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.