Fireplaces are a wonderful way to make a house truly a home. Gathering before the flames is especially comforting during a District winter. To keep your hearth and your home happy, follow some simple maintenance tips for best practice use of your fireplace.
Keep It Clean
The single best advice you could possibly take is to hire a DC chimney sweep. It is a messy and difficult job to clean and maintain your fireplace yourself. Sometimes wood ash requires personal protective equipment and procedures to handle, as well. However, you can determine when it’s time for cleaning on your own. Shine a light onto the top of your firebox and into your flue to check for creosote. Make sure you don’t feel a downdraft before getting in there- if you do, open up windows until you feel an updraft.
Ash Is Your Friend
You may be tempted to remove all of the ash from your fireplace every so often. You should fight this instinct. A layer of wood ash, about 1 inch high, is good for the combustion process and can help your fire burn cleaner and brighter. This is beneficial because less smoke will be produced and less creosote will form in your fireplace, meaning more time between cleanings.
Monitor the Air
A good indication of a properly functioning fireplace is the quality of air inside of your home. You should install a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide alarm to let you know if the air becomes contaminated. Hopefully it never gets that bad, but it is better to be safe than sorry. If an alarm does go off, put out the fire immediately and air out your house as best as you can. Then call your chimney sweep as soon as possible.
Some happily crackling logs are an aesthetically pleasing backdrop to any occasion. To keep them burning for years to come, give your hearth some tender love and care.