes to fireplace and chimney maintenance – don’t be shy! Here’s an example of of how we were happy to help our client David resolve the spider nests in his Town & Country gas fireplace (yes, it happens!) and helped him to optimize his fireplace settings so that the spiders can’t settle back in again and while keeping the chimney nice and dry and the same time.
Safety and maintenance go hand in hand
While aesthetics is one reason to regularly maintain your fireplace, safety is arguably the more important of the two. Because fireplaces can remain hot for several hours after the fire has gone out, it’s important to keep combustible materials like drapes, furniture and carpet a safe distance from the hearth. For the same reason, you should never vacuum ash. Instead, use broom and dustpan –preferably when ash has fully cooled. Always wear a mask and gloves, and be sure to leave an inch of ash, as it will make it easier to maintain a fire.
And it practically goes without saying – a fire and carbon monoxide detector are your best defence against the biggest mess of all – a house fire. So, make sure yours are installed in working order and inspected regularly.
If you have any questions about maintenance for your fireplace, chimney or outdoor kitchen, the friendly and knowledgeable team at Hubert’s Fireplace Consulation + Design is here for you, so don’t hesitate to reach out.