Are you ready to say goodbye to snow and hello to warmer weather? This time of year, most find themselves eager to ditch their snow boots for flip flops and their winter coats for tank tops and t-shirts. And we can’t say we blame them!
But we’re guessing that with the oncoming of warmer temps, you won’t be putting your fireplace to much use for awhile. Many are putting a stop to cozy evening fires this time of year, which means some end-of-season fireplace maintenance is in order.
We’ve got some fireplace cleaning tips to end your burning season on a strong note, ensuring your fireplace and chimney stay in tip-top shape for the long haul.
Removing Ash: Everything You Need to Know
So, what do you need to safely remove fireplace ash? First things first, be sure to wait at least 24 hours after your last fire was extinguished to start this process.
Next, equip yourself with a tarp or protective cover, a metal bucket with a lid and handle, and a metal scoop. Lay the tarp over your carpet and furniture, clear away any breakable belongings, dress in an outfit you don’t mind getting dirty, and start scooping the ash directly into the bucket (or really any other non-flammable container).
It’s also recommended to put on a mask and some protective eyewear. If ash starts flying through the air, you could end up breathing some in or finding yourself with some irritated eyes.
Question Break: Can I vacuum my fireplaces ashes?
Answer: No! And here’s why:
- You could damage the vacuum if any hot embers are hidden away within the ash pile.
- You could start a fire inside of the vacuum that ends up causing damage to other areas of the home or injuries to the people within it.
- The dust from your ash is actually finer than basic household dust, which makes it easy to escape from the vacuum filter. This means they’ll be in the air you breathe, which isn’t good for anyone, especially those who already have allergies or respiratory issues.
- Ash is more likely to enter your air ducts, forcing them to work harder. This triggers wear and tear, ups your energy bills, and affects your indoor air quality.
After scooping the ashes into the bucket, secure it tightly with the bucket lid. This step is important because embers can stay live in ash piles for days! Sealing the container prevents oxygen from swooping into the ash and potentially reigniting those embers.
Question Break: Should I remove all my ash?
Answer: That depends. Is it the end of your burning season? Then, yes, removing all of your ash will be the best bet. Ash can draw in harmful moisture, which breaks down your fireplace and triggers rust and corrosion throughout the chimney and firebox. Ash can also cause your fireplace grate to deteriorate prematurely.
That said, if you’re planning on using your fireplace a bit more before calling it quits for the year, we recommend leaving behind a 1 or 2 inch layer of ash. This acts as an insulated bed for your firewood, and it helps the fire start quicker and spread easier.
Once your ash is scooped and your bucket is secured shut, all that’s left to do is wait a few days before finally disposing of your ash (or using them in your garden, compost, cleaning materials, or however else you see fit).
And never store your ash container in your home, garage, shed, or on your deck! If something inside of there does ignite, it could work its way through the container and leave you in a dangerous scenario. Keep the container away from your home and on a non-flammable surface until you know it’s safe to empty out.
Clean Your Glass Doors
Speaking of ash, did you know it’s useful for cleaning your fireplace’s glass doors? Once it’s cooled, simply roll up some old newspaper, get it damp, then dip in your ash and scrub away. We know, we know… it sounds crazy, but it works, and both sweeps, as well as countless homeowners, swear by this cheap and easy technique!
Looking for some extra shine? Once the dirt, soot, and buildup is cleared away, mix equal parts vinegar and water together and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the glass, wipe it away, and admire your handiwork. This is an easy step that makes a big difference!
Book Your Inspection
The final, and most important, part of your end-of-season maintenance is to get an inspection booked with a qualified professional before next fall. Annual inspections are the most effective way to minimize your risk of hazards, such as house fires, chimney fires, carbon monoxide leaks, and more.
That said, you’ll want to hire a team that will do a thorough job and put your safety first. So, what should you be looking for? Here are some things the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) suggests keeping in mind:
- Is the company licensed?
- Will a CSIA-certified tech be on the job?
- Does the company have positive reviews on reputable sites?
- Can they provide references?
Nowadays, you can find a lot of useful information with a quick online search, so do your research to ensure you get the most from the company you hire!
Need Further Maintenance?
Did your inspection reveal hidden damages, clogs, missing chimney components, deterioration, or creosote build-up? Chimney issues aren’t something that should be put on the back burner. Schedule necessary repairs and sweeping services as soon as possible to ensure your system stays healthier and safer for the long haul.
Getting these things done promptly will also ensure a smoother start to your burning season come fall, and it will also make your summer months less stressful, as some of these issues can trigger things like foul odors, animal invasions, and heightened energy bills.
Our Techs Are Here for You!
At Frechette Chimney, we’re committed to best the best for our customer in York, Kittery, Eliot, Scarborough, Cape Elizabeth, and more. If you’re seeking reliable, certified techs that’ll take care of you with honesty and dedication year after year, then look no further… we’re it!
Reach out today to get started.