8 Tips for Maintaining a Wood-Burning Fireplace
If you are buying a new home, make sure to have a professional inspect the fireplace to ensure it is functional and safe to use. Once you have moved into the house, sweep clean Chimney and inspect fireplace once a year to ensure it’s safe to use. After every use, try to inspect and maintain fireplace to enhance performance.
If you have eliminated chimney debris but there is smoke in the house, make sure the damper is open. If the wood isn’t burning completely you will notice that a lot of smoke is coming out of the chimney.
Inspect Chimney to ensure a cap fitted covers the top hole of the chimney. This cap filled prevents animals, rain, snow and debris from entering the chimney. Make sure to replace or repair the cap once damaged.
If your chimney has a metal inserts make sure to inspect it. Things to look for when inspecting: dents, rust, and missing screws at the joints. Repair if needed.
If your chimney has masonry fireplace make sure to inspect the outer mortar between the stones or bricks to ensure it’s intact. In order to do this just shine some light with a flashlight down the chimney to look at the mortar. Make sure to replace the mortar if it is crumbling. While you are up there take a quick look for cracked tile liners or any missing bricks or stones.
Formation of Creosote
Creosote is a dark brown, hard and crustlike flammable substance. It is formed during an incomplete combustion of wood. Over time, this will build up and can cause a dangerous fire in the chimney. Make sure to clean and remove any formation of creosote. To minimize creosote, burn dry hardwoods because their lower in moisture content which promotes complete burning.
Glaze is a thick, shiny and tar-like substance that is flammable. This is formed when layers of creosote build up so fast that the previous layers don’t dry up completely. This is usually difficult to fully remove, hire a professional chimney sweep.
Soot is a black powder or flaky flammable substance. Professionals recommend cleaning soot deposits once it reaches 1/8 inch in depth.