With spring comes all kinds of exciting things. For some it means sprucing up their garden, for others the start of baseball season is calling their name, and then there are those who are just excited to enjoy the outdoors without the need of a bulky winter coat.
Whatever it is you’re looking forward to, though, one thing remains the same for anyone with a fireplace – some end-of-the-season maintenance is in order!
First Things First…
Now, before we really get into it, let’s start with a quick disclaimer. While all of the things we’re discussing are good for improving the look and health of your fireplace and chimney, none of them replace professional care from a certified professional. Before starting your burning season next fall, be sure to schedule an inspection, then invest in any repairs or sweeping services, as needed!
Addressing Your Firebox
Do you own a wood-burning system? Then, by the end of winter, we’re guessing your firebox is pretty full of ash. And while an inch or so of ash is good during the burning season (to help fuel future fires), it’s always best to clear it all out completely before calling it quits for the year.
Why? Well, ash is acidic in nature, which means it can quickly break down your fireplace grate if exposed for too long. Ash is also known for drawing moisture, which is the last thing you want your fireplace exposed to. Water is masonry’s biggest enemy and is sure to break things down in a hurry!
Which brings the next question… What’s the most effective way to remove fireplace ash?
To start, we recommend waiting at least 24 hours after your last fire’s gone out before getting going. This minimizes the risk of burns. Once time’s up, continue by laying down some tarps or old sheets, so that your furniture and floors don’t accidentally get messy. You’ll also want to adorn some older clothes, as well as a facemark and some safety goggles.
Next up, make sure you have a metal scoop and a non-combustible bucket with a tight-sealing lid. These are both essential because embers can stay live in your ash pile for days! These tools will help to avoid any serious burns, injuries, or property damage.
Note: Never vacuum your ashes! Many assume this would be a fast and effective way to clean things up, but if any sparks or embers are hidden away, you could be creating a huge fire hazard.
Once your ashes are scooped and the lid on your bucket is secured tight (to eliminate exposure to oxygen, which feeds flames), take the bucket outdoors and store it on a non-flammable surface for a few days. Never store the bucket inside your home, garage, or shed, and be sure to keep it off your deck or porch, too. It could potentially ignite through the container, so practicing caution is a must!
Once you feel confident your ash is safe to handle, feel free to toss it out, use it in your garden, save it for oil stains, or do it with it whatever you see fit!
How Are Your Glass Doors Looking?
Take a look at your fireplace’s glass doors. Are they covered with soot stains, ash, and other grime? Tackling these may feel like a big tasks, but in actuality, all you’ll need to effectively clean them is the following three things:
- Some leftover ash
…that’s it! And, chances are, these materials won’t cost you a dime (assuming you have some old newspapers stashed in your recycling bin).
Just ball up the newspaper, get it wet, dab it in your (cooled down) ashes, then wipe away. In no time, your smudges and smears will be gone, and your glass will be looking cleaner than ever.
And to really go above and beyond, finish off with some glass spray (or a water and vinegar mix). Then, you’ll really get that satisfyingly spotless shine!
Wrapping Things Up…
Some like to finish things off strong by washing down their brickwork, stone, or marble. This can be a great way to keep your system looking fresher and newer, but if you find that even the most rigorous scrubbing doesn’t seem to do much good, then it may be time to think about a fireplace facelift.
We can restore the look of your outdated, drab-looking, or stained fireplace with tile, brick, stone, cast concrete, or metal, ensuring you get exactly what you’re envisioning!
Don’t Forget Your Inspection
Now, everything we’ve mentioned is great for your fireplace and will set you up right for the months ahead. But that doesn’t mean a professional inspection isn’t still required! Annual inspections are the most effective way to ensure your system stays protected and standing strong season after season.
In fact, the sooner you schedule it the better. Hidden damages will only worsen if not readily addressed, and any excess creosote deposits will break down your chimney components and likely trigger some nasty odors once you get that A/C cranking.
Not to mention, scheduling now ensures you’re not scrambling for a time when the busy fall season comes back around. Come that first cool day, you’ll simply be able to sit back, grab your favorite book or movie, get the fire going, and relax! Can’t beat that.
So, don’t wait any longer… End your burning season on a high note by following our tips, then be sure to give us a call as soon as you can.
Dial 615-551-2253 or reach out online today!