Summer nights are the natural setting for a bonfire, but when its raining its a bit difficult to achieve, so we move into the house and sit by the fireplace and get all comfy cozy!
For those rainy summer nights we need to make sure our fireplace is maintained, we don’t want an added frustration to the process that ruins the relaxing night!
So how does one go about maintaining a fireplace?
lets check the list! (gotta love lists!)
- Remove left over ash from the last burning once cold and completely out (this part is important) via the ash dump, or as a nice alternative, sprinkle the ashes on flower beds for a nice nutrient boost!
- Annual inspection for the chimney is a must! This will help you understand the condition of not only your fireplace but also your chimney! (equally important if not more!)
- Through use and time, a chimney can become coated with soot and creosote, byproducts if fires that don’t burn efficiently. This can lead to chimney fires, which as it sounds, is very bad!
- Sweeping a chimney should be done before the summer because humidity in the air can combine with creosote to form acids which can physically damage the chimney, causing cracks and strong odors.
- Keep any combustible material away from the fireplace when in use. Guards are especially nice for this! Also nothing within 12 inches above the lintel (metal plate atop the fireplace opening)
- Be sure to burn seasoned wood, rather than green wood. Seasoned wood has been dried under a cover for a long period of time, usually 6-12 months, keeping the moisture levels below 20%.
- Burn hard wood rather than soft wood, thus creating a stronger flame for higher temperature.
- Test your fireplace with a small bit of seasoned wood. Lit from the top down, and examine the smoke trail. If smoke doesn’t exit vertically from the fireplace into the chimney but enters the room, immediately check the settings of your fireplace to find what went wrong. It may be a result of something simple like a damper being partially closed.
Now go check your fireplace/chimney condition, it looks like some rain is coming in this week!