Fireplace Cleaning and Repair - Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance Tips for Optimum Efficiency

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 14 January 2014 21:40
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Fireplace cleaning and maintenance is of prime importance, neglecting which can result in your chimney efficiency running kaput and toxic smoke and heated air getting inside the house triggering chances of a chimney fire breakout. With the temperatures dipping to historically low figures in Chicago and rest of the nation and nights turning chilly and crisp, what better way to get cozy than sipping some hot coffee in front of the hearth? However, before you plan to stack the fireplace here are some tips for maintaining your fireplace and augmenting its efficiency.

Hire a Professional Chimney Sweep and Maintenance Company:

One of the first and the most important things to do is get your fireplace cleaned and inspected by a professional company at least once a year. You might think whether it is worth spending the two-hundred some dollars behind professional services when you can do the cleaning on your own. However, the fact remains annual maintenance and inspection is of utmost significance to eliminate accumulation of flammable creosote and increasing chances of chimney fire. Indubitably professional fireplace installation and repair technicians go the extra mile to undergo three-level inspections. Level 1 comprises general supervision of the interiors and exteriors, Level 2 comes with a modification of materials or shape of flue or fuel type, and Level 3 inspection takes place post a catastrophic incident and might involve fireplace repair and overhauling. In between such annual inspections you require undergoing simple cleaning and safety tactics to ensure a healthy and safe ambience inside your home.

Eradicate Ashes:

Begin with your chimney maintenance venture by eliminating the fireplace of the accumulating ashes with a shovel, ensuring that their depth does not reach beyond 2 inches during the cold months.

Watch out for Soot Accumulation:

Soot is equally harmful as creosote and is flammable although softer in nature than the latter. To take off soot and stains from the fireplace make a mixture of soap and water and spray it all over the hearth, letting it stay for at least 30 minutes to allow the residues and soot to soften and unfasten from the surface. Then scrub it off with a wire brush. If the stains are inexorably stuck to the surface, you can opt for Muriatic Acid which should however, be applied with sufficient precautions such as wearing eye protection, old clothes and gloves because of its toxic nature. Muriatic acid needs to be mixed with water in the ratio 1:10 and left for half an hour before scrubbing the surface with hard wire brush.

Use Hardwoods:

Resinous woods like pine create creosote and tend to become uncontrollable when they flare up. Therefore, resort to hardwoods like oak, maple, birch or ash instead, although they are costlier than their softwood varieties. Hardwoods are preferable as they burn longer and create lesser amount of creosote, sap and pitch making it easier to clean the fireplace.

Check the Damper:

Carry out intermittent checks into the damper of your fireplace to identify any kind of blockage like animals taking refuge or falling leaves causing hindrance. If you do notice any blockage, get in touch with a professional chimney sweep company at the earliest. It is also advisable to keep the damper closed when fire is not burning since an open damper leads to loss of heat spread across the house.
Keep Surroundings Clear: Although the beautiful pine trees and Christmas accessories decking them up may be a part of the Christmas festivities, ensure they are kept at a distance of 15 feet or more and be a little conscious as not to dump the boxes, wrapping paper and falling leaves into the hearth.

Finally call on a professional chimney sweep company, ensuring that it is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and get them to install a stainless steel chimney cap and glass doors that are heat-resistant along with a blower or heat-exchange system for proper spreading of heat inside.

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