So, you’re not quite done with your burning season, but your fireplace clearly needs a little TLC… And while nothing can replace the in-depth job of a professional chimney sweeping, it’s clear something needs to be done, so you can finish off the rest of winter on a high note.
What can you, as a homeowner, do to ensure your fireplace stays clean and usable for these last few chilly weeks?
Safely Remove Fireplace Ash
When running a wood-burning fireplace, removing ash on a regular basis is a good call. It will ensure there’s enough room in your firebox for more firewood, and it also prevents damage to your fireplace grate. But you’ve got to do it right!
First things first, make sure your system is adequately cooled down by waiting at least 24 hours after lighting your last fire.
Next you’ll need a metal scoop and a metal bucket with a lid, handle, and raised bottom. Use the scoop to transfer the ash to the metal bucket, then secure the lid on tightly. You’ll then want to place the ash bucket on a non-flammable surface outside of the home for a few days. These precautions are taken to ensure any remaining embers or sparks buried within the ash are given enough time to die out, as these can remain live for days on end.
Note: When removing ash, we suggest leaving a 1-inch layer behind. This both helps to protect the floor of your firebox and aids when starting future fires.
Chimney Sweeping Logs
Curious if a chimney sweeping log will help keep your system cleaning?
Well, first we want say that, despite the name, lighting one of these is not the same as having your chimney professionally swept. These will in no way do everything a sweep would do, and using them as a replacement for an actual sweeping will put your home at risk of experiencing a chimney fire down the line.
What a chimney sweeping log can do is help loosen the creosote and soot in your chimney, making it easier for the sweep when they do eventually come to clear things out. But it doesn’t actually remove these substances – that’s up to the pros.
So, use them if you like, just remember to get that sweeping booked, too!
Cleaning Glass Doors
Are your fireplace glass doors looking worse for the wear? There are lots of products out there that can assist with this, but if you’re looking for an effective fix that won’t cost you a penny, give this tried and true method a go!
Simply ball up some old newspapers, get them damp, dip them into your fireplace ash (yep, you read that right), then gently scrub your fireplace glass. It sounds crazy, but many swear by this method, and it’s proven to be one of the most effective ways to get even the most stubborn stains off of fireplace glass.
And once you’ve gotten all the dirt and grime off, you can use a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar to really get the glass to shine. Just apply the solution to a paper towel and wipe down the glass to get that crystal clear polish you’re hoping for.
Cleaning the Exterior
Do you have a brick fireplace? If your brickwork is looking dirty, you can scrub the bricks to get any soot and stains off the outside. We suggest starting with a mild solution of warm water and dish soap, especially if your fireplace is on the older side. Simply put the solution in a spray bottle, spray the exterior, then scrub with a brush! Some also suggest putting salt on the sponge or brush first to aid in getting that grime off. Just be sure to rinse it off afterwards.
If this doesn’t seem to be working, you can then move onto harsher chemicals. Again, just be sure to rinse with warm water at the end of it all, so that no chemicals remain behind.
Done With Fireplace Use for the Year? Give Us a Call!
We want to stress that, while all of the things we’ve mentioned are good for giving your fireplace game a quick boost, none of them replace a professional annual inspection or sweeping. If you’re done with your fireplace for the year, then your next best step is to schedule your inspection with us, after which we can advise you on whether or not any further repairs or sweeping services are needed.
Or, if your fireplace is still not looking right after professional care, reach out about a fireplace facelift! We offer a number of materials that we can re-face your system with, such as stone, cast concrete, tile, metal, and more, all of which will enhance the appearance of your fireplace and turn it into something you can love for years on end.
Ready to get started? Reach out now about your options – we’d love to help you out!