9 November

How much work is there to maintaining a fireplace?

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One of nature’s gifts is the warm glow of a fire to take the chill off of a cold fall or winter night, but there are some guidelines for maintenance I would like to share with you.
Other than the strict building code compliance of a wood burning appliance, there are things you can do to maintain your stove or fireplace in good order through the burning season.
One of the most important things to schedule is a regular cleaning of the chimney. This should be done every year or every 30 to 60 fires. Failure to keep the chimney clean of creosote can result in a chimney fire, which may cause serious damage.
You should use a WETT certified chimney sweep when having it cleaned so that the overall safety of the chimney and appliance can be assessed at the same time.
A few rules of thumb for safe and pleasant wood burning are:
1.    Use seasoned hardwood to burn cleaner and keep smoke down. Store firewood outside off the ground, with good circulation.
2.    When burning in a fireplace, use an ember screen when burning – don’t close the glass doors.
3.    To save fire brick – leave a one inch base of ash at the bottom  of your fireplace to insulate the base fire brick. Otherwise ash should be removed regularly and stored in a metal container away from combustibles until final disposal.
4.    Add a cap with a screen at the top of the flue to keep animals out of the chimney.
5.    Make sure you have working smoke and CO detectors.
6.    Keep the damper open during burning.
7.    If the fireplace or stove smokes excessively, the chimney should be checked for obstruction.
8.    Keep a fire extinguisher nearby …… just in case.
Here’s wishing you a warm and wonderful fall and winter.
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