A wood-burning fireplace is one of the nicest features of your home on a cold day. To ensure you can use your fireplace whenever you want, it’s important to maintain it and your chimney. Keeping up on your maintenance year-round will keep you from hitting any snags come the colder months of the year. Here are five tips that will help you keep your fireplace and chimney in excellent condition.
Only Burn Hardwoods
A good, hot fire is the result of the right firewood. While any wood will burn in your fireplace, if you want the warmest and most efficient fire, you should burn hardwoods. Leave the other types of wood for a backyard campfire. Hardwoods include oak, ash, hickory and birch among others. These types of wood generally have less sap and pitch. They also generate less creosote buildup inside your chimney, which helps keep it efficient and safe.
Make Sure the Wood is Dry and Cured
Dry wood will burn more efficiently, produce less smoke and cause fewer issues for your fireplace and chimney overall. If you want an excellent fire, you need to have sufficiently dried wood. Generally, this means you need logs that have been cut into sections, spit and then allowed to dry for eighth to 12 months. If you have a stack of wood outside your house, make sure it’s covered from the elements with plenty of airflow, so it can dry adequately.
Keep Your Fireplace and the Area Around it Clean
One of the best ways to ensure your fireplace and chimney stay in good condition is to clean the fireplace and area around the fireplace regularly. This will keep ash from building up in your fireplace and make it easier for you to spot potential issues, like the buildup of creosote or soot. When you do clean your fireplace, take a peek inside your chimney with the help of a flashlight. Does it look like soot and creosote are building up? If so, it may be time to call a professional.
Keep Your Damper and Fireplace Closed Up When Not in Use
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many homeowners accidentally leave the chimney damper and fireplace doors (if installed) open after using their fireplace. Closing the damper and fireplace doors will keep the warm air inside your home from needlessly escaping up your chimney. After each use of your fireplace, make sure you double check your damper to ensure everything is shut up correctly.
Hire a Certified Chimney Sweep Annually
The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends an annual chimney sweep and inspection. This annual service will remove creosote and soot from the inside of your chimney and alert you to any other issues concerning your fireplace or chimney. Performing a chimney sweep yourself is not recommended, and it’s best to hire a certified chimney sweep each year to do a professional job.
At Chimney & Masonry Outfitters, we believe every Nashville, TN, homeowner should have a functional, safe and efficient fireplace and chimney. We don’t think chimney maintenance should break the bank either. That’s why we offer an $89 chimney sweep and inspection service, which is more affordable than our competitors. If you’ve paid more in the past, call us to schedule an appointment today.