Man cleaning chimney

Post-Winter Checkup: Wood-burning Fireplace Maintenance After the Cold Months

Before you know it, the last of the snow will melt, and spring will arrive.

Companies like Comfort Solutions, which installs new fireplaces in Salt Lake City, know that your furnace works extra during the cold season to heat your home. For this reason, they recommend that you check your fireplace or consult a professional to inspect it after the winter. Here is what you should do when removing  dirt and debris from your hearth and chimney:

Remove the remaining ashes from the firebox

Every time you light a fire in your fireplace, there is an ash buildup. Ideally, you should remove ashes and dirt from the firebox after usage. Leaving soot and dirt in the firebox for long periods can result in upsetting odor. Besides, doing so will make cleaning the fireplace in the future even more challenging.

To be safe, wait for the fireplace and ashes to cool off before you clean your firebox. Use a breathing mask and a pair of rubber gloves when you scoop up the ash with a metal fireplace shovel. Place the ashes inside a bucket, then tightly screw the lid, so they don’t disperse. If there are remaining ashes which you can no longer shovel, you can use an ash vacuum cleaner. Don’t use a regular vacuum as it poses a fire risk.

What should you do with the ashes? You can mix them with your garden soil. Ashes from burned wood contain calcium, which is good for your garden.

Clean the glass door of your heat chamber

Since you’re not dealing with regular glass, a normal glass cleaner isn’t enough. Regular ammonia-based cleaners are not manufactured to remove carbon deposits on fireplace glass doors. Instead, you can use fireplace ashes in removing gunk from the glass door. Dampen a piece of newspaper (or any other paper) with water and dip it in fireplace ashes. Then, proceed with scrubbing the surface.

If the soot is stubborn, you can use a flat razor blade to remove the carbon deposits. You should be careful, though, so you don’t cut yourself or scratch the glass. There are also chemical solutions to this. You can use rags dampened with fireplace glass door cleaner. However, you should be extra careful around these chemicals by wearing goggles, mask, and rubber gloves.

Call a professional for a chimney sweep

Professional chimney sweeper

Cleaning your chimney is a much more challenging task. Because of this, it’s best if you leave it to a professional. For the job, the specialist removes all the debris on your roof, including pine needles, small branches, and leaves that could fall into your chimney. If you have chimney caps, the professional takes it off and scrubs any creosote buildup on the cap or its screen. Additionally, with a professional, you can make sure that your chimney does not have an excessive dirt buildup. This way, you can prevent an accidental chimney fire.

Most homeowners prepare their fireplaces for the winter – cleaning and inspecting it. After the season, it’s just as important to do the same. Doing so maintains the aesthetic value of your fireplace. Apart from that, the after-winter maintenance and inspection make it easier for you to prepare your fireplace for the next fall.

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