Caring for Your Wood Burning Fireplace
When the cold winds pf winter are blowing outside, few things can beat the warmth and crackle of a fire burning in the fireplace on the inside. Enjoy your fireplace this winter with these 7 tips to care for your wood burning fireplace.
Annual Chimney Inspection
Get an annual chimney inspection for your wood-burning fireplace and chimney cleaned at least once a year, at the end of the burning season, or more often if you use your fireplace often or if you notice creosote and soot build-up over 1/8-inch on the inside of the chimney. Our team at Black Goose Chimney Service are certified CSIA (The Chimney Safety Institute of America) chimney sweeps and licensed and insured Class A Contractor and we can provide annual chimney inspections and any chimney repairs and restoration.
Clean Your Fireplace
Clean ash from the fireplace after burning fires. Do this regularly, especially if you use your fireplace regularly. Make sure you remove the ash where it can impede any airflow (an inch of ash in the fireplace will actually make it easier to maintain a fire). Wear a dust mask and gloves for safety.
Install Smoke Alarms
One of the best ways to protect your home and be able to enjoy your fireplace through the colder months is to install both smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and keep them in working order.
Install a Fireplace Guard or Heat Proof Glass Doors
Keep combustible materials like carpets, drapes and furniture away from the fireplace when a fire is burning. A guard in front of the fireplace will help minimize fire risk. Heat proof glass doors will also minimize risk. If you have a fan installed with the heat proof glass doors you can enjoy additional warmth from your wood burning fireplace.
Installing heat-proof glass and a fan can add another layer of protection. Fireplace glass doors are able to greatly increase the efficiency of the fireplace by acting as a barrier between your home and your chimney. Heat Proof Glass can help with containing any burning material like embers and dust particles. A fan or blower can help to increase the efficiency of the heat in your home by circulating the heat over a larger area.
Glass fireplace doors can also greatly reduce the chance of sparks or logs tumbling out of the fireplace. This in turn can minimize any potential damage to tile or wood flooring, destroy carpeting, rugs or furniture near the fireplace.
Test Out Your Fireplace
As you are starting to use your fireplace during the cooler months, test out your fireplace. Burn a few small pieces of seasoned wood. If you see smoke entering the room, instead of going out the chimney, immediately troubleshoot and correct any problems. Issues that can cause smoke to flow into a room can include creosote/soot build-up, other debris in the chimney like bird or animal nests, a damper that is closed or partially closed, and green or wet wood that isn’t burning well.
Burn Only Seasoned Wood
Burn only seasoned, not “green,” wood. Seasoned wood is wood that has been cut and dried under cover for at least 6-12 months. If you use a water meter it should register under 20% moisture. Split wood dries more thoroughly and burns better than whole logs. Well-seasoned wood makes a sharp ringing sound when two logs are knocked together, while green wood makes a dull thud. Green wood will not burn as thoroughly, creating more soot and creosote.
Burn hardwoods rather than soft woods. Hardwoods include oak, ash and maple are dense and heavier, delivering more heat. Softwoods are lighter and often hold more moisture for longer than hardwoods. Softwoods include pine, poplar and cedar.