A wood-burning fireplace offers some cozy warmth, especially during the cold winter months. Unlike other energy sources, a wood-burning fireplace leaves no carbon print. This feature endears a wood-burning fireplace to eco-friendly people — not forgetting the classic style it adds to an indoor space.
However, you must properly maintain the fireplace to enjoy the perks it offers. Without proper care, you expose your house to significant fire risks. The following are top fireplace maintenance tips to ensure your wood-burning fireplace functions as expected.
1. Only Burn Seasoned Wood
Seasoned hardwood such as maple, oak, fruitwood, and almond wood are among the best choices for a wood-burning fireplace. This dried-out wood releases less hazardous smoke. Additionally, the wood burns for longer and keeps the fireplace clean.
Cedarwood may be cheap but falls short on burning efficiency. Such wood produces smokey fires with less heat and also causes massive creosote build-up.
2. Avoid Ash Build-Up in the Fireplace
You should be careful when handling old ashes because hot embers might still be present (even if the fire is out). Essentially, you should wait a while before you clear the ash to ensure the ashes are completely cool.
You may want to leave some ashes – a few inches at least – so you can easily start another fire.
3. Check the Chimney Cap
A cap prevents rain, debris, squirrels, and other small animals from entering the chimney. Dirt accumulation around the cap impedes airflow and obstructs the smoke's way of escape. This obstruction results in an inefficient fireplace. Creosote may also build up in the chimney and cause a firebreak.
Rainwater can corrode the damper or cause mortar deterioration. With a chimney cap, you will not worry about unwanted materials falling in. Keep in mind that chimney caps wear out over time due to exposure to harsh elements. So, inspect it often and replace it when needed to ensure a healthier fireplace.
4. Inspect the Damper
A chimney damper ensures the cool or warm house air does not get out through the flue when the fire is out. Always keep the damper in top working order, and ensure that no leaves or animals prevent it from opening or closing. If the damper can't close or open, call a professional right away.
With proper maintenance and care, your wood-burning fireplace will stay efficient for a long time. Moreover, this strategy also protects you from fireplace-related perils. Annual inspection by a specialist goes a long way in boosting your fireplace's efficiency.