Our Company Blog

Fall Fireplace Care

The chill of fall is in the air, and if you haven’t already, you’ll soon be lighting up your fireplace. Before you light your first fire — and as you enjoy your fireplace this fall and winter — it’s important to follow some basic fireplace maintenance tips.

Have your fireplace checked and inspected

Fireplace care begins with a chimney sweeping and inspection. During your chimney cleaning, your chimney sweep will remove flammable creosote and any other debris from your fireplace so it’s ready for safely vent your fireplace. Your sweep also will inspect your firebox, chimney flue, exterior chimney structure and any working components of your fireplace to ensure that your fireplace and chimney are ready to safely ignite and contain your fires this fall and winter.

Conduct a visual inspection of your chimney structure

Before your chimney sweeps arrives, you should perform a quick visual inspection of your fireplace and chimney so you can address any concerns with your sweep. Look for loose, cracked or flaking bricks and mortar; stains on the exterior of your chimney; rust on your damper, fireplace doors or metal fire grate; signs of leaks or moisture; and cracks or pieces of flue tile in your firebox.

Create a safe zone around your hearth

Over the summer, there’s a good chance that your focus hasn’t been on keeping a safety zone around your fireplace. Before you light a fire, clear any flammable materials, such as pillow, blankets and magazines, from the three feet around your hearth. Make sure that you don’t have any décor hanging from your mantel that could melt or ignite from the extreme heat of your fireplace.

Clear the ash out of your fireplace

Between fires, you should be clearing ash away from your fireplace. Once your fire has cooled completely, usually 24 hours or more after your fire has been extinguished, use a metal shovel to scoop ash out of the bottom of the fireplace. Clear ash into a metal bucket with a tight-fitting lid. The cooled ash can be used as compost or snow melt, or bagged and thrown out with your regular garbage. You can leave a blanket of ash an inch or so deep in the bottom of your fireplace to insulate and improve the efficiency of your fireplace.

Burn the right firewood

Caring for your fireplace means burning the right fuel. Burn hardwoods that have been seasoned for at least six to 12 months. Burning wet wood, wood that hasn’t been fully seasoned or an excess of soft woods can lower the efficiency of your fireplace and cause a rapid buildup of dangerous creosote within your chimney.

If you’re prepping your fireplace for the fall fire-burning season, call Your Chimney Sweep to help! We can sweep and inspect your fireplace and chimney, and we can help advise you on any hearth improvements or hearth maintenance to get you through the winter.

By Joe Sauter on October 12th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

The Significance Of Your Firebox

Homeowners often spend their time worrying about maintaining their chimney. However, they often forget about one crucial element of their fireplace: the firebox! Just like the chimney, the firebox needs to be properly cared for and maintained. In addition, it needs to be monitored for damage or deterioration to keep your home safe. Here’s everything you need to know about your firebox.

The Function of a Firebox

Simply put, your firebox is the portion of the fireplace in which you build your fires. The firebox does more than house burning logs, however. When properly constructed and in good repair, the firebox serves to insulate the surrounding home structure from the heat, flames, and smoke of your fireplace. Ultimately, the firebox is one of the most important elements of your fireplace and chimney system, when it comes to protecting your home from the dangers of a fire.

Types of Fireboxes

There are two types of fireboxes: Masonry and prefabricated. Masonry fireboxes are built of special firebricks that are meant to withstand the intense heat of your fireplace. They sit on a heavy masonry foundation. This foundation supports the weight of the masonry firebox and the entire masonry chimney structure. Prefabricated fireboxes are part of a factory-built fireplace system. These pre-fab systems are installed in the home. They also don’t require the heavy infrastructure of a masonry fireplace. Prefabricated fireboxes generally comprise refractory panels that often mimic the look of masonry firebricks.

Firebox Maintenance

When it comes to maintaining your firebox and the health of your fireplace system, it comes down to two things: Keeping the firebox clean and monitoring the firebox for signs of deterioration. The soot and ash left in your fireplace after you burn a fire is incredibly corrosive. It can damage the bottom of the firebox over time.  A bed of ashes can help to insulate the fire, and is okay during the fire-burning season. However, ashes should be removed from the firebox during the summer months – and when the fireplace isn’t going to be used for an extended period of time. It’s also important to watch for cracks in refractory panels, or cracks, crumbling, and signs of foundation shifting in masonry fireplaces. Your chimney sweep should examine the health of your firebox during your annual chimney sweeping and inspection.

Firebox Repair and Reconstruction

The firebox plays such an important role in protecting your home from the heat of your fires. Due to this, any deterioration should be dealt with as soon as possible! There is another reason to have your firebox reconstructed: Fireboxes impact the overall look of your hearth. If your firebricks or refractory panels look worn or dated, reconstructing the firebricks or replacing refractory panels can instantly improve your hearth and your home.

If you’re worried about the health of your firebox, or if you would like to know your options for improving the look of your hearth with firebox reconstruction, call Your Chimney Sweep today! We specialize in firebox repair and rebuilding to keep your fireplace safe and attractive.

By Joe Sauter on August 8th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment